As Black Mask unleashes his plan on Gotham, the Bat Team is still reeling from Circe/Kate’s attack on the Bat Cave and against the Batsuit. Meanwhile, Ryan learns what it means to be a hero.
It’s all been building up to this on Batwoman season 2, episode 18, for Roman Sionis to launch his plan and unleash his goons in order to take down and rebuild Gotham in his image. But with no suit, Ryan is at a loss for how and lacking the confidence to protect Gotham.
Plus, after several episodes as the brainwashed Circe Sionis, Wallis Day officially makes her debut as Kate Kane… but her journey doesn’t lead to where most were hoping for.
‘Batwoman’ season 2, episode 18 review
Whew… a lot happened on Batwoman season 2, episode 18. After a few days of getting past the rush of so much incredible material in a 42-minute episode, it’s definitely clear to see where the story soared past our expectations and, on the other hand, sorely disappointed viewers.
First, let’s start by talking about what an incredible episode it was as a whole. So much happened, and I am filled with such immense love for this show. It’s beautiful to see what a Batwoman finale is really supposed to look like after the first season was cut short due to COVID-19. We’re clearly in for a ride in future finales.
Critically speaking, so much happened. It was all a bit overwhelming, to be honest, and some potentially great material felt rushed. This could’ve (and should’ve) been two or three separate episodes, and we could have skipped past some of the unnecessary moments of the season, like Cluemaster and his daughter and the will-they-or-won’t-they of Ryan and Angelique.
The Batwoman writers are clearly brilliant, but I’d hope for better pacing next season. So many great ideas deserve to be fleshed out, not shoved into a packed episode. For instance, Luke’s debut as Batwing should’ve received a dedicated episode on its own, rather than being a three-minute arc on Batwoman season 2, episode 18. That’s something we can never really get back or see done again.
Despite my initial love for the episode, it turns out I’m just pretty conflicted… not about (most of) what happened, but how it happened.
Call me Batwoman
It’s been pretty clear all season that Ryan would, eventually, need to confront her lack of confidence as Ryan Wilder inside and outside of the Batwoman suit. Finally, on Batwoman season 2, episode 18, we see Ryan having to reconcile with her feelings about, well, everything.
Circe destroying the Batsuit with kryptonite (which somehow was completely fine at the end of the episode, despite this) shook Ryan, who had all but given up when the episode began. This was certainly an interesting way for Ryan to prove to herself (and everyone else) that she is pure superhero material after a season with occasional missteps and the shadow of Kate Kane looming over her.
If we were to go back and watch Batwoman season 2, episode 1, it would be even clearer just how far Ryan has come over over these last few months of her life. She’s found purpose, family, and a place in this world because she happened to stumble upon the wreckage of Kate’s plane and her suit.
Ryan standing up before the parole board as they decided whether to continue or release her from supervision gave me chills. It was such a beautiful scene to display Ryan’s newfound confidence and power in such a perfect way.
Ryan doesn’t need to defend herself anymore (on the show or to the fans); she’s saved Gotham several times, proven herself as Batwoman, and is standing up for those who cannot. She’s the perfect person to wear the symbol, and she’s even changing what being Batwoman means in the best way. As Kate herself said, she suited up to give back. Ryan suited up to survive, and she’s done more than that now. She’s thriving.
Farewell, Kate Kane
With the end of Batwoman season 2, episode 18 comes the (temporary) end of Kate Kane’s journey in Gotham. It’s a bold move to write off the show’s initial protagonist entirely, and we will see if it will pay off.
Part of the reason I believe this finale should’ve been split into a couple of episodes is how rushed Kate’s ending feels. In the last 20 minutes of the episode, she regains her true self and departs Gotham. After an entire season of waiting for Kate to return in one way or another, this is a slap in the face.
Knowing there are no immediate plans for her return, either, makes matters worse, too. Why wait so long and deliver a rushed, half-hearted, and nonsensical ending for Kate Kane? It really feels out of character for this sudden leave, but it could have actually made sense if we saw more.
If Kate had emerged in the previous episode and actually contemplated her role in Gotham with Ryan successfully having taken over as Batwoman, her father in jail, and Alice… well, being Alice, we could’ve actually gotten to this conclusion in a satisfying way. But, either way, this just feels like a way to get rid of Kate. No character’s ending is satisfying when the feeling is the primary thing you’re picking up on during their scenes.
