This Batwoman review contains spoilers.
Batwoman Season 2, Episode 9
The False Face Society has been flooding Gotham with Snakebite, which is thee hot new drug. And in the absence of the Wonderland Gang, the masked menaces have risen up to terrorize the city, much to the dismay of… everyone. The gang is led by a businessman Roman Sionis, who moonlights as Black Mask (Peter Outerbridge) and he has a bandaged—and soon to be entirely remodeled—Kate locked away. Black Mask has a grudge with Batwoman for killing his daughter, and that may be his motive for whatever he’s doing with Kate, which includes having Enigma alter her memories. This is going to be interesting.
This episode introduces us to a really cool new character, Jordan Moore (Keeya King), Sophie’s younger sister, who is an artist and activist. Jordan witnesses the False Faces gun down Gotham’s police commissioner, and goes to her sister for help. When Batwoman saves Jordan from masked pursuers, Jordan reveals something that places Angelique at the scene. Angelique broke up with Ryan, but asked for reconciliation, and when Ryan finds out about Angelique’s involvement, she convinces Angelique to testify against the False Face Society. This doesn’t go as planned and Batwoman almost gets sawed in half, before being rescued by Sophie. Angelique eventually takes the fall for the murder to protect Ryan, and assuming she stays locked up for the duration—she did confess to murdering a top cop— this closes out their love story in an oddly satisfying way.
Removing Angelique from the picture makes room for Sophie and Ryan, which is the hill I have decided to make my home. And even though that is probably not going to happen, at least not immediately, I love that the show acknowledges the potential by having Jordan offer to wingwoman for Sophie when they’re talking to Ryan. Sophie says it won’t be an enemies-to-lovers thing but there are other tropes 😏. I cannot express to you how deeply satisfying it would be to see a Black lesbian couple anywhere, but especially on a Bertlantiverse show where they love the gays, but love interracial couples even more. Batwoman has good representation for queer women, but there are so many ways the show can break barriers and this is one.
Batwoman seems to have found a way to keep Kate Kane in the story without her presence undermining or directly challenging Ryan’s claim to Batwoman. My biggest fear with keeping Kate alive was that her story would supersede Ryan’s, making Ryan a secondary character in a show that should center her. Kate has remained a heavy presence throughout the season, but the writers have been fairly successful at managing both women’s stories. My hope going forward is that Batwoman doesn’t become a peripheral character now that Kate Kane is returning, and no longer holding the mantle. Worse would be for Kate to become Batwoman again, but I dare not jinx it.
In a journal entry/letter to her late predecessor, Ryan says, “I am Batwoman.” Definitively. Ryan has been wearing the suit, but there was always the implication that she was a stand-in for Kate. With the news that Kate is finally gone, Ryan has fully embraced the role, and with that, has seriously considered what she wants her legacy to be. Ryan’s rules for her and the team are 1. Legacy, “we stand for something bigger than ourselves.” 2. Accountability, “we hold each other accountable.” And 3. Support, “we have each other’s backs.” And this episode has proven that the team supports each other and holds each other accountable. Now there’s standing for something bigger.
Jordan offers a refreshing, if not on-the-nose depiction of a young, politically engaged person. She uses graffiti to get her anti-establishment message out, and to get the attention of law enforcement, who value property over Black lives. She’s not just loud, though, she does the work in the community, and puts her time and energy into programs that address unmet needs. Batwoman elevates its storytelling by consciously speaking to these real-world issues. Gotham has always been a catch-all for the “urban” areas of major metropolitan cities. And it’s always held a mirror up to the crime and corruption that flourishes in places where poverty and over-policing exist. But what the show is doing—and what movements today are promoting—is making the specific connection between the conditions that exist which push people into criminality, and offering alternatives to heroism that aren’t just punitive. The Bat Team isn’t just capable of helping Gotham by policing it; they have literally billions at their disposal to make tangible change.
Kate Kane’s legacy has hung over Ryan, and now Ryan is in a place where she can determine for herself what her legacy should be. This is in parallel to the ongoing conflict Sophie is having with the corrupt power structure she works inside of and upholds. Both women are looking to mold their reality into something that feels more equitable. Alice, on the other hand, wants to mold her reality into one where she doesn’t have a sister to mourn or miss. Choosing to forget is a specific kind of agency and though it is almost certainly harmful, it does speak to the desire of all of these women to dictate their own stories. I enjoy watching these women define and redefine who they are and what they stand for and I look forward to watching them build their legacies.