Batwoman returned for another week, its thirteenth episode of the season, and one that was sexy as hell. There’s a vampire prowling the streets of Gotham and both Batwoman and the Crows are out to take her down before she can claim any more victims. Plus, the fallout from Kate’s choices last week continues, and Alice just wants someone to love her.
WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Batwoman Season 1, Episode 13, “Drink Me.”
As a big Batwoman comics fan, I was thrilled that it seemed like this week we were finally getting to experience some of the weirder sides of Kate Kane’s two-dimensional life. The comics are full of supernatural monsters and horror tropes and while Nocturna, the baddie at the center of this week’s shenanigans, is a pretty major villain in the comics, here there’s nothing otherworldly about her. That doesn’t mean she isn’t a major vampiric thorn in Kate’s side … or neck. Strangely, Nocturna having little in common with her comic counterpart actually worked in the show’s favor in at least one area. In the comics, Nocturna is responsible for driving a wedge between Kate and her loved ones. This Nocturna manages to create a variety of circumstances that actually bring them all closer, and though she may not be honest to goodness living dead, she is a serial murderer with a serious illness and a major chip on her shoulder.
In fact, Batwoman’s first encounter with Nocturna might have gone a lot worse for the vigilante if Batwoman hadn’t endeared herself to one Agent Sophie Moore already. After Kate is bitten by the not-quite-a-vampire and paralyzed, Sophie manages to free her and distract her team long enough for Batwoman to get away. It’s a decision Sophie would come to — not regret, exactly, but certainly, reconsider later on when it gets her into some hot water with her newly reinstated boss. In the meantime, though, their close quarters, slow-motion exchange while Kate is tied up and at Sophie’s mercy is only the start of their renewed relationship drama this week.
They get to dig a little deeper into that drama later on when Kate decides she’s going to use her own bar to trap Nocturna since she seems to only target club-goers out partying a little too hard (again, if anyone wants to get me a The Hold-Up t-shirt, I will profess my love for you here and now). Not only is this the perfect way to lure a night stalking wannabe bloodsucker, it’s also a great excuse to put everyone in some truly incredible clothing, including a dressed-down tux on Kate, a well-tailored suit with a glow-in-the-dark tie on Luke, and a not at all field-ready but extremely stunning dress on Sophie. Even though all of them, with the exception of Mary, are there to go hunting, the entire event actually turns into an exercise in barely controlled jealousy when Kate swoops in to protect Sophie from a woman she thinks could be Nocturna and who is definitely trying to flirt with her ex.
Kate eventually figures out that Nocturna’s base of operations is inside an abandoned church (of course), thanks in part to some fancy bell-ringer rope (someone needs to explain how a Jewish lesbian knows what kind of rope Catholic Churches use in their bell towers), coupled with Luke’s well-timed info about their target. Nocturna is actually Natalia Knight, a young woman with porphyria whose father worked at the Church until his death a few weeks prior. To be honest, while I did genuinely like this episode, they could have done a lot more with Nocturna. She’s a girl with a terrible, debilitating illness who hates people that take their own health for granted. It’s a good place to start for a villain but what exactly drove her to murder in order to help herself. Did she not have access to proper healthcare?
We don’t get to learn much about Natalia as a person because as soon as Kate shows up and sees Mary near death, she’s not about to allow her to escape or really explain herself. In a slightly surprising turn of events, just as Kate realizes she’s not going to be able to stop Nocturna and save Mary’s life, Alice shows up to play the hero. She’s got O-negative blood and sets to work bringing Mary back while Kate deals with the vampire, using her extreme sun sensitivity and the UV packs on her utility belt to subdue her.
Despite the fact that Nocturna doesn’t really get a chance to be a character all her own, this episode did provide a lot of excellent character work from the rest of the cast, starting with Kate’s relationship to her sisters, starting with the one she tried to kill just a short time ago. Rachel Skarsten continues to be the emotional backbone of this show which is both thrilling to watch week-after-week and worrying when you consider that at some point Alice will be stopped and she could someday be gone for good. This week, she proves once again that Alice is just as much a victim as she is a villain, as the bulk of her screen time is spent more or less distraught by the fact that she’s found herself alone once more. Mouse is missing, Kate chose a different, better version of her, and no one is around to care that she is hurting. It doesn’t seem like Kate’s all that interested in apologizing for choosing Beth over Alice, nor does she seem willing to express guilt or regret over her decision. A hurt Alice is a compelling Alice, but it’s also a dangerous Alice. She may have taken some time off from terrorizing the city but now that she knows Mouse’s father is back in the picture, it looks like she’s got a new target for her anger and violence.
