Batwoman boss unpacks Kate Kane's finale fate and that 'intense' cliffhanger
Showrunner Caroline Dries discusses Batwing's future, season 2's lack of onscreen lesbian intimacy, and more.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for the season 2 finale of Batwoman.
"Power," the CW superhero drama's season-ender, had multiple game-changing developments for Batwoman 2.0 and the rest of the Bat-team. Of course, there was Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson) suiting up as Batwing for the first time, which will bring a new dynamic to the Batcave in season 3. Even better: Ryan and Alice (Rachel Skarsten) teamed up to save Batwoman 1.0, Kate Kane (Wallis Day), who recovered her memories thanks to a hit of Snakebite. Yes, this was the one instance when saying yes to drugs was a good thing. Afterward, Kate decided to leave Gotham City and search for her missing cousin Bruce Wayne, bringing an end to her story for now.
The finale also set up some major obstacles for Ryan going into season 3. First, a newly imprisoned Alice revealed that Ryan's biological mother is alive. And as if that parental drama wasn't enough, Ryan will also have her hands full dealing with the fact that all the trophies (read: weapons) Batman collected from his rogues - like Penguin's umbrella, the Mad Hatter's hat, and Poison Ivy's growing vine - are now loose in the world and free for anyone to pick up and cause mayhem with. Thank Beebo that Batwoman will have Batwing by her side.
Below, Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries breaks down the season 2 finale and teases what's to come on the action and romance fronts.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Is this the end of the Kate Kane story for you all?
CAROLINE DRIES: Yeah, it's our way of wrapping up her journey. It's ending how we met her, you know, in the absence of Bruce, and then bringing that full-circle and giving Kate a loving farewell between the Bat-team and Sophie [Meagan Tandy].
Do you have any plans for Wallis to return in season 3, or is that on the back burner?
I would never say never because you never know, but for now, that was our farewell to Kate.
How long have you known that you wanted to explore the fact that Ryan's biological mother is still alive?
We knew sort of early on at the beginning of the season that we were looking to expand Ryan's world slowly but surely. And as we've discussed before, it was that delicate dance of trading off leads at the beginning of the season, so we didn't want to overpopulate the show with Ryan's personal world while we were still transitioning to a new Batwoman. Of course, we really wanted to get to know Ryan and use this notion of a biological mother as a point of drama or an obstacle for her moving forward into the next season.
This show has mainly dealt with father-daughter relationships. Does this mark a thematic shift in the show?
The theme has always been family. We definitely used the father figure as the paradigm for Kate and Alice, and even a little bit with Cartwright [John Emmet Tracy] and Alice. So we're not fully shifting the paradigm, but I did want to explore just that maternal love and what Ryan is missing in her life, or has never experienced fully. She had it with her adoptive mom, but that was ripped away from her. So if you're a child that's been through the foster system your entire life, I think there's always this question mark hovering over you of, "Where did I come from? Who gave me my looks? Who gave me my interests?" For Ryan, that's something she's going to grapple with - how much does she want to know? - in season 3.
Now Mary has lost both her parents, although Jacob is technically still alive. How will she handle that in season 3?
It will definitely take its toll on Mary. Even in season 2, she was still grappling with the loss of her mom and how Alice fits into the equation of who her family is. What will be fun in season 3 is really rejuvenating this relationship between Mary and Alice. She is literally the last person there is for her family. Likewise for Alice, Mary is the last one there is. So they will find that they have this common thing, but they also don't care for each other very much. So it'll make for a very fun dynamic.
But a complicated one, because Ryan also hates Alice for killing her mom.
[Laughs] Yes, it's very complicated indeed. One of my desires on the show, because I love Rachel so much, is making sure Alice continues to be on the front burner of the drama. So it's up to us as a writers to constantly entangle her in the drama. But to me, she really does feel like the core villain, the core conflict. Even going into season 3 that will remain the case, and I think we can continue to find new layers to play with Alice.
It felt like Alice was gravitating more toward being an antihero in season 2. Do you still view her as the show's villain?
I think of her as the redeemable villain, and that's what makes her so interesting. We know she's worth investing in, but she just makes it so dang hard. She's going to have some slide-backs going into season 3. But we know, thanks to her relationship with Ocean and obviously with Kate, that there is something worth fighting for inside of her.
What's the plan for all these Batman trophies being let loose? Are we actually going to meet some of these villains, or will it be a case where random civilians pick up these weapons and cause mayhem?
Obviously it's a pretty intense cliffhanger. The tease we're making the audience is, "These are loose out in the wild." So anyone can literally come and pick them up. So it will be a combination of people who come and pick them up and the villains themselves, and derivatives of those villains. So Batwoman definitely has a huge problem next season.
How much negotiating did you have to do with DC to figure out what exactly you could do with these weapons?
DC was so awesome about it because we're always looking, and as are they, for new ways of showing canon characters, and some of these characters have been done so many times that we're always looking for that new angle. In leading with the weapon first, which is always a big part of the rogues, it allows us way more freedom to kind of do something that we haven't seen before. There weren't really any obstacles.
How do you imagine Batwoman and Batwing's partnership working next season?
It is like a partnership and Batwoman has her wingman, her backup to fight crime and stop bad guys. What we'll learn early on in season 3 is Luke isn't necessarily trained to be a superhero. The suit is awesome, and if you put on the suit you're probably going to kick some major butt, but there's more to being a superhero than putting on a suit. That's something he's going to have to go through for his own personal journey. He still has a lot of baggage to unpack from season 2.
As of the finale, Safiyah [Shivaani Ghai] is just chilling in the back of an old car with the desert rose dagger in her. Any plans for her next season?
Right now we have a ton of other baddies that we're playing with that are new to the season, so season 3 is definitely going to feel like a fresher start. Will Safiyah creep into the picture? Possibly. But right now we're really refocusing the drama and stakes on Ryan and Batwoman.
Is there anything else you wanted to add about season 2?
One sort of thing that's been coming up on Twitter a lot [is] the lack of lesbian intimacy on the show this season. We were very happy to be able to get Sophie and Kate their kiss in the finale. I was thinking about that because I felt little bit like, "Oh, did we not deliver on the lesbian story line for Batwoman this season?" And I remembered where we were at the beginning of the season. Our show started before any of the other [Arrowverse] shows, and we were still under the most rigid rules for COVID. So by the time Ryan's love story evolves to friendship with Angelique [Bevin Bru], that's when the rules opened up slightly and we had more clarify on what was allowed with COVID. [So that's] when we could pursue a love story, which is what we ended up doing with Alice. But it made me think back on why we made the decisions we did, and we were so early on in the beginnings of how to film in a pandemic that we were never able to put Ryan in a situation, so we wrote around putting her in a situation where she could be intimate with Angelique.
That's like one of the main reasons I did the show: When I turn on TV, I want to see a lesbian love story. So I just had to ask myself, "How did we let this happen?" And then I remembered, we were literally the first show that went back, so all of our stuff was done earlier than any of the other shows that might've been able to have more intimate scenes.
Do you hope to have more intimate moments in season 3? Javicia recently told me she's hoping to get a real love interest next year.
Now we're more focused on [that] Ryan is going to have her hands full with all of the revolutions that come out of the finale, but that's definitely something we're excited by and want to keep in the forefront of our conversations in the writers' room, because that's the best part of the show in my opinion - the uniqueness of our lead.
Batwoman season 3 premieres Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.
Batwoman (TV series)