Why Having Mary Infected By Poison Ivy Is a Great Move

Batwoman has been a wild ride. Most recently, in Season 3, the Bat Team — consisting of Ryan (Javicia Leslie), Luke (Camrus Johnson), Sophie (Meagan Tandy), and Mary (Nicole Kang) — have been working alongside Alice (Rachel Skarsten) and Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) to protect Gotham from the trophies of past Batman villains that escaped the Bat Cave at the end of Season 2. Among those trophies was Pamela Isley a.k.a. the infamous Poison Ivy, one of the most formidable foes that has ever reigned in Gotham, according to Renee.

At the end of Season 3, Episode 3, Mary was dragged away by one of Poison Ivy’s vines in the city park, following a fight with Ryan and Luke. Upon waking up, alone, on a bench in an empty part of the park at the beginning of Episode 4, Mary found a thorn in her arm. With no memory of what happened to her and not knowing Poison Ivy is on the loose, Mary tried to confide in Ryan and Luke, but neither were making the time for her — Luke was angry with Mary for telling Ryan about his PTSD, and Ryan was caught up in what was going on with her birth mother.

After being stuck by one of Ivy’s thorns, Mary began to act strangely. In her clinic, she started cultivating plants until the entire room was full of vegetation. Her unquenchable thirst rapidly became a problem. And, a poison ivy rash began to spread on her arm. Mary’s kind and compassionate personality started to shift in small increments. This was most noticeable with her sister, Alice, for whom her contempt has always been reined in by her oath as a doctor. Her remarks started to become more snippy and short. And, worst of all, no one in her life noticed — except Alice.

Now, as of Episode 6, Mary’s infection is full-blown. This other, green-eyed side to her has officially taken over, with a little help from Alice of course, and the darker side of Mary is rising to the surface. She’s hurting people, like the man she trapped in honey and vines with ravenous bees inside of him and literally planting the goon from the Black Glove Society (that hurt Sophie’s sister) in the ground like a carrot. Mary is officially being put to the test. And, given her new control of Mother Earth, the Bat Team is now tasked with stopping their beloved friend without losing her.

Honestly, Mary becoming “Poison Mary” is one of the best things that Batwoman has ever done. Mary has been the target of so many villains over the duration of the show, nearly always having her life put in danger. Yet, she has remained a kind, caring, and all-around good person, despite all of the pain she has experienced. She even shows Alice, the sister that murdered her mother in cold blood in front of her eyes, compassion, and thinks critically about Alice’s kidnapping and how/why Alice has turned into the person she is today.

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Now, she’s owning her power and embracing the dark feelings that she has always pushed down, like her anger toward Luke and Ryan for how they’ve been treating her. It’s wonderful to see another side to Mary after people have walked all over her for over two seasons. She’s never been treated as she should have been, especially after so many years of Kate and Jacob practically ignoring her because of Beth/Alice’s disappearance. Mary is finally on a path to becoming someone that isn’t afraid to disappoint others or to return their treatment of her. Obviously, she’ll never lose her good nature, but Mary really needs to stop letting others take advantage of her. Hopefully, that will be one of the major lessons she walks away from this experience with. Kang is finally getting the chance to show off her acting chops, too, which is exciting to watch.

As Batwoman Season 3 has proven in just a few short episodes, Mary’s role on the Bat Team has always been underappreciated and, in some ways, has been hanging on by a thread. Even before officially joining, she was often helping Kate and Luke, especially with medical emergencies. But, she was never really treated like a full-fledged member of the team because she wasn’t the person in the field or behind the computers. Mary has played a vital part in Batwoman’s success in Gotham, but that has rarely, if ever, been acknowledged.

With Mary being the one on the line now, Ryan and Luke are being forced to own up to their mistreatment of her and how much she offers to the team, even in the little moments — like Mary not being around to provide care for their wounds. It’s putting this team to the test already. Plus, after this story is (inevitably) wrapped up, Mary’s place on the team is going to be undeniable, and people are going to stop underestimating and underappreciating her. Finally.

In addition to testing her relationships with Ryan and Luke, Mary embracing her dark side is also opening up a new avenue for her relationship with Alice. Their sisterhood has been a major focus of these first few episodes of the season. Alice has been the person calling Mary’s attention to the way the others on the Bat Team have treated her, nefariously causing tension between them while seeing the real issues that exist. Alice has been actively trying to poke the bear and cause mischief, but it’s also caused her to see Mary differently. Skarsten and Kang have such great chemistry and portray this complicated dynamic so well, it’s always a pleasure to watch, even when the two are at each other’s throats. And now that the characters are playing for the same team, and it’ll be quite surprising to see how things unfold from here.

Considering Alice is helping Poison Mary, like providing a stolen car for Mary’s escape, the two are going to bond in a new way. For once, maybe, Mary could be more open to seeing who Alice really is and the motivation behind her actions. At the same time, Alice is going to see her kind-hearted sister turn into a monster. Is that something she’ll let happen? So many intriguing possibilities are on the table, but one thing is certain: Alice and Mary’s relationship will never be the same. One way or another, one or both of the sisters is going to see the other in a new light. They’re more than likely to end this with a better understanding and more compassion for what’s to come after.

Poison Mary is a great opportunity to switch things up, potentially for quite a few episodes. This infection hitting Mary, the most underutilized member of the team, was a brilliant move from the Batwoman writers, especially since there are so many similarities between Mary and Pamela that have been teased. Now, Renee and Ryan have two people to save from this infection. They’re all getting to be on the same page now.

Batwoman Season 3 continues Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

Ruby Rose Alleges Horrifying 'Batwoman' Set Conditions Led to Her Departure (UPDATED)

"Enough is enough."

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Jay Snow (30 Articles Published)

Jay Snow is a freelance entertainment journalist. He lives in the PNW, and enjoys anything to do with witches and superheroes. Follow him on Twitter (@snowyjay) for more on what he’s watching!

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