written by Kate Danvers
The truth? Nah, that has to wait for the penultimate episode of the season. Tell me the bullshit that will come back to bite you in the ass later.
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
In an abandoned building, Batwoman stops a sniper from assassinating a man in a restaurant across the street. Sophie catches up to her outside and warns her that the Crows are after her, that she knows she’s Kate, and that she’s going to tell Jacob. Batwoman says she’ll be in touch and takes off while the Crows fail to capture the assassin and a British agent using the codename “Tuxedo One” investigates the restaurant.
The thwarted assassination was to be the sniper’s third victim, and as Luke explains, all three victims worked for Catherine Hamilton. The next night, Batwoman keeps an eye on the third target but he gets away when the British agent interferes and fights her. The fight ends with the agent calling Kate by name and removing her own mask. They know each other – she’s Julia Pennyworth.
Mouse kills the third target under Alice’s order and it turns out she’s the one who hired the sniper, who’s called “The Rifle.” The Rifle is also working for someone who wants the spiffy Batsuit-penetrating railgun, and Alice just cornered the market by killing the people who made the thing. Alice wants something from the Rifle’s boss and in exchange, she’ll give him the railgun.
Julia goes back to the Batcave with Kate. She already knows Luke and knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman because she’s Alfred’s daughter. She approves of Kate following in her cousin’s footsteps, and also approves of Kate keeping a little toy T-Rex in the Batcave. They share their history with Luke – Julia was pretending to be a Krav Maga teacher in the U.K. during Kate’s post-military training years. She was actually there at Bruce’s request to find out what Kate was up to. Kate’s a little resentful because she thinks Julia feigned interest in her, but Julia says that part was real. Kate tells Julia to stay out of the way and catch the Rifle.
A flashback to Kate’s days at Point Rock shows that Kate and Sophie were both going to tell the truth about their sexualities and gamble on the academy not kicking out its best students. We also learn that Sophie’s parents are homophobic.
Kate and Sophie meet up for dinner at the restaurant where the attempted assassination happened, but they’re harassed by the owner for giving off “gay couple” vibes. Kate makes a scene, which upsets Sophie and leads to an argument. That segues into Sophie telling Kate what really happened at Point Rock: Jacob talked her into lying and signing the paper to avoid being expelled. Kate leaves in anger.
It’s really hard to fault either of them here. Kate sees the closet as a sad, lonely, stifling lie. Sophie sees it as something necessary to her career. I get both positions.
Sophie comes clean to Tyler about her past relationship with Kate. He’s upset that she didn’t tell him and also asks if she’s still hung up on Kate. She can’t give him an answer. When he leaves, she goes to see Jacob, who’s getting a warning from Catherine about the anti-Bat gun. Sophie asks to speak to Jacob alone. She says she can track the gun with borrowed A.R.G.U.S. tech, but Jacob doesn’t care – that’s Batwoman’s problem. Sophie tells Jacob about Kate.
You know, I just defended Sophie over the closet thing, but I’m going to call her out for this one. She’s upset about how things went with Tyler and Kate, so exposing Kate’s secret identity comes across not as a concern for Kate’s safety, but as a “fuck you” to Kate. She’s causing Kate problems to take her mind off of her own and that’s not cool.
In another flashback to Point Rock, an officer is removing a medal from a trophy case. Sophie objects since Kate earned it in a sharpshooter competition. She says Kate was hungover from tequila shots the night before but still managed to out-shoot two hundred other cadets. Sophie passionately says that Kate did more for the school than any other cadet and that the officer can’t erase her or the impact she had. She then tears the medal from the plaque and storms off.
That was sweet and all, but Cadet Moore just told off an Army captain. Pretty sure that’s something they frown on in military school.
In the present, the Rifle (a.k.a. “Ah shit, Arrow already used Deadshot“) delivers a vial of something to Alice from his boss. In return, she gives him the railgun. How cool would it be if he actually was Deadshot? Like, imagine a world where Arrow didn’t already use tons of Batman characters and treat them as disposable. Imagine the characters we could have on Batwoman: Deadshot, Huntress, the al Ghul family, the League of Assassins, Firefly, Anarky, Harley Quinn, Bronze Tiger, Deathstroke, the Dollmaker…
Mary visits Wayne Tower to talk to Kate, but seeing as Kate is about to run off to do Batwoman things, she brushes off Mary and her concerns about Jacob and Catherine’s impending divorce. You know, more than Sophie or Jacob, I want Kate to tell Mary the truth. She’s done nothing but ignore her for weeks now. But she ignores her again, gives an extremely suspicious explanation of who Julia is, and ignores Mary’s questions about her “panic room” (the entrance to the Batcave).
