Batwoman: Survived Much Worse

Sophie once again does battle with her boss’ obsessions regarding masked women.

The second season of Batwoman has had a lot of surprising twists and turns. We’ve hit the point where all roads lead to Coryana, and now most of our characters end up there. There are showdowns and surprises, and several disappointments, leading several characters to reflect they have “Survived Much Worse.”

In the first season, one motif they gradually (and wrongly, IMHO) abandoned was Kate doing journal entries to Bruce, explaining her actions as Batwoman, or maybe describing her cases. Ryan picked up the pen when she donned the cowl. In an interesting twist, this episode began with dueling journals as Ryan and Alice both wrote down their thoughts about their search for Kate. Journaling done, Ryan prepares to inject herself with a questionable chemical cocktail, which is when Mary comes in with some good lines and valid points. Stopped for the moment, Ryan asks where Luke is, and Mary sort of babbles a non-answer. What we see is that Luke has gone to Sophie to give her some information about Kate, leading to Sophie making some deductions about Luke. The two of them discuss what to do, and get some information about both Alice and Ocean.

Back in the cave, we see Luke had more than one motive in giving things to Sophie. Ryan, given her history, still isn’t happy about doing anything with the Crows, but Luke’s plan seems to be working. Luke had managed to set a plan in motion that would have saved them a lot of trouble, but then the unexpected happens and Ryan is back to her earlier idea. The results are impressive, and Mary gives Ryan some cautions about her condition. Then, the specter of the future raises its ugly head as Ryan wonders what happens to her if they manage to return Kate to Gotham. Ryan, worried about her survival odds, makes Mary agree to take care of her plant. Luke informs them that he’s gotten Ryan a ride, but it’s not exactly first class.

While Luke educates Ryan about HALO drops and we get a bit more of Ryan’s history, Alice brings her dead Ocean to Safiyah. The Queen of Coryana goes on about what’s expected of her as a ruler, and then shares some news with Alice, who looks annoyed on hearing it. Kane and Sophie awaken in new circumstances and get one of those snarky answers to a question that makes you think someone was lurking just out of camera shot waiting for their chance to say it. Luke gives Ryan a pep talk before she does something she’d never done before. While Ryan gets set for her dramatic entrance, Tatiana taunts Sophie and Kane about the Crows, and makes some valid points. The argument goes up a level as Sophie pulls a decent trick.

Batwoman makes an improbable landing and then goes right into a major fight that she’s not really either ready or in shape for at this point. Safiyah talks to Alice about vengeance and desire. This gets interrupted by the guards bringing in Batwoman. Alice looks annoyed, and then is even less happy when Batwoman reveals part of someone else’s plan. While Alice’s circumstances change, Kane and Sophie seek to escape and disagree about Batwoman and the Crows in general. Kane really needs to get over his anti-masked hero stance if he’s going to keep working in Gotham. The city really attracts those. The two catch wind of something new and go looking for Kate and a whiff of something else.

Stuck in the same place and with nothing better to do, Alice and Batwoman argue about Alice’s motivations in her quest for Kate. They cover a lot of ground in their discussion before Safiyah shows up and offers Batwoman a hard choice. The hero gives a surprising answer, rattling Alice. The villain gets more surprises when Safiyah’s thugs bring someone in, and Alice gets presented with her own tough choice. Back home in Gotham, Mary laments her lack of a green thumb as she and Luke argue about the future. They get paid a visit by a very unwelcome visitor and manage to eke out a very unlikely win, although this leads to a weird argument. Those two members of Team Bat seem to be getting used for comic relief more and more often.

There’s a lot of discussion about the weird note Alice got some time ago, as Safiyah accuses someone of framing her for Kate’s crash. That argument doesn’t really work, as the suspect in questions raises some very good counter-arguments. Then it’s Alice’s turn for a tough choice, and she, too, makes a surprising decision based on her newer motivations she’s finally admitting to. Luke and Mary’s argument gets interrupted by the very timely arrival of a welcome guest who has been gone a while, a last minute save, and a hint at something that’s about to happen.

Our titular hero is looking worse and worse, and doesn’t improve when Tatiana shows up again and offers more taunts. What she says doesn’t really make a lot of sense given what we learn later, so she’s either ignorant of something important or even more of a sadistic liar than I thought. While Mary and Like get some unwelcome news, Tatiana goes on to contradict herself from just a few moments ago as she talks to Batwoman. Alice gets her own ugly surprise as Safiyah reveals one of the games she’s been playing.

While a shaken Alice gets escorted someplace new, Sophie and Kane find something that might get them out of there, although Kane’s comment isn’t exactly confidence inspiring. The increasingly smug and annoying Tatiana finally gets some of what’s coming to her when Safiyah shows she’s smarter than her henchwoman thought. There are few more surprising reveals in an episode that’s packed with them, and there are more to come. Tatiana is taken out of play in a unique way. Safiyah isn’t someone you want to get on the bad side of, but then, she made that mistake with someone else earlier. All this sets up for a series of twists that work us toward the end of the show.

Safiyah made a very large mistake in underestimating Alice, and the mad villain makes her escape and gets a spectacular revenge. Safiyah, for once, is at a loss and looking shocked by the development. Sophie doesn’t find Kate, does find Batwoman, and learns the shocking news as they see Batwoman’s best chance go up in smoke. Luke and Mary get the clincher in their bad news and are shocked and dismayed. Batwoman seems ready to just lay down and die, and has company to do it with, but then there’s a last minute call with some surprising news. I’m not sure how I feel about this development. On the one hand, it sort of works with what we’ve learned this season, but on the other, it really seems like plot device convenience. Sophie and Batwoman reconcile a tiny bit, and then, in the last scene, a lot of what we’ve been told throughout the episode gets turned on its head.

What I liked: This episode was a string of reveals and surprises, and just about all of them worked. Ryan’s interactions with Luke were entertaining. I won’t claim Alice is a favorite character, but she’s definitely not someone I’d want mad at me, as Safiyah learns. There were some fun jokes that harken all the way back to the Adam West 60’s Batman. Sophie finally seems to be facing the truth about a lot of what the Crows do.

What I didn’t: The final twist just seems remarkably unlikely. Alice’s revenge was surprising, but seemed too easy. Safiyah really should guard her most prized possession better, although they leave it open for her to fix that. Mary and Luke are becoming less valued team members and more punchlines, which I really don’t care for.

Despite a few flaws, there are some really fascinating developments in this episode. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5. The second season has been great, and, along with Superman and Lois, gives me hope for the future of the Arrowverse.

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