“Down Down Down” felt like it properly established Kate Kane as Batwoman, as she donned her real suit and decided to take responsibility for Gotham City — whatever it might cost her.
This recap of Batwoman Season 1, Episode 3, “Down Down Down”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
I’m still unsure about Batwoman‘s whole “missives to Bruce Wayne” narrative gimmick, but I suppose after an episode like “Down Down Down”, Kate (Ruby Rose) has a lot to tell him. She has — albeit inadvertently — given Gotham City hope in the absence of their cowled savior, but is that a responsibility she can handle? Batwoman Episode 3 is, in part, about her figuring that out. She can’t be Batman — because she isn’t Batman. But she can be a curvier, sexier version that still represents the same things. And since this episode opens with Alice (Rachel Skarsten) enthusiastically mocking Kate’s God-awful temporary suit, there’s no alternative but to don the real one. Finally!
But that’s for later. In the meantime, Kate suggests to Alice that if she can go 24 hours without killing anyone, they can work on their relationship, which is absolutely ludicrous. Indeed, in Alice’s next scene, in which she’s snooping around the Kane penthouse dressed as a Crow, she kills one of the guards. Oops.
But Kate just wants her sister back — it’s understandable. Everyone wants what they can’t have, which is why Sophie (Meagan Tandy) still evidently wants Kate. She’s having flashbacks of her while sparring with her husband, Tyler (Greyston Holt), whom she never told about her first — and perhaps only — love. This comes up a few times in “Down Down Down”; why would Sophie not mention having trained and grown up with the boss’s daughter? It seems obvious to us, but I suppose if you were Tyler you wouldn’t automatically leap to a secret lesbian love affair as the explanation. It’ll be fun when that secret gets unearthed.
In the meantime, Sophie is on a “special assignment” as Mary’s (Nicole Kang) bodyguard, which is a role she specifically asked Jacob (Dougray Scott) for. Mary, who is still trying to run her secret clinic, hates the idea, and even more so when Sophie just uses their time together to pump her for information about Kate. Why would she, after years of training specifically for it, turn down the Crow job? Well, according to Mary, it’s easier for Kate to walk away from five years of training than the girl who broke her heart. How very Shakespearean!
Also Shakespearean: Bruce’s childhood best friend Tommy Elliot (Gabriel Mann), a wealthy braggadocious moron with a bee in his bonnet about Batman, who saved his mother’s life, thus reducing him to wiping the spittle from a madwoman’s lips rather than, you know, claiming his ludicrous inheritance. This motive doesn’t become clear until later in Batwoman Episode 3, but it’s obvious he’s the villain of the week right from the moment Kate encounters him in Bruce’s office and he says he thought she was on a “lesbian ninja retreat”. Classic bigoted baddie stuff.
Tommy is responsible for the theft of a railgun from a Wayne Research & Development lab, the severity of which is explained to Kate by Luke (Camrus Johnson), who shoots a round from a prototype right through the bulletproof Batsuit. Bruce built the weapon as a contingency should the suit ever fall into the wrong hands, which suggests that whoever nabbed it knew Bruce was Batman. He tries to convince Kate to don the suit once again, but she’s scared of letting the city down, already fearing she has antagonized Batman’s enemies and made Gotham more dangerous by doing so the first time. A bloody effigy of Batman and taunting graffiti left in the streets help to confirm her point.
Tommy, in true rich idiot fashion, is throwing a swanky, exclusive party attended by virtually everyone important to the show. In a conversation with Tyler, Kate realizes that Sophie has kept their relationship a secret, a juicy slice of gossip immediately sussed out by the party’s bartender, Reagan (Brianne Howey, last seen as Shauna Babcock in The Passage, to save you the Google). If the end of Batwoman Episode 3 is anything to go by, we’ll be seeing more of Reagan, who says she’ll call Kate in clear earshot of Sophie, which is a sassy boss move of the highest order.
At the party, Kate panics Tommy by implying there’s a tracker in the stolen railgun, forcing him to show his hand. She soon catches him with it, prompting a bit of backstory about how he’s sour that he had to nurse his gold-digging psycho mother instead of cashing all her cheques. He also says that he found out Bruce was Batman by paying someone to “riddle him the answer”, in case you, like me, are keeping track of unsubtle nods to the broader Batman mythology. Tommy has the building’s elevators remotely controlled, allowing him to trap Mary, Sophie, and Tyler in one, and a group of waiters in the other, while he flees to the roof and demands Batman meets him there.
Alice, meanwhile, calls Jacob from the penthouse and plays the cello to him. She can’t understand why he stopped looking for her in the first place but assures him that she won’t let him forget her again: “King of the Crows, can’t even protect your own nest,” she mocks, while rooting through Kate’s stored belongings and discovering evidence that even if her father might have, her sister never stopped looking for her.
These two plots collide in “Down Down Down”. Kate returns to the Batcave and asks Luke if she thinks Bruce is coming back. Since the answer is predictably no, she has to make a decision. Gotham needs Batman; needs what he represents to its people. But since she can’t be Batman, she might as well be something better: Sexy red-haired Batman in a proper form-fitting suit with birthstone-red trimmings. When she confronts Tommy, he says she isn’t Batman, and she says that’s entirely the point before giving him a whooping. But Tommy, having already dropped the elevator full of waiters, is able to distract her by dropping the other. She deploys Chekhov’s double-ended grapple gun to prevent that, but it leaves her vulnerable. Luckily, Alice arrives to save her. “Red wig? And I’m the crazy one.”
It’s a nice sisterly gesture, but it doesn’t amount to much. Alice reveals she couldn’t last the full 24 hours without committing murder, to which Kate delivers the weakest threat I think I’ve ever heard: If she kills again, she’ll stop thinking of Alice as her sister. Alice, echoing presumably the entire audience, says that’s entirely the point. Call me cynical, folks, but I think this woman might be a lost cause.
Batwoman Season 1, Episode 3 mostly ends well. Tommy gets arrested and sent to Arkham. Kate gets a date. Catherine (Elizabeth Anweis) hides the playing cards left in the penthouse by Alice and resumes convincing Jacob that she couldn’t possibly be Beth, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Kate, via narrated letter, tells Bruce that whatever she has to face is worth it for the sake of the city. And we hear the city excitedly speculate about this new, curvier, sexier vigilante. What could we possibly call her? Sophie has a good suggestion. We could call her Batwoman.