[Review] Batwoman Episode 1×16: “Through the Looking-Glass”

written by Kate Danvers

Ugh, family. Only coming around when they need to break someone out of an asylum or bury a body. Am I right?


We start off with some gravedigging! Alice is having a good time; Kate and Jacob are not. Though Jacob does tell Kate not to beat herself up too badly about killing that piece of shit. Kate incredulously asks if they’re just supposed to forget like it never happened. Hey, that’s what Arrow did and you’re not even close to Oliver’s Season One kill count. Once the body is buried, Alice walks off, declaring her intent to find Mouse and dissuading her family from following her by pointing Jacob’s gun at them and warning them that she’ll tell the authorities about August if they try to stop her.

Of note, they appear to be burying August under an overpass that just screams “going to get discovered in like three weeks.”

After brutalizing and nearly strangling a mugger as Batwoman, Kate has a panic attack and begins doubting herself. She doesn’t tell Luke about August, but Luke has problems of his own – Reggie Harris’ case review hearing has been bumped up. Luke refuses Kate’s offer to go with him for moral support, sure that the review won’t overturn the conviction.

Alice returns to her hideout to find all of her henchman dead and killed by…bear traps? Killed by some means, but bear traps were definitely involved. An ominous note with penmanship worse than mine puts the blame on Alice’s “friend from Coryana.”

Who puts a note on a bear trap? Bears can’t even read, Safiyah!

What do we do when all of our other options are dead or missing? Call family for help. Alice goes to ask Kate for help finding Mouse. Kate reminds her that Mouse killed Catherine, framed Jacob, and tried to kill Alice. Alice, in turn, reminds Kate that those first two were at Alice’s request and that she’s forgiven Mouse for the latter. Hint hint. Kate says she’s tried that. It never works out. Alice promises to leave Gotham once she finds Mouse because she’s running from someone. She dodges Kate’s question of who, so oh please, let Kate’s story with Safiyah carry over to the show.

Kate insists on doing things her way. She calls Jacob to ask about Mouse because she’s concerned, not because she’s working with Alice or anything. Mouse attacked a nurse outside of Arkham the night before, so they visit one of the nurses at her home to do a little stakeout and wait for Mouse.

Jacob has Sophie investigating the cover-up of Lucius Fox’s murder. She goes to the apartment of the convenience store owner to find the woman dead. Julia Pennyworth tackles Sophie, narrowly saving her from the same sniper who killed the woman, and they do a fun/awkward “we share an ex” moment. Julia is there because she got word that someone was targeting Sophie for assassination. Also Julia got grazed by the sniper bullet so she would like some medical assistance plz and thx.

Alice annoys Kate by playing with her butterfly knife until Mouse arrives looking for Nurse Tammy. Before they can act, Crows Security arrives and arrests Mouse. Nurse Tammy called them because she didn’t buy Kate and Alice’s story about being undercover Crows. Heavily tattooed woman wearing soft butch casual wear and a bleached blonde who acts like she’s on her seventeenth Adderall-and-Red Bull cocktail aren’t cops? Naw, really? Nurse Tammy pulls a shotgun on them, but Kate disarms her and knocks her out. The pair escape before the Crows bust in.

I’m flashing back to every single trip to my grandma’s house, sitting on the couch being tormented by my sister NO I DON’T WANT A CELERY STICK, YOU KNOW I CAN’T STAND THE TASTE OR SMELL OF THEM, LEAVE ME ALONE, CASSIE.

Alice wants to bust Mouse out of Arkham, telling Kate that the fear of being left behind by her sister was the worst thing she experienced under the fear toxin and she doesn’t want to leave Mouse behind. (Remember that. It’s going to hurt later.) Luckily, thanks to Mouse’s recent escape, Alice knows all of the escape routes out of Arkham. Really? All 4,738? Arkham suuuuuucks. Kate has doubts since this requires getting two keys to open a cell in the basement, all while dodging guards and staff. I know you’re still on your Year One, Kate, but seriously, Arkham is so easy to break out of. You’ll probably bump into Joker, Riddler, and Clayface on your way out. Joker might even be breaking his way back in.

Alice pulls the “we’re not so different” speech when Kate refuses, revealing that yep, she set Kate up to kill August last episode by delivering him into Kate’s custody and prompting her to ask about “mommy dearest.” Kate lashes out and attacks Alice, but stops. She quotes the alternate version of Bruce Wayne from Crisis (who was quoting Nietzche): “Battle not with monsters, lest you become a monster.” Alice sincerely thanks her sister for killing the man who destroyed her life, telling her not to feel guilty for that.

KATE: “I don’t. The only thing I feel guilty about is that I don’t feel guilty.”
ALICE: “So now you’re scared you’re becoming me.”
KATE: “Isn’t that what you wanted?”

This scene is so good. They’re both laying on the floor (right where Kate killed August), neither of them have their defenses up. Alice isn’t in Wonderland bullshit mode, Kate isn’t in badass vigilante mode. It’s raw and honest. Kate promises she’ll reunite Alice and Mouse as long as Alice doesn’t kill anyone in the process.

Elsewhere, Mary shows up at the hearing to be there for Luke since she recently lost a parent and her mother’s killer is still on the loose. The judge orders that Reggie be freed pending a retrial. Luke confronts him on the street that night and asks why Reggie killed his dad. Reggie says he didn’t, that he went into the store to buy a bag of chips and woke up with a gun in his hand and blood on him. Since he already had a record, it was easy to frame him. Reggie is then felled by a sniper bullet.

