Batwoman season 2, episode 3 recap – “Bat Girl Magic!” bewigged

February 1, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
3

Summary

“Bat Girl Magic!” has its share of comic book silliness, but it also beds Ryan into the setting and the role a little better, giving the sense that the show at least knows what it’s doing.

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3

Summary

“Bat Girl Magic!” has its share of comic book silliness, but it also beds Ryan into the setting and the role a little better, giving the sense that the show at least knows what it’s doing.

This recap of Batwoman season 2, episode 3, “Bat Girl Magic!”, contains spoilers.


“Bat Girl Magic!” deserves a decent amount of credit for the balancing act is pulls off between a case-of-the-week and an overarching narrative. In the immediate, it’s about baldy self-harming hit person Victor Zsasz (Alex Morf), who has been tasked by Safiyah to off anyone who has been around the Desert Rose, which includes Mary since Alice stole the magical restorative plant to heal her in the first place. But the episode is also about giving us more of Safiyah and Alice, teasing Kate Kane’s return, and continuing to bed Ryan into the role of Batwoman in her absence. It does a good job of spinning all those plates, all things considered.

You could quibble, obviously. The entire Safiyah subplot, which finds Alice and Sophia being abducted (as we saw at the end of the previous episode) and taken to Safiyah’s swanky private island just to be told that Kate’s alive and dropped back in Gotham again, could have been handled in about five minutes rather than stretched out across an entire episode. But it helps to get at the grandiosity of Safiyah if nothing else, it doubles as backstory and character-building for Alice, who has some solid scenes with Safiyah, and it keeps the idea of Kate’s return as a possibility in the future, even if the show’s focus at the moment should – and indeed largely is – on Ryan.

Speaking of which, as a parolee, finding some employment is pretty paramount for Ryan in Batwoman season 2, episode 3, so multi-billionaire Mary takes her on at The Hold-Up. It’s a favor, which is good for Ryan, but it doesn’t stop her from complaining about the pay, which is justifiable given Mary’s family fortune and fits right in with Ryan’s outsider status. The fact she also instantly recognizes Zsasz from “running in the same circles” is a bit too wrong-side-of-the-tracks for me, background-wise, but drawing attention to the kind of wealth required to fund vigilantism puts her firmly in the position of the audience and makes her a lot more relatable. The title of “Bat Girl Magic!” is obviously a play on Black girl magic, which is the headline that the papers go with after Ryan changes Kate’s garish red wig for something more fitting for her. In many ways, the hour is all about her making the role her own.

As well as its narrative elements, this episode also does a good job of balancing tone. Despite her fittingly tortured backstory, Ryan’s full of quips and relatable points of view. Zsasz and Safiyah bring heaps of comic book-y silliness. But whenever “Bat Girl Magic!” wants to express a genuine sentiment, it does so. There’s nothing all that noteworthy or ground-breaking about what Batwoman is doing right now, but at the very least it seems like it actually knows what it’s doing on some level, which is more than most of us were probably hoping for.

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