The second season of Batwoman has gone in many unexpected directions. The new Batwoman has worked out wonderfully well, Alice got an unanticipated story arc, and there’s been assorted drama within Team Batwoman and the Kane family. This time around, there’s a bit of a change, as a character who is usually one of my favorites gets kind of obnoxious, and one I don’t care for that much gets some great scenes. As the story of Coryana develops, there’s not-subtle warning that, “It’s Best You Stop Digging.”
In the Batcave, Mary is doing her best to treat Ryan, but let’s face it, Kryptonite poisoning isn’t covered in medical school. Is Mary still going to school? It seems like forever since we’ve heard anything about her attending classes. At any rate, Ryan’s condition is getting worse, and neither Luke nor Mary know what to do next, aside from hoping for the miracle cure from the island that no one can find. Elsewhere in the city, Alice has a meeting with Tatiana, Safiyah’s enforcer/assassin, and it doesn’t go the way it was originally set up to. Alice does get in a snarky line before it’s done. Commander Kane and Sophie discuss Catherine Hamilton’s secrets, Hellzinger, and what to do next.
One of the few things I didn’t like about this episode is how they handled the ongoing dialogue between Titania and Alice. The story that unfolded was interesting and ending up shedding some interesting new light on Alice, but there were a lot of cuts between “then” and “now,” that I really don’t think were necessary. We learn about how Alice came to Coryana, and see some of her early interactions with Safiyah, as well as getting commentary from Tatiana, who clearly doesn’t like Alice at all. We also see a lot about Alice’s early days on the island and her training with Ocean. I had sort of wondered how she got to be so good at fighting and this explains at least some of it.
Mary and Luke consult about Ryan’s worsening condition. When they argue about running errands, Ryan seizes on the distraction and flees in the Batmobile, because apparently Luke doesn’t have a remote kill switch? As much as he seems to have issues with Ryan in the role, I’m kind of surprised that’s the case. Alice and Tatiana talk a bit more before triggering another flashback. We see a lot more of Alice’s training, and her issues with hand to hand in a world of guns. Ocean has some comebacks of his own, and makes some great points about her issues with her family.
Batwoman is doing the great combination of speeding through the Gotham streets in the Batmobile and having vivid hallucinations. She gets to chat with her long-dead mother, which is great, until it’s not. That turns ugly after they argue about Angelique, and then Ryan snaps out of it. Luke and Mary try and figure out what she’s doing, and Mary realizes where Ryan is heading. This leads to a very odd scene of Batwoman on Angelique’s balcony. Angelique, while initially surprised, quickly adapts to the masked hero’s presence. After some back and forth, Angelique tells Batwoman what she wants to know, and then ends the interview in a very unexpected manner. Wearing the flimsiest of disguises, Luke and Mary show up to help their hero. Mary takes a very foolish stand and argues as they’re being buzzed by a GCPD helicopter (I guess they do still do a few things without the Crows). Finally, they take off to try and help Ryan. We get to see a very cool toy of Luke’s as they leave.
Ryan goes through another vicious hallucination where she gets visited by the woman she blames for most of the pain in her life. Luke and Mary bicker a bit more about what they should do, while they take the precautions they can. Mary finally prevails on Luke to do what she wants, by actually making a good point. Alice and Titania argue some more about the past, and then we get more flashbacks of Alice’s time with Safiyah. The Queen of Coryana gives her a very interesting version of the history of the Desert Rose. Even by comic book standards, it’s an unusual story. This ends with another quick scene between Alice and Tatiana.
As Kane and Sophie lead a Crows’ raid in search of the elusive Doctor Rogers and the missing map, Kane finds out that Sophie, too, knew Mary’s secret. Sophie gives some good advice that Kane, of course, ignores, and they find a few surprising things as they search the building. Ryan comes around again, and pleads her case with Mary. Ryan makes some compelling arguments, and Mary is clearly having doubts as she sends a desperate text to Sophie. The Crows keep searching, not quite finding what they were looking for but getting a taunting note from Coryana. Kane is infuriated, convinced he’s going to lose Kate the way he did Beth.
In flashback land (oh, no, another Arrowverse show with flashbacks to an island!), Alice and Ocean meet and she talks about her time in captivity. He gives her some advice about her family and her issues with them, and then we learn who was behind the attempted theft of the Desert Rose and the escape from Coryana. Their talk leads to other things, and they are observed by teacher’s pet Titania, who naturally tells on them. In the present, Titania tries to set up for a big shocking reveal which falls flat. Alice rattles off some of the facts of her life in a blasé way that leaves Titania being the one taken aback. Mary gets some bad news from Sophie, and returns to the cave to see Ryan doing some research. They argue about Ryan resting, and then Ryan fights dirty. Mary makes a very questionable decision (one of several this episode), and Ryan takes off to go hunting.
Alice, now apparently bored, makes preparations to send Titania on her way. The assassin isn’t happy her big shock didn’t have the kick she wanted, and digs in to share some nasty news from the past. In more flashbacks, we see Safiyah’s rage at what Ocean and Alice were planning, and she lays out her elaborate revenge. What we learn provides some really interesting insight into Alice as we know her. While Batwoman homes in on her prey, Alice tells Ocean about what she’s learned. Alice, for once, is on the receiving end of someone being emotionally cold, and it was startling to see it on her face, however briefly. While Luke argues with Mary about her recent choices, Batwoman goes for her big confrontation with Alice. Alice isn’t in the mood and gets out some snarky lines before they fight. One bit that I thought was nice touch; you can see Alice use some of the moves she trained in with Ocean during this fight.
There’s a lot of back and forth, and Batwoman almost goes too far before getting a visit from hallucination mom, who talks her down. Ryan makes another… interesting… choice and Alice exits on a line that means a lot more to us than to Ryan, considering what we’ve just learned. Kane mopes and drinks at his desk as he ignores more good advice from Sophie. Alice gets picked up for a special trip and has dressed for the occasion. Ryan wakes up back in the cave, and shares what she’s done with Luke. Not only was this a weird decision, but it seems to me Ryan’s clever plan isn’t going to work. It’ll be interesting to see where they go next episode.
What I liked: Alice is getting some great scenes and lines this season. Her past on Coryana is a bit more complicated than it first seemed, and the reveal is being handled well. Ocean is an interesting and believable character. Tatiana’s look when Alice talked about her family background was great. The origin of the Desert Rose was a story that reminded me a lot of the story of the Cherokee Rose. The name of one of Safiyah’s henchman has some interesting connotations.
What I didn’t: Most of the good guys made bad choices. Mary, usually one of my favorite characters, did some weird stuff that she should know better than. Ryan also makes some bad calls, but at least she’s got the poisoning excuse. Luke got almost no screen time and was largely used for comic relief. Kane is getting more and more annoying as time passes. Sophie has been inconsistently written this season. She’s been stereotype uncaring cop, someone trying to save Kate, and was more or less good cop this episode. They need to pick a lane.
It was a decent episode, but not as good as the rest of the season has been so far. I’ll give this one a 3 out of 5.