Here we go again! Batwoman S1E4, “Who Are You?” is directed by Holly Dale and written by Nancy Kiu and Denise Harkavy. Kate (Ruby Rose), now comfortable in her new digs, attempts the classic work/life balance, Alice (Rachel Skarsten) takes her plot to the sidelines and, gloriously, more Luke conent (Camrus Johnson).
Enjoy – and don’t forget to check out our recaps from weeks’ gone by if you haven’t already.
This is a full recap of Batwoman S1E4: AKA beware of spoilers.
“I am not a liar. I have never hidden who I am.”
For the first time, this episode starts not with a monologue, but with an introduction. Since we last touched base with Gotham, Magpie (Rachel Matthews) has begun making a name for herself as the city’s premiere cat – or rather bird – burglar. In the opening scene, she makes off with some jewelry before the titlecard and a transition to Vesper Fairchild (Rachel Maddow) lamenting over the incident on the radio waves. Listening to the chatter, still in bed, are Kate and Reagan (Brianne Howey), the bartender from last episode. Chatting leads to kissing in classic CW fashion but – before things go any farther, they’re interrupted by a text from Luke. Hopefully Kate has message previews turned off since he literally sends a custom Batwoman emoji in every text.
Kate reveals herself to be a truly godawful liar as she conjures an excuse to go and take care of Bat-business. Reagan semi-believes her and, although they’re super cute together, this is a classic dilemma for super-folks. As the saying goes, there ain’t no sex for the supers. Or something like that.
Kate, now motorcycling off to Wayne Tower, gives the episode’s first narration with a Rihanna quote and a story about coming out. She says she’s always been gay and proud of it. Because of that, being Batwoman, hiding who she is and what she does, is difficult. It adds a lot of retroactive resonance to Kate’s relationship with Reagan and, honestly, is some of the best character work this episode. So here’s hoping for more inner monologues!
At Wayne Tower, a museum curator thanks Kate for lending Martha Wayne’s pearls to a fundraising event and Luke quietly fills Kate in on Magpie’s growing threat level. They schmooze, then Luke takes Kate to the Batcave. Alice’s boyfriend, still captive after last episode, isn’t doing so hot. Luke guilts her into taking him to the ER, AKA best girl, Mary (Nicole Kang).
Before that, let’s check in with Catherine (Elizabeth Anweis), who’s just chilling at the grave of her husband’s late wife and daughter, the latter of which is being dug up. Alice arrives on the scene with her goons and asks if Commander Kane has any idea what’s really in that plot. Alice, clearly holding some dirt over Catherine, cuts her a deal. Hamilton Dynamics, Catherine’s company, gives Alice some unknown weapon, or she’ll tell Jacob the secret she’s been hiding for years.
“You don’t have any Neosporin in your Batbelt?”
Anywho, Batwoman heads over to Mary’s, Alice crony in tow. She asks Mary to patch him up and she agrees. Batwoman heads off into the night for her regularly scheduled ‘standing atop a building and glaring down at the city.’ She says she has to restore the city’s faith in the Bat by catching its biggest villain – Magpie. Luke gets in touch just in time with a lead on the thief.
Batwoman finds Magpie trying to steal a big, presumably valuable egg. They duke it out and Magpie says that she’s been forced into this lifestyle to survive. She’s not doing it to hurt anyone necessarily, but she’s all out of options. Another subtle aspect of the show’s classist aspects that’s always welcome! Magpie tries to make a break for it. Batwoman whips a Batarang at her and – misses it, accidentally smashing a vase and beginning a really weird plot thread.
Vesper Fairchild makes a joke cheesier than a box of Velveeta and Luke and Kate argue about what was wrong (or wasn’t) with her Batarang. He says he’ll analyze one of Magpie’s bombs and Kate dips, saying she’s got a date. Luke, with heavy millennial vibes, jokes “I’ll be here, not dating anyone, ‘cause I love to work. Love to work.” Awe, Luke.
