Last week, viewers were introduced to Ryan Wilder, getting just a small taste of what she can do as Batwoman. This week, Ryan got a chance to revel in the action both in and out of the batsuit, Luke (albeit very reluctantly) and Mary begin to welcome Ryan more to the team, Gotham city has another kind of bat problem, and the mysterious Safiyah comes up again. Read on to find out what happened in episode 2 of the season, “Prior Criminal History.”
The episode opens with Alice in her chosen spot in the tunnels. She picks up a rat scurrying by as a group of bats flies through. She heads back to where she (still) hasn’t removed Mouse’s body and duct tapes the rat on top of him, prompting a swarm of bats to, uh … attempt to eat? him, subsequently ingesting the toxin that Alice used to poison him.
We flashback to two months prior, on Halloween night. Ryan walks down the street, being tailed by some shady dudes. She runs underneath a bridge where they attempt to mug her. As she fights them off, Batwoman (whose face is masked in shadow) fights them off. Ryan watches her disappear, awestruck. Back in the present day, Ryan interviews for a job, where the interviewer questions her about her time incarcerated. She tells him about her extensive martial arts training and not being worried about criminals because she spent so much time around them. Unfortunately, no amount of explanation will land Ryan the job.
At Crow Security, Commander Kane and Sophie interrogate Mary and Luke, respectively. Both Kane and Sophie try to get information about who was working with Batwoman and whether they knew Kate was Batwoman. Both of them are able to cover their tracks for the time being. But someone who’s not? Julia. Sophie runs into her in the hallway, hurt that Julia knew Kate was Batwoman and hid that knowledge, breaking the trust Sophie had for Julia.
Ryan shops in a drugstore for pain relievers, the kryptonite bullet wound bothering her. But, of course, Ryan is caught in another “wrong place, wrong time” situation, as the store falls victim to an attempted robbery. Ryan immediately jumps into action, showing off those martial arts skills she mentioned earlier. When the robbers leave, Ryan checks on the store clerk, but a Crow finds her, thinking she hurt him. The Crows bring her in for questioning, where we learn that this isn’t her first rodeo. Sophie enters to question Ryan, not at all surprised to see her. Sophie interrogates under the belief that Ryan really did do something, but Ryan defends herself. When another Crow enters and confirms Ryan’s story, Sophie lets up, but Ryan reminds her that Alice is never questioned in the same way for things she is guilty of doing. As Sophie defends Commander Kane’s response towards Alice, Ryan realizes there’s something much deeper.
After being released, Ryan visits Mary at the clinic. She reveals that she knows Alice is really Beth Kane, taking her frustrations out on Mary, who (rightfully) gets defensive about not cutting Alice slack, thanks to, you know, Alice poisoning Mary’s mother. Moments later, Mouse’s body, covered in long scratch/bite marks, is wheeled in.
Julia sits in her car and texts Sophie, hoping to talk, when Alice appears behind her, holding a knife to her throat. Alice proposes she and Julia team up to stop Safiyah, mentioning Kate’s plane crash. Though she won’t say it in so many words, Alice is nervous, and, as Julia says, desperate for help. She doesn’t trust Alice, and so doesn’t agree. In return, Alice stabs her in the side (but don’t worry, she’ll be okay).
Luke joins Mary and Ryan at the clinic, still a little cold towards Ryan. Mary reveals that the bats didn’t kill Mouse, Alice poisoned him. They discuss how it means Alice is unravelling (yeah, no kidding), as Mouse was her tether to the world. As they talk, his body starts writhing, but not because he’s dead – a bat decided to take up residence inside of him. Ryan yelps when the bat flies out, saying she’s scared of bats (me too, Ryan). Shortly after, Ryan and Mary observe the now-contained bat, the news playing in the background covering a rally for Batwoman.
Luke returns after a phone call with Julia. He mentions that Alice is planning something that will have a high body count, and they think Alice will strike at a public event, like say … a very public rally. They decide that Batwoman needs to make an appearance to clear everyone out. Mary suggests Julia, but Luke counters, citing her injury. Ryan volunteers, but Luke vehemently disagrees. (“Hello?! Black!” I mean… he does have a point.) Mary quickly proposes they keep Ryan high up enough where no one will be able to tell it’s a different person. Luke is still adamant about his stance, but caves when Ryan reminds him there are no other options.
