When you live in Gotham City, life can be an adventure. Just look at everything that has been happening on Batwoman. In the past year, we’ve seen Ryan Wilder make the Batwoman role her own, and now she’s dealing with the fallout of meeting her birth mother. We’ve also seen the birth of a new superhero as Luke Fox has taken to the streets as Batwing. There’s a lot going down in Batwoman, but if you haven’t been paying attention to Sophie Moore, then you’ve been missing one of the most dynamic character arcs ever seen on a superhero drama.
In the span of two years, everything has changed in Sophie’s life and the journey is just getting started. She has loved, lost, changed careers and seen things that have caused her to question everything she believes in. She’s gone from an adversary to an ally and tried on many other roles along the way. It’s hard to find a character on Batwoman who has changed as much as she has, and that includes Ryan and Kate. (Maybe Mary Hamilton has her beat at the moment, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say her Poison Ivy turn isn’t going to last.)
To help illustrate how far Sophie has come, let’s rewind to the beginning. When we met Sophie Moore in the series pilot, she was a woman who thought she had her life exactly where it needed to be. She had worked her way up the ranks of the Crows, a highly respected security firm. Jacob Kane, leader of the Crows, looked at Moore as one of his favorite agents and as a surrogate daughter. Sophie was also married to a fellow Crow agent named Tyler, who was the type of man her family would approve of. To an outsider, it looked like Sophie Moore had her life figured out, but she was living a lie.
Kate Kane’s return threw Sophie’s entire worldview into a tailspin. Kate was more than an ex, she represented a crossroads in Sophie’s life. During their time at Point Rock Academy, both women faced expulsion when their relationship was discovered. Kate decided to be true to herself and face the consequences, while Sophie hesitated. Sophie feared losing everything she had worked for and she feared her mother’s reaction. She denied her relationship with Kate, and by extension, denied a huge part of her own identity.
Being a woman in a male-dominated organization like the Crows couldn’t have been easy for Sophie and let’s be real, being an African American woman must’ve made it all the more challenging. Sophie already had to prove herself on a daily basis, so it isn’t hard to imagine why she was hesitant about coming out of the closet. During the episode “I’ll Give You a Clue,” Sophie even said that drinking helped her live in denial. The return of Kate changed the game and Tyler noticed.
Tyler asked Sophie some hard truths about their marriage and in “A Mad Tea-Party,” she admitted that she wasn’t sure if she was in love with him. For a time, Sophie tried to convince herself that she was bisexual, but in “I’ll Give You a Clue,” she acknowledges that it was another stage of denial and another step towards admitting to herself that she’s a lesbian. Unfortunately, the next step was admitting it to her disapproving mother and once we saw the relationship between Sophie and her mother, it was clear why Sophie spent so much time in the closet.
Sophie grew up hearing her mother use various hateful slurs when describing homosexuality, which couldn’t have been an easy thing for a young girl questioning her own sexual identity. This helps shed some light on why Sophie and Kate made different choices at Point Rock Academy. In the end, Sophie came out to her mother, who reacted negatively. It wasn’t easy for Sophie, but she faced one of her biggest fears and walked away intact. She may have lost her mother, at least for now, but she was able to gain a greater sense of freedom. She no longer had to hide who she was.
While the arrival of the first Batwoman helped Sophie find herself, it was the introduction of her successor Ryan Wilder who started the next phase of Sophie’s journey. During the first season of Batwoman, we saw the Crows through the eyes of Gotham’s elite, but the introduction of Ryan gave us a new point of view. Ryan had been a victim of systemic abuse and racism under the Crows, and Sophie was initially blind to it. In Sophie’s eyes, she would never be a part of a system like that and a great man like Jacob Kane would never build a prejudiced organization, therefore it couldn’t be true.
Confirmation bias is hard to fight, but Sophie Moore is a strong person physically and mentally. While season one of Batwoman had Sophie confront the truth of her sexual identity, season two had her come to accept the true nature of the Crows. Despite the best intentions of high-ranking agents like herself and Director Kane, the rank-and-file members of the Crows were remarkably corrupt. Like a cancer, that corruption had spread throughout the entire organization, resulting in the Crows abusing their power to hurt the people they swore to protect.
If you were Sophie Moore, what would you do in this situation? Some people would continue to live in denial, telling themselves that while there were a few bad apples in the batch, the Crows were still good. But Sophie left denial behind when she ended her marriage. Other people might acknowledge the truth of the Crows’ corruption and try to use their position to change the Crows from within. Sophie realized that in doing that, she would still be empowering the system that was being used to hurt marginalized people. With all that in mind, she decided to leave the Crows at the end of “And Justice For All.”
Consider the courage this took. Acknowledging the problems within the Crows was far from easy and choosing to step away was very brave. For Sophie, being a Crow was one of the only parts of her life that made sense. When her marriage fell apart, when her mother turned her back on her, and when she thought Kate had died, the Crows had been there to pick her up the entire time. Her employer Jacob Kane had been like a father to her, and she based so much of her life and worldview around her identity as a Crow. I can’t stress this enough—walking away from it took more courage and integrity than we can imagine.
Don’t forget, Sophie did all this while dealing with her grief over the supposed death of Kate Kane and then the emotional fallout from her return. She’s has been through a lot, but Sophie’s still standing. Plus, it encouraged similar reckonings in others. Jacob Kane ultimately came to the same realization about the Crows and dismantled the security organization. Sadly, due his actions beforehand, the former Crows director is currently behind bars, another development that hasn’t been easy for Sophie.
Where does Sophie Moore go from here? I don’t know and that’s exciting. If Sophie was a good friend who you hadn’t seen in two years, you would be shocked to find out just how much she had changed since you last got together. Her marriage and her career have ended, but her new life has only just begun. When you lay it all out like this, it’s hard to deny that Sophie has had one of the most interesting character arcs on Batwoman. That arc is far from over and whatever happens next, something tells me that Sophie Moore will continue to amaze us.
Batwoman's midseason finale, "Pick Your Poison," airs tonight at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. CST) on The CW. Got any tips on lost super-villain artifacts? Visit our official Batwoman series page.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.