Trust remains a major obstacle for Kate on Batwoman – The A.V. Club


Loneliness is Kate Kane’s most frequent emotional state. She’s felt it since she returned from her training, before she even took on the mantle of Batwoman. And she’s feeling it tenfold now that she is the vigilante. Kate’s touched on it before, especially when she had to stop seeing Reagan, but it seems like it’s just catching up to her more in “Tell Me The Truth.” The need to connect with someone almost costs Kate her secret identity this episode.

To Kate, the idea of revealing herself to someone she cares about is terrifying because it might put them in danger; it’s how Batman operated. Her romantic life may now be nonexistent, but the turmoil she feels about opening up presents an even bigger challenge. She cut ties with a woman she liked as just one more sacrifice in the life of Batwoman. Her conflicting feelings for Sophie don’t help her make the right decisions, either. It’s not just in her love life; Kate chooses to distance herself from Mary, who is really suffering from their growing divide and their parents’ impending divorce.

As much as Kate quips about loneliness and lets her feelings guide her at the beginning of this episode, it all ends up being about trust. 
As Alfred’s daughter, Julia Pennyworth, gets ready to leave, she gives very sound advice to Kate. “When you don’t trust anyone, it means you can disappear for four years without a single person on the planet having any idea where you are,” she tells Kate, referring to Batman. “Call me sentimental, but I don’t think that’s a good thing.” Julia has a point: Bruce’s lifestyle isn’t a healthy thing to emulate, and maybe it took an old flame friend to get it into Kate’s mind. But it seems to click for her in the last few moments of the episode.

The expanded look at Sophie and Kate’s time at the academy is welcome, but it doesn’t do much absolve Sophie for her actions in the present. In past episodes, Sophie basically won’t leave Kate alone even she’s the one that’s in a committed relationship. She even inserts herself as Mary’s private security to get current intel on Kate. She is very close-minded and has a selfish way of thinking once she’s made a decision. But it is a bit sad to watch Sophie struggle, and hear why she might be reluctant to give into her feelings for Kate. Sophie’s internalized homophobia and shame are on full display, and it’s a stark contrast to Kate. Back in Episode 4, “Who are you?” Kate clearly expresses how she doesn’t like to hide any part of herself. She didn’t do it with her sexuality, and it’s a weird change to have to do it now as Batwoman. The two ex-lovers sit in stark contrast to each other during their dinner at Alessandro’s.

Photo: Michael Courtney (The CW)

Jacob and Sophie finally get a moment that shows why they’re so close in the present, which puts things more into perspective. It also makes it a little harder to fault Sophie for all of her issues with shame. She comes from a family that made her close off a part of herself so completely that she’s still facing repercussions today. She also didn’t have the privileges Kate had when it came to job prospects and a future if she got kicked out of the military academy. So it was a tricky situation, but her teetering back and forth between Kate in the present is definitely a choice that could have been avoided.

On the topic of shame and embracing who you are, it’s refreshing to see how the show portrays Kate’s queerness. On Batwoman, Kate is a superhero who happens to be a lesbian, but her sexuality isn’t a constant talking point or plot device. Instead, it’s just who she is. It’s normalized and isn’t a big issue, just like the heterosexual characters in the Arrowverse. As I said in the very beginning, I wasn’t too worried about how they would write her, because The CW DC shows have often done an excellent job with queer characters. But, of course, queer folks receive a lot more backlash than hetero ones in the real world. This episode, in particular, does a great job of showing how bigoted folks might view Kate, even if she is proud of her identity—and she handled it like the pro she is.

Photo: Michael Courtney (The CW)

But, back to Sophie and Kate. They (thank goodness!) seemed to find closure at the end. It was very predictable that Kate was the one to initiate it and set boundaries between the two of them, but it does look like Sophie will respect that moving forward. The moment when Sophie gave Kate her shooting award back was especially sweet. Kate breaks down because she can see Sophie does genuinely still care for her, but also recognizes what her ex lost at the academy.

“Tell Me The Truth” is one of the few episodes of Batwoman’s that’s been able to stand on its own without Alice, who had a small role again this week. She’s now teamed up full-time with Mouse, and the leadership role suits her perfectly. The way Alice strings along The Riffle is very much like her, but it’s hard to make out who he works for. Whoever it is, she’s a threat to Alice, who won’t even listen to her name. Whatever’s going down over the next few episodes, the Mad Tea Party is coming, and it sounds sinister.

Stray Observations

  • Thanks for tuning in this week to: “Where’s Mary’s Love At?” All jokes aside, it does seem like Kate opens up to her at the end, and hopefully, Julia’s words stick with her. God bless Mary for all her patience with Kate, though. That’s some real sister stuff right there.
  • I don’t know why I didn’t realize Kate hated Catherine after everything, but her disdain surprised me. Again, it makes sense, but she also cast that situation aside pretty fast. It was just an interesting reaction to her father’s divorce news.
  • When Luke asked Kate, “Can you trust Sophie?” it’s almost like the entire world collectively screamed, “NO!” with how obvious the answer is. Nowhere has Sophie proven she can be trusted. In fact, she’s shown the opposite. Yet Kate wants to try. There really is truth to the whole, “blinded by love” adage.
  • Julia Pennyworth and Kate worked together a lot more in the comics, so fingers crossed she makes a return because her energy was much-welcomed this episode. Plus, she can go head-to-head with Kate as an equal, which was fun to watch.
  • We’ve gone over how flawed Sophie is, but this episode showed just how much of an impeccable liar she is to boot. With the way her husband, Tyler, hugged her at the end, maybe he doesn’t trust her anymore either. Or perhaps he’s hiding something, too.
  • I did not predict Mouse taking the role of Jacob the whole episode, but as soon as you see Jacob hasn’t been in the city this whole time, it was definitely an “Oh shit!” moment. Everyone is a suspect moving forward.
  • Fingers crossed that there’s a GIF somewhere of Luke when it clicks that Kate and Julia “Know each other, know each other”
  • Shoutout to Kate, kicking ass without her Batsuit.
  • “Kate Kane: Gay Bar Owner” has a fabulous ring to it.
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