We’re back with Batwoman – and this time we’re going deeper into our Alice in Wonderland references with S1E2 “The Rabbit Hole.” If you didn’t catch the pilot, head over to my recap from last week before diving into this one.
Caught up? Good! It’s time to get started.
This is a full recap of Batwoman S1E2: AKA beware of spoilers.
“What’s the difference between being hopeful and being crazy?”
After a short recap of last episode, Kate dives deeper into the events following her sister’s death – and how that now connects with her realization about Alice’s identity. Then, it’s back to the present, where Jacob Kane tells his Crows, over some spooky instrumentals, that it’s time to put a stop to Gotham’s latest threat. Meanwhile, Kate is already getting the hang of being Batwoman. She fights some cronies in animal masks, takes a literal bullet to the chest and – wait, is that voice a reference to Christian Bale’s Batman? I love this show. Anyway! Then Kate sets up her goal for this episode; proving to her dad that Beth is Alice.
Back in the Batcave, Luke unsuccessfully pleads with Kate to be more careful. Then, enter Rachel Maddow as the voice of Vesper Fairchild. Over radios and podcasts, she catches the city up on the hottest debate in Gotham; is Batman back, or is this just another copycat? I’m not sure about you, but it reminds me a whole heck of a lot of The Dark Knight Returns (the comic) which uses media to give the everyday citizen a voice. Intentional or not, it’s an interesting parallel.
Cut to breakfast at the Kane household. Kate and Jacob trade verbal jabs about the investigation’s progress, Mary changes subject, theorizing about Sophie’s sexuality before she’s interrupted by Kate, who spills an entire pot of tea to tell her family that Beth is indeed Alice. Jacob and Catherine scoff and dismisses the idea even as Kate presents her argument.
“We’re still poor, are we not?”
Speaking of Alice; the Mad Hatter herself is up to no good. She gives a bit of a speech to a pair of hostages and a few of her underlings, lamenting on the class disparity in Gotham. It’s well delivered and, honestly, nice to hear on broadcast television. That finished, Crow/cronie, who she’s also maybe having a thing with, enters. He tells her they’ve yet to find her missing knife and they share an evil smooch.
Kate, holding said knife, reminisces again on the time following Beth’s disappearance. A young, dutiful Kate stays up late next to the phone, saying she needs to be there if her sister calls, and asks her dad to promise he’ll give up hope.
In the Batcave, Luke tells Kate that, unfortunately, he’s unable to run a DNA test on Alice’s knife. Again, he urges Kate to stop what she’s doing, loading one verbal Chekov’s Gun doing so. Kate takes a shot at Luke, alluding to a rocky relationship with his father before the scene’s end.
So, without a Guy in The Chair to help, Kate heads to the Crows and to Sophie who wastes no time before asking Kate if she’s this new Batman. Kate shoots back the equivalent of “nu-uh!” but she does engage her Bat-Charm to great effect. They move to what must be a parking garage, where Kate asks for help analyzing the DNA and proving Alice’s identity. Sophie refuses, saying it’d betray her father’s trust, so Kate transitions into a new topic. She tells Sophie that if she knew she was getting married, she would’ve stopped it.
Saving Sophie from a difficult conversation is a big van full of bad guys, who definitely seem to have appeared inexplicably out of nowhere. Oh well! In a skirmish that only lasts a few seconds, the masked villains jump Kate, steal back Alice’s knife and are gone as quickly as they arrived.
Back in Jacob’s office, Kate asks the question we all want the answer to: “how did they know I had her knife?” But, Jacob doesn’t seem to care how these bad buys knew where the knife was and Kate’s exact location. Great job Mr. Security Man. He dismisses Kate’s question and Sophie mentions that running the DNA couldn’t hurt – but he won’t have it. He tells Kate that if the Crows get the shot, they’re taking it.
“What’s your stance on doctor-patient confidentiality?”
Kate, looking for another way to test that DNA, heads over to the good doctor, Mary, at her back alley hospital. One of her patients is a crow who, incidentally, is also one of Batwoman’s victims, evidenced by the Batarang lodged in his scapula. She tends to another patient and, while she’s doting on a local plant-based café, Kate undoes the straps holding down Alice’s captive cronie. She gives him a message to take to his boss that she would only understand if Alice really is her sister: waffles.
Back at the Crow’s hideout, Jacob and his militia have tracked down what they believe is Alice’s location. They’re ready to move out when Sophie gets a call from Kate. She needs Sophie to stall the crows while she waits for Alice to act on the message she sent – but Sophie’s loyal to Commander Kane and tells Kate as much.
Luke, in the Batcave, is dealing with some technical difficulties. The Bat-Computer is on the fritz and, glancing at the wall, a few choice pieces of Bat-Equipment are missing, too. HMMMM.
In the next scene, we see Kate, in street clothes, at a local park. And, from here on out I’m not allowed to talk about what happens! But, I can talk about how cool it is – so if you don’t want to take my word for it, you’ll have to track down the last of half of this episode on the CW website.
THE END (sort of).
The Rabbit Hole totally cemented my hopes for this show from last week. This episode builds on small gems that seemed as if they’d be totally brushed over and, of course, delivered on more Mary. Specifically, this idea that a lot of people aren’t what they seem evolved from a coincidence to a definite motif. Every character in this show is hiding something; they have a warped reflection (hello again Alice in Wonderland references) that’s kept secret from everyone else. Kate, obviously, is Batwoman, Mary is a doctor, Alice is Beth, Jacob is more commander than father and Sophie, though we’re not sure to what degree, is trying to bury her past with Kate. Secret identities and their implications are a common theme to explore in cape and cowl media, but giving one to every cast member is an interesting tie-in to this arc’s inherent theme that ‘not everything is what it seems.’
When it comes to actually getting to know those characters, the cast and writers are pulling their weight there, too. To a large extent, these people don’t seem like they’re just acting within the limits of what broadcast television will permit. Mary, especially, is totally unafraid of talking about things like healthcare, sexuality and the wealth gap – and even calling someone a domestic terrorist. Her voice is a breath of fresh air in every scene she’s in and Nicole Kang plays the hell out of that role. As Batwoman’s rogue’s gallery and the issues facing Gotham expand (probably into a wealth divide if I’m predicting correctly), Mary’s character will only improve. Rachel Skarsten knocks it out of the park again this week as Alice, and the same can be said for Camrus Johnson as Luke and, of course, Ruby Rose as Kate “I had a Bowl of Nails for Breakfast” Kane.
It’s an encouraging sign that, already, this cast is talented and nuanced enough on their own to keep me coming back in between commercials. Even after this mystery is solved, I’ll still want to know about Luke’s relationship with his dad, how Mary is doing in medical school and how Sophie handles her new relationship with Kate. After two episodes, the foundation is still strong – and it doesn’t hurt that this episodes twist was, to be frank, totally rad.