Batwoman season 2, episode 8 recap – “Survived Much Worse” best of both worlds

March 22, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
3

Summary

“Survived Much Worse” tries to have its cake and eat it with the long-running Kate Kane storyline, and what that means for the future of Batwoman remains to be seen.

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3

Summary

“Survived Much Worse” tries to have its cake and eat it with the long-running Kate Kane storyline, and what that means for the future of Batwoman remains to be seen.

This recap of Batwoman season 2, episode 8, “Survived Much Worse”, contains spoilers.


Well, we have plenty to discuss, don’t we?

Ever since the second season premiere, I’ve lamented Batwoman’s seemingly inability to focus on anything other than Kate Kane. It was a problem, especially since several characters felt as if they’d have nothing to do without her, but also because it was prohibiting Ryan was properly inheriting the cowl, even though she clearly had interesting things to say and do in the role. Recent episodes did a decent job of tying this endless fascination with Kate into a larger plot that seemed very much like it was preparing to confirm and solidify the idea that Kate was truly dead and gone, and “Survived Much Worse” was the episode to do exactly that. And then it undermined the decision almost immediately.

All roads have thus far led to Coryana, where Alice was hoping to exchange the “corpse” of Ocean for Kate so that she could kill her sister herself, and Ryan was hoping to retrieve Alice despite the fact that she was dying from a kryptonite wound which only Coryana’s Desert Rose could heal. I was pretty convinced that Ryan being on Coryana would allow her to kill two birds with one stone and receive some life-saving treatment while also tying off the Kate storyline once and for all with the confirmation that Safiyah never had her in the first place and she’s genuinely, for real, no backsies dead. We got some of that, at least.

What we got was the confirmation that Safiyah never had Kate – she was manipulating Alice, which everyone probably guessed. What surprised me was Alice actually stabbing Ocean instead of relying on the decoy, which sort of undermines the decision not to stab him in the first place. That beat felt a little wonky, a little too designed for shock value, but Alice’s retaliation for the betrayal, torching the Desert Rose fields, seemed a real game-changer, potentially denying Ryan of the single life-saving cure.

At the same time that Safiyah reveals she never had Kate, Penny informs Luke and Mary that some of Kate’s body parts have been discovered, and the DNA is a match. Those two details taken together seem like confirmation that she’s dead, and I was happy enough with that to mostly overlook the incredible good fortune of Ryan’s plant actually being a Desert Rose, meaning the cure was back in Gotham all along. So, we get to have Alice’s vengeance and Ryan’s salvation – okay, a bit too neat and tidy, but whatever. Ocean actually surviving being stabbed thanks to Safiyah lining the blade with Desert Rose essence also kind of absolves Alice of that action, too, but again, whatever. We can live with it.

And then Batwoman season 2, episode 8 ends with confirmation that Kate is in fact alive. She’s clearly badly injured and her face is deliberately obscured, presumably to hide the fact she’s not Ruby Rose anymore, but the red necklace is the giveaway. She lives.

The question is why? The easy answer is that it allows the characters to move on believing Kate is dead while the audience gets to be privy to the real truth, which feels like the best of both worlds. But I just can’t help but think that it does Ryan a disservice by not actually committing to the character’s death. There’s presumably a lot that can be done with a broken Kate having to go on some kind of redemptive journey, but I’m just not sure Batwoman in its current form really needs it. I’m happy to be proven wrong, and we’ll have to wait and see, but for now, I’m skeptical that this is the right move.

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