Batwoman Episode 3 Review: Down, Down, Down

Villain Tommy Elliot comes to Gotham while Mary shines and Kate meets someone new in another solid episode of Batwoman

This Batwoman review contains spoilers. 

Batwoman Episode 3

An extraordinarily short visit from Tommy Elliot reminds Gotham that Alice isn’t the only villain while Kate Kane contends with the reality that she has unleashed an entire city’s worth of hope, and she’s not so sure she can live up to it. Meanwhile, Sophie works Mary for intel on her ex in a winning b-plot and Alice terrorizes the Hamilton-Kane residence.

First: Hush. I could’ve done without the wall references and “Make Gotham Safe Again” rhetoric surrounding Tommy Elliot, but other than those lines, he largely felt like his own villain rather than a Trump sendup. Arguably this episode had just as much “other business” to take care of as the previous one, leaving Tommy underexplored for such a great character (or even a run-of-the-mill villain of the week) and the rest of the story feeling cramped.

Gotham has always been a place of income inequality and dizzying public safety concerns, so leaning into a villain who is gentrification/gated communities personified, the unhinged 1%, feels right, even if we had too little time with him. Gabriel Mann was perfectly cast as the preening maniac and brought the role to life immediately. Considering there was no mention of his Hush persona, it seems likely that Arkham Asylum, Gotham’s least-secure mental health facility, will be but a temporary lodging for him.

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Batwoman filtered whatever angst Kate and Sophie might be feeling toward each other through Tyler & Reagan and Mary, respectively, for much more interesting results than if they had confronted one another directly. For one, Mary continues to be an absolutely highlight, and her sisterly insistence on playing hype-woman/protector/and-I-oop spectator in Kate’s favor (largely in her absence) was delightful to watch. Mary had some of the best lines of the evening, and will no doubt play a role in helping Sophie and Kate eventually realize where they stand.

It makes sense that Kate wouldn’t potentially out Sophie but would rather float a detective-like fact-finding answer to Sophie’s husband Tyler when he asked how the two know one another. Like most members of the Bat family, Kate isn’t powered but rather strong and incredibly clever, working her enemies like a case, which was on full display in this episode. Tyler’s ignorance of the Sophie/Kate backstory slows down the pace of the inevitable Kate/Sophie reunion while allowing Reagan an opening to show how hilarious it is that various straight people on the show like Tyler and Alice keep missing the memo on queer characters like Sophie and Kate.

This is a great episode for Mary on the whole, who starts it out getting written off by Sophie for being a socialite, because young women who like clothes, amiright? It’s fun to see Mary playing up the “out all night heiress wild child” schtick, more so than Kate, and the look on Sophie’s face when she realizes how smart Mary is: “I read ahead.” Mary isn’t a vigilante – yet. But in the comics the character she’s based off of, Bette, becomes Firebird, so I have hope for her yet. Nicole Kang is doing so much work with mere facial expressions in this episode and it’s a joy to watch. There’s not enough joy in superhero shows, and I welcome the joy that is Mary in all her forms. 

I love Mary for her loyalty to Kate, even when she doesn’t feel it in return, telling Sophie that Kate’s probably out dating since she’s single, smart, and gorgeous. While we know Kate raced back to save mary, mary’s in the dark on that one. I hope Kate lets Mary in on her secret sooner rather than later. She’s the perfect first-tell – she’s a scientist so she can help with evidence, and a doctor so she can help patch her up. Plus, as we’ve already seen, Mary’s clinic gives her a beat on the underworld. Speaking of that clinic, inaccessible health care is such a devastating marker of late-stage capitalism. The opening clip of her giving a shot to a little girl is rough for how pedestrian it is. Batwoman might be the one with a two-sided grappling hook, but Mary is saving lives out here, too.

If there was any chance that Alice’s killings were a misunderstanding, this episode let her clear that up right quick. She’s definitely a murderer and it’s hard to imagine a way in which she’s being forced to do any of this. But Kate’s right – she also has a loyalty to her sister. Catherine Hamilton, on the other hand, is a huge mystery, lying to her husband about those mysterious cards (deuce of hearts, eight of clubs, three of diamonds, in case you can figure it out) and gaslighting him about the fact that Alice is obviously Beth.

Finally, we have to talk about Batwoman’s costume! She’s got her red emblem, (disappearing) bold red lip, and long red wig, which seems to be a sign that she’s not just playing at being Batman or taking this on as a temporary gig. There are certainly more pieces that must fall into place, but Kate coming to understand her value as someone who shows up for people (and what that means when she can’t as herself, like for Mary in the previous episode) is a good theme to have in place as the show and its hero figures itself out. 

Other notes:

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Luke needs more screen time, but I’ve loved what we’ve seen so far – Camrus Johnson is making a meal of everything he’s given.

For a hot minute it seemed like Tommy might actually have figured out that Bruce Wayne and Batman both being gone for the last three years means something but…no dice

Kate’s style is legit – oversized blazer with rolled/cuffer sleeves, those mirrored chunky heels! The asymmetrical earrings (she always has a bit of delicate statement jewelry), black lace top, CW-approved leather leggings. Rock on, Kate Kane.

I love Mary and Kate making faces in the elevator to make fun of sophie. More sister stuff from these two, please! Also more Mary always, please! “We get it Tommy, could you live any higher?”

I’m very here for Alice’s wig jokes!

Keep up with all our Batwoman TV news and reviews here.

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3.5 out of 5