If Batwoman is going to put the word "queer" in the title of an episode, they'd better deliver. And oh, girl, did they. With Gotham mourning the death of Oliver Queen post Crisis, everything else is more or less status quo ante. Except that more than ever they're hungry for news of Batwoman (Ruby Rose), so when she saves a runaway subway train and is subsequently saved by a hunky GCPD officer everyone is calling "Captain America," the entire city starts shipping the two of them.
Any other show this might be a silly throwaway plot thread, but here it becomes a powerful thematic throughline that hits at the heart of this episode. As Batwoman tracks down the culprit behind the subway hijacking (and a doxing of the mayor's credit card numbers), she end up finding Gotham Prep student and hacker Parker Torres (Malia Pyles).
Parker is trying to scrape together the money to run away after being outed by a girlfriend before she was ready, as it has created considerable tension with her conservative family. The storyline then becomes a powerful meta-narrative about the importance of queer representation in media and controlling your own story and destiny. I am here all day for this.
Parker tells Batwoman to stuff it and save any "it gets better" rhetoric, as she rips media representation for LGBTQ folks across the board that the best she'll ever see for someone like her is to be a sidekick or best friend of the main character on her favorite show. The best part about this? She's not wrong. In fact, even in the Arrowverse with some fairly progressive representation, the best examples we had of queer representation in lead roles were on Legends of Tomorrow.
So the moral fulcrum of this episode really becomes about whether Kate is willing for Batwoman to be seen as heterosexual. Never one to hide, it really bothers her that her heterosexuality is just assumed and that people would crowd around her and hunky Gotham PD guy and chant "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!" It's a stark reminder of how aggressively heterosexual our culture still is, even if we have made strides toward greater inclusion and representation.
And then the show unleashes its secret weapon, Mary Hamilton (Nicole Kang), as she signs off from social media for a needed vacation and devotes herself to finding someone who will help her clear her father's murder charge. Again, the subtext is as important as what's actually happening in the plot, as Mary is very clearly suffering under considerable mental health strain.
She makes some smart choices to turn off social media in a time when everyone seems intent on dragging her and her family. But as people tell her over and over that she needs to take care of herself, she doesn't listen. I feel so incredibly seen here. How many of us carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, taking care of everyone but never stopping to take care of ourselves? This is a great reminder that none of us can save the world alone and we can't fill others' cups if our own pitcher is running on empty. A beautiful, quiet moment between Mary and Kate where they vow to work together and look out for each other is really great, and helps cement to Mary that Kate isn't going anywhere.
Batwoman — "How Queer Everything Is Today!" — Image Number: BWN110b_0433.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox and Ruby Rose as Kate Kane — Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Ok, now for some complaints. This show really needs to give Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson) something to do other than just be Basil Exposition. Also, somehow, he manages to be the dumbest person on the show when he's supposed to be one of the smartest people in Gotham. On this episode he's being especially dense as he seems intent on contradicting literally everything Kate says or thinks. Conflict and disagreement are fine, even necessary, but this character needs something more to do.
On the other hand, Alice (Rachel Skarsten) continues to be a menace and bringing just the right energy and level of crazy to the show. The episode's final reveal that Beth is somehow still alive and back in Gotham puts a real twist into this storyline and makes me excited for next week.
But all in all, this episode was great, mostly due to how it dealt with Batwoman's "Coming Out" and all the issues surrounding that. The fact that she did it as an exclusive with Kara Danvers in Catco Magazine was, frankly, more interesting than anything that happened in this week's Supergirl.
As showrunner Caroline Dries said, "I have always said that Kate and now Batwoman is the person that, obviously, I wish I had growing up and she is still the person I aspire to be." This episode really delivers on making Batwoman an even more powerful example of LGBTQ individuals being out, proud, and strong for all of those people who may be looking for that. We can literally ask for nothing better from our superheroes.