Batwoman recap: Representation matters
After “Crises on Infinite Earths” and the holiday break, Batwoman is back, which means we’re once again neck-deep in bad dialogue; but perhaps some slightly interesting character and plot developments are coming soon, based on this week’s cliffhanger. Hard to say. Let’s dig in.
This week’s episode begins with a runaway subway train, barrelling through Gotham and forcing one disgruntled passenger to angrily and sarcastically call the conductor “Keanu,” which broke my brain a bit because Speed takes place on a bus. Where’s the Unstoppable reference, you know? Anyways, this train is headed straight for a brick wall when Batwoman saves the day, halting the train using her motorcycle and some grappling hooks. But, when one of the hooks comes undone and flies back at her, she’s saved by a handsome cop who, no joke, is named Slam Bradley. The next day, the media is delighted by this potential romantic pairing, with no interest in Batwoman saving a train full of people. The media in Gotham is terrible though; no offense to the actor, but he absolutely does not give off Chris Evans vibes.
So begins an episode that’s largely about Kate’s identity crisis. She feels like a fraud behind the mask, not because she’s not a hero, but because she’s allowing the public to shape the narrative of who she is. This latest romance angle bugs her more than anything because she’s “super gay,” as she says. The show has dabbled in ideas of identity, but it’s really only hinted at certain struggles, never crafting anything more substantial. This episode changes that a bit, leaning into the queer representation while also pulling out a seriously bonkers cliffhanger that also deals with identity. We’ll get to that in a bit.
As if Kate doesn’t have enough on her plate, Mary is also still mad at her because of the whole dead mom thing. Fair enough. Mary is actively trying to find an expert witness to testify that face-swapping is a real thing, hoping to get someone before Jacob’s trial begins. She’s not having much luck though. Everyone she sees insists she’s crazy, a word she tells the doctors should be removed from their “everyday lexicon.” Kate tries to talk to her and sort through this grief, but Mary is in denial. She’s focused on literally anything else, and there’s no breaking through.
So, Kate gets back to work. She checks out the train with Luke and finds a device that would allow someone to hack the brakes remotely. Then, the hacker, known as The Terrier, broadcasts a message to all of Gotham, saying that their secrets will be revealed in the coming days if they’re not paid off.
Kate and Luke eventually track down the hacker, but they don’t find what they expect. Parker is a teenage girl who attends Gotham Prep, and she coordinated the subway hack in an effort to get her parents’ attention. Her ex recently outed her as gay to her parents, and ever since then they’ve disowned her. She thought that if she could craft a near-death experience, they might come to realize how lucky they are to have her. Unfortunately, that’s no how bigotry works. Now, Batwoman is confronting her, and Parker lays out her whole story, and yells at Batwoman for pretending to care and understand when she’s the talk of the town and romancing some young, hot cop.
This forces Kate to really reckon with what she’s doing in her suit, and what she owes the people of Gotham. When Alice shows up at the school and threatens Parker in an attempt to get Kate to remove her mask and join forces with her — this is apparently a never-ending story with these two — Kate does remove her mask, if only so she can not hide for a brief period of time.
The Crows show up, Alice is finally arrested, and Kate gets to make a choice about Batwoman and the influence she can have. She gives an interview to a magazine as Batwoman and talks about how she’s a lesbian, hoping to expose more of herself and inspire others to live their own lives and be who they’re meant to be. Kate even makes up with Mary, as she drops her guard and finally embraces her sister in order to mourn Catherine.
But everything isn’t peachy here in Gotham. When Kate returns to her office, she finds Alice there. Or does she? Alice is locked up with Sophie. This woman, who Kate grabs by the collar and forces onto her desk, insists that she’s Beth and that she’s back from a “semester abroad.” What the hell? I don’t even know where to begin. We’ll have to wait for next week’s episode to see how this whole “New Beth” thing plays out.