This Batwoman review contains spoilers.
Batwoman Season 2, Episode 6
Batwoman is making finding Coryana about something bigger than finding Kate, and that is a welcome development. The Kryptonite that pierced Ryan’s skin is radioactive, and it has been slowly killing her. Safiyah’s hidden island is the sole source of the Desert Rose, and finding the healing plant is necessary to save Ryan’s life. Unfortunately, other parties, Like Hamilton Dynamics, are hip to what the Desert Rose can do and now they’re out to get the plant for themselves, complicating the search for Kate. But Complicated is the modus operandi.
Ryan is back in a romantic relationship with Angelique, the same woman Ryan caught a possession charge for. While the details of that are muddled now, their resulting dysfunction is plain. Ryan wants to save Angelique and sis does not want to be saved. Angelique likes pushing drugs and hobnobbing with Gotham’s rich and influential. The only thing that has changed in their relationship is that both women are powerful in ways they weren’t before, which gives them both more to lose than just each other. When Sophie asks Ryan to get information from Angelique about her supplier, Ryan agrees on the condition that Angelique be cleared. Ryan plants a bug, and when Angelique figures it out, she’s rightfully pissed. But both of them know better.
“When somebody shows you who they are, believe them,” is a quote misattributed to many, but advice that should be heeded. Angelique has been very clear that she likes what she does and doesn’t want out. Ryan is also clear that she doesn’t agree with that lifestyle and wants Angelique to leave it behind. They are on opposing sides of an argument neither of them will budge on, but still trying to make their relationship work. This relationship dynamic mirrors the one between Kara and Mon-El, which is unfortunate because that pairing drove me from Supergirl. That show spent a lot of time telling us why Kara and Mon-el were not compatible, yet put them together anyway, making the lesson: if you don’t like who you’re with, change them. I don’t want that to happen here. Ryan and Angelique are new, but they’ve been having this conversation for two episodes and it is clearly a continuation of issues they had in the past. I don’t want the writers to get caught up in this romantic back-and-forth or rehash this argument every episode, but most importantly I don’t want either of these women to change for the other.
A relationship I am happy to see explored more is the one between Mary and Jacob. When they are abducted by a former Hamilton Dynamics research subject who demands the antidote, Mary has to reveal her underground clinic and her relationship to the cure-all. Jacob, of course, takes issue with the clinic and pulls rank to shut it down. Mary reminds him that he only ever acts like a father when he’s being authoritative, which is a read. Frankly, I forget that he’s her dad, so I love that Mary has an opportunity to confront him about his relative absence. I hope they continue to have meaningful interactions throughout and that their relationship is given real narrative weight.
Batwoman isn’t ready to let go of Kate Kane but I’m okay with that now that she’s not the center of everybody’s universe. Finding her is important, but she isn’t the end all be all and I appreciate that Alice, for one, has other things on her mind now. Alice and Ocean were clearly very close and Saifiyah removed both of their memories of their time together. That is a violation worthy of Alice’s maddest machinations for revenge, and directing that energy toward someone who’s caused deliberate and profound harm feels like a good way to redeem Alice, if that’s what the show plans to do. Also, allowing a romantic relationship to (re)form that isn’t built on trauma bonds would be welcome.
Relationships is the unintentional theme of this review so I’ll lean into it. The slow burn between Ryan and Luke is finally paying off, and it only took Ryan having a terminal illness to make it happen. The Kryptonite wound is slowly killing Ryan, but she powers through, in part to prove herself to Luke. He has been hesitant to see her as anything but a temporary replacement for Kate, but realizing how much she’s been overcoming to suit up and step up has him finally—finally!—seeing her for who she is, not who she isn’t. To be clear, Ryan would still be a hero if she wasn’t also dying, but it is testament to how badass she is. I hate that Ryan has to be in death throes to get her due respect, but we’re here now so let’s take the win.
We need more wins, and with all these folks going after Coryana I suspect several Ls in the upcoming episodes. All roads lead to Safiyah, but the paths aren’t parallel and everyone isn’t looking for the same thing. Everybody is going to be stepping over one another to get there first and I can’t wait to see standoffs between The Bat Squad and the Crows, especially, now that finding Kate isn’t the sole priority. I want to applaud the Batwoman writers for keeping all of these stories separate but cohesive, and giving us different characters and motivations to root for. Whether you want Alice and Ocean to get their revenge, or Sophie and Kate to reunite, or Ryan and Luke to be bros, there is a little something for everyone, and that is a delight.