The actual best villain of Gotham: Alice
Back to Arkham Asylum for Alice on Batwoman season 2, episode 18. What a rude reminder that everything will be torn away from you, being arrested moments after saying goodbye to your deceased lover in a drug-induced hallucination and saving your sister’s life. And, then, said sister giving up on you once again.
The most infuriating part of Kate’s departure from Gotham is how it, once again, proves Kate is an incredibly awful sister. After experiencing unimaginable trauma and having her mind literally taken away from her, Kate understands Alice in a way that she never would have if Ruby Rose had continued on as Kate Kane and we never met Ryan.
This offered quite a unique opportunity for the Kane sisters to bond… and the ball was dropped completely. Kate, despite a much better understanding of Alice’s mind now, abandoned her again to go find Bruce. Why even bother with this whole Circe story if not to follow through on this new connection that could, potentially, help Alice find the Beth Kane inside of her again?
Thankfully, Alice will still play a major role on Batwoman, but now without her sister and her father. These are the two people that have the most power over and strongest connection to Alice. It really doesn’t make any sense.
In a way, the thought of Alice saving herself from her trauma and past is beautiful, instead of relying on Kate and Jacob to help “save” her as we would have been watching if Ryan Wilder was not introduced. They couldn’t save her before from Cartwright, so it would be kind of poetic for Alice to save herself once again.
On the other hand, Alice’s connection with everyone else on the show is so limited now. If Mary knew her before the abduction, it would be different. I love their relationship, but what can Mary offer Alice as a sister that Kate cannot? Writing off Kate just really doesn’t make sense from a narrative perspective when it comes to Alice. Nobody left knew Beth Kane before Alice, which creates quite the dilemma of whether Alice will ever find that person inside of her.
But I’m willing to see how things play out next season. Maybe the writers will surprise me, like they did this season.
(Also, let’s just bask in the brilliance of Alice being the person to stop both Safiyah and Black Mask, the Big Bads of the season… especially the latter using one of Joker’s toys. Little things like that make me forgive everything else.)
Now introducing Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson) as Batwing! Kind of convenient to find a suit worth billions of dollars laying around an old storage space, but I’ll ignore that for the pure excitement of seeing another member of the Bat Family join the team.
However, as I said before, it’s kind of disappointing that his introduction was kind of shoehorned into Batwoman season 2, episode 18 instead of receiving a dedicated episode. That’s a moment we’ll never get back, and it felt very lackluster for something that has been building since the pilot according to showrunner Caroline Dries.
Luke’s first villain being Tavaroff, though, is so juicy. He’s already proven himself by taking down the Tavaroff monster, who was in a frenzy over snakebite and roided up on some of Bane’s venom. He got his own justice.
Plus, he saved Mary’s life, which is just so fitting… when will those two get married already?
‘Batwoman’ season 2, episode 18 final thoughts
After Batwoman season 2, episode 18, I’m so ready for season 3. This episode, if anything, proved that we haven’t seen Ryan’s best as Gotham’s protector. Her shaking confidence in herself and fear over losing the suit when Kate returned have held her back, but she’s free to step up and show everyone exactly what she’s capable of. I could not be more excited to see the real Ryan.
The twist of her birth mother being alive is actually very interesting, too. One of my biggest issues is how Ryan didn’t really have anyone from her own life, she just picked up relationships with everyone in Kate’s life. The only person directly connected to Ryan was Angelique, who was probably my least favorite character throughout the entire season.
This is Ryan Wilder’s show. Her relationships need to be fully explored in the next season, and it’s exciting to think of someone joining that is primarily connected to her (though I fully expect there will be a tie between her birth mom and another character).
Without Jacob Kane, Mary and Sophie’s futures are also very exciting. Mary has her clinic and the community center that she’s helping Ryan with, while Sophie is unemployed but on the Bat Team. This man is no longer holding them back. They’re free!
All in all, the prospects for each of the characters are quite exciting and enthralling. We’re two seasons in with so much potential, which is really rare nowadays. And we have Poison Ivy seemingly making her way back to Gotham after being stopped by Bruce… so, is it October yet?
Batwoman season 3 premieres October 13 on The CW!