The Crows track down the railgun. Sophie finds Batwoman in the building and tells her what she told Jacob, but swears it’s out of concern for Kate’s safety. She also admits that if she could do it all over, she would have left Point Rock with Kate. Speaking of Kate, she walks in on this scene. Whaaaaaaat?? But who could that possibly be in the suit – okay, yeah, I’m not even going to pretend like this little scheme to get Sophie, Jacob, and the Crows off Kate’s trail wasn’t obvious the moment Julia showed up.
While Sophie tries to figure out what the fuck, the Rifle shoots “Batwoman” with the railgun and the force sends her through the wall of a four-story building and onto the pavement below. Crow radio chatter says an electromagnetic surge was detected on the second floor though? Must be a goof – or the Crows are just that bad, because they say “no sign of the shooter” and cart Batwoman away as the Rifle is exiting the building.
Kate takes Sophie’s gun and chases after the Crows’ truck on her motorcycle. She puts a single round in the tire and the vehicle flips. She kicks the Crows’ asses and helps Julia out of the overturned truck. Julia is fine – the impact wrecked her, but the round didn’t penetrate the suit.
We find out that this is because Alice sabotaged the railgun before giving it to the Rifle, and they’ve already killed the only people who could repair or replace the gun. The Rifle is displeased, and warns Alice that “Safiyah’s going to be pissed.”
HOOOOOOLY SHIT, Y’ALL! I’ll go into this more if and when the character shows up, but that name-drop is big. Safiyah Sohail was a big character in the post-DC Rebirth Batwoman run. The same run also had Kate working with the comic version of Julia.
Kate patches Julia up. She’s got some broken ribs, which is the superhero equivalent of a scraped knee. She’s not sticking around, though, because the Rifle is headed for an island in the Mediterranean…yeah, she doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll be back when that Safiyah plot kicks off. Julia leaves after giving Kate some advice about trusting people and letting them in.
Kate’s real estate company buys its first building, and as she’s checking it out, Sophie visits with a gift. Sophie has told Jacob that she was wrong about Batwoman. Kate tells Sophie the reason she invited her to dinner was because she wasn’t over her after all, and she’s going to keep her distance. Sophie leaves in tears. Kate opens the gift, which turns out to be her sharpshooter medal.
This isn’t the typical “I’m a superhero so I have to push everyone away” nonsense. It really does seem to be about their former relationship. Kate monologues that she has to let someone in, so she’s called Mary over to her new building to fix up the place (starting with a Pride flag in the window). She’s turning the building across the street from the restaurant into a gay bar. Spite for homophobes – I love it.
Jacob is driving back from upstate. He’s been out of Gotham this whole time, and the Jacob we saw throughout this episode was Mouse. Alice is planning a “tea party” that has something to do with the vial she got from the Rifle.
All right, I’m addressing the elephant in the room first. They got a white actress to play Julia Pennyworth, a character who is mixed race in the comics. Pre-Crisis (the comic book Crisis On Infinite Earths, not the upcoming TV crossover), Alfred had a daughter named Julia Remarque who was white and you could maybe think the TV version is based on that character. However, Julia being a secret agent, using the codename “Tuxedo One,” and having a connection to Batwoman are all things associated with the modern version.
Showrunner Caroline Dries has said that the reason for that particular casting decision was they needed someone to put on the suit to fool Sophie and that they wanted that person to be Julia Pennyworth. Then they realized that Sophie wouldn’t be fooled by a mixed race Batwoman. You know, there are ways around that. Write the scene so that Sophie doesn’t get a good look at her or use any other character. Dries’ counter to that is they wanted to use Julia specifically because she exists in canon and they want to enhance Kate’s backstory. Then why not do Julia right?
That said, Christina Wolfe did an excellent job with the role and I do want to see more of the character…just a big yikes on the whitewashing.
The rest of the episode was good. I’m glad Sophie and Kate talked. I’m really glad that Kate is talking to Mary after six episodes of being a bad sister. Mostly, this one was setup for the mid-season finale, which I guess is okay, but we’ve been teased about Alice’s grand plan for seven episodes now. It’s time to finally get some payoff.
Next time: Tea party!
Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Kate can be found on Twitter @WearyKatie.