We're in a mad dash to the finale and things are looking potentially very grim for Kate Kane and the Bat-team, even if none of them realize just how many cogs are turning in the proverbial machine of Gotham's criminal element. This week was all about filling in some of the gaps of various good and bad guys, slowing pulling the strings together to form the tapestry of the show's first season, and those gaps are full of Kate Kane's ex-girlfriends.
WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Batwoman Season 1, Episode 18: "If You Believe in Me, I'll Believe in You."
Unlike the last few chapters, this episode was pretty light on character development and heavy on plot. There are three main storylines at its core: the hunt for Lucius Fox's journal, the birth of Hush (which will be explored in much more detail next week), and Mary's continued attempts to get off the bench with Team Batwoman. You see, even though Kate is now fully aware that Mary knows about her violent nocturnal hobby and even though Mary has been more or less brought in on the whole operation, she's not actually part of the team. It's the usual story, of course: Mary wants to help, because she's Mary, the med student with a secret underground clinic to fill a need in the poorer communities of the city. Kate, meanwhile, doesn't want to put her sister in harm's way, even though, as Mary points out, she's already been in plenty of danger up to this point.
The back and forth between them continues throughout the episode since they don't have time to really dig deep and hash it out right off the top. That's because everyone in Gotham is looking for Lucius Fox's journal full of Wayne Tech secrets, the reason behind his murder. Tommy Elliot is the last person who knew where it was but he's locked up in Arkham after his last tussle with Batwoman, so Kate heads there to interrogate him. He gives her nothing, which she was expecting. What she likely wasn't expecting was that her sister, who is now basically ruling Arkham after installing a disguised Mouse as their chief medical officer, would also be interested in the journal. Alice is waiting for Tommy in his cell when he returns and the two of them strike a deal. He gives her the journal and she will give him a brand new face and get him out of Arkham for good.
From there, the episode becomes a fetch quest. We want the journal and now must face a series of mounting challenges all the while learning a little more about the players in the first season endgame. The journal is in a club called The Lookout which is run by mobsters. Kate and Julia go in after it, splitting up so Julia can cut the power while Kate looks for the journal as Batwoman. They take a little time to discuss Sophie, naturally, and Kate finds out that she's been going through it after finally coming out to her mother. On the one hand, this conversation has got to be awkward as hell, but on the other, it's nice to be reminded that Kate and Sophie were extremely close once upon a time, and Kate knows how big a deal it is for her to come out to her parents. It's also always fun to be reminded that the web of lesbian dating is very small, even in Gotham. Maybe especially in Gotham?
If running missions with one of your exes while discussing your other ex with whom said first ex is currently working very closely wasn't awkward enough, while Kate is casing the club she runs into none other than Reagan, her two-episode-long relationship from earlier this year. Reagan is bartending at the club, which is not at all weird, right? Reagan lets us know that Kate is doing more than just opening a gay bar with her real estate company; she's also buying up buildings in low-income neighborhoods and lowering rents... which, if we're being honest, is at the very least more than Bruce Wayne ever did. It's also a nice callback to Reagan calling out Kate for being blind to the struggles of those who aren't wealthy enough to afford Crows Security. The show still isn't spending enough time with the social inequality angle but I'm glad they're keeping it alive.
The reunion with Reagan doesn't last long, of course, because they're on a mission and that mission is actually a trap. Julia gets taken out quickly in the basement while Kate makes it all the way to the journal before realizing it's way too easy. She's grabbed by Sabatino and his guys and immediately put up for auction because that's a thing that happens literally every time a hero is captured.
With the heavy hitters out of commission, it is Mary's time to shine! She may not be able to fight, but the girl is no slouch when it comes to facing down bad guys and talking her way into and out of hairy situations. She gets into the auction, causes a distraction, and frees Batwoman all on her own (with Luke's help, of course), proving that maybe she deserves a more permanent spot on the team.
While all of this was going on, though, Magpie, the burglar from Episode 4, has been freed from Arkham by Alice with a mission to get the journal. Get the journal, win her freedom. And unlike Tommy, she accomplishes this goal … for a couple of minutes, anyway. After Kate is freed by Mary, Batwoman and Magpie have their second tete-a-tete and while the villain manages to escape she loses the journal in the process.
Day saved, journal won, Mary officially on the team, Kate decides to take the rest of the night off to have a very sexy night with Reagan that ends the next morning when Kate wakes to discover that the bartender has stolen the journal and put them right back where they started. Turns out, even though Reagan is actually a bartender, she is also the sister of one bird-based burglar and she stole the journal for Magpie to win her sister her freedom from both Arkham and Alice.
Speaking of Alice, even though she wasn't necessarily a core player this week, the newly-crowned puppet master had her fingers in a lot of pies this week. Not only did she orchestrate Magpie's escape, but she also faked Tommy Elliot's death, stripped him of his face, and hasn't quite delivered on his new identity. Then again, Tommy's most recognizable feature is his distinct … let's say, lack of face … in the comics, as he sports a bandaged visage in his efforts to terrorize Gotham as the villain Hush.
Next Week: Hush has arrived and Kate's ex-girlfriend situation is getting more awkward by the second.
- There's an elephant in the room and that elephant is Julia Pennyworth and who she's really working for. As discovered this week, she's not been with SRR for months now and yet she's still answering to some mysterious figure on the phone. Any guesses? My money is evenly split between Safiya, the woman who has Alice running scared, and Bruce Wayne himself. Anyone want to make their own bet?
- I'm still so curious how the face-making works? There's a lot of sewing but no seams. Is there some special stitch? Is it magic? Do the faces start to smell after a while? So many questions.