‘Batwoman’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 5 “Gore on Canvas”

13 Min Read
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In this week’s Batwoman, the race is on to find a painting done by Jack Napier, one that may contain vital information. Batwoman teams up with Sophie, Commander Kane, and the Crows, with Luke and Mary helping where they can. Meanwhile, Alice tracks down Ocean to fulfill Safiayh’s request. Read on to find out what happened in “Gore on Canvas.”

The episode opens with, you guessed it, an alley, where Commander Kane meets with a man who has intel on the whereabouts of the Napier painting. The man tells Kane the painting is in the custody of The Collective, a group of connoisseurs. Kane wants to meet them, but before the man can share much more, he’s stabbed through the back with a spear, one that comes from Coryana. In a matter of moments, Batwoman captures the man with the spear, and then drops in and asks about the man, Kane bringing up the painting. He demands Batwoman release the man, but she refuses to take orders from the Crows. Just before she leaves, she points out “ACAB” graffiti on the wall.

The next morning, Ryan has breakfast with Angelique at her place, where Ryan spent the night. Angelique apologizes for what happened with them back when Ryan was arrested and wrongly incarcerated and we learn why; Ryan took Angelique’s stash of drugs. When she had enough, she turned around, held up her hand and accidentally exposed the drugs. Angelique gives her two bracelets, one for each of them, as part of a way to pay Ryan back. Shortly after, she notices Ryan’s bullet wound, and Ryan heads to the clinc where Mary patches her up, questioning how it’s affecting Ryan. Mary tries to convince Ryan to sit this case with the painting and the man from the alley out, but Ryan refuses, because she knows Kate never did or would.

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Commander Kane and Sophie catch a lead on the Napier painting thanks to someone named Evan Blake, who also has a history with Kate from when they went to school together. Evan reveals that if the Commander Kane and the Crows find the painting, they’ll find Safiyah. Kane remarks that the art was stolen, and he believes Evan knows how to get ahold of it thanks to his connection with the collective. Kane wants to team up with Evan, who declines. When he leaves, Kane tells Sophie he wants Evan’s phone monitored and Evan himself tailed. Sophie, however, suggests they instead team up with Batwoman.

Sophie lights up the bat signal, well aware of Batwoman’s view on the Crows. Sophie tries to explain that it’s not all Crows who are bad, but Batwoman doesn’t hear it. Sophie continues, offering a deal to Batwoman: if she hands over her prisoner, the Crows will provide information about Coryana. Batwoman, however, doesn’t work with Crows. Sophie appeals to her by mentioning wanting to find Kate and that this isn’t just about the Crows. As the scene ends, we see a mysterious person (who turns out to be Wolf Spider) hanging onto the edge of the roof, just out of sight of Batwoman and Sophie.

Ryan tells Luke and Mary about the offer from Sophie, making sure they also know she is vehemently opposed. Mary attempts to sway Ryan, saying it will work out because it’s Sophie, someone Ryan has a rocky history with. Luke also sides with Mary, despite Ryan remaining adamant about her stance. Frustrated, she heads to the roof, where Luke joins her. They swap stories about negative encounters with the Crows, where Ryan reveals why she was arrested, saying that while on her way home, she passed by two Crows who harassed her. Luke mentions the conspiracy within the Crows that killed his father and convinces Ryan to take the deal because they need the Crows’ help.

Later, while talking with the prisoner, Batwoman, Kane, and Sophie question him, learning the painting reveals a map to Coryana. He, however, takes a cyanide pill before divulging more. Sophie brings up The Collective, mentioning an auction they’re holding, planning to use Ryan as an inside source.

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Alice finally tracks down Ocean, finding him in a bar. After an extended flashback of the one she experienced in the previous episode, she still isn’t certain whether she’s actually met him. The two talk, and she learns that Ocean is a soil technician; he grew up in and around nature. Alice tries to use this to her advantage and gain info about Coryana, but Ocean instead gets up to leave. Before he goes, she asks him if they’ve met, but he’s certain he would remember if they did. Not long after, Alice tries breaking into his motel room, but he catches her and knocks her unconscious. He ties her to a chair in his room. When she wakes up, she provides a Spark Notes explanation of why she’s looking for him. When she mentions Safiyah, a flash of recognition crosses Ocean’s face, and he tells Alice that Safiyah is his sister.

