In a sea of uncertainty, the one thing Batwoman Season 2 Episode 6 makes super-duper clear is Jacob Kane has the worst parenting instincts on the planet.
After giving up on finding Beth only to have her evolve into Alice, and antagonizing and attacking Kate in her guise of Batwoman, he now discovers Mary’s been helping the underprivileged citizens of Gotham.
Is he proud of his step-daughter’s abilities and ingenuity? Nope. Shut ‘er down. It’s illegal.
But that’s not even the most ridiculous element of this narrative.
That podium belongs to Dr. Rogers, the Hamilton Dynamics physician who thinks it’s a good idea to send a brain-damaged patient — whose brain HE damaged — with major rage issues into the general population to kidnap and torture his own (titular) bosses.
Let’s not forget that Rogers also planned to kill as many test subjects as “necessary” to prove they could reproduce the serum.
What is it with the messed-up medical and biological sciences in Gotham?
And it all loops back to Ryan and her kryptonite wound.
For a pretty clear-sighted individual, Ryan’s been her own worst enemy when it comes to self-care.
To be fair, as ill-advised as it seemed for her to resume her relationship with Angelique, there’s some genuine and heart-warming affection between them.
Angelique: We have been waiting for a doctor for two hours.
Doctor: Oh, well, actually, I’m not her attending.
Angelique: Oh, actually, have you heard of a little issue in your medical community called implicit bias?
Doctor: Sorry, we’re coding down the hall.
Angelique: Let me educate you on something.
Ryan: Ang! Please, he’s busy!
Angelique: It is the reason black women die of neglect at a disproportionately high rate in this country. We’re not having that tonight. You need to get my girl some actual care before you need your own.
But all it takes is for Sophie to breathe in the general direction of a healthy relationship to kill it in its tracks.
I have to admit my favorite scene here was Ryan throwing Sophie’s singleton status in her face.
It’s slipping my mind right now whether Ryan knows about Sophie and Kate, but it’s a barb that hit the bullseye AND stuck.
Ryan: You’ve never been in love, huh?
Sophie: Of course I’ve been in love.
Ryan: And now you’re alone. See, when I care about someone, I fight for them.
Furthermore, it’s exactly why Sophie was never a good match for Kate. Despite her training and confidence in her abilities, Sophie has never been willing to fight when it really mattered.
Repeatedly, she betrayed Kate. From their days at the academy to Kate’s return to Gotham, Sophie has been a coward when it comes to her own truth, never mind the truth of her feelings for Kate.
She seemed to improve with the introduction of the relationship with Julia, but that didn’t last long either, did it?
So, to have Ryan in the suit now, with a troubled history with Sophie already in the books and fun little nicknames like “Crow-fie” peppering the dialogue, I’m feeling like Agent Moore might get a proper reality check eventually.
A lot of truths were in the spotlight here, beyond Mary’s confession to Jacob and Luke finding out about Ryan’s wound.
The fact that Hamilton Dynamics doctors (and possibly Katherine) were authorizing human testing is a devastating reveal.
Safiyah: Wouldn’t it be so much easier not having an emotional attachment to the man you’ve been tasked to kill?
Alice: Why don’t you ask someone who has emotional attachments?
Safiyah’s wiping of Alice and Ocean’s memories is confirmed. While we don’t get the nitty-gritty details, it’s clear they were romantically involved and ended up on Safiyah’s naughty list.
In terms of most entertaining banter, Alice and Ocean have some chops.
When she was with Mouse, there was so much dysfunction in the interplay, it was hard to be amused by the macabre nature of their activities.
Ocean: I’ll be damned. You’re a bigger lunatic than I thought.
Alice: Thank you.
With Ocean, he’s been pretty good at throwing verbal shade as much as Alice does.
Ocean: If you really believed I tried to blow up your sister’s airplane, this conversation would look a lot more like you fumbling to kill me again.
Alice: I wasn’t fumbling, I was due diligence-ing. It will be very clear when I transition to actual murder.
One could assume that their naturally occurring sparks were what drew them together the first time they met.
I’m intrigued as to how Alice intends to exchange a face-transplanted (speaking of wacky medical science) corpse for Kate when the real-live Ocean is very obviously still walking around Gotham?
And if he joins her on the trip back, that’ll mean even more explaining.
The first order of business will have to be getting the map back from the masked thieves/doctors.
Does this mean that we have yet ANOTHER villainous force in play this season?
We haven’t even met Black Mask yet. Safiyah has yet to step foot in Gotham.
And now creepy Dr. Rogers and his aggressive interest in a cure-all serum is on the scene too?
It’s always a problem when a show divides its attention among too many conflicts.
Mind you, the writers have shown a singular talent this season at tying plot threads together in interesting ways.
We’re picking up a presence of radioactive material. So, unless you were taking selfies at Chernobyl, you wouldn’t have read-outs like these.
I’d like Luke to be able to step into the thick of the action a bit more and not always be the bearer of exposition.
His interest in finding Kate and loyalty to Batwoman 1.0 is admirable, but Ryan can’t do her job without him, and it feels like he’s only now realizing how his hesitance has weakened the team.
And speaking of weaknesses, I’m back to where I started — Jacob Kane’s failings as a father.
I’ve always placed Jacob’s issues in that benefit-of-the-doubt zone, where he’s a man who suffered a great loss, made some bad choices in recovery, and suffered more because of those choices.
Jacob: I’m more concerned with how I could be blind to yet another daughter’s secret life.
Mary: It’s not your fault. When you met my mom, all of your energy was focused on finding Beth. And then when you couldn’t find her, it was about building the Crows. And now, it’s all about finding Kate. Truth of the matter is, I’ve never really been on your radar.
But there’s a point at which you expect a person to LEARN from their mistakes.
And there’s a point where a character just steps beyond redeemable.
What’s truly ironic is that he criticizes Katherine for letting good intentions lead her into sketchy territory, while he takes the lawful good stance that does more harm than good.
As you watch Batwoman online, see if you can keep from screaming at the screen. I couldn’t.
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.