By Chancellor Agard
March 28, 2021 at 09:00 PM EDT
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Warning: This article contains spoilers about Sunday's Batwoman, titled "Rule #1."

Batwoman wasted no time in revealing who is holding Kate Kane captive.

The CW superhero drama's latest episode, titled "Rule #1," begins with Kate Kane's family and friends gathering for her funeral, believing she's dead. But we know Kate's alive and unwell because Wallis Day (Krypton) is stepping into the character's shoes later on in season 2, following Ruby Rose's exit from the show. Shortly after the funeral, an imprisoned, injured, and disfigured Kate receives a visit from her kidnapper: Black Mask (Peter Outerbridge), the sadistic leader of the False Face Society who blames both the Crows and Batwoman 1.0 for his daughter's death.

Black Mask, a.k.a. Roman Sionis, doesn't just plan on letting Kate rot in this cell, though. The crime boss brings Enigma, the hypnotist who wiped Alice (Rachel Skarsten) and Ocean's (Nathan Owens) memories of each other, to see Kate. Enigma notes it was a good thing that Kate's face was damaged when the Black Mask's gang pulled her from the plane because "facial recognition leads to memory recovery." So, Enigma tells her it's "time to say goodbye to Kate Kane." So what horrors await the former Batwoman?

"He has some very big plans for Kate," Peter Outerbridge tells EW. "His game is a long-game, let's put it that way. It's a very complicated plan, but very devious indeed."

Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries is willing to share a bit more intel on how Enigma fits into Black Mask's scheme and when we'll finally see Day's altered version of Kate.

"Enigma, we know is this mysterious woman who brainwashed Alice and Ocean to forget each other ever existed. And now here we're seeing Enigma in the flesh as sort of one of the pawns of our big scary villain of the end of the season, Black Mask," says Dries. "And so what we'll discover — not in episode 9, we just realized there's something going on here, but down the line — [is] that Black Mask has a very specific agenda for this altered version of Kate Kane, and it's going to affect, obviously Kate, but everyone that loves her, in a really dramatic way."

Batwoman
Peter Outerbridge as Black Mask on 'Batwoman.'
| Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW

Elsewhere in Sunday's episode, Black Mask also comes face to face with the new Batwoman, Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie), and almost kills her because he holds her responsible for his daughter's death, too, since she wears the Bat-symbol. Dries and the writers wanted to make Black Mask the season's other big bad because Safiyah (Shivaani Ghai) was so intertwined with Alice's story and, more importantly, they wanted a villain who represented Ryan's crusade against Gotham's corruption.

"[Batwoman's] nemesis, especially as Ryan, is sort of the institution. It's the systemic racism and the injustice she suffered as a result of that. And that's really what she's been fighting as Batwoman," says Dries. "We wanted to put a face, like a human face, to that conflict, and so she can go up against the Crows and the man and the system, but we really wanted to give her somebody that she could talk to that was a human being. So that sort of started to get us talking about great characters that do that, and that's where Black Mask kind of rose to the surface as a super awesome villain who was ultimately in control of this whole Snake Bite circuit that we've been seeing all season long."

From Black Mask's perspective, Batwoman is another symbol of how broken Gotham City is, and he thinks his criminal activities will liberate the city from people like her who believe they're above the law simply because they claim to stand for justice.

"So the interplay is that Black Mask ironically has a very similar outlook to Gotham's institutions, as Batwoman, as Ryan does. They both believe that all systems can be corrupted," says Dries. "Black Mask is going about dealing with it his way, and Ryan's going about doing it her way. Her way is obviously way more heroic. His way is just crazy, maniacal, bad guy. So the idea of him running the Snake Bite operation is proof to him that all systems can be corrupted because of all the people he has in his pocket that are helping him to carry this out. So it's interesting that both villain and hero have this similar parallel outlook on Gotham's institutions. It's just they're handling it much differently."

Batwoman
Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW

Outerbridge adds: "He basically says, 'What's the difference between you and me? You do your thing. You're a vigilante, and you're doing what you believe is right but that doesn't necessarily make it so. So, I'm going to take my piece of the pie, too.' Unfortunately, I think it becomes a little bit harder to justify rampant torture and murder. The death of his daughter certainly provides him with his criminal justification, but in the end, if the guy is going about murdering and torturing people to get his point across, I don't think you can really justify that."

Watch the latest installment of On Set with Batwoman above to hear Skarsten discuss Alice's trippy reaction to losing her sister, Meagan Tandy share what she loved about the introduction of Sophie's sister Jordan, Camrus Johnson and Nicole Kang on the tender moment Luke and Mary shared at the funeral.

Batwoman airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on the CW. Be sure to subscribe to EW's YouTube channel so you won't miss new On Set episodes, dropping every Sunday night after the latest Batwoman episode.

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