“Initiate Self-Destruct” teams Ryan up with Alice to take on a new (but familiar) villain.
This recap of Batwoman season 2, episode 12, “Initiate Self-Destruct”, contains spoilers.
There’s a lot going on in “Initiate Self-Destruct”, most of it a continuation of plot threads that have been gradually developed throughout the season. Perhaps the most noteworthy is the return of Kate Kane, albeit not as Kate Kane, but there’s plenty to be getting on with in terms of Sophie, Alice, and Ryan too. To say I was particularly worried about this show just a few weeks ago, I’m pleased to see it coming together as well as it is, even if there’s still a good helping of eye-rolling contrivance if you’re looking for it.
Sophie, for instance, is becoming much more of a key figure rather than a peripheral character, now shouldering the burden of not only knowing that Ryan is Batwoman but also discovering Jacob’s addiction, the latter of those two discoveries being an obvious sticking point given how thoroughly stupid Jacob’s behavior is at the moment. The fact he makes it so obvious that he’s doing Snakebite at work had to get him rumbled eventually, but presumably, the discovery will mean something to enough of an extent that we can hand-wave away all this obviously idiotic plotting.
Everything involving Alice and Ryan in Batwoman season 2, episode 12 works much better. Their team-up runs the risk of making Ryan less heroic and Alice more antiheroic than either of their characters have been in the past, but maybe that’s a good thing, you know? As we see with Kate, who has not only been recast but thoroughly reinvented, you can do risky things with established characters and get away with it as long as you do them carefully and patiently. The payoff to several episodes of teasing about Kate’s survival pays off here in a very good action sequence.
Kate’s new role is as Circe, Roman Sionis’s daughter, for whose death he blames Kate Kane. Kate believes herself to be Circe, and “Initiate Self-Destruct” dresses her up as something close to a horror villain, with an eerie mask hiding a presumably disfigured face. The action choreography pulls out all the stops to make her seem dangerous and terrifying. It’s a very effective sequence, all things considered.
Around this, Batwoman season 2, episode 12 still continues to develop peripheral relationships, such as Mary and Jacob, Mary and Sophie, Sophie’s increasing alliance with the Bat Team – not to mention her uncovering the identities of virtually all its members at this point – and Agent Tavaroff’s thorn-in-the-side meddling. There’s a lot going on, and most of it is surprisingly good. Hopefully, that trend continues.