Sunday, December 1, 2019

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - Alice Confronts Jacob and Catherine with Major Consequences for Both in 'A Mad Tea-Party'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 1.08 "A Mad Tea-Party"

Kate and Alice continue their sister/nemesis dance, while Alice and Mouse construct their most evil plan yet. Mary invites Kate to a special event honoring Catherine and Jacob makes a decision that leaves Kate perplexed.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Batwoman.

"A Mad Tea-Party" was written by Nancy Kiu and directed by Holly Dale

Kate genuinely believes that her sister Beth can be saved. She sees the physical clues every time she interacts with Alice. She knows that her sister still protects her from certain death even if it is in her own twisted way. However, it's always an internal battle for control within Alice. For years, she has survived on the need for revenge. She has these vendettas against those who have wronged her. She has some animosity towards Kate for giving up the search so easily. And yet, she has much more rage towards Jacob and Catherine because they were the adults who wanted to put an end to this story even though it was far from the truth. Those two are sincerely apologetic when they are each confronted by Alice here. It may just be empty words spoken to avoid being killed by her. But there is also the sense that they honestly mean what they are saying. Jacob could have done more to confirm that his daughter truly was dead. He didn't have to attach himself so fiercely to the flimsy evidence Catherine presented to him. It never told the full story. Meanwhile, Catherine thought she was doing right by the Kane family. Instead, she was actually transferring all of the pain and misery to the girl who was still missing. Alice had to endured many more years of trauma and abuse as a direct result of Catherine's need to offer salvation to the man she clearly had a crush on. As such, it all feels inevitable that this will end in Catherine's death. Alice may blame her for who she has become more than anyone else. It's such a twisted origin story because Alice has such contempt for the person she has become but is also willing to embrace those lethal instincts in order to bring about change in Gotham. Kate became Batwoman in order to stop Alice from terrorizing the city. Putting on that mask though came with so much more responsibility. Alice is hardly the only criminal operating in Gotham. Kate has to protect everyone in the city from whatever threat they may face. She has done so while trying to reach out to her sister once more. She strolls into Alice's new lair not expecting a fight. She knows that they can have a civil conversation even if it's one mired with life-or-death stakes. Kate is furious that Alice helped a criminal organization get their hands on a weapon that could pierce Batwoman's suit. She knows exactly how dangerous that can be. And yet, none of this deters Alice from her plans. She is committed to her current path. It's an expression of power and control that she has needed to flex ever since Mouse returned to her life. He helps remind her of the reality she currently lives in. She has come to accept that. He is so chillingly effective in stepping into Jacob's identity. Kate is the only person who realizes what's going on. In the end, she isn't able to save him. Instead, Alice succeeds in getting the city to turn on the Crows. All it takes is the right words coming out of the right mouth. When Alice speaks up, the city doesn't listen because she doesn't have the influence or respect. When Catherine speaks the same words during a gala, she is immediately revered because of her stature in the community. It may all be an illusion. The Crows may not protect the city's best interests. However, Jacob isn't guilty of killing his wife. Instead, that honor belongs to Alice because she makes Catherine and Mary choose who gets to live. In that moment, it is a genuine sacrifice on Catherine's part. She lets her daughter know just how proud she is even though she can't process any of this. Mary has been reaching out to Kate wanting to be family. Kate has prioritized saving Beth above all else. That has proven disastrous though. It ensures that the Kane family is torn apart once more. This is the moment where Kate may truly believe Alice is beyond redemption. There is no saving Beth. Kate and Mary's relationship may eventually heal. That may ultimately depend on what happens with Alice though. She understandably has much larger plans for Gotham now that trust in the Crows has been diminished.