When there’s a 3-alarm fire in your next door neighbor’s apartment the day after Christmas, and then you decide to move out of yours a month early as a result, you fall behind on Batwoman recaps!
(Also please consider donating to my neighbor’s recovery efforts here. She lived in her apartment for 40 years and lost everything.)
But Batwoman’s gonzo-yet-weirdly-moving storylines have helped put my personal chaos into perspective. So I’ll do a brief overview of the episodes I missed and then I’ll go into more detail with last week’s episode, “An Un-Birthday Present,” and I’ll come back to this week’s episode, “Take Your Choice,” later this week.
Episode 08: The Mad Tea Party
The mid-season finale created a complete tone-shift for the series. Alice blames Catherine Hamilton (Mary’s mom, played by Elizabeth Anweis) for covering up the fact that she was still alive. She murders Catherine with a chemical agent her company, Hamilton Dynamics, created — which, karma. Even though it’s hard to feel bad for Catherine, watching Mary (Nicole Kang) suffer brought tears to my eyes.
Meanwhile, Mouse (Sam Littlefield is quietly stealing the show from Rachel Skarsten’s Alice) impersonates Jacob at the scene of the crime, framing him.
I dunno know — you’d think GCPD would do some basic forensics like fingerprinting or DNA testing but I guess there’s a reason they need Bat-vigilantes to keep the city in line.
Episode 09: Infinite Crisis
Overall I thought this went way better than Elseworlds, though I can’t say I got that emotional when Ollie died. Both times.
Anyways! In terms of Kate (Ruby Rose), seeing her as a foil against the One True Batman (Kevin Conroy) was super fun.
We also get to see Kate and Kara (Melissa Benoist) make eyes at each other. The writers might not be interested in shipping the two characters, but Rose and Benoist certainly are.
We also see a key difference between Kate and Bruce — when given the opportunity to take Kara down with kryptonite, Kate prefers to trust that Kara will do the right thing.
Also, all of the multiverses collapse into one world, which leads to a twist a nobody saw coming.
Episode 10: How Queer Everything Is Today!
I have lots to say here. Either I’m disconnected from how queer teenagers feel about their experiences, or the Batwoman writers are — and I’ve worked with 16 – 21-year-olds for the past 15 years.
In this episode, Parker Torres (Malia Pyles), a student at Gotham prep attempts to hold the city ransom via cyberwarfare because her parents don’t accept her when she’s outed by her ex’s parents. She hopes to use the ransom money to fund her runaway attempt. And she reads The Advocate! Like no queer person under the age of 50. Are there even queer writers on this show?
(Incidentally, I went to a fancy prep school and a classmate of mine was in the same situation. He stole his parents’ credit cards and ran away to Amsterdam. Seems a lot easier than hacking a subway car.)
Meanwhile, Kate has to fight the perception that Batwoman is straight because some Dudley Do-Right cop keeps stealing her photo ops. This feels a bit iffy — in my city, and most others, if a cop is famous it’s because he murdered an unarmed civilian. Maybe these writers don’t live in cities either.
Anyway, this prompts Kate to give an exclusive interview to Kara (lol) as Batwoman, in which she comes out.
Back at the Crows’ nest, Sophie and Chad continue to litigate her bisexuality — as if her having an ex of any gender in her past means she still wishes she could be with that ex!
Oh yeah, and Beth — not as Alice — shows up.
Episode 11: An Un-Birthday Present
Turns out there’s two Beths now — and the multiverse does not like that!
Kate, after attacking new Beth, hits it off and begins to come to terms with the sister she could have had.
Meanwhile, Mouse kidnaps the police commissioner and mayor’s sons in exchange for Alice, whom the Crows have in custody after Catherine’s murder. The commissioner won’t summon Batwoman because she’s “political” now that she’s come out as a lesbian.
Alice eggs on Sophie, convincing her that she’s lying to herself by…not being out? By saying she’s bi when she’s actually gay? Admitting she’s always been in love with Kate and still is? The show doesn’t make it clear but it seems to want Sophie to be gay and not bi. I hate this! At least she and Chad have broken up! And then Alice escapes!
Beth tries to pose as Alice to free the captives but that backfires. Kate overcomes her trauma of failing to save Beth from locked cars and rescues everyone in the nick of time.
Unfortunately, Beth and Alice are suffering from having multiple versions of themselves in a single universe. Only one can survive, it seems.
- My girlfriend and I are negotiating our different aesthetics as we decorate the apartment. She’d rather hang out at Kate’s bar (The Hold Up! Amazing lesbian bar name!) I’d rather go to The L Word: Generation Q’s Dana’s (also a great lesbian bar name!)
- Take it from me: twin talk and twintution are real.
- As the mayor’s kid pointed out to the commissioner’s son, “Isn’t it 2020?” I feel like the writers of this show are taking the “tell the story you wish your younger self had” too literally. 2020 is lightyears away from 2010 and galaxies away from the 2000s. A public figure being gay is not political in most major American cities. One of the least charismatic men alive, who happens to be gay, is a serious contender to be the Democratic nominee to be the President of the United States of America! (This week, anyway.)
Parker, the Gotham Prep student, is right — it isn’t better for everyone. But queer people, trans people in particular, are more likely to face microaggressions like the maitre d’ kicking Kate and Sophie out of that restaurant. Or macroaggressions — like my student and his family woh were attacked in a parking lot because he accidentally brushed up against a man while he was dancing.
But these days it’s not likely that a celebrity would face backlash simply for coming out. The systemic oppression is there, but it doesn’t seem like the writers themselves are experiencing it — at least not in a way that translates realistically to a show about vigilante billionaires and multiverse paradoxes.