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Batwoman Season 2, Episode 1 Ending Explained

Contains spoilers for the first episode of Batwoman season 2, "Whatever happened to Kate Kane?"

The first episode of the CW's Batwoman season 2 is the exact sort of action-packed mass of plot twists and drama fans were hoping for. With Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) missing in action, the show has a new lead in Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie), a homeless, wrongly incarcerated ex-con with a tragic past. As fate conspires to throw her in the boots of Gotham's latest bat-themed vigilante, she immediately finds herself neck-deep in the villainous machinations of Tommy "Hush" Elliot (Gabriel Mann) and Alice (Rachel Skarsten) — and the original Batwoman's friends aren't that cool about the prospect of a new caped crusader taking over, either. 

"Whatever happened to Kate Kane?" might not exactly answer the title's question, but it does introduce a number of cool plot points, and makes extremely clear that the unfortunate, yet tough and charismatic Ryan is ready to take over as the new main character. Fittingly for a season premiere, the episode also features an ending that leaves pretty much everyone in a very, very strange place by the time the credits roll. 

Let's take a closer look at the ending of Batwoman season 2, episode 1. 

Tommy Elliot's Bruce Wayne ruse falls flat

The most famous Batman villain to grace the show (thus far) ended Batwoman season 1 with a fresh face, but the same bad attitude: Tommy "Hush" Elliot (Warren Christie) gets a strong start for Batwoman season 2, but ends the episode as a broken man. His new life as a Bruce Wayne lookalike soon comes to an end when Julia Pennyworth (Christina Wolfe) finds his behavior strange, and quickly figures out his true identity.  Unfortunately, the realization is too late, since Tommy is already in possession of a piece of kryptonite, and proceeds to steal the Batmobile and go after the Batsuit.

Fortunately, the new Batwoman proves a hard nut to crack. After a tense chase scene between Ryan's van and the missile-toting Batmobile, the conflict becomes physical. Even though she takes a kryptonite bullet in the shoulder, the fight ends with Ryan beating Tommy so decisively that she quite literally punches her way through his disguise — which, unfortunately for Tommy, also happens to be his face. This is an important lesson for everyone involved, up to and including the viewers. Yes, the new Batwoman might be slightly out of her depth, but when the situation calls for it, she can be brutal. 

Ryan turns down the cowl, but the kryptonite lingers

"Whatever happened to Kate Kane?" is a bit of a roller coaster ride for Javicia Leslie's new Batwoman. Ryan Wilder's life is already a disenfranchised mess before Kate's Batsuit almost literally drops on her, along with a bunch of plane wreckage. After doing what everyone in her position would — trying out the supersuit — she briefly entertains the idea of going full vigilante in order to track down the person responsible for her mother's death. She even outright refuses to return the costume when Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson) and Mary Hamilton (Nicole Kang) track her down. Instead, she gives them an incredibly cool and character-affirming "I'm a number" monologue, and rappels off with a promise to deal with her mother's killer.  

At the end of the episode, though, Ryan has very different feelings. Getting chased down by a homicidal Bruce Wayne lookalike in a Batmobile is a weird situation to find yourself in, as is getting shot with a Batsuit-penetrating kryptonite bullet by the same guy. Both of those things happen to Ryan, and though her martial arts expertise is enough to win the battle, she ultimately decides that she wants nothing to do with the bigger war. As such, she returns the suit and the kryptonite she dug out from her shoulder to their owners. 

Speaking of shoulders and kryptonite, showrunner Caroline Dries has told TV Line that Ryan's nasty-looking wound will play an extremely important role in the upcoming episodes. "It's a metaphor for a lot of things, being shot with this kryptonite," she said. "Ryan has to be a hero and prove herself while she's dealing with this huge issue of having kryptonite in her blood and keeping that a secret from the whole world." 

Jacob Kane has a bad time

Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) does not have a nice season premiere. Not only does he (seemingly) lose his daughter in a plane crash, but his other daughter, Alice, drops by to rub his life decisions on his face — and to throw the mother of all information bombs by revealing that Kate and Batwoman are the same person. When Jacob refuses to believe this because he believes Kate wouldn't have kept such a secret, Alice switches to even bigger guns. "You rejected her over and over to the world, to her face," the supervillain points out. "You wanted her dead." Jacob still claims Alice is wrong, but there's no stopping her now. "Am I, or did you spend your last precious moments together firing a gun at her?" she asks. "You got your wish, Daddy. Batwoman is dead, and she died knowing that her father hated her."

This clearly sets the Crows leader aback, and soon, we see him rolling out the Bat-signal, hoping against hope that Batwoman will arrive. However, his face reveals that he already knows this won't happen. As such, it will be exciting to see how the broken Jacob deals with the news that there's a brand new Batwoman running around town. Presumably, he will not be happy.

Alice has beef with more than one Batwoman

As is her habit, Alice spends the majority of the episode pulling all sorts of strings, casually sabotaging people's lives, and giving in to the occasional murderous instinct. Unbeknownst to her, though, dark clouds are gathering. The episode's ending reveals that the squatters who beat Ryan's mother to death were actually working for Alice, and Ryan even got a good look at her face. Provided Ryan eventually reclaims the suit, this means that just like her predecessor, the new Batwoman will have a personal history with Alice. What's more, Ryan has already made it clear that she has absolutely no trouble going for the kill. In fact, that's her stated goal.

If this isn't enough, Alice is looking at a war on another front, as well. She's extremely bitter about the fact that Kate (seemingly) perished in a plane accident, instead of by her hand. In the end of the episode, she receives a new message from the mysterious Safiyah, who states that they're now even. To say Alice isn't happy about the implication that Safiyah killed Kate is an understatement. So, it's probably safe to say that there will be plenty of bad — and, likely, spilled — blood between the two powerful criminals in the very near future. 

Kate shakes Sophie's world with an honest goodbye letter

Kate may not be present in the Batwoman season 2 premiere, but her spirit looms large over everyone and everything. Even Ryan, a complete stranger, finds herself reading up on her exploits and nodding in approval. Still, few characters have to deal with the first Batwoman's absence more personally than her ex, Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy). 

Sophie's had a tumultuous relationship with Kate over the course of the series, and this episode doesn't make things any easier. When Kate's disappearance eventually becomes a public matter, Julia delivers Sophie a letter from Kate's safe, clearly written as a final goodbye and confession. Sophie has long suspected that Kate and Batwoman are one and the same, and team Batwoman has had to use complex ruses to convince her otherwise. In the letter, Kate finally confirms her secret identity, and notes that while lying to Sophie was extremely hard, she did it out of a desire to keep her safe. She also reveals that she loves Sophie. 

It's unclear when Kate wrote the letter, but clearly, she loved Sophie long after the two went their separate ways — which leaves Sophie in a doubly awful place, because she also harbored feelings for Batwoman.