Since its debut last fall, Batwoman has grown to be one of the most formidable and creative shows in The CW's Arrowverse. The series, which follows the adventures of openly-lesbian crimefighter Kate Kane/Batwoman (Ruby Rose) is nearing the end of its first season, but not before completely shifting the status quo in the process. Tonight's penultimate episode, "A Secret Kept From All the Rest", brought fans the official unveiling of Tommy Elliot/Hush (Gabriel Mann), complete with his comic-accurate bandages and brown overcoat. Hush, who has formed an alliance with Elizabeth Kane/Alice (Rachel Skarsten) and Mouse (Sam Littlefield) from inside Arkham Asylum, made his presence known in Gotham City. In the process, it set in motion a series of events that will shift the world of Kate and her "Bat-team" forever. Spoilers for this week's episode of Batwoman, "A Secret Kept From all the Rest", below! Only look if you want to know!
In honor of tonight's episode, ComicBook.com got a chance to chat with Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries about the epic installment and the process of building out the show's rogues' gallery. In the process, we spoke about that Kryptonite cliffhanger, how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the season finale, and what's to come in Season 2.
Life in a Pandemic
ComicBook.com: How are you doing at the moment, given everything that's going on?
Caroline Dries: I would say the hardest part is -- we're not having a writer's room right now. So the hardest part is I've been sitting around, twiddling my thumbs and thinking of ideas, and not knowing if they're going to work out or not, because I have no one to pitch them to or to approve of them or anything. So it's just sort of tinkering, and I think that's what's been the hardest part. You probably know, as a writer too, it's a lot of "Okay, I just need to be working nonstop for my anxiety to settle down a little bit."
I was really curious about the approach to Hush in this episode, because I found it to be a pleasant surprise to introduce his fully-formed, comic-accurate self this early on in the show's run.
In my mind, we introduced Tommy in episode three and put him away in Arkham. So between having already teed up Tommy and his obsession with Bruce Wayne, and needing to be in Arkham, and combined with the comic book version of Hush - he's all in bandages, and Alice's special talent of being able to take people's faces on and off - it sort of sounded like this perfect harmony of villains working together in unison. So for us, it didn't feel that fast.
He's obviously a force to be reckoned with, but he's also a character who has a lot to him, in terms of places we can take him. And he's also incredibly graphic looking, so he's just kind of a fun monster of the week in a way, too.
I love what you said about the villains working together, because I think you guys have built out such a great rogues' gallery in this season. Especially with Magpie, she easily could have been a one-off, but I love how all of these villains have gotten to be fleshed out and more developed.
We're lucky because we have Arkham, and we have a hero who doesn't kill the bad guys. So when Batwoman puts these people away in Arkham, they're just like in a holding pattern until we want to use it again. And we knew Magpie was just going to be part of this bigger Arkham story that we're telling. We just didn't want to go to Arkham for one episode and be done with it. We wanted to make it feel like there was an arc to it, and it was an actual world that we kind of got to understand a little bit. So we remembered, "Okay, yes. Who are the people at Arkham that would be fun to see?" We remembered she's there, obviously, and there's the caper where they're trying to steal the journal. So it made sense that Alice would be trying to pull her puppet strings in some way.
Magpie and Reagan
I also love the reveal of Magpie and Reagan being sisters, because it makes you look back at that initial episode completely differently, now that we know their relationship.
Thank you. Our original concept was that Magpie and Reagan were going to be the same character, and Kate was going to find out halfway through episode four, "Oh my gosh, I'm dating the villain of the episode." We decided that was too much of a coincidence, and so we invented Reagan. And it made sense to us that Reagan and Magpie are two women with the same point of view on social injustice. What if we've established them together? We were like, "Well maybe Reagan is the scout and she does all the recon, and then Magpie comes in and robs the place." So that's kind of how that came to be.
I wanted to ask about the love triangle between Kate, Sophie, and Julia throughout this part of the season, because it's great how unexpected it's kind of been. In a normal situation, it would easily be "Kate has to choose between one or the other", but especially in this episode, she's essentially the third wheel. I was wondering about the approach to that because it's so much fun to see all three of these women playing off of each other.
I think it is really fun. We're lucky, in that the actors that we cast are so naturally charismatic. So when you throw any pairing together, they kind of pop. And what's great about having three-dimensional characters is that you can kind of make an excuse in your mind for why they should be happy, and be with the person that they're interested in. We kind of have that among all of our characters.
