With each passing week Batwoman is slowly becoming the show we looked forward to it being since her first introduction in the crossover last year. Kate has her own personal mission, but even being the early phase of her tale it is too soon to get swept up in things that were not getting her into the suit and making a name for herself. That is how we end with Green Arrow who tries too hard to be Batman. Right now I think we are on the right track towards avoiding that kind of character evolution.
So far I have to say that this one is my favorite episode so far. Most who know me are aware that I’m not the kind of guy who thinks it’s all too important to care about the villain as much as the hero. To be specific, not the kind of guy who believes that you always have to understand the villain, or their motivations. Alice is one of those rare exceptions because she is absolutely entertaining and layered as a character who is more than the role she plays. Alice is the villain, yet at the same time she is a character you take interest in for how personal this mission is for her. Something happened to Alice to make her angry, something happened to her to make her broken, vengeful, remorseless, even spiteful. That in itself is much more to unravel than who some of these other new characters are, or how Kate becomes the symbol of justice we know she is going to be in time.
In the realm of villains, I would say that we are right now on the right track. There was no better time than now for them to address the origin of Alice. It was a dark tale, and it was probably the most fitting story told in the series so far. When they try to explain away the madness of a character, the reasoning can have the tendency to be superficial, even lazy. They proved that this mattered by giving us a real story for Beth. It was engaging from her mouth, and it was engaging for the visual tour that she took us on.
To take things a step further, their introduction of Mouse was also excellent. You had to love the dynamic between these two because to understand one of them was to understand the other. They worked so well together being two people who needed someone to help them escape from a dark place. At the same time it was fun to see how these two do still find ways to get into their Wonderland roles without making you think too much that they’re trying to be like Mad Hatter and his crew. For those who aren’t aware of the world of Batwoman, it is easy to assume that Alice is just another version of Mad Hatter, but this is a character who is more of her own. This episode only helped add to that contrast between both villains. In other words showing where one is actually driven by something genuine, while the other is simply a psychopath.
Speaking of characters who started to become their own. I was glad to see that this week they finally gave us a reason to want to see things from Jacob Kane’s perspective. Up to this point I hate to say that he has been the least interesting character next to Luke Fox. There’s something about those two where they just don’t have enough dimensions to them. Particularly when Jacob Kane dragged things on a bit hard with his phase of denial despite the clear signs smacking him in the face. They saved his character when forcing him to accept the truth now allowed him to become more than just another obstacle. Right now you care for him finding a way to reach Alice, to make up for all the things that are both directly and indirectly his fault.
With that said, Mary’s encounter with Luke leaves you with some mixed reactions. Some of it was funny to have Mary in Luke’s way, though at the same time it was hard not to see much of what transpired between the two as a distraction. The best takeaway from their meeting is that there could be the possibility of Mary putting some pieces together to work closer to Kate and Luke down the road. Maybe even sooner? Who knows, but at the end of the day it is just good to know that they aren’t going to easily forget Mary who does have potential in spite of being fairly whimsical at times.
Some will ask if we really needed to see that much of Alice/Beth’s childhood, and the answer is yes. This is one of those times where seeing someone’s past is the best way to understand what they have become in the present. If you are going to do an episode like this? You might as well make it the full episode. Especially when this is a storyline which involves most of the cast having a part to play. If they aren’t doing something that is creating more experience for Kate as Batwoman, then progression with Alice is the very next best thing. Batwoman “Mine Is a Long and a Sad Tale” was time spent well, and who could argue with an episode that really dug into some of the darker elements to Gotham that we should all have been hoping for them to tap into?