Batwoman’s first season has been impressing me with the writing and storytelling. They’re still doing a great job with both individual episodes and longer-running subplots. There have been many Bat-family characters we don’t know the fates of, but one of those gets touched on in this episode. The title works on several levels: “Tell Me the Truth.”
One of the elements I think is good is Kate’s ongoing journal entries to her missing cousin. This episode starts with her wondering how he did what he did for so long as she foils an assassination attempt at a busy restaurant. The shooter gets away, in part thanks to the interference of the Crows. Sophie confronts Batwoman, telling her she needs to confess her secret to Commander Jacob Kane. The masked hero promises to continue the conversation later and uses the grapple line to get away, as Sophie lies to her husband Tyler about talking to the vigilante. Later at the crime scene, a blonde woman takes an interest in the shooter while Vesper Fairchild again praises the Batwoman, and the restaurant owner promises the hero a free meal any time. While Kate trains, Luke comes in and asks about the news going around that Jacob has filed for divorce from Catherine, his wife of many schemes. Kate doesn’t really want to talk about it, so Luke switches topics to a promising lead on the attempted sniping, which leads back to a familiar company. The two of them worry about Sophie telling Jacob the big secret.
Speaking of Sophie, she and Tyler are at work, wondering about the boss, who is rumored to be out of town. Tyler also finds indications Sophie isn’t being honest with him about things, and confronts her, but she sticks to her story. Another reason that I salute the writers is that, with the position he’s in, it would be easy to write Tyler as a very unsympathetic character. Instead, he is portrayed as skilled, loyal, and dedicated. Catherine and Mary share a limo ride that is full of tension, bad news, and Catherine continuing to be a general bitch. Batwoman’s next attempt to stop the shooter turns into a clash with another skilled fighter, who proves to be Julia Pennyworth, daughter of the famed Alfred. While we don’t learn where the devoted butler is, from context I think he’s at least still alive. Showing that she’s adopting some of her cousin’s attitudes, Batwoman asks why Julia is in her city.
The shooting victim that Batwoman has saved twice has his luck run out after all, when he runs afoul of Mouse, Alice’s brother/partner in crime. The strange siblings talk with the shooter and we learn a bit more about what’s going on, various demands, and hints of some kind of alliance between Alice and whoever the shooter’s boss is. Kate and Julia go back to Wayne Enterprises and talk about the shooter, who goes by the unimaginative name of “The Rifle.” There’s an entertaining bit about a dinosaur, hints at some past friction between the two, and the revelation that Julia and Luke know each other. There’s also some talk about the state of Kate’s love life.
After a flashback that makes Sophie’s decision back at the Point Rock Academy a tiny bit easier to understand, we see Sophie continuing to be evasive with Tyler after she gets a text from Kate. Kate asks Sophie to meet her, and it’s at the same restaurant where the earlier shooting was attempting. Kate’s intended topic of discussion gets thrown off track when the owner of the place proves to be anti-gay. Kate makes a stand, Sophie doesn’t want to, and it leads back to their earlier issues. A cryptic comment from Sophie gives us another flashback that throws some light on what happened at Point Rock, and shows another character being pragmatic and wise. To be clear, while I say these events help show some of what made Sophie do what she did, I’m still calling her a coward for the choices she made. Coming back to the present, Kate and Sophie argue about events back then and Sophie’s attitude to someone else in the present.
I guess all the bits about the past coming up finally got Sophie to do at least some of the right thing, and she tells Tyler about some important pieces of her past she has left out until now. It’s a tense scene that doesn’t make me think their relationship is doing all that well, for which I also blame Sophie. Kate gets back to Wayne Enterprises where Julia and Luke are sharing a meal and some stories. Kate has a plan to get Sophie to back off, but they get briefly interrupted by Mary popping by. I really feel sorry for Mary this episode; she’s doing her best to do things for the family and meeting seeming indifference.
Jacob and Catherine have a scene together that seems a bit at odds with most of the rest of the episode, but we later learn why. Sophie comes in, tells Jacob she needs a private meeting, and reveals a big secret. Alice and the Rifle meet up to conclude their business while Sophie leads a team trying to track down the nasty weapon that’s been such a big part of this episode. In flashback, we go through Sophie and Kate’s breakup, and then see Sophie take a stand for Kate with one of the instructors. In the now, Catherine keeps trying to get back into Jacob’s good graces.
While she’s trying to hunt the weapon down, Sophie has a peculiar encounter that is part of Kate’s plan, and an old trope in the costumed hero business. I’m not sure it should have worked in this instance, but I get what they were going for. Things go a bit sideways when the Rifle shows up, and there’s a sudden need for an unexpected rescue. In the aftermath of this, the Rifle confronts Alice over things not going smoothly, and we see that his boss is someone Alice really doesn’t care for. Julia is going to leave town in search of her prey, and makes an observation about Bruce as she leaves.
Kate and Sophie meet up at the location of Kate’s new business venture, which is partially her improving her cover story, and partially an act of understandable, but petty, revenge. Sophie and Kate have an emotional scene, and Sophie gives her a keepsake of the past. To wrap the episode, Sophie and Tyler get another scene together with some explanations, Kate’s new project also serves as some family bonding, and Kate does more musing in her journal about the Batman/Bruce Wayne dichotomy. Jacob calls in, and is going to be very confused when he gets back to Gotham, and Alice and Mouse have some disturbing plans for the future as we see the source of some of the strange scenes in this episode.
What I liked: The overall writing is impressing me on the series. I like the development of Mary especially. It was nice to see Julia and get at least a nod to Alfred. Now if we could just get some word on the Gordon family and Bruce’s partner(s?). I’m overall not liking Sophie a lot, but we got to see a lot more about why she did what she did, and she did take some steps to fix a few things in the present. The dodge to protect the secret is a hero cliché, but they made it work, mostly.
What I didn’t: Catherine. I just plain can’t stand her, and she’s falling further in my estimation every time she reveals more of herself. I don’t like how Sophie is doing a lot of things, although I grudgingly admit she got a bit better.
I’ll give this one a high 3.5 out of 5. It didn’t quite climb to a 4 for me, but had a lot of good elements. They’re having a great debut season, and this show is quickly rising in the ranks for me among my favorites.