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Batwoman - Tell Me The Truth - Review Roundtable: Love and Fear

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This review was written by Aimee Hicks, Donna Cromeans (DJRiter), and Ellys Cartin.

Batwoman delivered a powerful episode inTell Me the Truth that introduced a new character and dove further into the complex relationships surrounding Kate. Continue reading below to find our thoughts on the episode. After reading, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

This episode introduced Julia Pennyworth (Christina Wolfe). She has a place in the comics and while she left town by the end of the episode, it was made pretty clear this wasn’t the last we’d seen of her. What did you think about Julia? Do you want Wolfe to return as a series regular or do you want her character to remain recurring for now? What do you think will bring her back to Gotham in the future? A case or to pursue Kate?

Aimee: I liked Julia from the moment I saw her in the preview, and she didn’t disappoint in the actual episode. The flirting Julia was trying to do with Kate was off the charts. I can see Kate (Ruby Rose) and Julia hooking up one day. I really like how Wolfe committed to the part and brought a lot of charisma and charm to the character. She was a real breath of fresh air for the show and I’d love for her to be made a series regular one day and given Julia’s part in the comics I do expect it to happen eventually. I suspect until then we’ll see her pop in and out as needed. The next time we see her I think she’ll be back in town for a case but end up staying to see if there is anything between her and Kate. She knows that Sophie (Meagan Tandy) still loves Kate and that Kate isn’t over Sophie, but Julia doesn’t seem like the type that would let that stand in her way if she sets her mind on something.

Donna: I loved this character and the actress’s interpretation of her. I would even love to watch a series about Julia’s adventures! Her back and forth banter with Kate was great. The chemistry between them some of the strongest they’ve shown Kate to have with a potential love interest this season. This is the love interest they should have focused on all along. Julia better come back, she matches Kate, mentally, physically and emotionally. She seems to be the type not opposed to mixing business and pleasure as evidenced by her history with Kate. While a case may bring her back to Gotham, I am certain she’ll find the time to pursue her personal interest in Kate, particularly if Sophie continues to treat Kate the way she has recently.

Ellys: With Julia showing up right on the heels of Reagan’s departure, it looks like Batwoman is on the search to add to its family. I can’t wait for Julia to come back. Every one of her scenes was a treat. She goes from nearly handing it to Batwoman in a fight to dishing gossip with Luke over takeout. I might be biased since Wolfe was on The Royals, and I love all my Royal babies, but she had a wonderful flair while being so at home in her character’s skin. And her code name is Tuxedo 1! Tiny possible spoiler alert too: in the comics, Julia is important to the future of Kate and another character.

Alice (Rachel Skarsten) showed yet again that she is out to protect Kate at all cost. What do you think she is working towards with this tea party? Do you think she is helping Kate for the sake of having the chance to kill her herself? Or is Alice trying to keep Kate alive so that she can recruit her sister to her side? Or is she up to something else entirely?

AH: I think this tea party, when it happens, is going to be one for the ages. I honestly don’t think Alice will ever be able to kill Kate. I think the twin bond is just too strong for Alice to suppress for too much longer. What would not surprise me to see is her trying to kill their father in front of Kate, now that I can see happening. I think, more than anything, Alice wants Kate at her side. Mouse (Sam Littlefield) is basically a surrogate for the sibling she wants to work with and be near. I also think that with each passing week we are seeing Alice putting into motion some plan that Mouse doesn’t even know about to protect her sister from a bigger, looming threat. What I think could happen, now that we know she has Jacob, is that Mouse gets jealous, especially when Kate inevitably shows up to save her father. He’ll try to kill Kate and Alice will have to kill him or at least seriously injure him. I think the tea party is going to end up being a defining moment for Alice one way or another. She will have a lot of choices to make the next time she and her father and sister share a room.

DC: Alice’s tea party is likely her ultimate revenge for being abandoned and the horrors she endured at the hands of Mouse and his father. I think her revenge will be directed at the two people she thinks are most responsible, Jacob (Dougray Scott) and, in particular, Catherine (Elizabeth Anweis). She may have initially intended on killing Kate but after spending time with her sister and seeing her genuine remorse about not finding Beth she’s transitioned into protective mode. She now is seeking her revenge while thinking she’s protecting her sister from the same dangers that their father and stepmother present. I don’t know if it's so much recruiting as it is reconnecting on an emotional level. She’s finding Kate is treating her with more kindness than she’s been shown in over a decade.

