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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled iBatwoman /icopes with a monumental loss with some much-needed humor
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Batwoman has steadily raised the stakes for its characters and the overall tension throughout this first season. There have been some tumbles here and there, but Kate and Alice’s story is the fuel for this series so far, along with their tug of war over who can turn the other to their side first. Last week’s episode was the pinnacle of that struggle, which makes “Drink Me” feel a little trivial at first. But tonight’s episode actually proves to be a nice reprieve from the seriousness and dread the show has delivered for the past few weeks. The humor is also, interestingly, an excellent way to cope with the devastating loss of Beth.

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While this episode takes a massive sidestep away from the heartbreak and drama that made last week so compelling, it doesn’t fall flat thanks to a much-needed injection of fun. The villain this week is wackier than what viewers are used to; as an ill young woman whose primary caregiver dies, Natalia Knight turns full horror-movie villain and puts on a vampire charade for Gotham. Despite the wackiness, this show is a part of the Arrowverse, where kooky bad guys show up every now and then to keep the audience entertained, as well as deliver nods to the comic books. And there have certainly been worse villains.

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Even the characters call out how funny a vampire in Gotham sounds, with Kate delivering the line, “I’ve always wanted to slay a vampire.” Nocturna is as sultry and wicked as she is deathly allergic to a phone screen’s light, and is the perfect balance for Kate’s often sullen nature. This new villain also gives viewers a look at Kate’s gay bar, which looks like a ton of fun.

After Catherine’s death and her work with Beth’s antidote, Mary’s dynamic in the group is changing. She was once just eating pizza drunk in Kate’s office, but now she’s working with the team,—only to a certain degree, because Kate hasn’t revealed she’s Batwoman yet. But Mary’s analytical mind is beneficial for the team, even if it’s only surface-level problems right now. But the worst-case scenario happens when Mary puts it all together and figures out Kate is Batwoman on her own.

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Illustration for article titled iBatwoman /icopes with a monumental loss with some much-needed humor
Photo: Colin Bentley (The CW)

At the start of the season, when Mary was vying for even a glimmer of Kate’s attention, it was clear how much this sisterly bond meant to Mary. She doesn’t have any other siblings, and her mom was a staunch businesswoman. Mary wanted Kate’s affection, and got it only after her mother was murdered—but even that renewed bond is complicated by the fact that it was Kate’s sister, Alice, who did it. Mary was furious with Kate’s personal insistence on saving Alice from her evil mind, even after that villain killed her mother. Her relationship with relationship seems to be mending and even blooming—now Mary has to deal with this fact that Kate hid this Batwoman secret from her. Mary isn’t a spiteful or mean person. But she’s been hurt yet again, and who knows how that can damage her bond with Kate. Kate really doesn’t need another sister angry at her, but it looks like that’s where the next episode’s heading.

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The concept of guilt is, again, heavily looked at in “Drink Me.” Between hope and courage, Kate has dealt with a lot of emotions that are all tied to the immense guilt she feels for not saving Beth from the falling car when they were 13. These feelings all came out the most when Beth came back. Plus, it was multiplied by 100 when Kate chose not to save Alice. So when Beth died (again), Kate was understandably beating herself up at the beginning of this episode. She spirals a little more this week, which is why the vampiric distraction was welcome.

Illustration for article titled iBatwoman /icopes with a monumental loss with some much-needed humor
Photo: Bettina Strauss (The CW)
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Alice and Kate unpack what happened, with Alice saying, “I mean nothing to you.” This is a punch in the gut for Kate, but it’s also the product of Alice’s turmoil as well. Batwoman’s writers have been done a commendable job of showing Alice’s evil nature and skill for killing without a second thought, all while humanizing her. As I’ve said before, Alice is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting villains, and Rachel Sarksten actually evokes a sense of unease with how good she is in the role. This episode shows how Alice is dealing with Kate’s decision to give Beth the antidote. Alice is angry at herself for letting Kate in and thinking she could bring her to the side of evil. She’s mad that she didn’t listen to Mouse, who’s now missing, and she’s just plain livid at her plight in life.

The drama and humor aside, this episode also focuses on Sophie and Kate’s lingering feelings for each other. It’s been very apparent that these two women aren’t over each other. As much as Sophie’s screwed Kate over in the past, it doesn’t limit the substantial connection they feel for each other. Sophie’s suspended from The Crows due of her involvement with Batwoman, which could mean these two have more time to grow closer.

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Mary is likely pissed at Kate, Alice definitely is pissed at Kate, and Jacob also has Batwoman on his shit list, although he doesn’t know it’s Kate. Kate deserves a little affection, but she’s going to face the music sooner rather than later.


Stray observations:

  • It was pretty clever to have Kayla Ewell play Nocturna since she also played a vampire in The CW’s major, bloodsucking hit The Vampire Diaries. 
  • Is that a Mary and Luke romance that I smell brewing? It’s been sort of hinted at before, but this episode kind of made it a little more obvious, with Luke coming in and saving her from an unwanted conversation. But, maybe it’s just showing how much closer they’re getting because of the team. It’s anyone’s guess at this point.
  • How cute is Kate’s look at the bar opening? She was also pretty calm and cool when talking to Sophie and the possible-Nocturna. It almost makes up for her massive smooch with Sophie later. Almost.
  • After Beth says that Kate has a soulmate on her Earth, it was heavily implied that it was Sophie, and remember how we all collectively hoped it wouldn’t be Sophie after all? We’re pouring one out for all of us tonight.
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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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