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Batwoman ‘A Mad Tea-Party’ recap: Tear it all down
Batwoman took a week off, (perhaps to have an awkward Kane family Thanksgiving?) but she's back this week and all the attention is on Alice as she puts her big plan into motion. She's out for revenge, and she will see it realized as one perfect shot takes down an entire family. But what, exactly, will she do now?
Warning: From here on out, spoilers abound for Season 1, Episode 8 of Batwoman.
This week is all about choices. Mostly Catherine's choices, but also Jacob’s and Alice’s and even Kate’s and Sophie's. You see, Alice has decided that all of her troubles started when Catherine Hamilton-Kane made a choice fifteen years earlier to lie to Jacob about some bone fragments and some DNA to, in her mind, spare a man and his daughter the pain of false hope. That choice made, Jacob then made a choice of his own to stop looking for his missing daughter, Beth, even as he was within inches of finding her. As a result, Beth grew up caged and abused and so retreated from the world and herself to become Alice.
Now, Alice is all grown up, and she’s having a tea party that will end in disaster.
I have to admit, one of the things I respect about Alice as a villain is that her operation, at least so far, has been a scalpel rather than a nuclear bomb. Alice may have arrived in Gotham with a bang but that arrival and the theatrics she has otherwise performed were always about causing her father and step-mother as much pain and torment as she could. After all, they were responsible for making her into what she is, for not continuing the search and rescue efforts when she first went missing, for lying. Every move Alice has made since arriving in Gotham has been targeted at her singular goal. She isn’t here to rule the world or even Gotham. She’s here for a specific kind of revenge and this week she finally got it, or, at least she started to.
Catherine Hamilton-Kane, the woman whose actions ended the search that may have saved Beth's life, is dead. It was slow. It was painful. It was in front of her daughter. It was in exchange for her daughter. Catherine died of a poison delivered by a woman she thought was dead and a man she thought was her husband on a night where she was being congratulated for all the good things she’s done. She was forced to deliver a speech in which she decried her own company's role in arming the criminals who ravage the streets of the city she was supposedly saving and highlight the way her family has profited on both ends of that crime. On a night when she was being honored as a beacon of kindness and humanitarianism, Catherine Hamilton-Kane died a villain.
Of course, that was only in public. In private, Catherine admitted to Alice her own regrets stemming from the faked DNA results that caused Jacob to call off the search. She also made what was probably a simple decision for her but a gutting one for her daughter when, faced with only a single dose of antidote to save them both, she forced Mary to save herself and let her go. In watching her final moments, I was saddened at the fact that we had gotten to know and care about Catherine so little over the course of the first eight episodes as it may have made the whole thing more powerful. I was glad, however, that we at least got to know and care about Mary, because her whole world came crashing down this week and now we have to watch her try to rebuild.
Alice's plan was basically perfect. She killed the woman she blamed the most for her lot in life in the most poetic style she could imagine, in front of her daughter, thus mirroring the events of the tragic car accident that changed her own life. At the same time, she used Mouse to frame her father for Catherine's death, taking away his wife (for the second time) and his freedom in one fell swoop. She also, whether intentionally or as a fortunate circumstance of events, took away Kate’s entire family once again as Mary no longer wants anything to do with Kate, blaming her in some ways for giving Alice so many chances to reform.
What comes next for everyone is very much up in the air. Alice is still free, having carried out her tea party and whether she has loftier goals than that remains to be seen. Jacob is not, though, with this latest action on her part, Alice has turned both him and Kate entirely against her. The Kanes are out for blood and they don't seem to care as much anymore that they share that blood themselves. Someone will have to take over Hamilton Dynamics and after Catherine’s speech at the gala, I can’t help but wonder if the new CEO — and by extension, the show as a whole — might attempt to address the broader social issues of crime in Gotham. It’s a story they’ve been toying with since the start and with the heads of both Hamilton and the Crows down for the count, it’s a perfect time for a shift.
Speaking of shifts, Crisis looms and it is guaranteed to force major changes across all of the Arrowverse series. With the way this episode ended, I will not be shocked if Crisis ends in a small time jump in addition to its collision of universes.
Next Week: Did you know there is a Crisis coming?
On that note, the 5-show Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover takes over the whole Arrowverse starting with next week’s regularly scheduled Batwoman episode and my colleague, Trent Moore, who covers Arrow and The Flash will be recapping the entire thing. Look out for those posts, and I'll see you no the other side.
- Sophie was also in this episode, still working through the fallout of last week's events with her husband. It all ended with Sophie telling Tyler she loves him but might not be in love with him and him essentially walking out on their marriage so she can figure herself out at literally the worst time.
- I admit, I'm a little bummed we didn't get to see Kate in that white suit Mary brought by the bar, which, by the way, will apparently be named The Hold Up because it's a bank that went into foreclosure after being held up a bunch of times. I love a pun.
- Let it be known that I also love Rachel Skarsten.