Batwoman recap: Another Earth, and a chance at redemption
The mystery appearance Beth (Kate Kane‘s presumably dead sister) last week was maybe not much of a mystery at all. I mean, a bunch of Earths had just imploded during The CW’s epic crossover event, and that spun parallel universes into all sorts of chaos. There was bound to be some fallout from all of that, and the move allows Batwoman, for one episode at least, to deal with Kate’s guilt regarding her sister.
As the episode begins, Kate looks through Beth’s phone and doesn’t understand how there can be pictures of them together. Then, she starts to put the pieces together. Beth must be from another Earth, and the implosion scrambled everything and left her here, on this Earth. Now she’s alone and doesn’t know anybody, and the one person she thought she could trust attacked her. Since it’s their birthday, Kate knows exactly where to find Beth, and immediately apologizes to her. Back at The Hold Up, she tells Beth everything about the Crisis, and Beth, having a degree in astrophysics, has no problem believing in multiple universes. She’s just happy to have her sister, her best friend, back. That’s when Kate learns that in Beth’s universe, Kate saved her from the car crash, forever altering their lives for the better.
Kate immediately feels guilty. She now knows that in some way, she could have saved her sister. But she has no time to dwell on it. Mouse has kidnapped two kids: one belonging to the mayor, the other the commissioner’s son. He gives The Crows a deadline of 2 hours to let Alice go, otherwise he’s going to kill them. The GCPD refuses to light up the Bat-Signal, which a reporter suggests is because of her recent interview about being a lesbian, so Kate has to take it upon herself to don the Batwoman suit and save the kids.
Things really don’t go as planned though. While on her way to put the suit on, Mouse and the Wonderland Gang run her off the road and kidnap her, taking her to a wrecking yard where everyone is held hostage. Kate is tied up inside a car along with the two kids and is forced to tell Sophie over the phone to let Alice go. She repeats it twice, which seems strange. Of course, she’s sending Sophie a message. As Sophie tells Alice: “We had a code. If we said something twice, it meant do the opposite. She’s telling me not to let you go!” “Clever,” replies Alice. Sometimes I wonder how these actors get through these line readings. My goodness.
As is unfortunately the case, the episode is filled with terrible dialogue like this, where any subtext has to become text, where characters have to explicitly state their feelings for fear that we won’t know exactly what’s going on. The worst is everything involving Sophie and Alice — though the flashbacks are laughably self-serious for something so cheesy — where they talk about hiding their true selves, leading double lives, etc. It’s like last week’s chat between Alice and Kate about “wearing masks” when they started out by talking about literal masks and then had to say “but oh yeah, I also mean the whole being gay thing and not being true to yourself.” We know! Give the viewers some credit that they can follow along here. It’s not exactly complex.
Anyways, when the show isn’t bothering with the grating Sophie and Alice interactions — Alice ends up breaking out, once again on the lam — this actually isn’t a terrible episode. Beth dresses up as Alice to help save Kate and the kids, but when that doesn’t work and Beth is almost burned alive in the car, Kate has to save her, giving her the redemption she’s never actually going to get on this Earth. That allows Kate to maybe finally get past the idea of resurrecting the Beth that vanished and was replaced by Alice, so she can now focus on being Batwoman and keeping Gotham safe. I’d love to see the show move away from the sister relationship angle because there just doesn’t seem to be much there. At some point they have to commit one way or another; the show is waffling back and forth, and it’s killing any potential for dramatic tension and narrative momentum.