Things have been getting more and more complicated, especially last episode, where it was hard to keep track of who was lying to who. Batwoman was betrayed a few times over, losing the journal of Lucius Fox which has become a serious McGuffin. Now, tensions rise among the good guys, the bad, and whatever you want to call the Crows (again, really, who names themselves that?). Gotham is a seriously divided city for our cast in “A Secret Kept From All The Rest.”
We start off in the Gotham Library, which felt sort of like a tease to me. One of the best known Bat-family members is strongly tied to the library, and hasn’t been seen or mentioned so far in this series. Sadly, there’s still no Barbara Gordon as Hush shows up to check out something very specialized. Following up on at least some of last episode’s betrayals, Kate bikes through the city and kicks in a hotel room door, scaring the hell out of Reagan the deceptive bartender. Kate isn’t in any mood for excuses, and gets at least some of the story out of Reagan. As it turns out, another hidden agenda is revealed by one of Reagan’s off-handed comments. I really liked Reagan and Kate together, but that seems less and less likely to happen.
In Arkham, “Dr. Butler” chats away with various staff before getting to his offices, where Alice and Hush await with a specially-abducted prisoner. All we really learn from this is Lucius Fox comes up with some amazing codes, and Alice is getting really short tempered. Alice and Mouse disagree on what to do next, their status in Arkham, and Hush makes unhelpful comments. On the track of her latest unwanted clue, Kate goes to talk to Julia, who is clearly not sharing all she knows. This scene gets broken up by different awkwardness as Sophie shows up and Kate starts to realize what’s going on between her two exes. Julia and Sophie have to get to a briefing, in which Crow client Kim of the NSA (why a government agent needs a bodyguard isn’t really explained) is revealed to have been kidnapped, and the discarded body of Alice’s earlier “guest” is discovered in the same area.
After some more snarky voiceover from Vesper Fairchild, Kate returns to her office headquarters. She’s had a rough few days, but apparently decides to make things worse as she picks a fight with Luke and drives Mary to drink, although Mary was most of the way there on her own. Between them, Mary and Kate begin to puzzle out some of what’s going on with the kidnappings, and how dire this could be for Batwoman. Back in their Arkham hideaway, we get a very similar scene to the last one we had there, with things getting worse between Mouse and Hush, while Alice spins more plots and selects a new victim. This brings us back to someone we haven’t seen for a while: Parker Torres, the genius kid who was blackmailing the elite of Gotham until Batwoman stepped in. Parker might not be actively committing crimes anymore, but her attitude hasn’t gotten any better, and she’s very entertaining as Hush tries to kidnap her, only to be foiled after a chase through the Gotham streets as Batwoman saves her former foe. There’s also a great scene with Kate and Mary finding out that detective work only takes you so far, and some special skills can’t really be replaced.
Hush reports his failure to Alice, who goes on another of her weird rants before finally getting the others to agree to what she wanted to do from the start: going after Luke Fox. Luke himself goes to Julia after learning a few things that don’t make him happy, and I do sort of wonder how he got the clearance to be where they met up. Kate brings Parker to the Batcave, which seems like bad operational security, and really bugs Mary, since she fought for so long to get Kate’s trust, and is finding out how many people knew her secret ahead of her. Julia and Luke continue their verbal fencing, neither of them getting what they want.
After a brief check-in at Jacob’s office to show he’s back on his obsessive anti-Batwoman message (why, we still don’t really know), Julia and Luke’s argument gets brought to an end by the unexpected and heavily-armed arrival of Hush. In no time, the pair are in the same place our last few abduction victims have ended up, and a good time was had by none. Kate figures out that something is amiss with Luke just as Sophie comes by. Mary gets in some great snarky lines, and Kate actually puts some minimal effort into keeping her secret identity actually secret. This turns into a great scene as Kate and Sophie have some emotional awkwardness, and Mary and Parker provide some entertaining commentary as they watch over the security cameras. Sophie drops a big clue as she’s on her way out that gives Kate a place to start her search.
Alice continues pushing her “guests,” trying to get Luke to tell her something he doesn’t actually know. The prisoners finally get some alone time, and Julia does her best to talk Luke up, but he’s not really in the mood to listen. Mouse and Alice debate some personnel issues, she makes some valid points, and then we see how much Mouse has truly gone native. Parker and Mary are clearly not destined to be best friends, as Parker makes fun of the equipment in the cave and Mary wonders, again, why this “rando teen” knows Kate’s secret. Luke shows what a genius he actually is when he starts to crack the code in his father’s journals. Parker is worried about some of what she’s being asked to do, and has to proceed carefully. Mary wanders off and accidentally makes an important discovery. Luke’s own breakthrough makes him realize the stakes involved, and he decides to protect both a friend and a family legacy, even at the cost of his own life.
Kate puts all the pieces together and realizes where her missing people are, and rushes out to save them, impressing Parker with her exit. Batwoman breaks into Arkham, in fine Bat-tradition, and deploys a new gadget to narrow her search, after clashing with some of the guards. Julia and Luke continue their defiance in the face of Alice’s threats, and then Batwoman finds her way to the office and begins bargaining. After a lot of back and forth between hero, villain, and hostages, everyone gets roughly what they want. While Batwoman helps her friends escape, Mouse and Alice have probably the most serious disagreement we’ve seen from the two of them. Arkham descends into chaos as Alice does some very unlikely stuff to cover her retreat. Batwoman battles on, saving some guards and avoiding the flock of Crows descending on the ill-omened Asylum. Jacob fumes outside that he wants the Bat.
Kate makes her way back to the office, and has a much more friendly than usual reunion with Luke. He almost gets a moment to enjoy the feeling before being utterly baffled by Parker’s presence. Parker offers Kate some advice on the way out that I’m sure many fans agree with. Sophie goes to see Julia, who has been tended to after her ordeal. Julia rattles off her impressive list of injuries, and she and Sophie get very unprofessional for the workplace. Which is about when Kate arrives, just to make things as uncomfortable as possible for everyone. After a few moments, Sophie happily flees, and Julia and Kate have a “discussion” about Julia’s secrets. Later, Jacob summons Batwoman for the opposite of the friendly meetings Jim Gordon and the Batman used to have. He’s a stubborn, obsessive cuss, Jacob Kane. The episode wraps with Mouse and Alice in the tunnels below the city. Mouse is sad about what they lost, and Alice a bit uncharacteristically doesn’t care. She announces the next step in her plan, requiring a familiar element that’s usually associated with a different hero.
What I liked: I keep saying it, but Mary Hamilton remains my runaway favorite of late. She gets great lines, comes up with good ideas, and seems to be the only one not lying to/arguing with everyone. Luke’s dedication to his father’s ideals was nice to see, and very believable. There were several classic Bat-characters namedropped in this episode that make me wonder if we’ll eventually get to see any of them. Parker’s return was amusing and nicely done. It was nice to see Kate acknowledge that she needs Luke. Finally.
What I didn’t: I’m not clear, still, on why Jacob Kane is so against Batwoman. I’d really like to know about the fate of some of the other characters that have either been hinted at or glaringly obviously ignored. Julia’s capture by Hush seemed too easy for someone with her skill set. There are way too many lies floating around among the characters. I was hoping for a better end to the Kate/Reagan story.
It was another good episode in an enjoyable series. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5 as we rush toward the end of the season, shortened by two episodes due the ripple effect from the corona virus.