REVIEW: Batwoman, S1E3 – Down Down Down

batwoman 103 down kate

Batwoman starts to define its heroine more and more, while also continuing to develop one of the most sympathetic villains in DCTV, in “Down Down Down.” Kate (Ruby Rose) finally dons a wig to separate herself from her missing cousin just as Alice (Rachel Skarsten) decides to distance herself from her sister – or at least says she will. Meanwhile, Sophie’s (Meagan Tandy) new gig as Mary’s (Nicole Kang) bodyguard leads to some awkward moments and a potential love triangle for Kate. Oh, and the world of Gotham gets a little more obnoxious with the introduction of Bruce’s childhood best friend and all around asshole, Tommy Elliot.

batwoman 103 down jacob

Can’t kill them off before we know how shady they are!

Tommy, played with just the right note of petty arrogance by Gabriel Mann, kicks off Kate’s crisis of identity in “Down Down Down.” Convinced that Bruce is back in town because Batman supposedly is, he leaves an invitation to his I’m Better Than You party at Wayne Enterprises. And while he’s at it, he steals a rail gun with the power to break through the Kevlar suit (a failsafe in case it fell into the wrong hands… oops). Kate and Luke (Camrus Johnson) are on the case, trying to figure out his motivation and even attending his party to catch him red-handed.

Turns out said motivation is even pettier than Alice’s; he’s just mad that Batman saved his mom and forced young Tommy to take care of her instead of profit from his own inheritance. Since he remains convinced Batman is just hiding, Kate decides to stake her claim on Gotham by throwing a red wig on the suit and fending him off before he kills the entire regular cast of Batwoman with falling elevators. It’s actually not the best showing for Kate from a fighting perspective, but that’s alright because it’s nice that she has a learning curve. Tommy is still defeated, mostly because Alice comes to her sister’s rescue in the most fascinating part of “Down Down Down.”

Earlier, Kate and Alice made a deal that the former would return the latter’s boyfriend (who is apparently named Dodgson) is she adhered to a 24-hour ‘no killing’ rule. But of course, that was far too long of a period for poor Alice, who broke into Jacob’s (Dougray Scott) while she was at it and tortured him with a Bach song he once taught Beth. It was that phone call which sent him running for the elevators and landed him right in Tommy’s crosshairs, along with his wife Catherine (Elizabeth Anweis).

Despite saving the day and knocking Tommy out, Alice revels in her broken promise and declares to Kate that her very goal is to eliminate their sisterhood. Yet she keeps her alive for an as-yet-unexplained plan, which may have something to do with the playing cards she leaves out for Catherine. For her part, Catherine continues to insist that Alice can’t be Beth, but Jacob may be starting to believe after all. Personally, I think it’s clear Alice very much wants to be acknowledged as Beth – but I’m not sure how long Batwoman can take the storyline before it reaches a definite end.

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Well, girls, this has been fun…

On a much less definite note, “Down Down Down” follows Sophie as she follows Mary, harshing her Night Nurse buzz and killing her dating game in one fell swoop. But this forced quality time allows Sophie to grill her charge about Kate, primarily because she suspects her alter ego, but also because there’s a glimmer of romantic turmoil under the beautiful Crow’s calm facade. Mary is fully committed to the role of protective sister, which is adorable, but the more interesting element is the clear conflict Sophie feels regarding her ex.

At the party, Kate learns Sophie kept their past entirely secret from her husband. The revelation hurts Kate’s feelings, but it suggests that Sophie doesn’t feel she can be totally honest with him. Furthermore, Kate hits it off with an unnecessarily aware bartender (she can immediately tell that Sophie lied to her husband about her ex, that Tommy Elliot is bad news, and that Kate needs a date!) and the scene is played purely for Sophie’s benefit. We’ll have to see what happens when the show actually explores her POV, though, because “Down Down Down” is almost a regression from the pilot admission in which she admitted she didn’t have the luxury of being herself.

The episode does end with the triumphant introduction of the “curvier, sexier” Batman courtesy of Vesper Fairchild, though. She asks for name suggestions, to which Sophie immediately says, “Batwoman.” Sure, it’s to an empty car, but she’s got the right idea. Now that Kate has a clear-cut identity, there’s even more hope that that the show will too.

Batwoman airs Sundays at 8/7c on The CW.