Guest star in her own show no more! Ryan Wilder is finally stepping into her own boots in "Bat Girl Magic!"
- 🦇Mary Hamilton did not come to play this week.
- 🦇This episode finally feels like the beginning of Ryan's story as Batwoman.
- 🦇We get to see Luke take some baby steps toward acceptance.
- 🦇The Safiyah plot felt largely underwhelming
This post contains spoilers for Batwoman.
Check out last week's review here.
I guess Nicole Kang came into this week’s Batwoman ready to flex, because Mary Hamilton is done with Luke (Camrus Johnson) being fussy at Ryan (Javicia Leslie) for not being Kate Kane. She’s also not super thrilled with notorious assassins trying to off her because of her blood, but that’s getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. This week’s episode focuses on a couple stories in tandem, but its most important takeaway is Ryan fully stepping into the role of Batwoman by way of her own suit (and her own wig).
In the first two episodes of the season, Ryan was largely acting as a guest star in the Bat Cave. This isn’t a shot on the writers—you have to ease your audience into a new lead—but it’s thrilling to see our new Batwoman finally step into her own boots in “Bat Girl Magic.”
So, about those plotlines. While both technically connect back to Safiyah (Shivaani Ghai), they play out in different ways. The first is that Alice (Rachel Skarsten) and Sophie (Meagan Tandy) have been kidnapped by her henchman and brought back to her island for punishment for spreading the Desert Rose around Gotham. Then there’s the introduction to Batwoman’s Victor Zsasz (Alex Morf), who’s skipping around the city killing anyone who’s been exposed to the aforementioned cure-all. Why? Well, turns out that when it comes to the Desert Rose, “cure all” really does mean exactly what it says on the tin. Mary even saw complete remission in a brain cancer patient before all was said and done. Safiyah can’t have colonizers flocking to her island and destroying her paradise, so anyone exposed to the cure has to die.
Given the scale of Alice’s poison plot, that’s hundreds of Gotham City citizens.
So far as baddies go, Zsasz marks the most impressive for Batowoman as a series. I’m not entirely sold on Morf as the character just yet, but the writing itself is palpably Victor Zsasz. Though I might not be entirely sold, I have to commend Morf on his ability to play the character in both the big moments and the small. His first meeting with Batwoman in his apartment was an ace example of how to play a villain with no fear of pain or repercussions. He’s got the chops! Maybe my problem is the facial hair?
While it was neat to be on the island and finally get more tidbits on the notorious Safiyah, there was something about Alice and Sophie’s stint in “Bat Girl Magic” that just didn’t work for me. Maybe it was that the stuff going on back home in Gotham was infinitely more intriguing, or that Kate’s fate was already revealed in prior interviews. But something about it didn’t play. Alice having leverage over Sophie and the crew is interesting enough that it’s not necessarily a ding, I’m just ready to spend more time with Ryan Wilder as she carves out her own spot in the Bat Family.
Honestly, watching Ryan carve out anything for herself has proven to be the most interesting moments in this new season so far. Her new gig as manager at The Holdup is an obvious but joyous move, even in the face of her parole officer’s cruelty to her (while worshiping this new Black Batwoman in the same breath). Gotham’s ready for a new hero, but let’s let this poor girl take care of herself a little, too! Acknowledgement of that need is what makes Mary shine so bright this week, and it even leads to a shining moment or two with Luke.
While it’s not exactly clear what Kate’s ultimate fate is going to do to the Bat fam back in Gotham, it’s great to see Luke start to come around. His behavior towards Ryan was all motivated by pain, sure—but this poor girl isn’t responsible for your trauma, man! Even with her alterations to his “perfect” suit, Batwoman’s Guy in the Chair comes around on their new hero and finally starts accepting her as a part of the team.
We’ve got a lot of season to go, but “Bat Girl Magic” feels like the real starting point of this story. That’s not to say that what went down in the first two wasn’t relevant, they just both feel more like preludes than the real beginning of Ryan Wilder’s chapter.
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