Kate and Alice contend with demons from the past; an unexpected guest makes a surprise appearance in Gotham.
On Batwoman Season 1 Episode 11, Mouse takes innocents hostage in a bid to get the Crows to release Alice. Kate gets a birthday present she’s always longed for. Meanwhile, Sophie probes Alice about her traumatic past.
A Very Un-Birthday
Batwoman is at it’s very best when it delves into its characters’ experiences, motivations, and relationships. Episode 11 is no exception. Although last week’s episode had a Villain of the Week plot, it set the stage for everything that unfolds in this episode. Batwoman’s inspirational coming out was moving for some. But it puts Gotham in an uncomfortable position when the Commissioner of Gotham PD suddenly refuses to light the Bat-signal. Even though his own son’s life is on the line, he can’t call Batwoman due to “political reasons”. Meanwhile, Sophie and Kate have to navigate finally having Alice captive and having Beth from another Earth appear.
Mouse is desperate to get Alice out of the Crows’ custody and demonstrates that he is perfectly capable of doing bad all by himself. It really heightens the suspense having not one, but two main villains who know Batwoman’s identity. He’s able to effectively ambush, immobilize and capture Kate before she can even get her wig on. When he does, the direness of his hostage situation jumps from run-of-the-mill to a pitch-perfect dilemma. This mostly hinges on the fact that unlike Alice, he has no qualms about killing Kate.
This episode also served to reinforce the bond he and Alice have through their shared past with his abusive father. In fact, Mouse is so gentle in the flashback scenes, I really wonder how he ended up being the cold-blooded killer he is now. The same could be said for Alice, although the flashbacks shown throughout her scenes with Sophie bring us closer to her original tipping point than ever. To overcome their bleak situation, she and Mouse created new identities for themselves and found solace in a world of their own creation.
Prison of Your Own Making
Some of my favourite scenes this episode are between Sophie and Alice. Meagan Tandy continues to be emotionally devastating as Sophie grapples with her complicated feelings about her sexuality. Pairing these two characters together was a brilliant writing decision. Sophie finally gets to see why Kate tried so desperately to get through to her sister. Meanwhile, Alice shows how good she is at reading people. She points out that she and Sophie both know what it’s like to be trapped. Except for the fact that Sophie has imprisoned herself.
Alice knows that Sophie is still in love with Kate. But when she says “It’s unbearable when the only thing you dream about is being out.” it’s clear she also knows Sophie has been living a lie. I had wondered if the writers would make Sophie bisexual since she initially wanted to save her marriage. But watching the past few episodes, it would definitely appear that Sophie will deal with her own internalized homophobia and issues with compulsory heterosexuality. It doesn’t help that homophobia is alive and well in Gotham – as she would have experienced firsthand with Kate in Episode 7. You can tell Sophie is paralyzed with fear over the repercussions of coming out. It’s not just about her career, but also her family.
Sophie continues to prove to Kate that their relationship still has a special place in her heart. After their rocky start in the earlier part of the season, the writers have been gradually rebuilding the trust between her and Kate. Now that Sophie’s marriage is over, I feel like it’s only a matter of time before things rekindle between them. But their trust will be broken again when Sophie inevitably finds out that Kate really is Batwoman.
Rachel Skarsten does double duty as both Alice and Beth and it’s such an effortless performance. There’s not a trace of Alice in Beth. Even when Beth pretends to be Alice in a bid to save Kate, it’s evident in her posture that she’s not Alice. I’m surprised Mouse took as long as he did to figure it out. I’m not sure if the doppelgangers will ever come face to face, but that’s something I would definitely love to see Rachel act out.
To round out this well-balanced episode, Kate and Beth share some great emotional scenes. Ruby Rose’s scenes with Rachel this episode are among my favourites of the series so far. Beth informs a stunned Kate that she saved her from the car crash on their Earth. Kate’s pain is immediately visible. To find out that everything her family has endured could have been prevented hits like a gut-punch. At the same time, she readily accepts the gift of making up for lost time.
After the sisters go through the emotional ringer, the writers don’t give the characters (or the audience) time to even enjoy the birthday festivities at the end of the episode. We end on a cliffhanger where both Beth and Alice start having terrible head pain. If you’ve consumed any kind of sci-fi/fantasy media around time travel and multiple universes, you already know the writers are probably setting up a situation where both of them can’t exist at the same time. And I for one am not ready to lose either of them yet.
What did you think of Batwoman Season 1 Episode 11? Will Kate end up losing Beth again? Share your thoughts in the comments below.