[Review] Batwoman Episode 2×16: “Rebirth”

written by Kate Danvers

This review, commemorates my 100,000th misuse of a comma.

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT 

A masked sword-wielding woman stabs a lawyer on the roof of a parking garage. What is it with Gotham and crazy-ass ninjas? Batwoman asks the Bat-cave to call for an ambulance, but gets no response. After getting the lawyer help, she finds Luke on the balcony of Wayne Tower and tries to have a heart to heart with him, but he needs time alone.

Tavaroff is released on bail, Jacob is being heralded as a hero for exposing the corruption, and Roman Sionis is angry that Jacob is getting positive press. Oh, and Safiyah is in town and working with Roman. It’s revealed through exposition that it was Safiyah who gave Roman the details about Kate’s flight, knowingly exactly what he was going to do.

Safiyah wants him to return the favor by loaning her “Circe” to do assassination stuff. Roman declines because Circe is getting her life back together – even doing some modeling for Janus Cosmetics. Safiyah isn’t happy when Roman reveals where Circe got her new face, and she tells him why: Alice is Beth Kane.

As you know, it was our scheming that orchestrated the events of this season’s first arc.”

Batwoman checks out a government safe house because the lawyer who got stabbed works with witness protection, and since his computer was stolen, all of those people are now compromised. She finds a dead guy with a sword stuck in him. It’s the guy the real Circe Sionis gouged the eyes out of years earlier. Batwoman is attacked by the sword-wielding lady again, who turns out to be Tatiana. Tatiana gets away.

Alice and Jacob work together to kidnap “Circe.” They bring her to Crows HQ, which still has power and access to DNA databases for some reason. “Circe’s” fingerprints and DNA match Kate Kane’s, confirming for Jacob what Alice already knows. I know it’s TV, but DNA tests take way longer than that, and there was a whole subplot a few episodes back about a DNA test that was taking all night to finish, and that was with a lab full of CSIs. Anyway, Jacob is happy to see his daughter again.

KATE: “You’ve got me confused with a dead girl.”
ALICE: “No, you’ve got you confused with a dead girl.”

She’s got a way with words, and she’s right.

They try to convince Kate that Circe is dead, but she just tries to escape. Alice says that Kate’s stuff is the key to unlocking her memories, so Ocean has arrived with a backpack full of the last of Kate’s things. Okay, I’m guessing just the ones Alice has, otherwise goddamn, they got rid of Kate’s shit fast. Jacob learns that Enigma worked on Alice too, which seems to bring back the sympathy he’d lost for Beth. Ocean is all “Nice to meet you, Mr. Kane, sir. You’ve raised a wonderful daughter. I promise to have her home by nine o’clock.” He says he’s old-fashioned and wants Alice’s dad to like him. Dude, your rap sheet is at least shorter than the woman whose dad you’re trying to impress. I think you’re okay.

“I’d ask what you do for a living, but I’m pretty sure I’ve already reviewed those cases.”

The dead man Batwoman found is Ezra Castellanos – who had his eyes gouged out by Real!Circe in self-defense after he assaulted her at a party. After Circe went to Arkham, he feared retribution from Roman, so he went into witness protection. Ryan remembers that Alice was asking Mary about Circe. They decide to track down Luke for help, but he’s at a cop bar.

Luke shows a fake ID to get into the cop-only bar where totally legal poker games are happening. Tavaroff is there too, and things get threatening and ugly, but not physical…yet. Luke challenges Tavaroff to poker. Guest star John Diggle sits down and says he hopes Luke has a plan.

Jacob isn’t getting anywhere with Kate, so Alice tries. She tells her about Kate’s first crush, and how she wanted to tell Beth about it, but she wasn’t out yet and she was nervous about it. So Beth made her a mug with “Mind Reader” written in rainbow letters to tell her she already knew. I love this not just for the effect it’s having on Kate, but also for the effect it’s clearly having on Alice. Whatever the memory meant to Kate, it also meant a lot to Beth and it still does. Alice even refers to herself as “Beth” when she’s telling the story.

Kate has flashes of being trapped in the Cartwright basement. Alice thinks it’s a metaphor representing the Circe programming trapping Kate inside. She’s starting to remember. Kate says Beth found her, but she couldn’t find Beth. Alice/Beth says it’s okay. That there’s still time.

MY HEART.

Someday I’m going to get my sister a mug that says “You’re More Dense Than a Neutron Star” and that will be my coming out.

Ryan talks to Luke outside the bar. He tells her to handle the Safiyah problem with Mary. He also tells her about his near-death experience and how he didn’t want to wake up but he had that choice taken from him.