Jacob (Dougray Scott), in his office, is listening to the song Alice/Beth used to play on cello. Sophie (Meagan Tandy) pops in with a lead: turns out Alice was using Hamilton (AKA Crow) technology. But how did she get her hands on it? Hmm…
“No one’s allowed to keep secrets anymore.”
Out on the streets, Kate and Reagan recount old flames and old times in post-gentrification Gotham. Their date’s cut short though, as Luke shoots her a totally conspicuous text, Batwoman emoji and all. Even though Reagan makes an excuse for her, Kate says, actually, there’s an electrical fire she has to put out. Smooth. They reschedule to meet up for the fundraiser later that night.
Over in the Batcave, Magpie enters the building, takes Luke down and lifts Martha’s necklace. Kate arrives, feeling guilty over the theft, but Luke fills her in on what he found from analyzing Magpie’s 3D printed bombs. He tells her to push her Crow friends for more info so, reluctantly, Kate makes her way to HQ.
Sophie, totally onto the fact that Kate is Batwoman, gives her what she’s looking for. Also, no one other than Sophie wonders why Kate is doing all this investigating? Eh, who cares. There’s action to be had elsewhere.
Some of Catherine’s men are out trying to find Alice’s base, but are captured. Alice, always a utilitarian, takes the opportunity to send her step-mom a message by clipping off one of her guard’s fingers – which, sorry, doesn’t seem like that big a deal? Alice’s demeanor definitely makes it seem like the stakes are higher.
Kate, realizing Sophie is onto her, admits to Luke that she sucks at hiding her identity, referencing back to her earlier monologue. She wonders out loud how Bruce did it, and Luke tells her, actually, he coped with it really poorly, which is very on brand for Batman. He then sends her to a P.O. box where the explosives were sent, which turns out to be the Magpie’s nest. It’s climate rigged – so being inside or breathing will set off a detonator. Lukcily, the Batsuit offsets her latene heat and she’s also trained to hold her breath. While she’s unable to speak, Luke takes the opportunity to explain that it was his fault that she missed her Batarang earlier – faulty calibration and all. Then, a sneeze from Kate sets the whole place ablaze.
In the underground ER, Mary’s patient comes to, fully believing he’s with Alice. Mary takes on the role surprisingly well and manages to find out that Alice is looking for someone named Mouse.
At the fundraiser, “Jewelry Worn by Women in History,” Kate does double duty as Batwoman and as Reagan’s date. Surprise! Sophie is here and the ensuing chat between the three women is super duper awkward! Fittingly, Reagan throws back some alcohol, Kate finally finds her vibe again and they run into the curator from the beginning of the episode. She thanks Kate again for lending out Martha’s pearls – but wait – weren’t those stolen? Yes! And these aren’t the real ones, they’re explosives! Kate realizes that, peaces out and dawns the Batsuit. Magpie wants to divert attention from the rest of the exhibit while she loots the rest.
A blackout causes an evacuation (away from the explosives?) and Magpie heads in. She faces off briefly with Batwoman and gives her an ultimatum. Stop her, or save the civilians from the explosive pearls. And, dear reader, please do not think too hard about this scene. It’s for your own good, Bat-fans.
Now, resolution that we cannot discuss here! Kate and Reagan chat, so do Catherine and Jacob the beans are spilled. Ah yeah and Kate is going to go into real estate, serving underserved communities! Cool – but a bit out of left field.
That was certainly an episode! For the first time in Batwoman, the plot’s shakiness overcame the character moments. Although there was some solid Kate/Luke chemistry – and even sparks between her and Reagan – the rest of the cast seemed dialed back in terms of screen time. It all started with that failed Batarang catch. Once that thread unraveled, more and more of the episode’s frill showed itself, even shoving the villains into that category. In trying to juggle both Magpie and Alice, we got some interesting developments on one and a half-baked introduction on the other. Based on Tommy Elliot’s debut last episode, the writing team is definitely capable of pulling this off, but the cards just weren’t right here.
In spite of all that, though (I’m a softie for this romance), S1E4 of Batwoman still has it’s claws in me. Here’s hoping next week brings that Mary content we missed out on!