Messy can be fun, and Batwoman Season 1 Episode 7 makes a real effort to mess with everyone in sight.
It's more than just sleight-of-hand (although Alice does one of those).
There are some genuine moments of "WTH?" surprise wrapped up in a slightly convoluted plot about preserving the uniqueness of the coil accelerator weapon Mouse stole from Hamilton Dynamics on Batwoman Season 1 Episode 6.
There are also some awesome little tidbits that provide insight and backstory on the characters who we've, really, just met.
Firstly (and most kick-assly), is the arrival of Julia Pennyworth.
Forget Alfred. I want a series about his secret agent daughter.
Besides providing exposition on the VotW, Rifle, and enjoying a Chinese takeaway dinner as much as the next night-owl, Julia starts to fill in Kate's story after Kate's expulsion from the military academy.
No one can be a lone wolf forever.Kate
It's nice to know Kate didn't lock herself away in her training from any emotional contact at all.
It's unfortunate that it turned out to be an assignment for Julia, but life's messy when Bruce Wayne is your cousin and guardian vigilante.
Regarding family messes, I have to admit being pretty confused by the whole Catherine and Jacob/Mouse thing.
Who actually filed for divorce? Jacob or Mouse?
Because if Jacob filed for divorce and then Mouse, as Jacob, gave the impression that he was willing to reconcile, the jig's gonna be up as soon as the real Jacob and Catherine are in the same room together.
However, if Mouse filed for divorce as Jacob and then reconciled with Catherine before the real Jacob got back to town, then it's going to be a moot move.
Of course, it was hugely convenient for Mouse to fill in as Jacob and catch not only the whole coil accelerator weapon intel, but also Sophie's loyalty-driven reveal that Kate is Batwoman, which she then retracted.
So, apparently, that's her thing now -- saying something and then taking it back.
Man, she bugs me.
Granted, her backstory piece makes some sense and could explain a lot of her contradictory behaviors.
(cue dramatic movie trailer music)
Raised by a rabidly homophobic mother (who had no issue with her attending a historically male-only military academy) to hate people like herself and then given permission by the accepting father of the woman she loves to hide her truth for her greater good...
(cue sad trombone noise)
Sigh, she still comes out of it looking very weak-sauce.
Kate is fearless, passionate, and reckless. She is going to walk into that hearing and burn the house down.Jacob
And once again, she has terrible powers of observation.
Yeah, Julia and Kate are about the same height and fit the Batsuit, but did she not notice the vast difference to the shape of their faces?
Also, why didn't it seem odd to her that Kate suddenly showed up in a building getting scoured by the Crows?
And the whole scene in the restaurant with the hypocritical bigot of an owner was pretty painful to watch but gratifying in that it drove a nail into the coffin of Kate's impulse to let Sophie onto Team Batwoman.
Kate: You credit your entire career to my dad?
Sophie: I credit him for stopping me from losing everything I worked for.
Kate: And instead you just lost me.
But, again, messy because there's the whole FEELINGS part of it.
Julia admitted she should have been honest when feelings became a factor between Kate and her.
Kate admitted to Sophie that the feelings are still there and encourages Sophie to make things right with Tyler.
And what does Sophie do? She doubles down on her life as the hetero-normative wife to an emotionally insecure man with new trust issues.
Holy closet door slamming, Batwoman.
Batman was praised and revered. But Bruce Wayne? Not so much. No one knew the man beneath the cowl. You didn't let them in, Bruce. For good reason. Because even the people we love are still people at the end of the day. They act out of fear, pride, hope, pain. And sometimes, they let us down.Kate
Regarding our VotW: Rifle was appropriately intimidating with a sort of Deadshot/Deathstroke-lite vibe, but that scene in the parking lot was weirdly staged.
What self-respecting sniper hides behind a car less than 50 feet from the target?
What kind of a sniper even tries to take out a target from that short of a range? And he wasn't exactly out of sight, either.
What Rifle did do for us was name-drop his boss, earning a slap from Alice.
If I heard it correctly, Rifle's Mediterranean-based boss is none other than Safiyah Sohail, queen of the pirate nation of Coryana.
In the comics, Safiyah and Kate had a relationship, as well, in the period after the military academy. That would make sense as Kate tried to tempt Sophie into sailing the Grecian waters with her (and a private chef).
If we can turn the pain into power, we can do anything, Jacob.Catherine
Considering Alice's reaction to Safiyah's name, I'd guess that there might be some new-for-television tensions in that direction.
And since Alice pretty much broke the contract she'd made with Safiyah, we can assume we'll be seeing the pirate queen some time in the future.
Hands down the best moment of the episode was Mary walking in just as Luke, Julia, and Kate are about to head to the Batcave.
Come to think of it, Mary's pretty much the reigning champ of best moments on this series so far.
Not only does she have genuinely good intentions, Mary is much better at picking up on clues than anyone on this show who is supposed to be making a living at it.
You have TWO assistants who work past midnight for a real estate company without any real estate?Mary
Although her scene after the interruption felt abbreviated, Mary still gets points for being the most consistently honest character, despite her double life as an unlicensed triage doctor.
With the first climactic confrontation on the horizon, now's the time to watch Batwoman online and review what we know so far:
1. Alice and Mouse are planning a Mad Tea-Party for Gotham.
2. Alice has acquired a poison from Safiyah via Rifle.
3. Jacob and Kate (and possibly Catherine) will be central to that event.
Is it me or does everything lately seem complicated? But the thing about complicated is we handle it better than anyone I know.Catherine
More pressingly, what DON'T we know so far?
1. Did Alice keep the power cell for her own use?
2. Who will Mouse masquerade as next?
3. Will Jacob eventually figure out what happened to Mouse's father?
What other questions are burning your brain? Vent them in the comments, and maybe we can answer them together!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.