EC: We got ourselves a major hint with Alice name-dropping Safiyah, which only makes sense considering we meet Julia Pennyworth in this episode. (Julia and Safiyah are major players in a particular run of the Batwoman comics.) That said, I was surprised by the Safiyah mention as Batwoman has veered so far away from the comics up to this point, but what an elaborate scheme to protect Kate! Alice certainly doesn’t want her sister dead, to the point she thwarts the plans of this presumably powerful figure. Alice stealing the gun to trade it for poison doesn’t quite add up with the last episode, but it does expand the scope of her backstory in interesting ways. Alice does keep the gun component, which as we all know means we haven’t seen the last of it.

We finally got to see more of Sophie’s perspective in this episode. What are your feelings on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” storyline they are telling through Sophie? How long do you think the show will continue to drag on the “will-they-or-won’t-they” storyline between Kate and Sophie? Do you want to see them together or do you think too many lies have been told for them to repair what they once had?

AH: I have been hard on Tandy and the writers regarding Sophie. I strongly disliked the character from the start, and I have gone back and forth regarding if I should blame Tandy or the writers for the character just not really hitting the mark. Then last week they started to warm me up to her. This week, however, finally managed to make me understand Sophie and that has gone a long way to make me like her a bit more. I still don’t love the character, but I understand her better. I feel like she is so far in the closet all she can see is a sliver of light and that light is radiating from Kate. We have seen the cracks in Sophie forming. She was finally honest with her husband and to a degree, even Kate until she retreated further into the closet by the end of the hour when Kate said they needed to keep their distance. Sophie is nearing a breaking point and it’s only a matter of time before her world comes crumbling down around her and she must rebuild it. I think it’ll be in that defining moment that she will find the courage to be honest and true and then, and only then, can she and Kate have any sort of future. I expect they’ll drag this whole storyline on to the point where it’s annoyingly frustrating, but I am glad for now that they are allowing Sophie to have a slow burn of a coming out storyline. As to whether I want them together or not, now that’s a tricky one. The writers want us to want them together, but I still think Tandy and Ruby Rose suffer from some chemistry issues. Their chemistry has gotten better, but they have shown us the chemistry Rose had with Brianne Howey’s Reagan and now Wolfe’s Julia and both women have had far superior chemistry to what Tandy has with Rose. I’d rather they deeply explore another romantic dynamic for Kate, but the writers have made it clear they are going to force Kate and Sophie until it happens. As for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” storyline, I have major respect for the show tackling that and showing how harmful it was. Tandy really excelled in showing Sophie’s struggles between love and her future and it was a very powerful story. When Sophie stood up for Kate’s honor after they parted ways at the academy it just showed the amount of love she still had tucked away in her heart for the woman she loves. There is a long journey ahead for Sophie and I actually like that the show is diving into the complicated journey of coming out.

DC: They’ve already dragged this storyline out too long in my opinion. I want to like Sophie, I really do, but just cannot connect with the character. To me her actions toward Kate cause me to dislike her more and more each episode. I understand she is in conflict about her own sexuality and they are telling their version of her coming out story. However, my issues with the character involve her continued betrayal and the hurtful things she is doing that is causing Kate more pain. Multiple times in the past and since Kate’s return, she has been, in my opinion, selfish and self-serving. I believe she is not taking Kate’s feelings into account and has on more than one occasion betrayed Kate beyond the level of reconciliation. The lack of chemistry between them and these actions have me convinced that she is not the right woman for Kate.

EC: Tandy has already spoken to some extent about how she hopes to do justice to Sophie’s story, and this episode was a step in the right direction. We need to get to know Sophie, who she is outside of her relationship with Kate, so we can care about her as an individual before we see her in any pairing. It could be said that her having to conceal her sexuality is well-trod ground for a TV show, especially a CW show, but it’s ultimately a story that many people can relate to. You can tell someone to “live their truth” and “be yourself” until the cows come home, but real life is more complicated than that. Sophie’s remarks about how staying at Point Rock helped her earn money to take care of her family struck a personal chord for me. It makes Kate look a bit selfish to not consider the full extent of what she was asking Sophie to give up for her but having a flaw or two won’t hurt Kate but only make her a more rounded character. I do feel closer and closer to Sophie each week, but I wish she wasn’t married. I’m sure that Tyler knowing the truth about her and Kate will bring its share of drama, but I can’t imagine either Sophie or Tyler having the force to make any of the drama impactful. They are both such quiet, calm people. I expect many awkward silences.

