Oh, ick. Batwoman Season 1 Episode 5 lands a lot of emotional punches, but its first is the gag-inducing intro of Alice peeling patches of skin off of corpse thighs. Urgh.
But it definitely got our attention. And Luke's. And Batwoman's.
And it's nicely timed for Halloween, I guess.
This was Alice's episode from start to finish. No VotW to muddy the waters. Not even a heist (besides the skin thing) to boost the action.
Even the scenes that didn't directly feature Alice or her backstory still involved Alice and her backstory.
Catherine's confession to Mary waa about her paying the technician to fake Beth/Alice's DNA on the deer bone fragments.
Mary was distraught that Kate still chose Beth/Alice over her, and Luke figures out the skin connection to Jonathan Cartwright, aka Mouse.
And it's probably the most Batwoman-light episode to date, with only one scene in costume and only one scene in the Bat Cave.
Kate's basically along for the ride, somewhat literally, as Alice spins her tale of horror.
Forgetting pain is convenient. Remembering it, agonizing. But recovering the truth is worth the suffering.Alice
Working out the psychological trauma that turned Beth into Alice really messes with MY head.
You have a child who just lost her mother, trapped by a stranger, and threatened with the deaths of her father and sister if she tried to escape.
And Mouse, another child, seemed every bit as trapped as Beth.
It makes total sense that they'd cling to each other in a world with no hope of escape.
It also makes sense that they'd be each other's company on the descent into madness.
Does it make you wonder what happened to Mr. Cartwright once Beth was Alice and Johnny was Mouse?
When your life unfolds into a nightmare, you pray your dreams will take you elsewhere.Alice
Following on Batwoman Season 1 Episode 4,which was completely devoid of flashback scenes, this script does a brilliant job blending the past into the present.
The best example is young Kate leaving the basement by the stairs, never knowing how close she came to finding Beth, and the seamless entry of present-day Alice from below the stairs, watching her exit.
It's almost as if Alice spends a lot of her time wandering around in her own memories.
Discovering the truth about Mouse explains a lot of things about Alice.
When she makes her first entrance on Batwoman Season 1 Episode 1, she refers to Jacob Kane and the Crows as "bullies."
If they were the ones who locked up Mouse in Arkham, they would both view them as bullies, and knowing her father leads the Crows could very well have instigated the whole revenge plot.
More recently, Dodgson revealed while delirious that Alice's feelings for him are NOTHING compared to her attachment to Mouse.
Now Mouse admitted that although she never went to visit him at Arkham, he felt her in his dreams every night.
So while she bemoans the fact that the mystical twin bond doesn't exist between Kate and her, it's obvious that she and Mouse do have that bond, and they are perhaps closer than twins due to their shared trauma.
Well, it all began with an unfortunate event of which I remember vividly. And, if given the chance again, I would take it back in a heartbeat. It was the simple, effortless thing that I had done so many times before. I woke up.Alice
As always, Alice seems better at her job than Jacob or Kate are at theirs.
Poor Dodgson. He endured weeks of torture, nearly died, raced back to his girlfriend, and she threatened to cut off his head.
But we did get a little insight while Jacob was beating on him.
Another hint that the hidden conflict of this show is a rise of the proletariat, Dodgson threw Jacob's track record in his face, claiming the Commander is too blind to see that the Crows do nothing but protect the wealthy.
Jacob: What happened to you?
Dodgson: You happened, Commander. I joined the Crows to make Gotham better but you divided it. The city's not safe. The wealthy are safe. And you're too blind to see it.
And Jacob wasn't having a good day either. His marriage is on the rocks, his one daughter leads him around by a phone signal, and his other one stabbed him in the gut.
It might've seemed to be silly for him to tell Kate that Alice is Beth while bleeding out but, if you think about it, he'd spent so much energy making himself believe the opposite, it was kind of huge that he was able to articulate it at all.
Mary and Luke were obviously the levity of the episode.
I've been wondering from the beginning how they'd get along when they eventually met, and now we know.
She annoys him.
Luke: So, it has been an experience but your chariot has arrived. 2015 hybrid hatchback, power everything, 4.3 stars.
Mary: I can take a hint.
Luke: Wasn't really hinting.
They are very much diametrically opposed in personality, despite both being hella smart in their fields of expertise.
Mary, aka "Girl-Who-Talks-Too-Much," might over-share, but she is genuine in expressing her feelings.
Meanwhile, Luke's been keeping secrets for so long, his go-to form of expression is snark.
Mary: Maybe if I go kill someone, she'll actually call me back.
Luke: Only one way to find out.
If the show continues to play against type and Team Batwoman turns out to be individual allies placed far apart, we may be in for a Bat-load of situational irony between the two.
The unsung awesome I want to point out before I wrap is the freakin' amazing camera work on display here drawing unmistakeable parallels between Alice's relationships.
When Batwoman first captures her, the shot takes in the two women staring at each other through the bars. In profile, the bars appear as a solid wall.
Later, when Kate makes her way down into the Cartwrights' basement and stands outside Beth's cell, the shot is recreated with the sisters in profile, facing each other. This time, with an actual wall/door between them.
At the diner, Kate and Alice are shot in profile, facing each other with the table between them, divided and opposing forces.
Then, in flashback, Jonathan brings Beth the book and, once again, two children stand on either side of the door.
But that scene moves immediately into the present where he and Alice sit facing each other with nothing between them but the book that connects them.
It's so incredibly poetic, I could scream.
Luke: Let me call you a car.
Mary: To take me where? The penthouse built on lies of falsely dead children? Hard pass.
Sort of like some of Mary's turns-of-phrase.
Anyhow, when you watch Batwoman online you may notice that the episode is light on costumes and special effects but I felt the delivery was more satisfying than any of the episodes so far.
What's your takeaway here?
Jonathan Cartwright/Mouse seems to be a new invention for the show although his mimicry ability harkens to Jane Cartwright/Jane Doe's shapeshifting ability. And Jane could quite literally be anyone she wanted to be. Could there be a connection?
Who do you think Catherine's going to confess to next?
What sort of tech do Alice and Mouse plan on using to fit him for a new face?
How much of Mary's message do you think Luke's actually going to convey to Kate?
Since Sophie and Jacob were on their own, does that mean NONE of Alice's gang at Dusty's were taken into custody?
What hit you hardest here? Where do they go next?
Vent your cheers and jeers in the comments!
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Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.