For Kate and Sophie's relationship, it's just kind of complicated, and we also want Sophie to be continuing her journey as a woman who's learning to be comfortable with her sexuality. And Julia's sort of this chill sexual being who is really charming, but also like not super threatening. It's just kind of is like a fun mishmash which I think kind of represents lesbian culture, where you end up having dated your current ex's girlfriend at some point.
How did Parker end up factoring into this episode? Because I really loved and resonated with the initial episode she was in, and I was wondering about bringing her back in this context and having her dive into Batwoman's world.
We love working with that actress, Malia Pyles, and the character really popped. I didn't realize how much of an impact that particular episode was going to have, and then when I finally watched it, the last cut, I was like, "Oh this is like a really good episode." And instantly, I think somebody at The CW was like, "Can we bring Parker back?" And I was like, "Yeah, definitely. Let's find a way to make that happen."
It made perfect sense for us that in the episode where there's this hole in the Bat-team, where the tech guru of the Bat-team has been kidnapped. Of course, we need to find sort of like a replacement, and Parker seemed like the perfect person to fill in. It was great to be able to create tension between her and Mary, because Mary's feeling like "Wait, what? Who are you?" And Parker has a little bit of a crush on Kate but sees her as a mentor. And so it just was a really fun triangle with those three.
What can you tease about Safiyah? We obviously get a major reference to her in this episode, and the idea of lesbian pirates coming to the show feels so fitting and exciting.
We know viewers are like, "This show is only missing one thing, and it's lesbian pirates." [laughs] I love the Safiyah storyline in the comics, and we knew we wanted to bring her in at some point. But we didn't want to waste her or blow out her character in season one, when there's all these other hijinks happening. And so we're really kind of teeing her up to be our baddie in Season 2.
The ending of this episode and the Kryptonite reveal are so surprising in such a great way. Given Kara and Kate's relationship and just the Arrowverse as a whole, it feels like such a fun new twist for the show. What can you tease about that, especially as we go into the next episode?
That idea came from me feeling like -- I just didn't want the next weapon we talk about to be something that was manmade, that if somebody put their heads together, they could maybe go into a lab and cook up. So, what exists in the world that is unique enough, that there'd be a very limited amount that makes it special? The idea of Kryptonite popped in my brain, and it made perfect sense to me, that this sort of talisman exchange between Kara and Kate in the crossover was just so much more than just a rock. It, to me, represents their bond and their friendship and that sense of trust between them. And I kind of like anchoring the chaos of all of the Arrowverse and all of what happened in "Crisis" to this friendship.
And what do you know? It's the one thing that can actually kill Batwoman, if used right. So while it sort of felt like, "Are we going sci-fi? Is this weird? Is this cross-genre? Are we getting too big?" It really felt like, "No, it makes sense." It introduces it in the show, and we want to say that "Crisis" happened and it is still part of our world, even though we don't have aliens flying around every episode.
On that note, I know I'm not alone in wanting to see a "World's Finest" team-up between Kara and Kate, outside of when they unite in the big crossovers. Is that something that you want to potentially happen, going into Season 2?
In season two, I hope we just get back up production and everything is normal, or at a normal amount at some point. Because you know how the crossovers are just so hard to schedule and blah blah blah, and I'm sure COVID isn't going to do us any favors in that regard. But to me, the most important relationship is Batwoman and Supergirl. So I think if we are able to do any crossover, that would be what I would try to focus on.
Going into the season finale, how do you feel about the way that this season is ending, versus what was initially planned before the shutdown?
It's really a bummer from just a creative point of view. We had these last two episodes written and one of them was ready to be shot, so it was sad in that regard. However, I saw the writing on the wall happening with COVID a little bit before we shut down. And I just looked at what we had and I was like, "You know what? This is going to work out." We have an awesome last episode, we have a huge cliffhanger, and we have all of these emotional stories that we were able to wrap up. So I feel really, really blessed about how it all happened. And I'm really happy with episode 20 as our finale.
That's awesome. Even just watching episode 19, it did almost feel like a normal penultimate episode. So I'm excited to see how the finale kind of moves everything forward.
Yeah, I agree. I'm always challenging the writers. I'm like, "We need cliffhangers, we need this build." So when I was watching 19, I felt the same way. I'm like, "Oh, it's like always building and teeing things up." And thank God we did that in episode 20 as well.0comments
Batwoman airs Sundays at 8/7c on The CW.