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Photo: Colin Bentley (The CW)
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Batwoman has had one of the stronger first seasons to come out of the Arrowverse shows. Kate Kane has had to deal with a psychotic sister back from the dead, on top of becoming Gotham’s newest vigilante. But after the solid midseason finale and that massive crossover, “How Queer Everything Is Today!” is a little underwhelming. Still, the episode does offer a few pleasant surprises, along with Kate still struggling with the whole hero thing, and a guarantee this season is about to get even more complicated.

Back at the beginning of the season, when Kate first donned the cowl and cape, she struggled with having to hide her identity, given that her whole existence up until that point was about being out and proud. But Kate’s secrecy about her double life as Batwoman was intended to protect her family from the fallout of her nocturnal, crime-fighting activities. Now, there’s an issue of Batwoman’s queerness—or lack thereof.

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Batwoman wasn’t meant to be a device that shoved Kate back in the closet, if she ever was in one, but it now feels like that to her. She’s very, very gay, as she points out in this episode, so her frustration at the erasure of her sapphic preferences is understandable, and exacerbated by the fact that Gotham is ’shipping her and one of the boys in blue. It seems a little silly at first, but when looking back on who she is and her new title as a Paragon of Courage, Kate’s decision to let more more of Batwoman’s true self (and, by extension, her own) shine through clicks into place, aided by Parker’s storyline.

At first, Parker’s devious cyber-hacking to get attention from her parents for being outed as gay is a little extreme, just as Kate’s desire to establish Batwoman’s sexuality started as a bit corny. But when those two are combined, it is relatable to a certain extent to real-life situations of hiding who you authentically are. Sure, gay teens aren’t hacking their mayor’s credit card info (that we know of), but it’s a superhero-sized equivalence to what gay teens do to cope with lack of acceptance. Queerness is hard to come to terms with, even with a sound support system. Luke makes a good point about not giving Batwoman so many of Kate’s characteristics, but in the end, her coming out saved even more of Gotham than she already does with a Batarang.

Image: Colin Bentley (The CW)
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Batwoman also shows a newer side to Mouse and Alice’s relationship. Up until this point, Mouse has been a doting yet aggressive partner to Alice; a true, idolizing brother-figure. While Mouse has had his moments of doubt with Alice, he’s been very much on her side of things. But now that their Mad Tea Party went off without a hitch, Alice is angry Kate doesn’t see it as the blessing she intended—and Mouse is not having it. It’s fascinating to see him share such sane realizations with her when he and Alice are usually very much the opposite. He most likely is making so much sense and being rational—duh, killing Mary’s mom and imprisoning their father isn’t going to make Kate jump for joy—because he wants all of Alice’s attention on him. Alice, of course, is not going to accept the fact that Kate is turning on her.

Speaking of which, Kate is truly, finally, over Alice. It took Catherine’s death and the framing of Jacob to make her see Alice’s true self, but Kate is done trying to bring Beth back. The end of “Mad Tea Party” really showed her anger towards the situation and the second metaphorical death of her sister. This time around, Kate is just determined. She’s ready to grovel to Mary and make up for everything. She’s also decided to shut Alice down—not in hopes of revitalizing her sister, but to end her.

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Photo: Colin Bentley (The CW)

And poor Mary. Our favorite character is grieving and juggling so much to stay away from facing it all. Unfortunately, everyone is just telling her to “see someone” or talk to someone, instead of talking through things with her themselves. Even though Kate will forever be making up for her role in Catherine’s death, and she knows it, she doesn’t do enough at first. After dodging that girl all season when Mary just wanted a sister, Kate has so to make up for.

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The last reveal is nothing short of genius. Not only does Beth’s return allow for some juicy and emotional hangups with Alice in the future, but it also shows that the series will have significant fallout from Crisis On Infinite Earths. It’s also a way to keep Rachel Skarsten tied to the show, and keep other characters around longer and in different ways, if that’s what they decide to do. Kate is going to have to pick up the pieces, with Jacob still in prison and Catherine’s death so fresh. Throw in new-Beth, and it’s getting really complicated. Alice is in custody, too, but heaven knows she won’t be for long.


Stray observations:

  • Having Kara Danvers as the reporter to break Batwoman’s story is not only friendship goals, but also just a perfect way to tie in the fact that they share the same Earth now, and also a great way to tell the world she’s a lesbian. Kara Ace Reporter strikes again!
  • It was such a sweet moment to hear Jacob Kane tell Mary how he was never going to lose her as a daughter. Finally, Mary gets some much-needed (and deserved) emotional validation!
  • It’s awesome that Batwoman is showing the fallout from Crisis On Infinite Earths. It seemed like maybe this show wouldn’t be as affected by the universes consolidating into Earth Prime, but that’s obviously not the case. It might cause headaches moving forward, though. Are there multiple Kates too? Multiple Batwomen or Bruce Waynes running around?
  • Hopefully, Kate getting Beth back doesn’t change her desire to show Mary how much she cares for her as a sister, not just a step-sibling. Mary really needs Kate’s emotional support and has always craved that connection. To lose it now would destroy her further. Unfortunately, we’ve seen what happens with Kate is sidetracked by Beth before. Let’s see if she can have less tunnel vision when it comes to her siblings.
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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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