Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Batwoman proves she’s Gotham’s beacon of hope in season finale

Illustration for article titled iBatwoman/i proves she’s Gotham’s beacon of hope in season finale
Photo: Dean Buscher (The CW)
TV ReviewsAll of our TV reviews in one convenient place.

For a second there, it seemed like the finale of Batwoman wasn’t going to happen. But it’s here, and it’s a pretty fitting end to the first season.

Advertisement

“O, Mouse!” combines two of the different types of episodes that primarily made up season one. Some episodes revolved around minor villains, which sometimes felt like they were holding back the Alice storyline or something greater—fillers, if you will. And then there were the Alice-centric episodes. These were great and emotional, but also sometimes felt like they might be rehashing the same things. Tonight’s finale episode moves Kate’s story forward through a combination of this season’s storytelling methods, creating significant momentum for Season 2.

After Luke and Julia’s captivity last episode, and Kate knowing that Alice has the decoded journal with the kryptonite information, the audience and Team Batwoman are waiting for the other shoe to drop. In the meantime, Kate has to deal with one of the Arkham escapees. But how does one do that when their father will (probably) shoot them on-sight? They just do.

Advertisement

At first, the Tim “The Titan” storyline feels like just another subplot that added to that “filler” feeling mentioned above. It gets more interesting the more Kate and Mary dig into his story, but that seems to be extent of it. But the Titan storyline actually ties so many aspects together and connects to a bigger plot this season, which is Jacob Kane’s disdain for Batwoman. Titan’s story also highlights Jacob’s unfortunate part in a broken system. It delivers a bigger message here: Everyone loses when corporations and greed fuel systems of good. Take Gotham’s healthcare system. Mary runs a makeshift hospital without proper necessities because healthcare is so out of reach for those in Gotham. Another example is the police force. The Crows exist to bring military-level protection to the elite of the city because Gotham’s police force is inadequate. Of course, this leaves out the poor and those that can’t afford a safe neighborhood or situation.

Advertisement

And then Titan rounds it out on the entertainment front. Athletes can’t have a safe playing field or work environment because those in power are only worried about themselves and making money. So, when a powerhouse like Tim “The Titan” should be deemed “out of commission” because of his injuries, his wellbeing is thrown to the side in favor of keeping him on the field. Which, in turn, puts everyone more at risk because of his outburst that gets him sent to Arkham. It smacks the viewer in the face and makes Jacob’s actions that much worse. He’s always been on the wrong side of this equation, but this episode makes it blatantly obvious.

Illustration for article titled iBatwoman/i proves she’s Gotham’s beacon of hope in season finale
Photo: Bettina Strauss (The CW)
Advertisement

“O, Mouse!” also showcases how tightly aligned Supergirl and Batwoman’s stories are with each other. Audiences saw this a bit during the last two crossovers, and more so with the “Crisis On Infinite Earths.” Kate was in awe of Kara and didn’t seem to see herself on the same footing as a Kryptonian. But after the Crisis ended and Kate became the Paragon of Courage, her bond with Kara has grown stronger. Kate’s journey as Batwoman this season has also strengthened her confidence as a hero. She started this gig as a vigilante to save her sister. But now that that’s not a priority because it’s not feasible, Kate is Batwoman for the city of Gotham. Just like Supergirl’s selfless claim to fame, Batwoman is now a full-fledged hero.

Kate also holds her friendship with Kara in high regard. She knows that Kara trusts her enough to hold onto something that could end Kara. But it’s also, now, something that could mean death for Kate. But Kate continues to live up to the “Paragon of Courage” title—she puts Kara’s wellbeing ahead of her own by not allowing Luke to destroy the last kryptonite on this Earth. This increases the chances that Alice will find the kryptonite Kate’s keeping and destroy her with it.

Advertisement

Getting into Alice’s sticky head, she has a one-track mind. Kate’s betrayal proved too much and basically short-circuited her twin’s messed-up head. Alice needs to be “full, complete, and happy” before she can leave Gotham, and the only way to achieve Nirvana is by killing Kate. The audience’s relationship with Alice is jumbled, like her connection with Kate. She’s made up some of the show’s best moments, but at what cost? It’s evident that the only way Alice will stop trying to harm Kate and her friends is if she’s dead. Will Kate be the one to deliver that blow?

