10:15 pm EST, November 3, 2019

‘Batwoman’ season 1, episode 5 review: Alice’s adventures in hell

Batwoman is the exploration of Alice's story we've been waiting for.

On Batwoman season 1, episode 5, the series takes a moment to pause and develop Alice, giving Kate (and us) some insight into how she turned from Beth Kane into a ruthless killer and (quite exceptional) gang leader.

Batwoman season 1, episode 5 is an excellent episode, and I’m very impressed by what the writers tackled here. Though there’s much left in the open, the flashbacks are useful and make sense as to why Alice lives the life she does. I would have liked to see more of Kate as Batwoman, since her mantle and suit are so new, but Alice is probably my favorite character, so I can’t complain too much.

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Each of the characters, aside from Catherine, impressed me on this episode, and I’m so excited to dig deeper into their actions than I was able to in my screener secrets article. Read on for my full review!

Batwoman season 1 episode 5

‘Batwoman’ season 1, episode 5 review

Batwoman season 1, episode 5 is my favorite episode thus far, though I’m worried future episodes will have a hard time living up to the excellence of this hour. Fans, like me, have been eagerly anticipating the deep dive into Alice’s past, and I have to say, it did not disappoint. The story had just the right balance and emotional resonance.

Now that we’re officially caught up to “Elseworlds” after Batwoman season 1, episode 4, I’m nervous to see the timeline leading up to “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” which is set to be Batwoman season 1, episode 9. Knowing Kate was only Batwoman for a short time before the other heroes showed up in Gotham is not comforting; she seemed a lot more experienced during “Elseworlds” than she does now and another year has to go by in the show for Kate’s time to catch up before the crisis.

Batwoman season 1 episode 5

Alice’s journey down the rabbit hole

Honestly, there’s no better way to describe Alice. As Beth Kane, she had to retreat into herself and go down the rabbit hole. She had to become mad to survive the awful life she had been forced into. Everything is starting to make sense about Alice now, and she lived through such a terrible, traumatic thing. It’s shocking she’s even able to function as a master villain as it is.

I’m a bit surprised and also a little thrilled that so much of Alice’s backstory was left untouched. She was gone for over a decade, and Mouse escaped Arkham only two years into his sentence, so what happened between those many years?

The most unexpected turn of events was Kate and Jacob actually showing up to where Beth was being held captive, and Kate standing just inches away from her twin sister. This was such a brutal way to show how close they actually came to finding Beth, and if they had only just kept going a little longer, everything might be different.

Even knowing what happened, I found myself hoping Beth would say something to Kate, would announce her presence so her family could help her, and it was agony to watch as she realized she couldn’t and that all hope was gone. (The actor who plays young Beth really gave an impressive performance, but Rachel Skarsten deserves her own reward.)

Alice and Mouse’s relationship is a bit confusing to me, and it’s definitely something Batwoman needs to explore. If I were Alice, I would probably hold some sort of resentment toward Mouse, since Mouse’s father only kidnapped Beth to give Mouse a friend after he was shunned from the outside world due to his injuries. I’m thinking Mouse probably killed his father, “saving” Alice, and that’s why he was in Arkham.

This was such a tragic, grotesque backstory, and it’s so fitting for Alice. This story was wonderfully written, even amid the disgusting and horribly upsetting elements, and showcases the potential of this show and how great it is on its way to becoming.

Mary and Luke

It’s so sad to see how non-existent the relationship between Mary and Kate is, at least from Kate’s perspective. Mary clearly loves Kate, and even though she doesn’t like the way she has been treated over the years, she understands completely why Kate had a hard time accepting her. I mean, how does one go on without their twin sister? Even amid her emotional rant about being the sister who hasn’t murdered anyone, Mary understood why Kate was with Alice, even though it hurt her deeply.

I love Mary, and unarguably, she’s the best character on Batwoman. Mary has so many layers to her personality, and she has such an incredibly kind and heroic soul, there’s no doubt in my mind that she’s one of the biggest heroes in the Arrow-verse. To me, Mary is who Kara Danvers from Supergirl would be if she didn’t have powers. She uses her skills and intelligence to help people, but often allows others to underestimate her to hide who she truly is and what she does.

Mary has a lot to offer Batwoman, so I hope Kate brings her sister in on the secret soon, and a real relationship finally blossoms between them. I don’t want to see another story dragged out where an important character is kept in the dark, but it’s obviously too early to reveal the truth, so for now, I’ll sit back and thoroughly enjoy any and all scenes between Mary and Batwoman.

As for Luke, I hope he gets more to do soon. Being stuck as the tech guy and Kate’s “associate/assistant/real estate person” is going to quickly get old if he’s not being given the chance to explore Gotham and develop on his own. After his interactions with Mary, I could see some sort of relationship, be it platonic or romantic, forming between these two, and I think they would be a strong duo. They’re clearly the “Team Batwoman” the series is gearing up for, so let’s see some of the various dynamics continue to be delved into.

‘Batwoman’ season 1, episode 5 final thoughts

I appreciated all of the character moments on Batwoman season 1, episode 5. In my opinion, each character, aside from maybe Luke, had at least one moment crucial to their future development, while still telling a compelling and riveting story. Alice’s backstory was far more interesting and twisted than I ever expected, which only makes her an even better character in my book. I’m also patiently waiting for the inevitable showdown between Mary and Alice because I cannot picture what a better scene would look like on this show with two such powerful actors playing off of one another.

While I appreciated the bonding moments Sophie had with Jacob, which is sure to prove useful in the future if/when Sophie and Kate’s relationship ever starts up again, we really need to start seeing more of the passionate feelings that Kate and Sophie are supposed share for one another. We’re being told they’re supposed to and are going to be the “endgame” relationship, but we’re not seeing (much of) the chemistry that is supposed to make fans root for them and desperate for them to finally come together.

I want to root for Sophie and Kate, but we’re not seeing enough development of Sophie, her feelings, or her relationship with Kate, so any animosity or jealousy she has toward Kate (and like we saw with Reagan) doesn’t fit.

Batwoman is very enjoyable, and I like that the writers aren’t wasting too much time on weekly villains. I hope to see many more villains for Kate to take on as Batwoman, and I want to see her out in action more, but I’m appreciating the slow burn of the story.

Batwoman airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW!

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