Using a fake bomb on a linen truck as a diversion to distract the guards, the Kane sisters break into Arkham Asylum. They don Wonderland Gang masks and break into the high security wing where they split up to find the keys.

“No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.”

Sophie takes Julia to Mary’s clinic and starts treating her until Mary arrives. After introductions, you can see the wheels spinning in Mary’s head as she figures out how Julia fits into the Batwoman thing.

Alice enters Dr. Butler’s office, and though she’s tempted to kill him for the pain he’d inflicted on Mouse, she lets him live and takes his key. He hits a button under his desk to trigger an alarm – luckily not the “open all the cells and the dangerous evidence storage” button from “Elseworlds Part 2.” Alice knocks him out and then helps Kate deal with the guards.

The pair open Mouse’s cell and Alice goes in to free him, but Kate locks the door behind her, trapping Alice in the cell with Mouse. Kate says she promised she’d reunite her with Mouse, and she has. Jacob, who was apparently in on this, steps forward and tells Kate it’s time to go. They leave as Alice bangs on the door, crying and begging Kate not to leave her.

Whoever chose this visual after the “two sisters on opposite sides of the door” image in the flashback many episodes ago… One: That’s brilliant. Two: You monster.

At Crows HQ, Jacob tells Kate that Alice has been officially admitted to the asylum under constant watch. He’s also moved August’s body, so Alice can’t use that as leverage against them.

Luke tells Mary about Reggie’s murder and she tells him about the convenience store owner. Mary suggests that since both were hits, someone is trying to cover up the original murder, which might mean Reggie was innocent. Luke isn’t sure what to believe.

Julia gets Sophie settled in a motel for her safety. Sophie calls Jacob on a burner phone to tell him about the hired hits just as someone takes a shot at him. He’s able to shoot the sniper, but the sniper dies before he can give up who hired him.

Kate is sitting on the ledge of a balcony and drinking when Julia visits to check on her and Luke. Holy fuck, Kate, that is a terrible idea. Kate is having trouble processing everything, unsure of who she is other than that she doesn’t want to be like Alice. Julia assures her she’s nothing like Alice, then the two start making out.

It’d be romantic if she wasn’t spontaneously kissing her ex while in a depressive state and sitting on a ledge binge-drinking whiskey.

First, let’s talk about Luke’s story. I really like the way they’re playing this, with Luke not even considering the possibility that Reggie might be innocent, even knowing about the other false convictions under the corrupt justice system. He wants closure in his dad’s death, and this is just ripping open an old wound. It’s illogical, but it’s a perfectly normal reaction.

I’m a little surprised by the scope of it all, though. I thought it was as simple as cops, a judge, and an attorney taking shortcuts to get quick convictions regardless of innocence. This is turning into a full-blown conspiracy with professional hits on four people. Personally, I don’t see how hits are going to make the whole thing magically go away for whoever the real perpetrator is, but it makes for good television.

Kate and Alice. Kaaaaate and Aliiiiice. What to say? Well, first of all, I like when these two actually talk like people instead of a superhero and a supervillain. The scene in the nurse’s house is such a sibling thing. I never thought that Kate would actually go through with letting Alice go, but I thought her hand would be forced by Alice’s betraying her. But Alice actually kept up her end of the deal – she didn’t kill anyone, not even a guy she really really wanted to kill for hurting her “brother.” Then for Kate to turn on her, lock her in the asylum and leave her behind, making her greatest fear come true just hours after Alice confessed that fear to her…holy shit.

I’m not saying that Kate should have let Alice go or that she was wrong for locking her up. Alice has done some horrible things and would probably continue to do horrible things if left to roam free. But I actually felt a bit sorry for Alice when she was crying out for Kate from the cell. There are moments of vulnerability where Beth breaks through. We saw two in this episode: once when she thanked Kate for killing August, and again at the end where she was begging her sister not to leave her. Under all of the theatrics and “Alice In Wonderland” quotes, there’s a deeply traumatized girl who unfortunately has to answer for the crimes her Alice persona commits.

Also, Arkham Asylum is one of the worst places on the planet to lock her up. Apart from being a supervillain frat house, no one gets better in Arkham Asylum.

It kind of got glossed over with everything else that happened in the episode, but it looks like they might be going ahead with the Safiyah plotline this season. There’s still time for Alice and Mouse to escape and plot some big scheme that makes them the Big Bads of the season, so maybe not, but at the very least I think we’ll get a major tease that leads us into Season Two. They may even tie this Crows corruption plot into it.

Last but not least, I want to add something in here about what’s currently going on in the world which will horribly date this review for years to come. I know it’s tough right now with many people being forced out of work because of COVID-19 and quarantined in their homes. We’re all turning to various forms of media to keep our minds occupied, and if you’re reading this review for that reason today, thank you, and I hope I’ve done a good job with it. Watching these shows and continuing to write recaps and reviews for them has kept me in good spirits through all of this and I’m happy to share that.

If you’re having a hard time with things, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend. Give them a call, text, chat online, play a game, or just share memes with each other. You might be the human connection they need at the moment, too. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Next time: No teaser for the next episode, but the schedule says there is one next week. Also the description is vague so “an old villain resurfaces” is the best we got.


Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. D-list pun-themed supervillain, Kate Danvers, is still at large. Last known whereabouts: on Twitter @WearyKatie.

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