written by Kate Danvers
I know the episode titles have been Alice In Wonderland quotes, but I still look at this one and–
Oh, never mind then.
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
The episode opens with Kate using her brand new Batcycle to stop a runaway train. She’s saved from getting struck in the head with her own grappling hook by GCPD officer Slam Bradley. Onlookers snap pictures of the two and since a man and woman are seen together for even the briefest of moments, naturally the heternormative shipping bullshit starts. Oh well, at least it’s unlikely to turn into a poorly conceived romantic plotline between two people with zero chemistry that will derail half a season and cause the title character to act wildly out of character solely to get ratings from a demographic that spends its time making grayscale or oversaturated slow-motion gifs of every shot the two characters are in.
Sorry, I couldn’t think of a ship name close enough to “Karamel,” so I had to get wordy in my shade-throwing.
Luke is happy that Batwoman is getting good press and points out that her assumed heterosexuality further obfuscates her identity. Kate is bothered that she saved hundreds of people, but all anyone can talk about is her sex life. Kinda feel like this might be a dig at shipping fandom in general, but that may be personal bias.
Alice and Mouse are having a celebratory tea party at Catherine’s grave, but Mouse isn’t having fun. He wants Alice to stop pursuing Kate because they’ll never be one big happy family as long as Kate is Batwoman. Alice ponders that for a bit.
Mary is having a hard time with her mom’s death, her stepdad being in jail for murder, and the internet turning on her. She rejects Kate’s offer of help, continuing to blame her for not giving up on Alice sooner.
Investigating the train that nearly crashed, Kate and Luke find a device used to hack the brakes. An ominous warning in the form of a cute doggo gif suddenly plays on every device in Gotham. The hacker wants money or they’re going to spill everyone’s secrets. I find it hilarious that the hacker also sends everyone a link to their crowdfunding page to get said ransom. That’s a nice modern touch.
Luke traces the device to some hackers in a warehouse. Kate goes there, but the Crows are already interrogating the hackers who claim to know nothing about the train. Sophie goes outside, hears Batwoman, and tells her that her husband left her. She’s worried Tyler is right and she’s hiding from herself.
That hit a little too close to home for Kate, especially with the cop-shipping thing going on. With the hackers being a dead end, Luke has been working on the audio from the hacker’s broadcast. The hacker is a young girl. Kate recognizes the background noise: It’s her old high school. She crashes the school dance and disables the nearby electronics with a device from Luke, but the hacker – “the Terrier” – still has a working phone.
After trying and failing to recruit a doctor to testify about how making a skin mask is totally possible, Mary sees Alice entering Gotham University. The Crows raid the place but don’t find Alice, so Sophie has a talk with Mary about stress and grieving, thinking she imagined Alice. She encourages Mary to talk to Kate because she needs to talk to someone.
Batwoman confronts the Terrier, a student named Parker Torres, who was on the train and had no intention of crashing it. She just wanted to scare her parents into thinking she almost died so they would actually care about her. She’s gay and her ex outed her to her parents. Now she wants the money to escape from Gotham and her homophobic parents.
PARKER: “And let’s rain check your ‘it gets better’ PSA. We both know I’m gonna grow up hiding my girlfriends and aspiring to be represented by an ancillary character on my favorite TV show.”
Parker walks out of the room and right into the clutches of Alice. Alice threatens Parker’s life with power tools and demands that Kate unmask. Left with no option, Kate unmasks in front of Parker who recognizes her. Joy. Alice wants Parker to reveal Batwoman’s identity. After some reluctance, Parker does so and everyone gets a text message. Alice lets Parker go and Kate immediately punches Alice and cuffs her. Alice still wants to be sisters in some twisted way, but Kate has had enough – Alice ruined her life. However, her plan to out Kate as Batwoman failed. While Parker sent the “Kate Kane is Batwoman” text to Alice, she instead texted a warning about the bomb to everyone else. GCPD and the Crows arrive, but Alice has one last trick up her sleeve: She doesn’t have the detonator; Mouse does.
The bomb goes off and Batwoman saves the only person who would have been caught in the blast – and yes, it’s Slam Bradley. Onlookers chant for the two to kiss and Slam reveals he’s a creep by actually going for it, but Kate stops him.
Parker visits Kate the next day. She’s being given community service scrubbing graffiti for the hacking crimes. She says she wasn’t going to out Batwoman after being outed herself. Kate offers to be there if Parker ever wants to talk about her parents or her ex. Parker’s glad someone like herself is under that mask protecting the city.
Batwoman is making different headlines now – CatCo published Kara Danvers’ exclusive interview in which the Bat comes out as a lesbian. Luke isn’t too worried about it, because it’s going to make people like Parker feel less alone. He also gives Kate a cupcake and wishes her a happy birthday.
Kate goes to see Mary at the clinic and only gets out “hi” before the two stepsisters hug and cry. The Crows have Alice in custody, but Mouse is still at large. And Jacob calls Kate from prison.
Later Kate goes back to her office to find…Beth. What. Home from traveling abroad. WHAT. And she’s not Mouse in disguise. WHAT???
I like the main plot of this one, even if the delivery is a little clunky in places. The “villain” just being a young woman who wants to get away from homophobic parents hits a bit close to home for me and a lot of LGBTQ+ people. Granted, we don’t all resort to cyberterrorism and extortion, but hiding who we are and hoping for a few scraps of representation? Story of our lives.
But seriously though, what was that twist at the end? The most likely explanation is fallout from Crisis. We know Beth and Kate grew up together on at least one Earth, so did Beth come from Earth-99 or somewhere else? I took the changes to Lex Luthor’s history to be deliberate changes that Lex himself made when the Paragons were helping Oliver restart the universe, so maybe Kate subconsciously brought a version of Beth back? Honestly, I have no idea where they’re going to take this storyline.
Next time: Oh good, everyone else is as confused as I am.
Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Kate can be found on Twitter @WearyKatie.