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Illustration for article titled A difficult choice marks a season high for iBatwoman/i
Photo: Katie Yu (The CW)
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Despite the three-week gap between episodes, Batwoman hasn’t lost any of the momentum from “An Un-Birthday Present.” The new Beth’s unnatural, splitting headaches while in Kate’s care threatens Beth’s life, Alice’s life, and Kate’s moment of happiness. So far, Batwoman has done well when there are super high stakes, which is typically the case with most Arrowverse shows. Still, Batwoman definitely has found its own formula for success, and it includes Rachel Skarsten’s Alice, insane tension, and Ruby Rose’s ability to dig into Kate’s immense emotions. This episode combines all of that, and it makes this one of the best in the season.

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“This isn’t guilt. This is courage,” Beth tells Kate after seeing the Batcave for the first time. While it takes Kate a little bit of time to finally show Beth who she is in her spare time, the reveal doesn’t really seem to shock to her sister. And Beth’s statement is what Kate really needs to hear. Sure, she’s the Paragon of Courage, but as we saw in the last episode, Kate is still a prisoner to the guilt she’s carried since she was 13, when she was unable to save the other Beth. For her sister to point out that even she sees the courage in Kate’s heart is hugely important for Kate. The moment is tainted when Alice comes to Wayne Enterprises and reminds Kate yet again of the trauma she suffered because of the crash.

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Since the midseason finale, Kate has shown that she wants to move forward, and even seems willing to cut ties with Alice. She is no longer out to save her sister or bring her back. Alice has severely hurt Mary and their family. Kate can’t see the good in Alice anymore and is out to put a stop to her even if that means killing Alice. Now, with (a) Beth back in her life, Kate gets a glimpse into what it could be like with her sister back in a way that doesn’t involve Beth/Alice. As the end of the last episode foreshadows, Kate faces an incredibly hard decision: which Beth gets to live and which has to die? They both can’t live in the same universe, thanks to their genetic makeup. Despite Kate’s change of heart and Alice’s transgressions, the decision isn’t getting any easier.

Kate is still inherently a good person. Even though she has disgust in her heart for Alice’s actions, there’s a part of Kate that doesn’t want Alice to die and maybe still holds out hope for redemption of some kind. Even though that’s frustrating to watch, it is very much a part of who Kate is. So when fate forces her to choose either Alice or Beth, it’s tough.

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The writing on Batwoman has been so solid this season that it’s a little hard to guess whether Kate chooses Alice or Beth. For all the reasons above and the way the scene was set up, the episode draws out the suspense when it comes to who Kate will choose to save. Her decision is made all the more difficult by the fact that Beth is such an angel that she won’t even blame Kate for choosing Alice over her. In the end, Kate makes the right decision and saves New Beth. And this is where Batwoman gives audiences the best scene in the series so far.

Illustration for article titled A difficult choice marks a season high for iBatwoman/i
Photo: Katie Yu (The CW)
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Arrowverse shows are known for their action, world-building, and bringing iconic DC characters to life. But they’re also known for creating characters that have heart, who are able to connect with audiences in powerful way. Batwoman proves with this episode that not only can it deliver on heartwrenching moments, but it can also keep them in suspense. When Kate and Alice are left sobbing on the dirty makeshift hospital floor, it’s such a raw and intimate moment. Kate is already mourning the loss of Beth all over again, and also grieving the hope she still has until the very end that she can save Alice from her insanity and trauma. The scene wipes away the capes and the childhood rhymes. Instead, all you have left on that floor are two sisters who can finally cry over their screwed-up situation, and hold on to each other in a way they haven’t been able to.

Of course, it all comes crumbling down when August Cartwright shoots Beth to death, which restores Alice to maximum health. And that tender display that consumed everyone for a good few minutes is completely gone, thanks to a metal tray. Even though things will go back to the way they were, with Alice ready to kill Kate and her family at the drop of a (mad) hat, we’ll always have that moment of Kate sobbing into Alice’s petticoats.

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The Crows’ harm to the city is finally examined in this episode. This group’s history has been a glaring problem since the beginning of the show. It’s been obvious that Gotham would benefit more from funneling millions of dollars into improving the city’s infrastructure, education system, and medical facilities, instead of creating a company that caters to the rich and elite. But now Jacob Kane’s decision to create a militarized state with his own money under the guise of a private security firm is biting all of them in the butt. Not only does this get Jacob shanked in jail, but it creates a hot-headed monster in Sophie.

Illustration for article titled A difficult choice marks a season high for iBatwoman/i
Photo: Katie Yu (The CW)
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This development also allows the creation of lockdowns and checkpoints in the city and makes it harder for Beth’s existence, prior to her death. Sophie has proven that she is highly flawed, and she’s done nothing to redeem herself so far. And as the episodes go on, Kate’s connection to her grows more tenuous. Even though that’s good in the long run, it also highlights how unstable and incompetent Sophie is at her job. Batwoman really isn’t doing anything to get viewers on Sophie’s side, even after trying to muster up compassion by showing her backstory.

Since no one knows August Cartwright is back, it makes sense that Kate and Luke don’t take any precautions; they certainly don’t expect him to be on the hunt for Alice or someone that looks like her. However, they shouldn’t have kept Beth a complete secret, at least not from the Crows and Sophie. Kate already told Sophie that she is Batwoman. It would make a lot more sense for Kate to just tell her about Beth, with visible proof. If they had done this, Beth would have been able to stay put in the Wayne building, and it would have kept her safe and alive.

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Overall, this episode proves how strong of a show Batwoman is. It mixes all of the vital, strong elements of the series to create an outstanding episode. But beyond that, it showcases Ruby Rose’s connection to Kate Kane and her ability to bring out that emotional side to her. Kate doesn’t show how hurt she is often, but when she does, Rose captures it so well.


Stray observations:

  • With Kara involved in helping Batwoman come out to the world a couple of episodes ago, and now Luke telling Kate to involve Supergirl and The Flash in their issues, it’s nice having these little things to connect them all. They’ve, of course, always been the Arrowverse together, but ever since Crisis on Infinite Earths, they’ve done more in this series to join them in the same narrative. It would be nice if there were little cameos here and there, kind of like how The Flash and Arrow did in their first few seasons, especially considering how close Kate and Kara are now.
  • For a city that’s supposedly on mega-high alert for Alice, she can still easily sneak in and out of places with impressive ease. Yes, it’s Alice, but still. And don’t even get me started on her meeting with Mouse in the hospital. “24-hour watch,” my butt.
  • Mary really held her own against Alice in their fight, but her frustration with Kate is growing. While I don’t think it’ll spill into anything major, she’s still hurting after the loss of her mother and Kate siding with Alice all this time. Kate still hasn’t told Mary that she’s Batwoman and now Alice is back to normal. It really makes you wonder what Mary’s mindset will be when she inevitably finds out Kate is Batwoman.
  • The whole “Kate’s soulmate” conversation was way too pointed to not be someone we know. Odds are it’s Sophie, but I really don’t want it to be Sophie. Fingers crossed it’s someone else. PLEASE!
  • Speaking of soulmates, was that flirting we saw between Beth and Luke? As much as it was cute to see, now we all have to live with the depressing reality that Beth’s gone. We were rooting for your love life, Luke! We really were.
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Alani Vargas is an entertainment writer and A.V. Club contributor. Her work also appears on Showbiz Cheat Sheet, INSIDER, Bustle, Refinery29, and Elite Daily.

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