Batwoman: 1.04 Who Are You?
*warning: minor spoilers below for this week's episode of Batwoman...
The fourth episode of Batwoman presented its first "villain of the week" episode in the form of Who Are You?, a great episode that also created about as many questions as it answered. The episode sees Batwoman on the trail of Magpie, a daring thief who loves to steal shiny things, and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. At the same time, Kate is learning the hard way that being a superhero is completely at odds with anything resembling a social life.
This episode gets so much right, as a number of plot lines are continued or hinted at. While the main plot line of the episode sees Kate working to bring down Magpie, we also see how this investigation is hampering her fledgling relationship with Reagan. For the record, I adored the scenes with Kate and Reagan, it shows that Kate is, at her core, very much a human being who wants to love and be loved. And despite only being introduced in the previous episode, Reagan proved to be a very nice character, appearing to have all the makings of a loving girlfriend for Kate. I was really disappointed to see the relationship come to an end by the close of the episode; I wanted to see more of Kate and Reagan together.
The break up relates to the core of this episode, which follows Kate trying to capture Magpie without letting everyone know that that's what she's doing. I really like the explanation that Kate gives for why she's not good at being a superhero with a secret identity: she's not comfortable keeping secrets because she's spent her whole life being open about who and what she is. It makes perfect sense then that suddenly keeping a huge part of her life secret would be very difficult for someone like Kate Kane.
I also thought it was cool that Kate has a wireless voice modulator to disguise who she is. Having a masked hero speak to someone they already know has often proved problematic, since the question can be asked "Well don't they recognize the voice?" and I like how the show gets around that issue.
It also needs to be pointed out that the scenes of Magpie descending to conduct her robberies are among some of the most beautiful I've seen in the series so far. There's a gourgeous symmetry to these scenes, as Magpie is shot from below with the camera, the windows and domes overhead making this beautiful backdrop behind her. And the trick she pulls with the pearl necklace in the final robbery is downright genius. In fact, there's a certain scene with the last pearl of that necklace that made me gasp in shock, because I was certain the episode was about to take a very dark turn. While the moment I feared ultimately didn't happen, it was still a reminder that no one we meet in Batwoman is safe.
The final part of this episode that needs to be discussed is everything that happened with Catherine Hamilton-Kane, Kate's stepmother, and a character I've instinctively disliked since the pilot episode. It would seem my distrust was warranted, as this episode revealed some very interesting, and shocking information about the character. Next to Kate and Alice, Catherine has now become one of the most interesting characters on the show, in large part because the series' writers are playing very coy about what exactly it is that Catherine is involved in. There's a strong sense that we the audience don't know the half of what Catherine's company has been doing, and I suspect there are further bombshells to come before the season is over.
One thing is for sure, Batwoman continues to impress from one week to the next, with plenty to look forward to next episode, as Alice's backstory will finally be revealed.