REVIEW: Batwoman, S1E5 – Mine Is a Long and a Sad Tale

batwoman 105 sad tale alice

Batwoman produces its best hour by taking Kate (Ruby Rose) down the rabbit hole of Alice’s (Rachel Skarsten) past in “Mine Is A Long and a Sad Tale.” Even the episode titles prove that the showrunners know Alice is the ace up their sleeve, and the Wonderland metaphors have far from overstayed their welcome this early in the story.

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Kate called for backup.

After capturing her sister, Kate agrees to release her (still in handcuffs) in exchange for hearing Alice’s long and sad tale – presumably in the hopes of understand how little Beth could become an unrepentant murderer. She is clear-headed enough to make sure her father Jacob (Dougray Scott) and ex-girlfriend Sophie (Meagan Tandy) are able to track her, but all bets are off once Alice drugs her with a little helps of her friends.

Soon the tables have turned, and Kate is in a vulnerable position as she hears all that befell Beth in the wake of the family’s car accident. It turns out a man named Dr. Campbell ‘rescued’ Beth from the scene of the accident, but took her as his own captive rather than call the police to come get her. Apparently, he hoped to use her as skin repository to give his son a new face – what happened to good old fashioned plastic surgeons? – but eventually realizes she’s an excellent companion for said son instead.

Beth quickly grows genuinely fond of the son, whom she calls Mouse (AKA the man her boyfriend told Mary about last week), despite him not doing anything to help her escape her captivity. In fact, he actively helps his father conceal her when a younger Jake and Kate come calling. Yes, as it happened, Beth once managed to make it to the living room and call her family for help. The Kanes made haste, but believed Dr. Campbell when he claimed his son had made a prank call. Beth had the chance to call out to Kate, but she held her tongue thanks to a threat from her jailor that he would kill her sister and father if she spoke.

It’s the most heartbreaking sequence on Batwoman thus far, and it’s easy to understand how Beth could have warped her selfless choice into a selfish one on the part of her family. Granted, it does not by any means excuse her actions, but it explains them. A sad tale, indeed. Meanwhile, Mouse introduces Beth to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and her villain identity begins to reveal itself. The two remain united, and in the present Alice is stealing skin for him as they plot to do … something that will be revealed later, we assume.

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Mary’s not shaking this one off too soon.

While Alice’s sad tale took up much of Batwoman this week, she wasn’t the only one harboring a grievance. Always the bright spot of the show, Mary (Nicole Kang) was reeling from her mother Catherine’s (Elizabeth Anweis) confession. She winds up hanging out with Luke (Camrus Johnson) while searching for Kate, and the two make for a delightful duo. Luke takes care of a drunk Mary and listens to her lament that she’s the good sister, seeing as she’s never killed anyone – altogether their scenes are a nice break from the doom and gloom.

Finally, for those that are counting, “Mine Is a Long and a Sad Tale” doesn’t do much to advance the Kate and Sophie romance. That makes sense, seeing as she’s still married – but there is a charged moment between them when Sophie and Jacob come to rescue Kate. They haven’t been allowed many moments to showcase their chemistry, but that short scene proved they’ll have plenty of it when the time comes.

Batwoman airs Sundays at 8/7c on The CW.