What are your feelings regarding the bait and switch the writers did by having Julia play Batwoman to help Kate fool Sophie?

AH: I hate this comic book plot point that almost every comic book and comic show does. I hoped the show would avoid that annoying bit of storytelling, but at the same time I fully expected them to do this. That didn’t make me dislike it any less. I wish they had been more original and creative than that. It’s just meant to draw out the Kate and Sophie storyline and frankly it’s just annoying because someday in the future this entire Sophie finding out plot will play out again when they do decide to let Sophie know the truth. The fact we will inevitably have to sit through this frustrating storyline again just makes this whole bit even more annoying. But I did like the impromptu rescue mission Kate launched to save Julia. That was a cool sequence and showed that Kate really does care about Julia as a friend if not more.

DC: It is a tired trope but one that still works in this case. I think it wouldn’t have been necessary had Sophie backed Kate in the restaurant. Kate had gone there with the full intention of laying her heart and life out for Sophie and was again shown that she wasn’t someone she could trust. Had Kate been able to trust Sophie there would have been no need for continued subterfuge. I found it very telling as well, about the level of Kate’s concern for Julia, by the way she leapt into action to go save her. When you look at it, Julia was protecting Kate in a way no one has.

EC: Arrow did a very similar episode early in its first season. I’m not sure I buy that Sophie would believe it. “Oh, Kate, I can’t believe you just happen to be in this building with Batwoman and a guy trying to kill Batwoman. Of all the coincidences.” Would that really be enough to persuade her otherwise? Wouldn’t she at least think instead that Kate was working with Batwoman? Especially after Kate rushes after Batwoman on a motorcycle to rescue her?! However, it is amusing to think that Sophie could now develop a crush on Batwoman entirely separate from her feelings for Kate.

Kate is preparing to open her own gay bar with Mary (Nicole Kang)’s help. This is surely meant to bring the step-sisters closer together. How do you think Alice will react? Will this new venture put Mary in further danger? Do you think this is the start to Mary being let in on the truth?

AH: I just have to say that I love the fact that Kate is setting up this gay bar to stick it to the jerk across the street. I also adore the fact that she called Mary to help her with it. This will surely lead to some much-needed bonding between the two. I do think it will put a big target on Mary from the jealousy prone Alice. I would like to think this is all leading up to a big reveal for Mary to be let in on the secret. Unfortunately, this is one of the very few storylines the show seems to be dragging out and it’s one of the ones I wish they’d stop dragging out. Mary is literally one of the most trustworthy people in Kate’s life and whom has her own big secret that Kate already knows. I think it’s silly to keep dragging that out, but I stick by my theory they are waiting for Kate to be critically injured and in need of Mary’s help for the reveal to happen. When that day comes, I will be very happy because the show really needs to move past this stuff and build up Kate’s core team. Julia being around really showed how the dynamic could change with just another person in the Batcave and now I want more of that. Kate needs more than Luke and I hope Mary is let in on the secret at some point post-Crisis.

DC: I cannot wait for Mary’s reaction about Batwoman’s identity! I think after a short time of initial disappointment she’s going to turn out to be one of Batwoman’s greatest allies. More important by working together on the bar, she’ll become a greater ally to Kate, something both women need at this moment in their lives after being disappointed by people they care about. I love that Kate recognized Mary’s pain and reached out to her. It is a well-crafted tale of two sisterly relationships. Alice will not like the growing closeness between Kate and Mary and may try to lash out at what she sees is a threat to her relationship with her sister. Mary and Alice, down the road, may have to declare a temporary truce and team up to protect and save the person most important to them, Kate.

EC: Mary walked in on them opening the secret panel!!! I can’t imagine her not putting two and two together by midseason. I like that Kate has chosen to build her bond with Mary, and hopefully scenes between them will now be much more frequent.

Reader Question: Submitted by Lois1992.I have a question about Catherine. What are your theories about her backstory? At first, I thought maybe her holding the big "Batman is gone" fundraiser was just supporting her boo Jacob by hopping on his "Ugh Batman" train. But now she's been developing an anti-Batsuit weapon and beaming like the Cheshire Cat about it?

AH: I really don’t know what her backstory may be, but she has an issue with the Bats of Gotham. I suspect that at some point Batman foiled something she was a part of. The Rifle and Alice both mentioned a female boss. I would not be the least bit surprised at this point for Catherine to be more sinister than appears on the outside. There are a lot of potential ways the writers could go with Catherine and the new mysterious crime boss. I will be curious to find out if they are two and the same or enemies.

