REVIEW: Batwoman, S1E7 – Tell Me The Truth

“Tell Me The Truth” is a solid episode of Batwoman, but one with a very big downside. The best part of the hour is the time spent finally fleshing out Sophie’s (Meagan Tandy) motivation and backstory. Unfortunately, the downside is also tied to her, as the show keeps her unfairly in the dark as an excuse to whitewash a comic character. Or whitewashes a comic character as an excuse to keep her unfairly in the dark, whichever way you’d like to look at it.

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Spot the differences.

Julia Pennyworth, a staple in recent Batwoman runs, finally gets her introduction in “Tell Me The Truth” as a secret agent hunting the same villain as Kate (Ruby Rose). Only now she’s white and blond instead of mixed-race and with a hefty dose of melanin. The fact that the showrunner acknowledged a conscious choice to cast a white woman because no one would be fooled when she put on the Batwoman suit – in as shared universe where Diggle fooled everyone for half a season – just makes matters worse. But going back to the plot at hand, Julia and Kate shared a short fling in the post-Sophie era, and the old friend is amused to hear that love line is still unbroken.

Perhaps it’s for that reason that Julia agrees to don the Batwoman suit in order to fool Sophie, allowing her to hear the latter’s tearful confession about regretting giving Kate up and selflessly wanting to protect her at all costs. She passes the message along, but not before nearly getting killed by the weapon specifically designed to tear through Bat armor. It’s only nearly because Alice (Rachel Skarsten), bless her wicked heart, tampered with the equipment in order to ensure Kate’s safety. Since she killed the man able to fix it – and an offscreen villainess from the comics, Safiyah, got rid of the other two – Batwoman gets to be invincible once more. Good thing she’s convinced Mouse this is all for their special tea party for three.

Sophie’s confession has visual aides in the form of flashbacks to their military academy days, where it becomes clear that she always meant to follow Kate’s footsteps and defy authority. The problem was that even her family didn’t know she was out, and she didn’t have the same resources as Kate to fall back on if she were kicked out. In fact, it was none other than Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) himself who advised her to lie in order to keep her spot. While he knew nothing would convince Kate, he wanted to spare Sophie the suffering since he’d have no problem helping his daughter if necessary. That helps explain how Sophie could wind up Jacob’s so-called favorite child, and also sheds light on why Sophie has so diligently repressed her past with Kate. So diligently that even her husband had no idea, and after Kate’s lie and subsequent rejection, he continues blissfully unaware that his wife’s heart is not fully his.

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Someone please pay attention to Mary.

What’s so odd about “Tell Me The Truth” is Kate’s decision to not only push Sophie out of the secret, but also cut off a future for them. Sophie seemed ready to come clean to her husband and start over with Kate if the latter would only give her the opening, but instead Kate decided she had to be alone – aside from the 3/4ths of the cast who knew the truth about Batwoman, of course.

Another character still in the dark? Mary (Nicole Kang), who just wants a chance to path up her family in crisis and keeps getting rebuffed at every turn. With Catherine (Elizabeth Anweis) and Jacob having officially filed for divorce, Mary is at a loss – and her sister Kate seems further away than ever. Thankfully, Kate decides to at least let Mary in to her civilian life, and the two set up her first real estate acquisition at the end. That tidbit might be the highlight of “Tell Me The Truth,” because Kate chooses to turn her new building into a gay bar courtesy of the homophobic owner who tried to kick her and Sophie out of his restaurant across the street.

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