Sunday, March 15, 2020

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - Kate and Jacob Learn More Brutal Details of Alice's Tortured Past in 'Off With Her Head'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 1.15 "Off With Her Head"

More of Alice's dark past is uncovered when Cartwright shares a twisted story with Kate while Jacob goes searching for his wayward daughter. Mary and Luke follow a lead on Beth's killer.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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.

"Off With Her Head" was written by Natalie Abrams and directed by Holly Dale

Kate knows that Beth wasn't destined to become Alice. She understands that Cartwright can't blame his mother for Alice turning out the way she is. He tortured her and broke her human spirit. He severed this connection with her family. When she got older, it was that trauma that led her to break so severely when Mabel arrived envious of the beauty that Beth and her mother had. It's all horrifying and continues to highlight all that Alice has had to endure in order to survive. She is still alive too. The same cannot be said for Cartwright. Kate kills him here. That is another significant turning point for the season. Kate has long propped herself up as the hero that Gotham needs. She stands as a symbol of hope and courage. She will defend this city from its greatest threats. She is the ideal of what Beth could have been should she have been saved from the car crash and Cartwright's twisted house of horrors and face swapping. But now, Kate takes her revenge on Cartwright for taking two sisters away from her. Luke and Mary's entire subplot succinctly solves the mystery of who killed Beth. The audience was never in the dark about that. That action strengthened the melodrama and emotion of the season. This man has destroyed the Kane family several times already. Jacob isn't even aware of just how much he has lost. He is thrown onto a journey here. He just has to accept the crazy things happening around him. He has to do so while also providing emotional support for his daughters when they need it the most. That is extremely difficult. He was willing to write off Alice as a lost cause. She framed him for murder when she was the one who actually killed Catherine. She has been trying to turn Kate into her way of thinking. And yes, that is still fundamentally the core thesis of the season. These two sisters are fighting for control over the other. They want to bend their beloved sister to their perspective and how it can be applied to provide salvation for Gotham in its time of need. This city needs that clear focus. It is lacking direction. It is being torn apart by Alice and Batwoman. One represents hope and courage. The other shows rage for the corruption. They both have solid arguments to make as well. Alice feels broken because of everything that happened to her. That can all come across as too much misery and suffering in the hopes of better defining her character arc. And yet, it all works because of the performance from Rachel Skarsten. She grounds everything even when it goes for the fantastical with her being stricken with fear toxin. She fears this woman from her past. But she also fears being left behind for good by her family. Jacob and Kate have made that choice before. Jacob no longer saw humanity in her. Kate was willing to let Alice die so Beth could live. But now, they have to rally as a family against this threat that has done so much harm for years. Mouse is no longer blind to the control and rage that Alice exhibits. He will remain an interesting player as the season continues to develop. Right now though, the power of the episode comes from the major reveals of how Alice was broken in the past and how the pattern may be repeating with Kate in the present. When Alice saw Mabel wearing her mother's earrings, she snapped and killed her with a makeshift flamethrower. When Kate learns that plus Cartwright being responsible for Beth's murder, she suffocates him and is unable to revive him. Kate kills Cartwright. It's absolutely devastating. It may prove that Alice has always been write. This action was just under the surface in Kate. It may be the destiny that brings them all together. They have to bury this body even when they could use some stable support from their loved ones. They are all damaged though. This may not make a difference. It may bring them closer. But it will also fuel the conflict to come given how Alice has a very different perspective on the damage done to Gotham and the role her father and sister have played in creating that current reality. She may help bury a body but that may be the extent of her kindness while Jacob and Kate realize that her humanity can still be saved if they choose to embrace that pursuit fully. They just run the risk of being blinded by the rage that led to a man's death instead of him facing justice in this world.