DC: Catherine’s motivation has been and always will be power. She wants to be the one calling the shots and the person preventing her from forcing her will upon Jacob has been his daughters. She clearly had something to do with Beth being kept from her family for so long, and the return of Kate and the added distraction of Batwoman threaten what she desires most – to control Jacob, take over the Crows and be the one in charge.

EC: What is Catherine’s story? She always goes into full puppy eyes mode when she’s around Jacob, but puppy eyes don’t run a corporation that makes weapons of war. I feel there is be another side of Catherine we haven’t seen. Also, Batman was gone for 4 years, but she still had a project to kill him on the front burner? There must be some hidden animosity.

Which performer do you think delivered the most memorable performance in the episode? Why did their performance standout for you? What were their best scenes?

AH: This is a hard one because just like last week I liked most of the performances, but I have to go with Ruby Rose again. She had a rocky start with the series, but she has really grown into the part. Kate had a hard go of it this week doing battle with her own emotions regarding Sophie and what went down with Julia in the past. When Sophie brought her the gift and she realizes what it was, I felt the emotional pain she felt over realizing Sophie had been holding onto it all those years. Rose also delivered a strong performance when Kate had to tell Sophie that they needed to keep their distance. Another strong episode for her this week and I’m happy to see her becoming a worthy Batwoman.

DC: I am still impressed with how Rose is growing into the roles of both Kate and Batwoman. Nicole Kang continues to be a delight as the quirky Mary. For me the outstanding performer of this episode was Wolfe. From their crisp, sharp and sexually charged banter in the Batcave, to that final moment of honest introspection, Julia was a character that matched, challenged and intrigued Kate and we need to see more of her in the series.

EC: A deliciously creepy scene was when Alice and Mouse held hands and skipped away with their hair bobbing up and down like they were Hansel and Gretel. Those two crazy kids! It’s hard to pick a standout performer in an episode that distributed the wealth as evenly as this one did, but Rose got moments both poignant and angry flirty, so I’d have to hand the title to her. Wolfe, of course, needs to be a regular yesterday. I loved that she brought out a more cheerful side of Luke and a more assertive side of Kate

What are your final thoughts regarding this episode?

AH: I went into this episode with higher than normal expectations. I can’t say all of my expectations were met, but I was pleased with the episode. I liked that we finally got to see more from Sophie’s perspective. She is a character that we simply haven’t gotten to seen enough of and that has hurt her development. We got to see how torn she really is between her husband and Kate. She’s clearly fighting against her own heart as she tries to figure out what she truly wants. We also got a lot of great character moments. I loved the introduction of Julia and can’t wait to see more of her. Mary almost seeing them going into the Batcave was great and I love that she is working with Kate on the bar now. Alice’s plan continued to evolve while she continued to protect her sister. A lot happened and it all surprisingly worked. There were some not so great points like the ridiculous bait and switch to throw Sophie off Kate’s trail. Overall, I liked the episode and am interested to see what comes next since we know Alice has her father in her custody.

DC: Overall I found this to be a fairly solid episode, laying important groundwork for future connections and storylines. I want to see more of Julia and learn more about Kate’s time after leaving the academy. It would give us greater insight into the person she is now to show us that part of her journey. What I am also anxious to see is how bringing Mary into the fold rounds out the support team Batwoman needs. Much like she does with Kate, Mary will call Batwoman out on her actions.

EC: While there was less Batwoman than last week, that sacrifice nearly justified itself as it provided space for several characters to move forward. Kate deciding to back away from Sophie was a huge relief, as both characters need their personal space to grow. I don’t think the episode set the table as effectively as it could have to give Alice’s tea party the stakes it needs, but I care about Kate and Luke and Mary and Alice and maybe even Sophie enough to fret over the emotional and physical dangers that tea party could bring. I hope to see more episodes written by Caroline Dries and Natalie Abrams in the future, as they blessed the characters with a wider range in their personalities than we have seen before now. Next week’s episode brings in Holly Dale and Nancy Kiu, the director and co-writer from the Magpie episode. The promo looks to be super dark visually, so I hope I can see what’s happening. This show could still use a boost in its lighting and coloring department, as the colors in any given scene tends to blend in the murky desaturated background.

Each week we will select one question from all of you to include in our roundtable. Please submit your questions in the comments section below.

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