Caroline Dries chats with EW about Alice's fate, that scary ending, and more.
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Courtesy of The CW.

Warning: This article contains spoilers from the season 3 finale of Batwoman, which aired Wednesday night on The CW.

Batwoman's Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) basically has everything she could want by the end of the season 3 finale.

In the climactic hour, titled "We Having Fun Yet?" Marquis (Nick Creegan), a.k.a. Joker 2.0, steals the Bat-blimp (yes, you read that correctly) and fills it with Joker's acid, which he plans on unleashing on Gotham City. Thankfully, Ryan and the Bat Team manage to foil his plan. While Batwing (Camrus Johnson) sacrifices his father's A.I. to reroute the blimp so it detonates over an abandoned part of the city, Batwoman teams up with Alice (Rachel Skarsten), who, shockingly, gives up the Joker buzzer so Ryan can cure Marquis.

Thus, as the season ends, Ryan's biological family is reunited, Ryan and Sophie's (Meagan Tandy) relationship is stronger than ever, the Bat Team is back in Wayne Tower, and Gotham City is safe — or so the team thinks. In the final moments of the episode, a mysterious skeletal figure emerges from where the Joker's acid rained down and attacks reporter Dana DeWitt (Allison Riley), who was reporting from the scene. In other words, the Bat Team has another mess clean up, should the CW order a fourth season, which hasn't happened yet.

Below, EW chats with showrunner Caroline Dries about Ryan's relationship with her biological family moving forward, Alice's fate, and more.

Batwoman
The cast of Batwoman in the season 3 finale
| Credit: Colin Bentley/The CW

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to cure Marquis by the end of the season? I can imagine a world where he gets shuttled off to Arkham to sit on the shelf until you need the Joker's brand of chaos again…

CAROLINE DRIES: Yes. It feels like this is the season for us to have Ryan have that major victory. And I think it was less about, do we cure the Joker? It was more about, do we give Ryan what she's subconsciously or consciously craving, which is a full, united family? So that was more important to us. Whether or not it sticks is to be seen, if we get a season 4. So I would say, never say never when it comes to seeing the Joker. So who knows if that door is fully closed or not.

Does that mean you want to keep Jada [Robin Givens] and Marquis in the picture in a potential fourth season?

Yes, I think there is still story to tell with them. Ryan having a biological family, in my opinion, enriches her character and widens her world. So yes, at least in my mind, I don't think they're gone. I think they're still very much part of the show.

In the season 2 premiere, Ryan said both of her biological parents were dead. Obviously, that wasn't true, because here's Jada. Does that mean her biological father may also be alive? Do you already know who he is, and is there a plan to reveal his identity?

I think we have an idea of who he is. I do want to explore it at some point. I don't want to explore it right away because I felt like this season was like, "[Ryan] has a mom, she has a brother, and it's like, who else does she [have]? It felt like it would dilute all of this and just kind be overwhelming for the character to keep finding hidden family members behind a door. So yeah, I know people are curious, I'm curious too. I'm, for Ryan, very curious. So we'll definitely make story out of it at some point. I just don't know when.

Looking at what's already been said about her biological father, does the audience already have enough clues to guess his identity?

I don't know, to be honest with you. We haven't gone down that road yet to even get to if it were kind of who we were thinking of. I think it would have to be approved by various divisions. So I can't answer that.

What are viewers supposed to take away from the final scene and what it's setting up? I watched an unfinished cut, but my first thought was either Solomon Grundy or the "Night of the Monster Men."

I'm not revealing specifically who that was supposed to be, if it were supposed to be somebody in particular. But the point of it was is that our Bat Team did everything in its power to get that blimp out of the city. And it got very close, but not quite. And that people were affected by this blast and that there are going to be consequences from this blimp. You drop barrels full of acid on a certain location, there are going to be repercussions.

Is this something you're pulling from the canon and putting your own spin on?

Yes. The idea is that we pulled something from the cannon that we will put our own spin on. Once we get picked up for season 4, then we'll get into the minutia of like, "Okay, what actually could that be?" And I have ideas for more of a grand scale thing, but is that like a one-off bad guy or is that the bad guy? We'll see. But I'm curious to hear what you thought it was. So that's interesting.

