Batwoman Recap: Finding A Work-Life Balance

October 27, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, TV Recaps


“Who Are You?” introduces a new villain with a penchant for shiny objects, as Kate grapples with her work-life balance as being the Bat starts to take a toll on her personal relationships.

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“Who Are You?” introduces a new villain with a penchant for shiny objects, as Kate grapples with her work-life balance as being the Bat starts to take a toll on her personal relationships.

This recap of Batwoman Season 1, Episode 4, “Who Are You?”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

Batwoman Episode 4 finally introduces a new villain: Magpie (Rachel Matthews), a bewigged thief with counterintuitively long nails, and she’s right on time. A fundraiser at an antiquities museum is about to present Martha Wayne’s beloved pearl necklace, and Gotham City is already starting to turn on Batwoman (Ruby Rose) since she chose to stay in bed with Reagan (Brianne Howey) rather than foil one of Magpie’s heists. Was Bruce Wayne subject to explicitly gendered banter in the mainstream press? Probably not, but then again Kate Kane isn’t Batman. That’s the point.

“Who Are You?” is a question that you’d imagine someone might ask of a new baddie, but it’s really aimed at Kate. Batwoman Episode 4 is about her figuring it out. Is she the kind of woman who lays in bed with her new girlfriend, having to constantly make excuses so that she can respond to Luke’s (Camrus Johnson) emergencies, or is she a dedicated vigilante who swears off personal relationships so she can be there when the city needs her? Either way, she can’t be both.

Kate ponders as much in her narration, quoting Rihanna to Batman — probably a first for him — and asking how she can hide who she is now when she has been out and proud her entire life. This is all new for her; the costumed crimefighting is the easy part.

Also not easy: Figuring out what to do with Alice’s (Rachel Skarsten) goon, who Kate and Luke are still holding captive, and who needs urgent medical attention. Who better to provide that than Mary (Nicole Kang), who is thrilled to see Batwoman in her secret clinic, even if she is bringing with her the man who stabbed her.

Alice, meanwhile, lures Catherine (Elizabeth Anweis) to a meeting, explaining that she wants a “special toy”, a secret project developed by Hamilton Dynamics, and that if Catherine doesn’t give it to her by 10pm the next day she’ll tell Jacob it was his beloved wife who convinced him that his beloved daughter was dead.

Kate interrupts Magpie’s latest heist and gets into it with her. The fight is pretty even — and reasonable well-staged — but Magpie, as villains tend to during first encounters with their nemeses, manages to escape. Kate is able to nab something from her belt, though, even if the Batarang she tosses after her whizzes back past her waiting hand and straight through a vase once belonging to Marie Antoinette. Oops. More bad press. Kate insists to Luke that the thing is broken, and accuses him of “Bat-splaining” when he tries to say it isn’t. But she believes him that the device recovered from Magpie’s belt is a grenade and that analysis of it might enable them to track her.

Sophie (Meagan Tandy) goes to see Jacob (Dougray Scott) in Batwoman Episode 4, and finds him moodily listening to Alice’s cello recital. She has information about the IED used to ambush Alice’s convoy and break her out of Crow custody: It used highly advanced detection technology unique to Hamilton Dynamics. Things are not looking good for Catherine in “Who Are You?”

Speaking of Sophie, Kate and Reagan discuss her on a very brief lunch date that is once again interrupted by Luke. She invites Reagan to the fundraiser that night, as a kind of apology. While Kate is busy putting her new lover directly in harm’s way, Magpie breaks into Wayne Tower, attacks Luke and steals Martha Wayne’s pearl necklace. Living a double life is not going well for Kate.

The good news is that Luke has figured out Magpie’s bombs are 3D-printed and loaded with explosive ink, the purchase of which can be tracked. Kate asks Sophie to find out who’s been buying it — naturally, she’s suspicious of Kate investigating this herself when Batwoman is on the case. “You know me,” says Kate, “I don’t trust vigilantes.”

Catherine, in a desperate attempt at self-preservation, sends her own goons to find Alice’s hideout, but they’re ambushed by the Wonderland Gang, and Alice lops off one of their fingers with garden shears as a pretty unsubtle message. Clock’s ticking in “Who Are You?”.

Kate, still struggling with her work-life balance, asks Luke how Bruce was able to maintain the lie of Batman. The truth is with great difficulty. He was miserable. His playboy lifestyle was just a convenient cover so that he could tell the same lies over and over. Nighttime vigilantism just isn’t compatible with healthy relationships, which is probably why he packed it all in and disappeared. But anyway, the purchase of that explosive ink leads to a PO Box at the Old Gotham Hotel, which turns out to be Magpie’s hideout. Unsurprisingly it’s climate-controlled and rigged to detonate a bomb if the temperature increases. Kate’s Batsuit can control her body temperature, but she will have to hold her breath while she snoops around. Luke takes the opportunity while she can’t speak to tell her that he has fixed the Batarang — it was calibrated for Bruce’s longer arms. Kate copies a hard drive but has to grapple out of a window when she sneezes and reduces the lair to rubble.

At Mary’s clinic, Alice’s goon wakes up in a morphine-induced delirium, mistaking Mary for her boss. Mary hilariously impersonates her, asking the guy to recite her evil plan, since she has forgotten the details. He says that Batwoman “has no idea”, and mentions someone called “Mouse”. Nothing comes of it in Batwoman Episode 4, but it’s a thread for later episodes to unravel.

While Luke busies himself 3D-printing complicated schematics from Magpie’s hard drive, Kate attends the museum fundraiser as both Batwoman and herself, stashing her outfit in a maintenance room for later use (no fancy costume changes in Gotham, it seems.) Sophie is working security for the event, much to the annoyance of Reagan. You can’t really relax and enjoy a date with your lover when their ex is chilling in the background, armed.

Surprise! Apparently a security guard showed up and returned the pearls safe and sound for the fundraiser, leading Kate to the same conclusion as Luke: The necklace is a bomb. But Kate reasons that it’s a Trojan horse, a distraction so that Magpie will have free rein over the exhibit. Predictably, she’s right. Magpie sets the pearls off and Kate has to stifle all the blasts with her cape, allowing Magpie to make off with the loot. Luckily Kate is able to knock one of the offending pearl-bombs out of a little girl’s hands with her Batarang — and she catches it! Finally, some good press. And to make matters even better, she catches Magpie, who turns out to be the photographer who was taking snaps of Wayne Tower.

But it isn’t all good news in Batwoman Season 1, Episode 4. The lies are starting to catch up to Kate when it comes to Reagan, although how she can complain about that when she invited her to the fundraiser is anyone’s guess. Either way, they amicably split; Kate says she isn’t in a place where she can share all of herself with someone else. Her gift for giant understatement remains intact.

This isn’t the only relationship getting complicated in “Who Are You?”. Catherine confesses to Jacob that she set up Alice’s “death” so that he and Kate could move on; the skull fragments were from a deer, and she paid a DNA analyst to say they were Beth’s. It’s understandable, but he doesn’t think so, telling her to get away from him. All in all, the worst episode yet for Catherine, not that she’s particularly sympathetic.

More sympathetic is Mary, who tells Batwoman about the enigmatic “Mouse”. Kate injects the goon with a subdermal transponder in the hope he’ll lead her back to his employer. And she finally wins public favor. To celebrate, she’s going to start a real estate business renovating run-down neighborhoods. It’s time to give back to Gotham and to embrace the Bat. Batwoman Season 1, Episode 4 ends with Luke turning on the Bat-signal.

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