Ryan, and the Crows, arrive at the rally, both wanting to disperse the crowd. Ryan heads to her spot on the building. Luke remains skeptical, but Mary coaches Ryan through looking heroic. The crowd notices her, and so does Commander Kane, who uses a pair of binoculars to see if she’s Kate. Ryan attempts to talk the crowd into leaving, but they only cheer. Meanwhile, Alice slinks her way onto the roof. Alice, who was present during Ryan’s mother’s murder. Ryan becomes understandably distracted from the task at hand, ready to kill Alice. The two start to duke it out, and Alice eventually activates a device that draws dozens of bats to the plaza.
The trio thinks the bats could be the same ones that fed on Mouse, and therefore could be carrying the same toxin that killed him. Amidst the chaos, Alice gets away. Ryan notices, chasing after her while Luke says a subsonic frequency somewhere in the area is drawing the bats to the plaza. He tells Ryan to forget about Alice for the time being and to find the source of the frequency, which she does. Luke says she needs to smash and destroy it, but Ryan has another idea.
Mary heads back to the clinic to begin tending to rally attendees who were bitten by the bats. She finds Alice chilling in her office, bringing up Kate. Before getting too deep into the discussion, Alice offers a bag of Mary’s blood, which contains traces of the Desert Rose – the cure for the toxin. Mary doesn’t accept (at first), citing that Alice just misses Kate and this is her twisted way of grieving. On her way out, Alice brings up Ryan, implying that she’s ready for the challenge Ryan will pose (uh oh). Later, Sophie checks in, telling Mary that Gotham General has 250 and counting patients. Mary tells her about the blood, saying she’ll get Hamilton Dynamics to synthesize it into a cure for mass distribution.
Ryan speeds through the streets of Gotham in the Batmobile as Luke tries to find a location to draw the bats to. Eventually Ryan spots a Crows Security bus and tells the driver to get out. Ryan places the frequency device inside, opens the back door to draw in and contain the bats. She tosses an explosive device under the bus, and just as it’s about to explode, she notices a young woman watching and protects her with the cape. In a full circle moment, the woman is in awe that Batwoman saved her. Despite Ryan saying she’s not Batwoman, the woman says Ryan is Batwoman to her (I think it just got dusty in here).
The cure is distributed to those who need it. As Mary and Sophie watch the news story about it, Sophie questions Alice’s motives, both acknowledging it’s only beginning. They head to Crow headquarters where Sophie finds Julia and asks whether she knows who the new Batwoman is, too. Julia offers a potential location on Alice and they decide to keep the lead between the two of them for now. Before Sophie leaves, Julia asks if Kate told Sophie she loved her in the letter and wants to know if things between them are over because of that or because Sophie no longer trusts her, to which Sophie responds, “Both.” Mary finds Commander Kane in his office, upset about the interrogation. He tells her he doesn’t want to make the same mistake he did with Alice, giving up the search and hope. Mary tells him they’ll work together to find Kate.
Luke and Mary find Ryan in the batcave as she returns the suit. She voices that she wants to stay, but Luke counters, saying they already have a Batwoman, and Ryan asks, “Where was she last night?” She tells the two that finding the suit was one of the best things that happened to her. She says the city needs hope, and she can bring that hope if they give her a chance. She cites her experience being around criminals to them as well, and eventually Luke gives in. Later, Ryan is alone in the batcave, where she finds Kates journals to Bruce. She pages through one of them, finding an entry about the night she helped Ryan escape from the muggers, writing, “People like her are the hope this city needs.” Feeling a spark of inspiration, Ryan begins penning her own entry to Kate.
The episode ends as Sophie finds Alice in an alleyway. She tosses a set of handcuffs to Alice, telling her to put them on. However, they’re interrupted when a woman, Tatiana, who works for Safiyah stops Sophie and knocks her out. Alice knows Tatiana isn’t there to kill her, but she is there to bring her to Safiyah, and she knocks Alice out too.
Batwoman airs on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW, available to stream next day on The CW app and cwtv.com.