This week's Batwoman gives us a preview of where exactly the season may be going, starts teasing some character dynamics and backstories, but also really leans into what it means for Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) to really take on the persona of Batwoman and make it her own. And while the mains storyline follows classic hitman baddie Victor Zsasz (Alex Morf), we also get some insight into Safiyah (Shivaani Ghai) and the False Face Society.
The real key to what makes this episode work, though, is the character of Ryan Wilder growing into her role as Batwoman. Note I didn't say Javicia Leslie growing into the role, because that would be completely false: she has known exactly who Ryan is from the beginning, and her every moment is a master class in acting. She doesn't appear comfortable in the batsuit? Yes. Because Ryan isn't comfortable in the batsuit. She's awkward in a social situation or with her parole officer? Because Ryan is awkward. It's so beautiful.
But this is the first time it really feels like Ryan starts to own what it is to become her own version of Batwoman, and, pardon the phrase, let her hair down. Because she does, in fact, change up the red wig to allow for a beautiful display of naturally styled hair– with just a few red highlights.
It's a key theme of the episode, as Victor Zsasz himself notes she's not comfortable in that suit, and by the end as she's transformed both the style and function, she is now Batwoman. Speaking of Zsasz, this is one of the best portrayals of him in all of the entire filmed and televised Bat-franchise. He's both manic and controlled, a complete psychopath but also ruthlessly efficient and all business. It's also just a lot of fun to have him around. Here's hoping we see more of him as the season goes on.
This seems likely since his client in the episode is the heretofore only-teased Safiyah. She's seeking vengeance on multiple fronts, specifically related to Alice (Rachel Skarsten) stealing a desert rose from Safiyah's island. Both Alice and Sophie (Meagan Tandy) find themselves kidnapped by Safiyah and held captive on her island.
If there's one thing to complain about in this episode it's that these scenes are giant exposition dumps. Safiyah answers many of our questions and starts teasing what else might be in store this season. At least the setting on her island is gorgeous and palatial, so it's a nice contrast to Gotham's dark, wet alleyways. While sometimes a little boring and talky, at least they're nice to look at. She also drops a really big spoiler about Kate and her plane crash, so things should get. . . very interesting this season.
They also continue to lay the groundwork for further appearances by Black Mask and the False Face Society, but no real appearances yet. Overall this is a really fun episode that allows for major character growth while also dumping a lot of information on us. No new episode for a few weeks– Batwoman returns on Sunday, February 14 (Valentine's Day!), same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.
Batwoman 2×04 "Fair Skin, Blue Eyes" Season 2 Episode 4 – NOT EASILY FORGOTTEN – As Batwoman (Javicia Leslie) attempts to fight the proliferation of Snake Bite through Gotham, a random encounter forces her to revisit her painful past. Empowered by her new role, Ryan Wilder is determined to ensure others like her don't go unnoticed. Meanwhile, those closest to Kate are given a good reason to believe she is still alive, forcing unexpected alliances and betrayals. Also starring Dougray Scott, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang and Camrus Johnson. Menhaj Huda directed the episode written by Ebony Gilbert (#204).