Meanwhile, and in what would have been the biggest news up until the final moments of the episode, Mary knows Kate is Batwoman! I wondered how long that was going to stay a secret, partly because Mary and her clinic are a perfect fit for the Batwoman operation (Kate’s gonna need a doctor if she wants to continue putting herself in mortal danger) and because keeping your identity a secret makes for sometimes boring television. Since Mary isn’t an idiot, she puts the extremely obvious pieces together and deduces that maybe her badass lesbian step-sister with obvious secrets (and who suddenly got dosed with Ketamine the same night as Batwoman) is the lesbian vigilante who suddenly arrived in Gotham the same time as Kate. Who could have guessed?!
We don’t know what Mary is going to do with this information, but I hope she remains completely herself and immediately confronts Kate about it.
Speaking of people Kate can’t seem to keep secrets from … up until the very end of the episode, it’s still unclear whether Sophie knows it’s Kate under that cowl. She guessed as much several weeks back when Julia Pennyworth helped Kate pull a bait and switch on her ex. Since then, though, the two have shared a few moments, including last week’s shoulder touch, and they’ve developed a report that’s about feelings as much as it is about crime-fighting. It was only slightly surprising that Sophie backed down from killing Alice last week, and it’s not at all surprising that she came to Batwoman’s rescue this one, but getting close to a vigilante is dangerous for her employment status, especially now that Jacob Kane is suddenly out of prison and back to running the Crows. He considers Batwoman their greatest competition in Gotham and questions why Sophie didn’t pull the trigger on Alice herself when she had the chance. Sophie knows that helping Batwoman could lead to the loss of her job, pretty much the only thing going right in her life, and yet she continues to allow herself to feel something for the new mask in town.
Obviously, Sophie can’t exactly explain to her boss that she and Batwoman seem to understand each other, that she makes good points sometimes about the role of the Crows, and certainly not that there’s a good chance his own daughter is the one putting on that mask and making his life more difficult. Instead, she settles on “Batwoman can help us” and attempt to explain that the Crows have been losing credibility thanks to the whole Alice thing and their continued march toward all-out authoritarian rule over a city already devastated by crime and corruption. It doesn’t go well for her, and when Jacob discovers that Sophie allowed Batwoman to escape, he suspends her from duty. Once again, Kate Kane is, at least in essence, the thing causing Sophie’s entire life to unravel.
Instead of doing what she’s done in the past, shutting down and running away, Sophie completely changes course. She gets Batwoman to meet her, explains that their working relationship has gotten her in serious trouble, and then kisses her full on the mouth, an action Kate happily returns. It’s great. Like, really really great. These two have been dancing around their feelings for almost the full 13 episodes and there was no way the show could continue that bubbling up of tension before it boiled over, so they let it boil over. While Sophie never actually says it’s Kate behind the mask and Kate never reveals her identity, she has to know, right?
Next Week: The latest villain to cross the Batwoman is a woman who is stealing faces in a much more obvious way than Mouse ever did. She’s got her sights set on Sophie, it seems, and her specific MO looks like it will be calling out more than just Kate and the Crows. Alice is interested too.
- I love Luke. I’m so glad they gave him a personality last week. He feels so much more relaxed and fun now and it feels like the show is interested in making him that way. Now, give me a Luke centric episode so we can really get to know him!
- They did a little bit better getting into what’s wrong with the Crows as an institution and the way it functions in Gotham. Sophie got to be critical, as did the girl she was flirting with at The Hold-Up. With nine episodes left in the season, they certainly have time to drive the point home, but they’d have to really start branching out into the rest of Gotham and that seems unlikely given the arc of the rest of the season so far.