The CW’s Batwoman is, on paper, the origin story of Kate Kane. But in many ways, it’s also the story of Sophie Moore, Kate’s ex-girlfriend from military school who finds her life turned upside down when the Kane heir returns to town and takes over her cousin Bruce’s bat-themed crime fighting legacy.
In the series’ first episode, Sophie seems more a human motivational aide than a person, largely existing to get kidnapped and help Kate discover the hero within (while she reminisces over their many make-out sessions back during their shared Point Rock Academy days). As a viewer, you’d be forgiven for assuming this was a character who wasn’t going to amount to much.
Isn’t it nice to be wrong?
As Batwoman’s subsequent sixteen episodes have unspooled on Sunday nights, Sophie has been on her own hero’s journey – though, granted one that lacks a wig and a cowl.
Den of Geek spoke to Meagan Tandy about her role as Gotham’s most generally normal resident, Sophie’s long road to self-acceptance, her new partnership with Julia and what the future might hold.
“I feel like where we’re at in the story, she’s really starting to come into who she is,” Tandy says. “I think things are starting to settle down for her.”
Of course, things look quite a bit different for Sophie now than they did when Batwoman first began. Then, she was married to a man and living a life that rigidly followed the expectations set out for her by others: Her mother, her boss, society at large.
“In her mind, when she started out [on Batwoman], everything was going great. Things are pretty structured: She’s at the Crows. She’s got her husband. But then, boom: Here comes Kate. Everything started getting a little crazy. She’s having to go through all these changes and figure all these things out.”
Part of that journey has involved what Tandy refers to as “stepping stones” toward accepting her sexual identity. Unlike Kate, who has been out and proud for almost as long as the character has existed, Sophie’s coming out story has necessitated a more gradual pace.
For all that Batwoman is rightly hailed as an important step forward when It comes to LGBT representation on genre television, few people have lived experiences that look like Kate Kane’s. They’re not rich, cis white women with plenty of options and little to lose by standing in their truths.
Instead, many have stories that look a lot more like Sophie’s. People that exist at intersections of different social and economic struggles, who don’t feel comfortable shouting their identities at every passerby, who may not even fully know yet what that identity even is.
“I’m so proud to be representing this side of things,” Tandy explains. “Yes, [Sophie] is LGBT, but she’s also a black woman. And adding being a lesbian on top of being a woman of color, and not coming from money? That is so many people’s story.”
“A lot of [viewers] can really relate to Sophie far more than they can a superhero, because not everyone is going to be a superhero,” she continues. “Not everyone comes from money, or from a situation that’s so comfortable that you can do that [explore different ways of being who you are].
“I think having that representation, that story, that situation specifically on this show, is important. It’s been such a pleasure to be able to play, and I do think it’s very significant.”
In the Batwoman comics, Sophie exists almost solely in the past. Therefore, her presence on the CW series – and in Kate’s life post-Point Rock – allows Tandy to build a fresh and entirely new take on her character.
“She’s very, very capable,” Tandy says. “She wants to go out there and help and protect people in Gotham. She wants to put a face [to those doing] the defense and protecting.”
On a different sort of show, Sophie would likely be regulated solely to love interest status. There to serve as an object for Kate to pine over, or a damsel in need of rescuing. Thankfully, this is Batwoman, and Sophie has proven perfectly capable of saving herself.
“I’ve played the love interest so many times in so many other roles,” Tandy explained. “This one is so special because it’s not just that – there are so many other complicated things that add to her story.”
Though Sophie has plenty of Kate-shaped baggage, her story is not explicitly tied to the other woman. In fact, in “A Narrow Escape,” we see her continue to explore her new professional partnership with Kate’s other ex, Julia Pennyworth. Despite the intriguing chemistry between the two, their story thus far is strictly about “getting the job done”. (And probably better for it. For now, anyway.)
“When you think about all the other shows that have this kind of stuff – it’s always the male characters that are in there. They’re the ones solving the case,” Tandy explains. “And at the end of the episode, they’re the big heroes because they solved it. But here? No. We’re working the freaking case. And there’s going to be a woman at the end of it. It’s a very empowering message.”
But what about those sparks between Julia?
“I think there is definitely some potential,” Tandy says. “I think she’d be open to an opportunity with another woman. I think, deep down, she would love for it to be Kate. But if it’s not going to be Kate, could it potentially be somebody that’s right there working next to her? We’ll see. It’s possible.”
But at the end of the day, Tandy admits that she too is something of a Kate and Sophie shipper. “I think it would be awesome if they were to get back together,” she says. “But I feel that can’t happen until both of them are really, really out about who they are and what they’re doing saving Gotham.”
Which, as we all know is something that neither of them is exactly doing at the moment. Now that Mary has admitted she knows about her stepsister’s secret identity, that leaves Sophie as pretty much the last major player who doesn’t realize that Kate is Batwoman. Tandy expects that eventual revelation will be “complicated”. Particularly since Sophie and Batwoman have had their own flirtation this season.
“She’s going to be mad, for sure. There’s going to be a feeling of deceit. For her, Batwoman was like her second relationship [in her mind] that was with a woman.” But, for Tandy, a lot of Sophie’s reaction will be grounded in her ultimate desire to keep her ex safe. “She’s definitely going to go into protective mode. Like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re putting yourself in danger’s way each and every night.’”
“But I think once all those things are out, both women can go back to who they were at Point Rock. Where they were authentically themselves, with no secrets.”
Though, to be fair, both women have changed fairly significantly since their days at the military academy, where they were largely in their own self-contained bubble with a single, shared goal. (To graduate.) As a result, any new normal between them will inevitably have to reckon not just with Kate’s secret superhero identity and Sophie’s decision to come out, but with their disparate professional lifestyles and differing views on how best to protect Gotham. The Crows and Jacob Kane aren’t super fond of Batwoman or her methods, after all.
“Things are going to be a little crazy on that journey,” Tandy admits. Which…might just be the understatement of the season.