[Review] Batwoman Episode 1×05: “Mine Is A Long and A Sad Tale”

written by Kate Danvers

Welcome back to the #1 most review-bombed show, as voted on by dudes who hate being reminded that a percentage of women just aren’t attracted to men.


The episode starts with Alice cutting strips of skin off of corpses in a morgue while Kate narrates about trying to understand her sister. Mine just watches Fox News and I can’t understand her either. The next day, Luke and Kate are investigating the “Skin Pirate” crimes and Luke pulls up footage of Alice in the act. Kate decides to hit Alice right away using the tracker in the recently released Dodgson to find her.

At the Wonderland hideout, Alice is patching up Dodgson when Kate busts in and starts smashing up goons. It’s an awesome fight that gets even better when she pulls out a bo staff to crack some heads. It’s over way too quickly when she knocks Alice out. Kate takes Alice back to the Batcave to lock her away, but offers to get her professional help. Alice tells her that “Mouse” is the one who found her after the crash, but won’t say any more. Kate threatens to turn her over to Jacob. Alice insists that she wants to show Kate her story rather than tell her, and they’re on a timetable because Kate already called Jacob to tell him she’s with Alice, and he’s tracking her phone.

Family road trip!

No, really. But in lieu of playing Slug Bug (or maybe Stab Bug in Alice’s case), they drive through the countryside while Alice tells Kate about Catherine’s cover-up – something that is news to Kate. Goddamnit, Jacob, didn’t you tell anyone? That’s going to be a fun conversation later.

Speaking of fun conversations, Catherine tells Mary about her scheming. So at least someone is keeping the kids informed about why Mom and Dad live in different houses now. Mary takes it badly – as she should – and storms off. She goes to Wayne Tower to talk to Kate and I get the long-awaited meeting between Mary and Luke.

Oh, and then Jacob tells Sophie about Catherine on their way to track Kate and Alice down. Seriously, Jacob, what the shit??

The estranged sisters stop at a diner for lunch. Alice tells Kate that after she woke up from the crash, she found herself in a house with a man (whose name Alice never learned) and his son, Johnny, who would later become Mouse. Johnny’s face was disfigured in an accident, so he hid it behind his long hair. At first, the man assures Beth that he called the police and they’ll be there soon, but after Beth sees a news report saying she’s still missing, she insists he call the police for real.

Instead, the man locks her in a room in the basement – the same one in her nightmare from a few episodes ago about the skinned face floating in liquid. The face was part of an experiment to make Johnny “look normal,” and Beth was locked up there to be his friend.

While Kate is focused on Alice’s story, Alice spikes her sister’s drink, knocking her out. When Jacob and Sophie arrive at the diner, they have a shootout with the Wonderland gang. Jacob shoots the diner’s propane tank to take out the gang without destroying the building or hurting anyone else because that’s totally how that works.

Mary raids the Wayne liquor cabinet while Luke does research. He offers to send her home, but it looks like she just needs someone to talk to. Come on, Luke. Be a buddy. Mary figures out that Kate is with Alice, which just hurts her more because her stepsister would rather hang around with a serial killer than her. Awww, Mary.

Kate wakes up chained to the wall in the same house where Alice was held captive. Alice found the tracker and planned the whole thing. She continues her tale, telling Kate about the one time she got near enough to a phone to call Jacob for help. Jacob traced the number, but was fooled into thinking that Johnny (who can mimic any voice perfectly) prank-called him. Young Kate actually snuck into the basement and was right outside the room Beth was being held in, but the man had told Beth that if she made a sound, he would kill Kate and Jacob.

We get our first reference to the Elseworlds crossover when Luke finds info on a Jonathan Cartwright, who escaped during the Arkham breakout two weeks earlier. He’d used a similar technique to steal skin. Guess that’s our Johnny. I tried to find a reference to this character in the comics, but there aren’t any. That’s because I think they gender-flipped Jane Doe, a serial killer and Arkham inmate who would steal the identity of her victims through perfect mimicry. The TV series Gotham also had a version of that character named Jane Cartwright.

Jacob recognizes the roads he’s driving from the search for Beth years earlier and arrives at the house. Alice seems to be briefly moved by Jacob calling her “Beth,” but then stabs him. Sophie searches a shed for Kate, but finds Mouse instead. Kate escapes the basement and a short standoff ends with Kate and Sophie letting Alice and Mouse get away in exchange for sparing Jacob’s life.

Mary finally goes home, Jacob recovers from the stab wound, and Kate questions her ability to get through to Alice. “Brother and sister” Alice and Mouse are reunited and a flashback shows that Mouse gave young Beth a book during her captivity: Alice In Wonderland.

Well, that was as horrifying as I expected. I expected horror, I expected tragedy, but I didn’t expect the utter emotional disembowelment of seeing young Kate and Beth separated by a door and Beth being too terrified to call out. We still don’t know what other things were involved in Beth’s descent, but the abandonment she must have felt in that moment was probably a key to her transformation into Alice.

Alice isn’t just regular, run-of-the-mill Batman-villain “crazy.” She didn’t have “one bad day;” she wasn’t involved in some super-science accident. From the beginning she’s been written as someone who felt abandoned and betrayed by a family who she thinks gave up on her. Couple that with an untold amount of time locked in some monster’s basement, and you start to see how she went from a normal kid to someone with such hatred in her heart. It’s also no wonder why she eventually latched onto Mouse or found an escape in Alice In Wonderland. Is it wrong that I hope Alice’s first kill was the creepy fuck who kidnapped her?

Next time: A new villain is in town, and how long will Kate continue to gaslight Sophie?


Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Kate can be found on Twitter @WearyKatie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.