Jacob calls Mary to tell her Kate is alive and Roman Sionis is Black Mask. He and Alice are then attacked by Tatiana and some False Face goons, but Kate manages to escape and run out to the street just as Batwoman is pulling up. Kate Kane, meet Batwoman. Batwoman, meet Kate Kane. Yeah, that’s going to be weird. Batwoman offers her a ride.

Luke is playing Hold ‘Em against John, Tavaroff, and other cops. Now, I’m by no means a good poker player, but when the community cards are a 6, 7, 8, King, and Queen and the other guy goes all in? He’s probably not holding just a pair. But Tavaroff, alleged winner of the Crows’ Hold ‘Em tournament, not only borrows money from his cop buddies so he can call, he also cheats by replacing his hole cards with a pair of Aces. It’s like baby’s first sleight of hand. If you have that many sequential cards, there’s a very good chance that the person going all in is either bluffing their ass off or holding two other cards in that sequence.

Yeah, so Luke is holding a 5 and a 9. The rare straight on this show!

Luke Fox just ended that man’s whole career.

Roman talks to Jacob in his office. Jacob threatens to expose Roman as Black Mask, but Roman reveals that the False Face members in the room are all GCPD officers. Crooked cops? In Gotham? It’s more likely than you think. Roman warns Jacob that if he goes public, no one will believe him and whatever family he has left will be ruined. The crooked cops then arrest Jacob for aiding Alice, a known criminal.

I’m going to pause here to ask a simple question: The fuck are Roman and Safiyah doing in this episode? Safiyah is sending Tatiana around to kill people from Circe’s past…why? She asks Roman to lend her Circe’s for help with this, and he clearly doesn’t know anything about it, so why is she doing it? How does it benefit her to kill the guy Circe blinded? Shouldn’t Roman want to do that as part of “Circe” getting her life back together?

And what about Roman? He’s sending his own goons and Tatiana to capture Jacob and Alice. How did he know they were at Crows HQ? If the objective was to recapture Kate, then why didn’t they go after her? We’ll see later that Roman had people looking for Kate all night, but he doesn’t seem that interested in finding her at the moment.

Ryan brings Kate to Wayne Tower. Ryan doesn’t wear the mask in this scene, so she must have told Kate who she was on the car ride over. Mary hugs Kate, but Kate has no idea who she is. Ah, good, she’s back to her early Season One self! (Sorry sorry sorry.) Kate immediately recognizes and hugs Sophie, though.

Stepsisters for seventeen years, but the one who breaks through the conditioning in a split second is her on-again off-again girlfriend because “ehrmahgrd, tru lurv.”

It doesn’t last long, though, because being away from Alice is causing Kate to slip further down. In her mind, her younger self is fighting for control against the implanted memories of Circe. “Circe” attacks Mary, and while the others pull her off and restrain her, Mary jabs her with a syringe full of benzodiazepines (tranquilizers). Sophie questions why Mary just carries that around with her. Sophie, are you new here?

They need Alice back to restore Kate, but Safiyah has her and isn’t likely to give up the woman who cost her an island full of Desert Rose. Luckily, Ryan has a bargaining chip: the last Desert Rose. She’s willing to trade it for Alice’s safety if it means Kate gets her life back. However, they’ll need Luke’s help to find Safiyah.

Tavaroff attacks Luke in the alley and the two get into a fistfight. For a tech nerd, Luke holds his own pretty well. John steps in to help Luke and talks to him afterward. John knows what it’s like to lose a father too, and says Luke will be reunited with him eventually, but he’s got to live a life he can tell Lucius about when he sees him again. He gives him a good “hero’s call” speech which is setting up something I am so happy about. Maybe I’ll get to talk about it in an episode or two.

John also mentions that he’s having headaches and dizziness, which is why he’s in Gotham. Gosh, hope there’s some sort of terrestrial explanation for that, John Stewart–I mean Diggle. The Bat-signal suddenly lights up, but it’s blinking. Both men recognize it as Morse Code: “Need Fox Help.” John knows better than to ask questions, so the two say their goodbyes.

Alice sees a news report about Jacob’s arrest. When he’s questioned by a reporter about Alice, he tells her and the viewers that Alice/Beth isn’t a monster; she’s the victim of horrible people who manipulated her. He goes on to say she’s had a hard life, but she’s still retained her humanity.

JACOB: “If Gotham is angry with me, then so be it. I ask only this of them, as a father: When you judge Alice for her crimes, remember Beth.”

I think I might have to start calling her “Beth” soon, because this isn’t Alice.