Batwoman
Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder on 'Batwoman'
| Credit: Colin Bentley/The CW

It felt like this season was very much about Ryan being torn between her responsibilities to her biological family and her Bat-family. What is the next challenge you're hoping to throw at her next season?

I think it's her relationship with the city of Gotham at this point. The end of season 2, it seemed like Ryan had everything she wanted, and that's why it was so great I think for her to then be rushed with this idea of, well, there is this other family, if you want it, and her realizing, "I want both," and it being really hard. Yeah, and now [it's about], how does her family of Gotham City see her and view her opening up her world a little bit to the city that she represents and is supposed to save every day?

At the end of season 2, you told me that you were hoping to have more queer female intimacy in season 3 now that you understood what is and isn't possible under COVID-19 guidelines. Obviously, you did that with Sophie and Montoya, Sophie and Ryan, and Poison Ivy and Montoya. How do you feel about what you were able to accomplish?

Of course, yeah. I was thrilled with how much we could do. Season 2, as we discussed, there was so much learning being done every day and we were being so careful because one COVID case can shut you down for two weeks and that's a full episode of TV. And so we were being extremely cautious and then as the rules were evolving and we became more confident with what the rules were for our actors. By then Ryan's storyline, we had kind of already broken it and then she wasn't in a love storyline at that point. And so once we were confident A, in the COVID thing, and then B, in establishing Ryan as Batwoman, we were like, "Okay, now we can really explore her love life and we have the fan base who's along for the ride who's interested in Ryan's personal life."

So yeah, we kind of always knew (I don't know when it came up) but I think in our heart, we always knew Ryan and Sophie were it from their first meeting, the first scenes together. So we just wrote towards that. I'm of the mindset of stretch it out as long as you can, because [of the] fear of once characters are happy, they become boring. So one of the writers was like, "Can they sleep together in this episode?" I'm like, "No, they can't. It's too soon." And then [executive story editor Natalie Abrams], God love her, had to really convince me that even episode 11 it was time. Because I was like, "No, let's keep pushing it." And I'm like, "If you can make it work, fine." And then I was like, "Yeah, we need to do this. We're running out of episodes."

What ultimately convinced you now was the right time to go there with Ryan and Sophie?

You know, you can write it, and we're ahead in scripts, and then slowly you're watching the cuts and you're seeing the actors then perform. And in my mind, the scripts are one thing, but seeing the actors together on screen, it made me realize, "Oh, they're bringing so much more to the words just by their aura in the scene together." So they're doing a lot of the heavy lifting with the eye contact and in editorial we're adding stuff. And so [it was] growing bigger than I pictured it, so that by the time we're at episode 9, I was sitting there with my computer and it was not in the outline, it was not in the story area, but I was like, "These two need to kiss. This is what this episode is missing. They need to make out, not make out, there needs to be like a passion moment here." And I just realized, having watched all the cuts to that point, finally that like, "Oh yeah, we earned this moment and it's time."

You mentioned this fear of them possibly becoming boring once they got together and were happy. That reminded me of how former Batman writer Tom King told me he decided to have Batman and Catwoman get engaged because he realized happiness isn't the end of conflict for Batman, but the beginning of it. What does Batman do with happiness? I'm curious if you and the writers had any similar discussions about this idea in relation to Ryan now that she has Sophie, her biological family reunited, and Mary back.

Yeah, exactly. And it almost feels like in a way, once she has all of those things, it's sort of like the challenge now for the writing staff and for me is, how do we pull the rug out from underneath all of that without destroying everything that everyone's excited about? Meaning, what the fans are excited about. And that's a huge challenge. It almost, in a way, feels like starting over. But what it really means for us is, I think, dropping a gigantic external conflict bomb onto season 4 to shake it up.

It seems as though Alice is going to a psychiatric facility in Switzerland to get help at the end of the finale. Should viewers be worried about losing her mercurial chaotic energy?

I think the fans love Alice so much and I think the fans also love Beth, too. And I think there's a world where we can have both and that we shouldn't, if you're going to worry about losing Alice, yes that ending would definitely make you worried. But on the show, nothing is as it seems and there's always a consequence to every action. So we'll have to see what actually happens in Switzerland.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

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