Gotham's villains often pull focus, and on Batwoman Season 2 Episode 3, we get a couple vying for the spotlight while Batwoman 2.0 gets her game on.
Not only are Zsasz and Safiyah highly entertaining and intriguing, respectively, but the writers manage to tantalize us with a Jack Napier reference in the final moments.
Meanwhile, Ryan starts to make a space for herself in the Batwoman persona by customizing the suit.
It helps that everyone in Gotham has already noticed that their current guardian is clearly a different woman despite the common costume.
In an amusing wraparound of supervillain casting, our Zsasz, Alex Morf, portrayed Sykes on Season 5 of Fox's Gotham, where Anthony Carrigan played Victor Zsasz. Carrigan, keen-eyed Arrow-verse fans will note, also played Kyle Nimbus/The Mist on The Flash Season 1.
Like Carrigan's Zsasz, Morf actualizes the uber-assassin as chatty, likable, and pretty much unstoppable. Very much worth the cost of hiring him if his hit on Mr. Capalaci and his plus one is any indication of the detail he includes in his service.
Y'know if he really cared, he'd have sprung for the soaking tub for two. Now, Mrs. Capalaci. Now, there is a woman who spares no expense. I am not cheap. And there are plenty of reasonably-priced hit persons available to handle a perfidious husband and his sudsy paramour. This is a brut millesime. I could have just as easily picked up a bottle of the cheap stuff but Mrs. Capalaci insisted on the finer vintage because she wanted you to know that she was willing to spend more on you than her husband was.Szasz
However, I think the canon signature habit of tallying his kills with cuts on his own body was highlighted more here than on Gotham.
Watching him cut himself was probably the most uncomfortable scene so far on Batwoman, even with the humor of him running out of space on his body.
Both Zsasz and Safiyah provide fuel to stoke the season's development of character and plot.
In Zsasz's case, his "helpful" critique of the new Batwoman's style and sense of self gives rise to Ryan's alterations to the suit.
Batwoman: I didn't design the damn suit.
Szasz: I can tell. Because I don't see the Batwoman in you. And maybe that's because I don't see the you in Batwoman.
And while Luke isn't a fan of making any changes in his role of preserving all things Kate, there's clearly an improvement to Ryan's ability to move, defend, and fight once she feels at home in the suit.
Luke: But the suit is perfect.
Ryan: Have you seen the damn wig?
Actress Javicia Leslie credited much of Ryan's (and her own) sense of ownership of the character to the move to her own suit when she spoke with the press before the premiere.
While Zsasz is doing his thing in Gotham, and Team Batwoman scrambles to stop him, Alice and Sophie get an unexpected island getaway to Coryana, courtesy of Safiyah.
I don't have much of a read on, Safiyah, this new queen on the scene. Although she wears her power with grace, I don't quite get the Ra's al Ghul vibe I expected.
I'm also not so sure I buy everything she's selling.
We know that she's hired Zsasz to get the list of individuals treated with the serum made from Mary's Desert Rose-affected blood.
We know that she surveilled Julia and Sophie for weeks and that Julia's crossed her before.
We (now) know that she is the reason Alice didn't visit Mouse at Arkham during all those years he was incarcerated. (How Alice ended up hiding on a yacht being boarded by pirates, I'm still a little cloudy on.)
We know that she commands great allegiance from the likes of Tatiana and that she trained Alice in many of the skills Beth Kane wouldn't have acquired otherwise.
Well, a wise woman once taught me, it's not worth sending the message unless it's loud.Alice
However, if she does have Kate, who, presumably, never boarded the plane that exploded, it doesn't mean she didn't blow up the plane.
Actually, I'd say that blowing up the plane is exactly what someone who wanted to hide a kidnapping would do.
If Alice's suspicion that Sophie was returned to Gotham because Safiyah's got a crush on her is true, that's another complication for her relationship with Julia.
Considering Sophie went running straight to Jacob with the news that Kate's alive, I wonder if she'll be letting Julia in on that as well.
Because then Julia will tell Luke, and then Mary's going to feel all guilty about giving up on Kate.
Luke: You looked me in the eye and said,'Miracles happen.'
Mary: I know. So do tragedies.
And that'll put Ryan out of the loop as she is, once again, the temporary replacement.
Temporary Batwoman. Temporary manager of The Hold-Up. Temporary bestie for Mary. No wonder Ryan's got a case of imposter syndrome when wearing Kate's suit.
Anyone else surprised that Mary had an assistant at her clinic? Huge red flag for me, which only made sense when Zsasz kills her. I guess superhero shows have "red shirts," too.
I'd also like to know if Mary is still in med school or not. She seems to be in the clinic full-time, and if she isn't actually a doctor yet, that would seem to be a potential problem down the road.
Speaking of future fiascos, now that Ryan's ex has a name and, from Zsasz's reaction, a considerable history and rep, I suspect she'll be turning up sometime in the future to complicate Ryan's life. Who are you, Angelique Martin?
Ryan: She was bad for me.
Szasz: That's how you know it's love.
With all this going on, it was easy to miss, or disregard, the introduction of Snakebite and the False Face Society.
First of all, who the heck gets a hold of Scarecrow's fear toxin and thinks, "This'll make a great party drug!" Seriously.
Secondly, showrunner Caroline Dries recently confirmed that Black Mask, the Gotham crime lord who leads the False Face Society, would be the season's other Big Bad, providing Alice with a nemesis just as Safiyah pulls Alice's strings.
HOWEVER, dropping Jack Napier's (aka Joker) name puts a twist in that Joker was the False Face Society founder in Pre-Crisis Earth.
How Safiyah ties into Napier will also be a fascinating reveal since she's already connected to Zsasz and has Alice on a mission too.
When you watch Batwoman online, be sure to tally (with pen and paper, preferably) how many potential Gotham villains could be primed for release.
While we were introduced to several as Villains of the Week last season, it feels like there's a longer arc at play here.
Also, with Alice's turn at being driven by sisterly love and concern, is there a possibility that we'll be seeing a Red Alice spin-off?
Hit the comments with your thoughts and predictions!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.