Safiyah tells Alice that there’s nothing left of Coryana. The fire destroyed everything and killed nine villagers. Safiyah expected a tantrum out of Alice because she’s “a spoiled child who believes she’s owed more than she’s earned.” Lady, you have people calling you their queen, so shut the fuck up with that “spoiled child” nonsense. Also, Alice was a monster of Safiyah’s own creation, so she doesn’t get to act high and mighty in this situation.

Luckily, Batwoman interrupts the sanctimonious villain bullshit. She tells Safiyah what the flower means to her and says she’s willing to give it up for Kate. Alice taunts Safiyah on the way out about having both her sister and Ocean. Safiyah gives her the “more than you’ve earned” bullshit again, and Alice notices that Tatiana isn’t there.

Sophie has brought Kate to the loft above the Hold Up. Kate looks at herself in the mirror and asks whose face she’s wearing. In her head, Circe locks the young Kate in the basement room again. She asks Sophie to get her a bottle of vodka from her desk.

Despite Batwoman’s protests, Alice runs off to check on Ocean. She’s attacked by Tatiana, who’s lying in wait with the +2 Dagger of Healing, planning to stab Alice with it and take her back to Safiyah. Alice turns the tables and stabs Tatiana instead…except she used her butterfly knife, not the magic one. Oops. She enters the subway car to find Ocean dead. Tatiana slit his throat before Alice got there.

Jacob calls Mary from prison. He’s being transferred to Metropolis to avoid being locked up with criminals he put away. There’s no beating the charges as long as Roman has the GCPD under his control. He asks Mary to help both Kate and Beth, saying they’re in similar circumstances, and the only way to get them back is to free them from Circe and Alice.

As much sympathy as he’s squeezing out of me in this scene, I half-expected him to be shivved right there. He still may not make it through the season.

Luke and Ryan talk on the way to see Kate. She tells him she may not know what he went through, but she sympathizes, although she’s not sorry she helped him live. He doesn’t say anything back, just smiles and hugs her. Sophie asks if either of them have seen Kate, because she left while Sophie was getting the vodka.

“Circe” returns home to Roman and asks him if she’s really Kate Kane. He tries to gaslight her and gets a karambit knife jammed into his hand for it. Circe asks again as Safiyah walks in.

SAFIYAH: “Tell her, Roman, or I will. I’ve always held the belief that a woman has a right to decide exactly who she wants to be.”

YOU HELPED BRAINWASH BOTH KANE SISTERS, YOU HYPOCRITICAL SOCIOPATHIC FUCK!!

Dear god in heaven, I hate Safiyah so much. Like, as villains go, the ones we’ve seen so far are pretty consistent and honest about who they are and what they do. You call Black Mask a sadistic drug peddler, he’ll go “Yeah, fair.” If that were Safiyah, she would act like she’s morally superior and above such petty things as dealing drugs…then sell you drugs while mocking you for being the type of person who buys drugs. Every miserable thing that’s ever happened to her in her life that’s led her on her path to villainy has been of her own damn making. Her petty jealousy created Alice, her aiding Roman in Kate’s abduction put her back in Alice’s crosshairs (something she blamed on Tatiana, by the way), fucking with Alice got her island torched, and now fucking with Alice again is going to get her murdered and she deserves every agonizing second of it.

Goddamnit, I have never hated an Arrowverse villain so much.

And the worst part is, Beth doesn’t deserve any of this. Yeah, I said it. Beth is trying to break free from Alice, but every time she makes even the slightest bit of progress, someone shoves her back down. Mouse and Ocean both wanted her to forget about the Kane family to be with them (even if Ocean backtracked on that just long enough for us to feel sorry about his death), Tatiana and Safiyah keep wanting to remind her that she’s a horrible monster (of their making), Enigma treated her like a lab rat, and Black Mask treated her like a sewer rat. “Alice” would go away forever if everyone just left Beth the fuck alone.

Safiyah, Beth Kane is going to murder you and it will be the most righteous and blameless thing she’s done since barbecuing Old Lady Cartwright. And I’ll bring the oxygen tank and the marshmallows for that one.

Also hey, glimmer of hope that Kate is still in there. That’s great too. And Jacob seems kind of…not-shit? Like, I think he’s starting to genuinely get it. We’ve seen more character growth from him in two episodes than I thought was possible.

Next time: Two episodes left. Seems like a really good time to kill Safiyah.

I'll stop making this joke when people stop laughing at it.

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Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 9 Eastern/8 Central on The CW. Kate Danvers started putting her last name in these footers so you wouldn’t think she was talking about Kate Kane. Though why you would think Made of Fail would link you to Kate Kane’s twitter, I’ll never know. Kate Danvers can be found on Twitter @WearyKatie.

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