One of the most painful moments in this episode is the last scene with Mouse. He and Alice are just two traumatized kids, forced to live with their burdens. Up until now, they’ve clung to Alice In Wonderland, often escaping to that narrative. And, of course, made it their actual identities. That might have been the first sign that things weren’t right when Alice suggested burning their book. It would signal a burning of their traumatic past, and their captor August Cartwright. But it’s also Alice’s lifeline to who she is now. There’s no way she was actually going to burn it.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iBatwoman/i proves she’s Gotham’s beacon of hope in season finale
Photo: Bettina Strauss (The CW)

Alice’s poisoning of Mouse is like anything Alice does; it’s all for self-preservation. It’s a bit weird because Alice has protected and fought for Mouse up until this point. But just like Joker is with Harley Quinn, when push comes to shove, he’ll choose himself over her any day. And even though it’s painful for Alice, in her twisted brain, it’s the right choice. It’s very much an “If I can’t have you, no one can” mentality since he was going to leave her if she didn’t give up her “kill Kate” plan. And she needs to finish it.

Advertisement

Speaking of siblings, ever since Mary finally caved and told Kate that she knows she’s Batwoman, their relationship isn’t as strained. Shocker. The Alice situation disintegrates completely by the end of this episode, and Mary and Kate’s bond strengthens. Kate’s chased an illusion of what Alice could be. Then, she got what she dreamed of when Beth came on the scene. But this whole time, Mary has been right there. Mary is such a good person that she hasn’t blown up like a lot of people would have, and it all paid off in this episode.

Mary confronts Jacob at the Bat-Signal about working with Batwoman. For the first time this season, someone close to Jacob confronts him about how he privatizes public safety, making it available to only the rich. Mary points out that helping Batwoman would possibly change the public perception of the Crows. They adore Batwoman because, unlike the Crows, she fights for them. She’s their hope.

Advertisement

This is part of the reason why Jacob’s betrayal leaves them reeling. Sure, he doesn’t know Kate is Batwoman. But he completely disrespected the trust she gave him, which she did in Gotham’s best interest. Jacob’s hate for the vigilante is understandable to a point—it undermines his job, and Jacob doesn’t see that he can trust her—however, to order a firing squad on her? His desire to be judge, jury, and executioner shows Jacob’s willingness to do anything to bring Batwoman down, even forgoing honor.

Mary tells their dad that the Crows are just a device to make money for Jacob. For once, instead of having security for the sake of capitalism and lining his wallet, Jacob should team up with Kate for the sake of just doing good. Mary says he should back Batwoman up because of what she means to the people of Gotham. There is personal motivation behind opening the Crows up to the public, as well. And his betrayal of Batwoman not only shits on Batwoman, and Kate and Mary by extension, but also Gotham.

Advertisement

Looking back, Batwoman soared in its first season. There were some pacing issues at the start and episodes that felt lackluster in comparison to others. But it dove into the character of Kate Kane, really highlighting her issues with emotional ties. It showed viewers her growth from selfishly putting on the suit and cowl, to being willing to die for the people of Gotham. “O, Mouse!” wasn’t initially intended as the season finale. And it feels that way in the beginning. But the end is really what pulls it together into a pretty good finish. Plus, the cliffhanger is worthy of season two hype.

Stray observations

  • First off, thank you for your patience while waiting for another review! Very happy to be back for the finale.
  • Alright, since I’ve been gone, my excitement at Kate’s exes interacting has turned to... definite surprise at them now being an item. Kate can’t catch a break in the romance department, especially since another favorite of mine (Reagan) turned out to be a backstabber as well! Maybe Kate needs to look outside of Gotham for a girlfriend.
  • Regardless, something tells me that maybe Julia isn’t being so forthcoming about why she’s back in Gotham. We know, now, that she has ties to Safiyah, which is a connection to Alice. Safiyah is the only person who Alice is truly frightened of, which makes me think Julia is still within her grasp. But maybe she really is just on the run from her. Whoever she is.
  • That Bruce Wayne face reveal was top notch. It pulls in the mystery behind the character and ensures that the fact that Kate will welcome into Wayne Enterprises with no issue.
  • Hopefully, this kryptonite connection brings about more crossovers with Supergirl. Maybe the way to go with crossovers from now on isn’t a massive one each year. But instead bringing it back to how Arrow and The Flash used to do it in the beginning; little episodes here and there. Kate and Kara are such a joy together, so fingers crossed.
  • Lastly, thank you to so many people for reading my reviews and thoughts throughout this season. It was my first time reviewing a TV show on a regular basis and for The A.V. Club, and the responses made it even better. See you in next season in some for another! God knows we need to see how the Bruce Wayne reveal goes over for Kate.
Advertisement

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.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter