[Review] Batwoman Episode 2×02: “Prior Criminal History”

written by Kate Danvers

This week, Alice graduates to the big leagues by coming up with a scheme worthy of a Batman villain.

No, not boner crimes.


Still in the sewer with her boyfriend/adopted brother’s corpse, Alice devises a new plan which involves duct-taping a rat to Mouse’s corpse. Trust me, this will– Okay, I was going to say this will make sense later but…it will pay off later. Sure, we’ll go with that. Bats start swarming, eating the rat and feasting on Mouse’s corpse.

Yes, I know, but I said “later” – not “immediately.”

We get a flashback to two months ago when Ryan got mugged by some guys. When they’re about to shoot her because she has no money, Batwoman saves her (though Ryan throws a stray Batarang at one trying to take a shot at Batwoman). In the present, Ryan is interviewing for a job, but gets rejected because of her criminal history. We find out she pled guilty to a crime she didn’t commit in order to avoid a harsher jail sentence.

Jacob watches a news report showing him opening fire on Batwoman. He looks noticeably shocked at his own actions because, you know, he fucking should be. But then he ruins any chance of me feeling sorry for him when he brings Mary and Luke in for interrogation. He handles Mary’s interrogation, while Sophie questions Luke. The Bat Team denies knowing anything, and I don’t fucking blame them. Luke even gets in a little jab about how the only enemies of Batwoman he can think of are the Crows. Then he makes it personal, adding that it’s too bad Kate didn’t have someone who loved her watching her back.

Damn, Luke. She didn’t even give Alice that death stare.

Walking away angry, Sophie storms right past Julia in the hall. When Julia tries to talk, Sophie makes it clear that Julia’s also on her shitlist for not telling her about Kate. Julia says it wasn’t her secret to tell. Sophie counters with “No, just your secret to keep.” Yes. That’s how friends keeping secrets for you works. Kinda like when Kate didn’t out you. Also, did they already interrogate Julia or are they just not doing that? Does Jacob even know that Julia knew?

Ryan goes to a convenience store to buy ibuprofen for that gunshot wound she’s still recovering from. The store is robbed by armed men, so Ryan starts a fight and chases them off. When she goes to check on the clerk who got pistol-whipped by one of the goons, Ryan is caught and arrested by a Crows officer.

Sophie conducts her second interrogation of the day, showing no sympathy for Ryan’s prior false conviction. Ryan’s prints are on the gun since she took it away from one of the robbers, and she was caught over the bleeding clerk, and Crows are just cops, so it doesn’t look good for Ryan. The security footage exonerates her and she gets a halfhearted apology from Sophie, then some unsolicited advice about looking for a “new place” if she’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ryan notes that she’s been brought in for more stuff that she didn’t do than Alice has been brought in for multiple murders. She says she knows the real reason why Jacob won’t pull the trigger on Alice…and Sophie very quickly says Jacob has no more sympathy for Alice. Ryan is confused and says she was talking about Alice being white. Oh gosh, look at the time, Sophie has to go. Thanks for your cooperation, Miss Wilder.

Not ten minutes into this episode and the Crows have been humiliated twice.

Ryan goes to Mary’s clinic to ask about Alice, who she now knows is Beth Kane, because the Crows suck. She thinks Mary is covering for her stepsister until Mary tells her that Alice killed her mom, too. Ryan want revenge for both of their moms, but they’re interrupted by someone wheeling in Mouse’s body.

Across town, Julia gets into her SUV, misses Alice in the backseat, and gets a knife held to her throat because Julia is a Crow now. Alice wants help killing Safiyah. Also she’s planning something big with lots of casualties – but not a boner crime. Julia refuses to help and gets a knife in the ribs for her trouble.

Luke arrives at the clinic while Mary is examining Mouse’s body. Luke’s curious about the bite marks, but Mary tells him Mouse died from the same toxin that killed her mom. Mouse’s body convulses and a bat suddenly flies out, making Ryan scream. She’s afraid of bats. Well then, it’s time she made her enemies share her dread.

And she’s about to do just that, because Luke gets the warning about Alice’s big plan from Julia. Ryan knows where she might strike and points to a rally for Batwoman, whom the public thinks has been missing since the Crows tried to kill her at the stadium. To clear the crowd, they need to give them Batwoman, and since Julia is still bleeding, Ryan volunteers.

LUKE: “I think people will know you’re not Batwoman.”
RYAN: “I did really great my first time in the suit.”
LUKE: “Hello! Black!”

Okay, I laughed, but that sort of stings a little considering that’s why the show whitewashed Julia. Ryan says their options are limited, so Luke relents. Ryan arrives on the scene on a high rooftop just as the Crows are about to arrest people for exercising their right to assemble. Yep, this was filmed in 2020, all right. The crowd cheers when they see Batwoman, but they don’t listen when she tells them to disperse. Jacob uses binoculars to see that’s not his daughter and tells the Crows to arrest the impostor, but Alice is also on the roof.

Alice, meet the new Batwoman. Sorry, your nepotism benefits have ended.

Luke tells Ryan not to engage, but she wants to kill Alice for what happened to her mom. As the new hero and the villain fight, Mary kind of lets loose on Luke, telling him she’s tired of people acting like she should be okay with Alice killing her mom, and that if Kate had taken out Alice months ago, maybe her mom would still be here. Ouch.

Alice pulls out a remote and activates a sonar device to draw the bats to the area. Do you know what’s going on? Do you know what her plan is? Do you? Do you? Well, then. The bats feasted on Mouse’s corpse after Mouse died of the toxin Alice got from Safiyah, so now they’re carrying the toxin and they’re going to spread it to the crowd.

Did I mention that in an old issue of Batman, the Joker and others characters said the word “boner” a whole lot?

Alice escapes in the chaos, and Ryan goes down to the street to find the device while the Crows just shoot at the bats because the Crows suck. Ryan doesn’t smash the device because that would just set the bats loose in the city. So she gets in the Batmobile to lure the bats away to somewhere abandoned.

Mary goes to the clinic to help the bite victims, but Alice is also there. Alice gives her a bag of Mary’s own blood that was taken when Nocturna drained her blood. Mary calls out her stepsister for her fucked-up way of grieving and then takes the blood to Hamilton Dynamics to synthesize an antidote.

With all of the “abandoned” buildings either not abandoned or full of homeless people, Ryan is running out of options. Some days you just can’t get rid of a sonar device. Luckily, she runs across a Crows transport bus, stops it, gets the driver out, then hangs the device inside. Once the bats fly into the bus, Ryan tosses a grenade under it. She then shields a homeless woman from the blast. The woman thanks “Batwoman,” but Ryan says she’s not really her. “Well, you are to me,” the woman replies.

Oh look, Ryan made a metaphor.

Hamilton Dynamics distributes the cure. Sophie and Mary wonder what Alice’s motives were for giving Mary the blood. Sophie asks Julia who the new Batwoman is, and Julia legitimately doesn’t know. However, she has found Alice’s hideout due to traces of tire manufacturing chemicals that were found in the back seat of Julia’s SUV. Mary and Jacob hug out their problems and vow to work together to find Kate.

Ryan returns the suit, but gives an impassioned speech about the city needing a Batwoman and Mary is all for it. Ryan can bring her knowledge of criminals to the job to help take them down. Luke’s willing to give her a shot if she agrees to the no-kill code, and only until they find Kate.

Later, alone in the Batcave, Ryan finds Kate’s journals with her letters to Bruce. She finds an entry from Halloween, describing Kate’s run-in with Ryan:

“Tonight I saw a girl who reminded me of myself. Scared. But fearless. Determined not to let the darkness of Gotham get the best of her. People like her are the hope this city needs.”

Ryan turns to a blank page, smiles, and starts a letter of her own with “Dear Kate”.

At Alice’s hideout, Sophie tries to arrest Alice, but a woman with a sword knocks Sophie unconscious. The woman, named Tatiana, tells Alice that her stunt with the toxin and handing over the cure has drawn Safiyah’s wrath. Apparently, that was the plan all along, and Alice correctly assumes Tatiana isn’t there to kill her. Tatiana knocks her out, too.

“Dear Kate” – not gonna lie, this one got me good.

Okay, first of all, that was a really dumb supervillain plot, but whatever. It was a good episode regardless. Ryan made her case for being the new Batwoman, fought her second supervillain, got to drive the Batmobile, and saved the city. Over the long break, I had my doubts about whether I could get invested in a new main character, but Ryan has started off strong. And the “passing the torch” moment of Ryan finding the letters and then starting one of her own really helped give some closure on Kate.

I know Kate was probably just captured by Safiyah and they’re going to drag that plot out for a while to make us think maybe she’ll be back, but honestly, this is a good transition from the Kate era to the Ryan era. We often had Kate writing letters to the missing Bruce Wayne as she made sense of her new role and tried to carry on the legacy he left behind. Now Ryan is doing the same thing, writing letters to her missing predecessor. The difference is this time it means more to us and to the characters because we knew Kate – we never knew Arrowverse Bruce. Also, Kate’s letter about Ryan just kind of feels like an endorsement. Ryan doesn’t need it – she’s earned the job – but it’s a nice sentiment all the same.

I’ve been dunking on the Crows for twenty-two episodes now, but Ryan managed to summarize all of my “the Crows suck” jokes into one burning bus. Jacob and Sophie just looked bad this episode: interrogating Kate’s friends, including Jacob’s own stepdaughter; arresting and harassing Ryan; Sophie being kind of shitty to Julia; and the Crows showing up to the protest to tell people to leave or be arrested. That last one especially paints the organization as the villains based on history, but more so in light of all of fucking 2020. I was hoping they would do something with Jacob and Sophie to tie them to Ryan and keep them relevant to the plot, but…yikes. Not like this.

In conclusion: boner crimes.

Next time: Ryan makes the Batsuit hers and we bid farewell to another beloved staple of the series. Join me as we say goodbye to the Party City wig.


Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. If Kate had an army of bats, she would probably tie webcams to them and stream bat’s-eye-view videos to her Twitter @WearyKatie.

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