The first few episodes of Batwoman have been pretty by-the-books. It’s been pure origin story, setting up a lot of storylines and getting Kate Kane into the Batwoman suit. It hasn’t been the most exciting television, but there’s been marginal improvement each week. That remains true this week, as “Who Are You?” finds the show shifting gears just a bit. Gotham finds itself hit with a string of robberies attributed to the villain Magpie. She’s going around town stealing expensive jewelry, and nobody can seem to stop her. Or rather, Batwoman has been kind of absent as Kate spends time with her new girlfriend, Reagan. The emergence of Magpie sees the show get into villain-of-the-week territory, which is a nice change of pace from the main conflict between Kate, Alice, and their parents.
Kate is finding it difficult to keep Batwoman a secret. She says she’s been out and proud ever since she was a kid, never one to hide things. So keeping her superhero identity from Reagan and everyone else goes against everything she believes. But, it’s necessary to help Gotham, and to keep those closest to her safe. It runs the risk of ruining her relationship with Reagan though, as she ditches her multiple times throughout this episode, and every time comes up with a very flimsy excuse. A flood and an electrical fire in the same day? Come on, Kate!
Before we get to Magpie, let’s deal with Alice. She confronts Catherine, who’s seen exhuming Beth’s “body” from a graveyard, and tells her that she wants a top-secret weapon that Hamilton has been working on. If Catherine can’t deliver that weapon to her, she’ll tell Jacob all about how his wife faked the discovery of bone fragments that belonged to Beth. The drama! Catherine refuses to hand over the weapon and instead tells Jacob everything. The scene itself is very overwrought, but at least that secret is in the open now. No need to drag it out for the entire season.
If Batwoman is doing one thing well, it’s not dragging out those kinds of plot points and moral conundrums. It’s checking a lot of the superhero origin story boxes early on, and this week that means Kate’s really struggling with how to be Batwoman and Kate at the same time. Not only does she blow off Reagan numerous times, but she also has to find some sort of compassion for Alice’s boyfriend, who she still has chained up. It’s clear he’s dying, and she can’t just let that happen, not just because she needs information from him, but because being a hero comes with a moral code.
So, as Batwoman, she brings him to Mary’s illegal clinic for treatment. Not only does Mary keep him alive, but she also takes advantage of a morphine haze he’s in, pretending to be Alice and getting him to reveal some sort of big plan for someone (or something) named “mouse.” It’s a great moment from Mary, and it gives Batwoman something to go on, some sort of hint as to what Alice might be planning for Gotham.
For now, though, Batwoman is dealing with Magpie, a high-flying villain with a love for expensive jewelry. When Batwoman thwarts one of her robberies, Magpie hits back, storming Wayne Towers and stealing Martha’s necklace, which was about to be the centerpiece of an exhibition. That makes this personal for Kate, and she and Luke track down Magpie’s hideout by tracing some explosive ink that she used during an attack.
That leads them to an old Gotham hotel where Magpie is storing her stolen goods. Batwoman barely survives the temperature-controlled room, which explodes when she releases kinetic energy through a sneeze, but they do manage to get some data on a hard drive that shows them the last thing Magpie printed with her 3D printer. It was a replica of Martha’s necklace. In other words, she’s made an explosive necklace and sent it to the exhibition.
That also means that once again, when the attack is about to happen, Kate must ditch Reagan and hop into the Batwoman suit. She stops the attack and gets Magpie arrested, but she realizes she can’t keep her relationship with Reagan going. She tells her that she can’t commit all of herself to someone right now, and that clearly frustrates Reagan. I hope this isn’t it for Reagan. I hope she wasn’t simply used as a storytelling device to create conflict for Kate, because the two have good chemistry, and compared to the familiar story of trying to get an ex back, a new romance would be a fresh angle.
Who knows what’s to come with Reagan, but for now, Kate is focusing her non-Batwoman efforts on Gotham. She’s starting a real estate firm to buy up rundown properties and turn them into spaces with cheap rent for Gotham’s less fortunate. Kate is becoming the hero that she needs to be, defining herself not by Batman’s standards, but by her own. She’s forging a new path, and hopefully, Batwoman can follow suit and offer up something a little more unique and exciting, especially since the show was just given a full-season order.
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