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'Batwoman' 2.08 Review: Survived Much Worse

Whole lot of twists and turns in this week's Batwoman!

Javicia Leslie as Batwoman.
(Image: © The CW)

For

  • 🦇Tatiana bodies Sophie with a single line.
  • 🦇Hiya, [redacted].
  • 🦇Alice continues to get some of the most intricate stories of the series.

Against

  • 🦇Safiyah lying is a pretty transparent plot-twist.
  • 🦇Julia's misdirect feels unnecessary in addition to all the other twists and turns of the episode.

This post contains spoilers for Batwoman.
Check out our last review here

Whoever could have known that the woman who’s lied and killed her whole life to keep her island safe would lie about the survival of Kate Kane in an effort to ensure that no one ever found the Desert Rose flower? Ok, so, it was all of us. Still! This week’s episode is chocked full of twists and turns and a whole lot of drama for both Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) and Alice (Rachel Skarsten). “Survived Much Worse” sees both women racing toward Coryana, but with very different motives. Ryan’s hellbent on ensuring her last action is returning Kate the cowl before she takes her last breath. Alice, on the other hand, is still on a mission to ensure that her sister dies by her hand. Or so she thinks — everybody else on the planet is perfectly aware that she just wants sissy back.

Sophie (Meagan Tandy) and Jacob (Dougray Scott) both make it to the island, too (thanks to Alice wanting Jacob to see her murder Kate, and Safiyah wanting Sophie to be a part of her army). This side-plot is mostly tertiary, but Tatiana (Leah Gibson) does get a killer line against Sophie. The Crows’ second in command insists to know why they think she’d join their killer army, but Safiyah’s right hand points out that Sophie’s already a part of one. And, while Safiyah’s armies use their power to defend their people, Sophie uses hers to oppress her own. Girl’s got a point! And, at the very least, Sophie’s starting to see it.

Safiyah lying about the location of Kate all this time isn’t the only twist in the episode. The Queen of Coryana gives Ryan a choice: the desert rose to cure her kryptonite poisoning, or Kate Kane. Batwoman chooses the cure over Kate. Now, on the surface, this is a hugely questionable call from a woman who calls herself a hero. But there’s a little bit more to the decision than that. In her heart of hearts, Ryan Wilder believes that Alice doesn’t want to kill her sister. She thinks she can make it off the island with a cure to her poison and with Kate, she just needs Alice to make the right choice. It’s one hell of a gamble, but at least it’s a vaguely calculated one!

Turns out Alice does come to the same realization of everyone else in Gotham City. She really does just want Kate back, and she’s willing to stab Ocean in the chest to do it. Her despair when she realizes her sister isn’t on the island is palpable. It’s far from the last time Skarsten’s wowed us with a performance, but it’s nice to have the reminder every ten episodes or so. Ocean finding himself indebted to Safiyah probably isn’t going to serve as a positive situation for her mental health going forward, either. Girl gets her vengeance, though. Coryana’s fields of desert rose flowers all go up in flames before Alice is done. 

That is, all but the desert rose that Ryan’s had in her possession for the last decade of her life. At the very least, it’s nice to see something tie Ryan and Sophie closer together. The ladder gets a phone call from a panicked Luke immediately upon the realization of the plant’s genus. We’re left with an unnecessary cliffhanger here — we all know she’ll be fine — but it is The CW, after all!

Safiyah’s deception might have been a plot twist we all saw coming from a mile away, but the episode still grants us a little glimpse at last season’s hero. Kate might not be on Coryana, but she is alive. Just, y’know, nearly dead in Gotham’s sewers. When we finally see what’s underneath those bandages, Krypton alumn Wallace Day will be playing the role in whatever capacity Kate’s involved in the series going forward. Given what we saw tonight — and what the series has gone through to establish Ryan as the new Batwoman — it feels pretty unlikely that we’ll be seeing the better half of the Kane sisters very often.