The COVID-shortened seasons are coming to an end for the Arrowverse shows. Batwoman lost two episodes to the shutdown, making them compress the storyline and losing out on at least one cameo. Also, just after the season wrapped, there was the surprising announcement that Ruby Rose, Kate Kane/Batwoman, would not be returning for season two, a very rare case of the star of a show leaving, and rarer still that now, weeks later, there’s still no real explanation about what led to her decision. A lot of strange things are afoot as Batwoman’s first season ends with “O, Mouse!”
The episode opens with a very large, very angry man, wielding two machetes and the familiar red jumpsuit of an Arkham escapee, mounting an attack on a subway. Most people see the big guy with the big blades and run away, which I would have done as well, but his intended target is fortunately clueless, sitting still looking shocked for his bloody end. Commander Kane shows up too late to save the victim, but in plenty of time to get battered all over the place by Machete Man. Kane almost gets killed, saved by the last-minute arrival of Kate, who also gets her ass kicked. Maybe the clothes do make the woman? Mr. Slicey gets away as the Kanes check on each other.
Once again, Vesper Fairchild provides some voiceover/plot points as we learn the man is Tim Teslow, former pro-football player. As Vesper snarks about Commander Kane, Alice and Mouse hide out in the sewers. She’s still obsessed with evening the score with Batwoman, while Mouse is a lot more interested in getting the hell out of Gotham as soon as possible. Their ensuing argument is interrupted by Hush showing up, also in a fighting mood, complaining about Alice not keeping her end of their deal. Alice agrees to do more, and leaves, with Mouse and Hush glaring at each other as she goes. At Wayne Enterprises, Luke produces the “only shard of Kryptonite on Earth,” (have they not been watching Supergirl? Or remember when the entire damn sky was seeded with Krpytonite?) and vows to destroy it, as it’s apparently the only thing that can penetrate the Bat-suit. Mary enters as Luke leaves, and, after some more great smart-ass remarks, brings Kate up to speed on who Tim Teslow is, Kate pleading ignorance because she doesn’t watch football. Mary then moves on to worrying about Commander Kane hunting for Batwoman, which Kate doesn’t seem to be taking seriously enough. Mary tries to inject some reality into Kate’s thinking, but the woman doesn’t seem inclined to listen.
Out and about, Alice goes to see a geology professor, pressing for details about Kryptonite. The interview doesn’t go as she hoped it would, and she handles her disappointment in her usual subtle way. Mary paces while Luke tries to destroy the Kryptonite, and makes a flip comment that will be important later. Both are worried about Kate. Batwoman shows up at Gotham stadium, where she finds Apollo, brother of Tim “Titan” Teslow. Batwoman tries to warn the man about what’s going on, and Apollo defends his brother, giving some important background on both what he used to be like and what happened. Well, as the song goes, “Used to be’s don’t count anymore,” and Titan shows up, beats the hell out of Batwoman, gets his next bit of vengeance, and gets away again. Later, the news covers the attack, with Kane taking the opportunity to snarl about Batwoman, surprising the reporter. Once again, the Crows seem to be doing the GCPD’s job, and the police themselves are nowhere to be seen. I’d really like the details of this deal spelled out sometime. The reporter compares this to the early days of Batman’s issues with corrupt Police Commissioner Loeb, which is a great reference. Watching the news and worrying, Mary patches up Kate, and Luke passes on that Julia has advised Batwoman sits this one out. Kate, of course, doesn’t listen. Luke hacks into Titan’s medical records, and Mary provides some useful insight about his condition. He sounds a lot like a version of a minor Batman foe, Amygdala.
Alice works on something she owes Hush, while Mouse keeps pressing for them to leave. I’ve never seen the pair so at odds before, and Mouse isn’t backing down. Things are getting tense for the criminal pair with the Alice fixation. In the cave, Luke finds more records and Mary manages to get the HIPPA laws wrong, but then, as she herself says, she’s not a doctor yet. By the way, everything I’ve heard, seen, or read about medical school makes it sounds like a remarkably stressful time. How Mary is finding time to be a social media darling and help the Bat-team I’m really not sure. The three of them work out an idea about what to do next for the Titan problem, and then Mary makes a suggestion about Commander Kane. Considering the man essentially declared war on Batwoman earlier, this doesn’t go over well, but Mary persists, and manages to get up to a roof… somewhere… and light the Bat-signal. Since that’s one of the things Kane specifically mentioned in his rant, Crows flood the area to arrest her, and Kane is surprised and angered to find Mary there. Mary pleads with him and makes a great speech. Finally, there’s an uneasy truce between Kane and Batwoman, who drops in dramatically.
While the news provides coverage of a fairly obvious trap, Alice and Mouse do one of the exercises they learned from group therapy at Arkham. What happens next is a major twist I did not remotely see coming. Next season is going to be very different indeed. Sophie and Julia wander in to the Crow’s Nest, and notice almost everyone’s gone. What they find out doesn’t sound good, and they take off to try and prevent a tragedy, Julia sending a desperate warning text on the way. Batwoman and Commander Kane argue over coms as they wait for Titan to show up. He does, chaos ensues, and there’s a fairly obvious betrayal waiting in the wings. In my opinion, at this point, Kane has gone from an antagonist to a flat-out villain on several fronts. Batwoman manages to get away, and Julia and Sophie ask Kane what he’s doing. The man rabidly snaps at them, and I’d be seriously wondering about his fitness for duty at this point. Later, Julia shares some of her current worries with Sophie, as we learn about yet another shadowy, menacing presence. Well, it is Gotham after all.
Once again back at the cave, Mary provides some doctoring for the very battered Kate. The two are surprised, disappointed, and heart-sick about earlier developments. Their commiserating gets interrupted when Luke shows up, very proud of what he’s accomplished, which Mary immediately takes partial credit for. Kate bursts Luke’s bubble by showing something that ties back to Crisis, and dances around the cameo we didn’t get to see. Kate takes an interesting stand on what to do next, and kind of makes Luke feel like he wasted his time by exceeding her expectations. The show, and season, wraps with two small scenes. In the first, Kane gets some evidence from the earlier fight, and makes an ominous pronouncement. In the second, Alice shows off her handiwork, and someone gets a very different, but recognizable, new look.
There are a lot of unanswered questions about season two of the show, and we’re going to have a while to think about them. As I write this, Batwoman and the other CW/DC shows are set to return in January. We will just have to wait and see if that’s possible.
What I liked: They got hit with a shortened season, and then a big surprise from their star, and I think they did the absolute best with what they could from those two surprises. The episode actually worked as a season finale, a bit better than the Flash one in my opinion. Mary is my favorite character on the show, and I’m glad she’s finally part of the team.
What I didn’t: I wish they’d give Luke more credit/stop undercutting his achievements. I’m really puzzled by Ruby Rose’s decision to leave and the utter lack of details about why. I have grave doubts about what they announced for next season. I think the Batwoman impostor that was at Mary’s clinic a few episodes ago might have been a good choice. She gave off a very Stephanie Brown vibe. Then again, we never got her name. Maybe she’s coming back. I don’t understand what’s happening with Commander Kane.
There’s a lot of uncertainty for the future of this version of Gotham. It will be interesting to see what they manage to do. I’ll give this episode a 3.5 out of 5, and the season overall a 4. It had some issues, but did some great things.