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‘Batwoman’ 2×02 recap: Toxic bats are the new murder hornets

Ryan may have saved the day, but Mary stole the show.

Batwoman 2×02, “Prior Criminal History” aired January 24, 2021.

Batwoman‘s second episode this season was completely absurd, and I must say — it’s working. This season’s premiere had a lot to set up with the departure of Ruby Rose as Kate Kane and introducing a new heroine that we understood and rooted for off the “bat”. As I said in last week’s recap, Javicia Leslie feels more natural in this role than Ruby Rose did (no matter how much I stan Miss Rose, no hate!)

This episode kicks off with Alice duct-taping a toxin-filled rat to her old pal Mouse, luring a swam of sewer bats to feed off of and become contained with the poison. Using a beacon, she unleashes the toxic bats onto a pro-Batwoman rally in Gotham, poisoning several of its citizens. AKA, my actual f**king nightmare.

Let’s break down the unraveling of these events in this week’s top moments.

Mary’s outfits

I cannot dive more into this episode without first addressing the sheer fierceness of Mary’s wardrobe. To quote Ms. Wendy Williams: “She’s an icon, she’s a legend, and she is the moment.

The award for Outfit of the Episode goes to the bubblegum blouse, complimented by the black and white houndstooth jacket and skirt (are they tweed? Bonus points if so.) Following not far behind is the 1992-1993 Gianni Versace Fall/Winter Milan runway inspired army green dress adorned with a gold link chain accessory. Bravo, Mary.

(I also must shout out Luke’s tailored suits. No matter the dire situation, he delivers.)

Batwoman 2x02
Batwoman — “Prior Criminal History” — Image Number: BWN202fg_0065r — Pictured (L-R): Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox and Nicole Kang as Mary Hamilton — Photo: The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The friendships, both new and old

The show is really leaning in to the characters’ friendships to naturally bring Ryan into the fold, and it’s another aspect that’s working so far this season. Mary has always wanted a bestie in Kate, and while they’re definitely close, we can already see a different kind of bond forming with Mary and Ryan. Both of their mothers were murdered by Alice, and while they both hold a torch for vengeance, there’s some genuine understanding of each other’s pain. I’m hoping this empathy will prevent either of them from doing something they’ll regret (i.e., killing Alice.)

I am living for Luke this season. While he’s always the voice of reason, having lost Kate is giving him more of an edge. What’s holding Luke back from fully endorsing Ryan as the new Batwoman is the pain from losing Kate. There are still so many unanswered questions circling her disappearance, and passing the torch to someone else feels like giving up and accepting she’s gone. The poor guy’s hurting! The show is definitely setting the stage up for him to crack, so we better be prepared for a rift between our new Scooby Gang.

Alice and Ryan get after it

In an effort to break up the Batwoman rally, Mary and Luke agree to let Ryan don the suit and show the city “Batwoman” is still “alive.” Alice shows up, and an epic skyscraper-top battle ensues. One thing I love about this show is the sheer girl power. The goodies, the baddies, they’re all badasses.

Alice has a trick up her sleeve (duh), and unleashes the toxic bats onto the crowd, leaving Ryan to choose between saving the people of her city and going after her own vengeance. Of course, she chooses the former, leaving our endgame battle for another day. Down below, Daddy Kane shooting at the bats was a fun shot, and we also got a run-in with Sophie and Ryan in the Batsuit.

Side note: We also learned that Sophie and Ryan know each other from Ryan’s previous run-ins with the law. Sophie also teased that Ryan had a “lady friend”, and the angsty sparks between the two did not go unnoticed. Stay tuned!

What Alice is REALLY up to

Alice gives the cure to the toxic bats to Mary, revealing that it’s Mary’s blood from when she had the antidote in her body (remember, the bat toxin is the same that took Mary’s mother’s life.) Knowing there’s a catch to this, Mary still rushes to get enough of the antidote made to cure the citizens of Gotham City.

During the antidote exchange, Mary reads Alice on her guilt and shame over Kate’s (apparent) death. She calls out that Kate was the ONLY person still left on this planet to have a shred of love or care for Alice, and now that she’s gone… Alice is truly and utterly alone.

Even though Alice was wreaking all sorts of havoc last season, in the back of her mind she knew someone still loved her. Imagine the spiraling rage that will come now that her subconscious knows she’s hated by literally everyone?

It turns out, revealing the Desert Rose to the public (you know, the Desert Rose that Safiyah’s island produces) was all planned by Alice to draw out Safiyah (Shivaani Ghai). It worked, and one of her henchman, Tatiana, captures Alice—right after Alice requests an audience with Safiyah herself. What exactly is Alice up to?

Other notables:

  • Julia was stabbed by Alice and gained zero empathy from Sophie. Kicking a girl while she’s down, Sophie admits to Julia that both her betrayal and Kate’s love-letter confession are whey they’re over. Ouch.
  • The bat exploding out of Mouse’s chest drew an audible yell from me, and I loved it.
  • Luke and Mary denied to Daddy Kane and Sophie that they knew Kate was Batwoman, which I’m sure will have its consequences.
  • Two months prior today’s events, Kate saved Ryan from an attack. Ryan had a similar experience with a young girl she shielded from the bat-filled bus explosion, pushing her over the edge in accepting her fate as Batwoman. Ryan had the wits about her to lure a swarm of toxic bats into a bus and blow it up, so she already had my vote.

There’s so much more to discuss! Drop your comments below or tweet me at @lizprugh or @Pure_Fandom.

Batwoman airs Sundays on The CW at 8pm ET.


Liz Prugh

Liz is the co-founder of She loves geeking out over any and all sci-fi/fantasy and always thinks vampires are cool. You can currently find her co-hosting the Pure Fandom Podcast and writing about pop culture. Nerd out with her on Twitter @lizprugh.

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