Batwoman Episode 2 Review: The Rabbit Hole

Batwoman eschews a villain-of-the-week format to take a much-needed closer look at Alice and the aftermath of Beth's disappearance

Kate Kane protecting Alice from the Crows

This Batwoman review contains spoilers. 

Batwoman Episode 2

Unlike most superhero shows, Batwoman did not slide into a villain-of-the-week format with its second episode. Instead this episode deepened into the central mythology of Kate’s origin story, Beth’s disappearance. I’m sure Batwoman will get to other villains eventually, but for now it feels like there’s plenty of material to unpack as it is, and a lower headcount of rogues helps make the show feel more grounded and less crowded. 

Superhero shows thrive on deception, often to their own detriment, as evidenced by the way Supergirl hamstrung the best friendship that makes up one of the core relationships at the heart of the show by maintaining the secret of Supergirl’s identity far longer than necessary. While it seems for now that Kate Kane will be lying to Sophie about her time in the cowl, at least she immediately told her family about her Beth/Alice theory.

Unfortunately for Kate, that put into motion her stepmother’s machinations. While the evil stepmother is a tired trope, it still feels like a surprising twist from gazillionaire Catherine Hamilton, if only because it’s new for the television version of Batwoman’s story. How exactly did she find out about Kate having Alice’s knife? Is she surveilling her employees at Crows Security, or just bugging her own step-daughter? It certainly calls into question the veracity of the bone fragments of “Beth’s” found way back when, and whether she knowingly fabricated them to get her soon-to-be-husband to move on. Either way, upgrading Catherine from blank object of Kate’s disdain to a genuine player in the proceedings adds to the web of potential complications.

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Mary continues to be a highlight of the show, along with Luke Fox. She’s the beating heart holding the Hamilton-Kane clan together and a much-needed infusion of warmth in the show. More so than Jake or Sophie’s protestations about her own safety or domestic terrorism, the threat to Mary’s life, the trauma it clearly caused and the way Mary clearly feels completely resigned to Kate overlooking her have all made Kate reconsider what it means to be loyal to Alice/Beth.

The choice to have Alice toy with Kate about whether she’s Beth is an interesting one. I’ve no doubt that it really is her, but playing with Kate’s mind and giving her more reasons to waiver in her commitment to Alice makes for a more unpredictable story. Alice figuring out that Kate is Batwoman gives her even more ammunition to mess with her sister, and a ticking time bomb of

It was great to see Luke get into action behind the comms for Batwoman, which felt like one more step toward her becoming a full-on hero. Luke coming to her rescue is a bit of a lesson for Kate, too, that she needs other people, one she seems to be slowly learning in different areas of her life after spending so much of it on her own.

I sort of love that Kate is too busy to really notice all the chaos she’s causing Gotham, from the gossip rags to everyday citizens looking for hope, like Kate had been for years. The theme of hope is a good one, especially for a city and a franchise that’s often overly gloomy and gave rise to the grimdark era of superheroes on screen. Here’s hoping it continues.

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Delia Harrington a freelance writer and photographer focusing on social justice and pop culture through a feminist lens. She loves post-apocalyptic sci-fi, historical fiction, and feminist comic books. You can follow Delia @deliamary.

Rating:

4 out of 5