Batwoman: Kane, Kate

Ok, wait: who’s Batwoman now?

Some superhero shows get kind of formulaic as they go. Batwoman, especially in the second season, has been a series of surprises, plot twists, shifting alliances, and generally shaking up the status quo. With Kate Kane back, things get even stranger as everyone tries to adjust to the changes. Things are definitely getting weird for our crew of Gothamites as they delve the mystery of “Kane, Kate.”

Batwoman kicks things off with her search for Black Mask and Cerci/Kate, dealing with some “security guards” and coming up with a creative way to interrogate them. Later, in the cave, she and Luke talk about what she learned, or failed to. But, as luck would have it, at least one of the people they’re looking for turns up in a familiar spot. Mary gets Kate/Cerci settled in, and then Mary, Ryan, Sophie, and Luke talk about what to do next. Ryan is suspicious, but everyone else is just thrilled to have Kate back, even if she looks a bit different now.

In an effort to help Kate with her memory issues, Mary goes to see one of her least favorite people: Alice. Alice is mourning the loss of Ocean, who Safiyah had killed to prove a point. Mary and Alice have a very tense, emotional scene, and Mary ends up leaving without getting the help she had hoped for. Down in the cave, Luke and Ryan talk about Kate. Ryan continues to have concerns, while Luke is determined to press on with his own idea about how to help Kate’s memory loss. While Ryan stares at the Bat-suit, Luke delivers some presents of a sort to Kate/Cerci and they have a talk about their friendship. Luke gives her a second present, which leads to Kate going for a ride and then having a surprising meeting with a big reveal about what’s actually happening with her memory.

In the loft over The Hold Up, Ryan’s packing gets interrupted when Sophie comes by, clearly with an agenda, and just as clearly not there to see Ryan. Ryan marvels at some of the complications from Kate’s secret identity. Sophie both makes a generous offer and a suggestion about what Ryan might want to consider. Ryan, however, seems to be in full flight mode, and is in a rush to be gone. Before Ryan gets out, Sophie shares some more troubling news. This leads to the next scene, as Roman Sionis is recruiting for his gang, and getting some familiar faces. When someone expresses some reservations, Roman makes an interesting pitch.

Following up on Sophie’s information, Ryan uses some ninja skills on an office worker. While it wasn’t a huge challenge, it did show that Ryan has picked up some good tricks along the way, and her abilities are more than just being a woman in a suit. Ryan tries to share her new acquisition with the team, but finds everyone is up in the office talking to Kate.  Deflated, Ryan leaves and moves back into her van where she started the season. While she has learned a lot, there is a reason she worked with specialists, and she ends up getting caught in a position that looks bad enough before corrupt GCPD officers make things even worse. While Ryan’s life takes a big turn for the worse, Alice tries to attend to a sad errand (she got something done really, really quick) but gets interrupted by an unwelcome visitor.

Ryan’s situation is bad, but things can always get worse, and they do. Locked in the back of a police cruiser, Ryan gets a visit from Sionis. The two have a verbal duel, with Sionis smug and Ryan defiant. The villain finally leaves after issuing a threat. Luke and Mary find out what happened to Ryan, but can’t reach Sophie. Sophie is off with Kate, telling her about more of her past, both trying to jog Kate’s memory and, realistically, being a bit selfish. Their get-together gets interrupted when Luke’s message gets through, and the group reassembles in the cave. This is when most of them get a big shock as some things are turned against them in a big betrayal.

As if Ryan wasn’t having a bad enough night, she gets a lecture from her parole officer. Ryan, beyond desperate, lays all her cards on the table, which the parole officer understandably enough doesn’t really buy. Events kick into high gear and Ryan ends up being able to show enough to make her PO at least start to wonder about Ryan’s story. Finally, her new ally is convinced, and gives Ryan some help to get away. I’m really hoping this doesn’t get glossed over later, because now Ryan is a fugitive from the police with some really serious charges against her. It was really funny watching the parole officer’s face change as events unfolded. Down at the river, Alice and her visitor talk, and it’s interesting watching someone try and manipulate Alice. Really, that just isn’t a good idea, especially right now.

Luke, Mary, and Sophie all wake up in a bad situation. They debate what this means and if there’s any hope left. Mary clings to her optimism, while Luke isn’t feeling quite so sunny. Off on her own, Kate uses her unrestricted access to wander the cave, going places we haven’t seen before, and seeing a lot of Easter Eggs for various Bat-foes and even the most direct nod to the Batman himself we’ve seen on screen so far. Ryan finds her way back, pissed off at the lack of help for her earlier situation, but her attitude changes when she finds the rest of the team. The seriousness of the situation gets driven home when a bad guy shows up, hunting Ryan with the signature weapon of a different member of the Bat-family who has so far never been referenced in the Arrowverse. Ryan seems completely outmatched, and her foe taunts her.

Alice learns a lot of things as she mulls over the offer that’s been made to her. She hears the extent and depth of the plot that’s in motion, and gets some crushing news delivered in a cold, off-hand way. As the madwoman deals with the ramifications of this, the fight rages on in the cave, with Ryan trying to not get killed and the others trying to find a way to help. This fight was badly done in my opinion, and the series of decisions at the end of it were just stupid, both from a character and writing point of view.

The interlude at the river ends the only way it was likely to with Alice involved and so much tension and bad news. The team surveys the damage in the cave and realizes how much important stuff is missing. Black Mask furthers his master plan, and has recruited someone we know and already really don’t like. The final scene shows some alterations being made by someone with a truly insane look on their face.

What I Liked: It was great getting to see more the cave, and all the items from the various villains. I like Alice’s scenes and her way of dealing with her visitor. Watching the shift in the parole officer was great. They could do a lot with the story of Ryan as a fugitive now.

What I didn’t: I don’t really understand why the weapon that got used in the big fight scene was even in the Batcave to start off with. The decisions made during that final fight, especially at the end, were foolish at best. One of the faces they brought back this episode I’d have been just as happy to not see again.

It was a decent episode until the end of that fight. I’m giving it a low 3 out of 5, and hoping the last episodes of the season is better.