Mary and Ryan get ready for the auction, where Mary reveals that she also knew Evan. Luke walks in, stunned when sees the pair (same, Luke), and gives them the lowdown on the event. When Ryan arrives, Evan stops her at the entrance, where she presents the Batarang as her ticket in. However, he’s not so lenient and bars her from entering … until Angelique comes outside and states that Ryan’s with her. Ryan questions why Angelique is there, who reveals a purse full of drugs, and Ryan realizes she’s selling. When Angelique walks off, Ryan checks in with Luke and Sophie, the latter believing Ryan got cold feet. Ryan spots the painting, using a pair of tech glasses to transmit an image of the painting to Luke, following it up with a compact that doubles as a method for sharing the physical properties. After analyzing, Luke reveals that Ryan was right about the painting being ocean currents but contains nothing helpful otherwise on the surface. In order to get the map to Coryana, they need to restore the original canvas, which means stealing the painting.

Back with Alice and Ocean, Ocean explains that Safiyah and him aren’t related by blood, and he asks why she wants him dead. Whatever the reason, he’s not worried; Alice has had plenty of opportunities to kill him, which he kindly lists, but hasn’t yet. Alice still needs more info, about him and Coryana, and Ocean can either kill Alice or call and turn himself over to Safiyah. He chooses the former, and as he begins to choke Alice, he also has an intense flashback of him and Safiyah. He comes out of it just as confused as Alice.

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Ryan heads to the bathroom to suit up, and while she does, Wolf Spider makes an appearance and steals the painting. The Crows begin shooting but can’t manage to stop Wolf Spider. Batwoman enters and she and Wolf Spider begin to fight. He runs away out of the building. Batwoman tries to follow but is hindered by the Kryptonite wound, which seems to only have gotten worse. She tells Sophie to have the Crows slow Wolf Spider down, but he manages to dodge every attempt they make at stopping him — until he gets hit by one of their vehicles. The Crows get out of the car and take the painting, leaving Wolf Spider for dead. When Batwoman finally makes it, she unmasks him, revealing Evan.

Ryan brings a barely alive Evan to the clinic, where she talks with Mary and Luke. Luke asks what happened, and Ryan releases her frustration. She explains that she can’t keep working for their approval. She knew the Crows partnership wouldn’t end well but decided to go along with Luke and Mary despite what her instincts were telling her. She tells them they need to listen to her.

“I wear the suit. I take the bullets.”

Ocean, who has decided not to be a murderer today, asks Alice about how she knows Safiyah. Alice tells him that Safiyah was impressed by Alice during a fight she had with Safiyah’s minions, holding her own. Ocean still doesn’t really remember Coryana, and both he and Alice don’t understand why they can’t remember each other, Alice suggesting that Safiyah may have erased part of their memories. They spot three assassins outside, easily taking them out in a great team up. Afterwards, they flee the motel.

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Batwoman and Sophie meet again, and Sophie tosses badges on the ground of the two Crows from earlier, but that’s not nearly enough for Batwoman, who tells Sophie she needs to “burn the whole thing down.” Their clashing views on the Crows continue to be a prominent source of tension. Sophie’s fighting for change within the Crows, but Batwoman says that until Sophie gives it up entirely, they won’t be working together again. The race is on to see who will find the painting first.

Evan wakes up, with Mary at his side. She tells him that he needs to get a better suit or find a safer way to wear it. She tells him that the Crows took the painting, and he confesses that he was stealing it for Kate. Mary comforts him, saying that the painting was a forgery, so not even the Crows have it; the original and Kate are still out there, and with them, Mary’s hope. Meanwhile at her and Ryan’s apartment, a rightfully terrified Ryan examines her wound, which has become exponentially worse.

The episode ends with Ocean and Alice driving. They make a plan to figure out what Safiyah erased from their memories and why. Alice has another intense flashback to her and Ocean kissing but remains confused as she still doesn’t really remember him. Ocean then tells Alice to reach into the back for a white tube, the current home of the real Jack Napier painting.

Batwoman airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on The CW, available the next day on The CW app and cwtv.com. Find our previous recaps and the rest of our coverage here.

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By Julia
Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.
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