Warning: The following contains spoilers from Batwoman’s Season 3 finale. Proceed accordingly.
If the Joker’s antics in Batwoman’s Season 3 finale felt like a scene out of Tim Burton’s Batman, that was intentional.
Showrunner Caroline Dries says the 1989 film served as inspiration behind Marquis’ plan to release acid bombs from a blimp hovering over the city — mirroring Jack Nicholson’s zany Joker staging a street parade of inflatable characters filled with toxic gas in the movie.
“We knew [Marquis] was going to do something dirty [and] Joker-esque, and we wanted it to be on a grand scale and do it to innocent citizens of Gotham, a la the Joker from [Tim Burton’s] Batman,” Dries tells TVLine. “We didn’t exactly know what we would do and how to make something look grand scale on our timeline and in our budget. The blimp ultimately turned out to be the super cool — working within the canon — notion that really felt finale-esque.”
Wednesday’s season ender culminated with Batwoman using the Joker Buzzer on Marquis, who appeared to be cured when he regained consciousness. Whether that is actually the case, though, remains to be seen. Plus, the final moments of the hour teased a mysterious new villain, raising plenty of questions about where the show is headed, should it be renewed for Season 4.
Read on for our full interview with Dries, who breaks down the eventful season finale and weighs in on whether it also serves as a potential series finale.
TVLINE | I honestly thought that Marquis was going to die in this episode. Why was it important not only for him to survive, but to be (seemingly) cured by this Joker Buzzer?
What was most important by the end of the season is that Ryan has a true, genuine victory. [After wanting nothing to do with her family at the beginning of the season], here she is in the finale literally trying to pull her brother out of this shell of who Marquis is, begging him to give her her brother back. I really wanted Ryan to have a victory here, and that’s why it was important that she succeeded, and that he lived. I think there are more stories to tell with Marquis, whether he’s good or bad or whatever happens with this Joy Buzzer tomorrow. How it affects him, we’ll find out if we get a Season 4.
TVLINE | If Batwoman does get renewed for Season 4, can we expect to see you explore more of that Jet family dynamic?
I hope so. I think building out Ryan’s world is the key to keeping her dynamic and interesting and our centerpiece of the series. I want to keep them [Jada and Marquis], and I think there’s a lot more story to tell.
TVLINE | Ryan gives Alice the Joker Buzzer, and later, Alice gives it back to Ryan to use on Marquis. What went into Alice’s decision to hand over the thing she felt would be the ultimate cure for her? How does that affect her journey ahead as she continues to struggle with her mental health?
So much of that moment is about defining who Ryan is as a character, and the fact that she gives it to Alice speaks a lot to their relationship… They have a deep relationship because they have history and she’s been in the trenches with Alice enough to know how it plays out. She knew she could get through to her in that moment and gave her the buzzer knowing that she was satiating what Mary needed from her, which is to be a good friend and to listen to Mary. Also, she trusted that Alice would give it back to her, and sure enough, she did.
But for Alice, she’s so used to taking the impulsive, easy way through things, and this Joy Buzzer is the epitome of that off switch to her mental health illness — so she thinks. Her realizing, ‘I am strong enough to get through this because I was strong enough to get through every other hard thing that I went through,’ how she just needed Ryan to give her that push, really shows exactly the point, which is she can do it. She just has to do the work.
TVLINE | Alice is also a wanted woman due to her previous actions. How do you think that would play into any future journey for her on the show?
I don’t think she could live in disguises for too long if she comes back. I think she has to find a way to make it work with the city for her to be roaming freely in Gotham in Season 4 if she were to come back.
TVLINE | Does that mean we may be seeing less of Alice in the future?
Hopefully not… We do make the promise that she’s headed out on a journey to be cured, and so the question is, are we going to be with her as she goes through that therapy, or does she come home supposedly cured? Or does it not work? It’s still up for debate, but I definitely want her to come back to Gotham and to be living with our characters, so I don’t think we’ll see a lapse of her. I just think we’ll see a different version of her.
TVLINE | It’s a good thing Ryan survived that fall, if only to go on a real date with Sophie. Do you think that they’ve gotten closer after going through this experience? How do you think that sets them up for the future?
I definitely think they’ve gotten closer going through the drama of the finale and all the preceding episodes. There’s going to be drama every week that’s ultimately going to keep them worried about each other and building on that relationship. It’s all about timing for this couple, and I think the time is finally right for them. They’ll hit some speed bumps, I’m sure, but I think the foundation right now is built so solidly that I’m looking forward to them being happy for a little while.
TVLINE | At the end of the episode, we see the news reporter Dana Dewitt (Allison Riley) brutally murdered by a mysterious figure. Are there any clues you can give about this person’s identity?
Poor Dana Dewitt, who’s been so loyal to the Gotham news circuit… We wanted to show, ‘Look, you guys mostly succeeded in getting this blimp out of the city. It could have been a lot worse, but there were consequences to it exploding over part of the city, and that isn’t going to go away.’ So it’s teeing up that we’re not saying goodbye to the Joker’s acid bombs, once and for all.
TVLINE | Is this character new or original, or can you not say?
If we don’t get a Season 4, in my mind, it’s just to show Batwoman has to fight another day [and] that it’s never going to go away. And then if we were to get a Season 4, I have a very specific character in mind of who it could be, but it requires getting some approvals.
TVLINE | Do you see a possibility of Pam Isley (Bridget Regan) coming back to the series?
When we created the character, we were allowed to do three episodes [thanks to permissions from DC]. We had her fly off to Coryana, which felt like a good ending for that character and the restrictions that we have. Bridget killed it so hard on the show, and I know she really enjoyed working with everyone, so I would love to bring her back. Are we going to be allowed to or have room for it or have the story for it? I’m not exactly sure.
TVLINE | The show has not yet been renewed, so were you prepared to make this episode a series finale?
I think you can tell by how the stories come to a satisfying conclusion that if this were the end, it feels like we’ve answered enough questions and then also created one big question. That was important to me because the show and each of these individual characters are so important to me that I wanted to give them their due finale moment.