Batwoman: 1.19 A Secret Kept From All the Rest
*warning: minor spoilers in the review below...
A Secret Kept From All the Rest is the penultimate episode of Batwoman's first season and could be described as an episode full of changes. The fragile "new normal" that's existed since Alice was thrown into Arkham has been completely shattered; Hush is properly introduced to Gotham, and even more secrets are being uncovered. The story's main focus sees Batwoman trying to locate the newly-dubbed Hush, who is seeking a means of translating the journal of Lucius Fox in order to get his new face from Alice. This becomes complicated when Luke and Kate have a falling out over recent events.
If this episode does nothing else, it shows how integral Luke Fox has become to Team Batwoman. Watching Kate and Mary try to run things without Luke is hilarious in the extreme. It's also cool to see that Kate does in fact need help to do what she does, she's not talented in all areas. That being said, Luke's absence for a big chunk of this episode also gave Mary a chance to shine and it remains so much fun to watch her interact with Kate, especially now that she's in the know about Batwoman.
Speaking of interactions, it was interesting to watch Alice, Mouse and Hush attempt to work together. I say "attempt" because this is the first time I can recall a fellow villain (Hush) getting noticeably frustrated with how Alice operates. Not only that, but even Mouse isn't getting along with his "sister" anymore. Given how close those two have been all season long, it seems that Alice's life is set for further upheaval considering her growing obsession with killing Batwoman.
There's little doubt, however, that the biggest thing that happens in this episode is the proper debut of Hush. The villain's appearance is more or less true to the comics, including his tendency to say "hush" to his victims. Speaking of victims, this episode has a surprise in the return of Parker Torres, last seen in How Queer Everything is Today. Parker temporarily fills the void left by Luke Fox so well that I can't help but wonder if this is a setup for the teen to join Team Batwoman, since Parker already knew Batwoman's true identity. This would be a welcome development, since Parker and Mary developed a funny kind of chemistry as the story progressed.
Another major development is the unveiling of Julia's true motives for being in Gotham. While Julia's motives appear to be pure, in the wake of everything that happened with Reagan, Kate is understandably not impressed with Julia's excuses, and it's unclear where things will go from here, especially now that Julia and Sophie are apparently becoming a couple. As with last week, Kate is noticeably jealous that Sophie is with someone else, and I wonder if this is the start of a lengthy "will they or won't they" where Kate and Sophie are concerned.
On a related note, Julia's story seems to confirm that Safiyah Sohail will be the primary antagonist of season two, since she now appears to have grudges against three major characters (Batwoman/Kate, Julia, and Alice). Curiously, Kate insists she doesn't know who Safiyah is, but whether or not she's telling the truth remains to be seen. Whether she's lying or not, at some point Safiyah seems poised to make an appearance in Gotham in the future.
Finally, the most troubling development in this penultimate episode is the ultimatum Jacob Kane gives to Batwoman. All season long there's been an unspoken question of whether or not Jacob will find out that his daughter is Batwoman. With Kane's dislike of Batwoman reaching new levels in the wake of this week's events, it seems likely this question will be answered sooner rather than later, something that could change the entire story depending on how Kane reacts to the news.
After following Batwoman all season, it seems clear that A Secret Kept From All the Rest has set a new high bar for the series. For every mystery that was solved tonight, a new one was created. The stage has been firmly set for the season finale, and just about anything could happen.