“If Alice is my sister, I need to know.”
Fresh off her epiphany that Alice is Beth, Kate wastes no time in selling the theory to her father. Based on what we got in last week’s premiere, it’s no surprise he vehemently denies that possibility. The initial supposition from this is that Jacob’s just a hard and inflexible character; but some of that is washed away—or at least clarified—in “The Rabbit Hole”. The flashbacks of him and Kate are especially helpful to his character. Like his apology conversation to Kate last week, these snippets of the past show the man underneath the gruffness and armor. It’s difficult not to sympathize with him, particularly when he tells Kate that her sister is dead. The idea that Beth was alive all this time and is now a cold-blooded murderer would be a difficult prospect for any parent to come to terms with; especially if he lied to Kate in order for them to move on.
Whereas Jacob’s reticence to believe may be understandable, Kate refuses to let that stop her from reaching out to Alice. Indeed, if the pilot didn’t do this enough for you, much of “The Rabbit Hole” helps solidify her personality. Headstrong but comfortable in listening to her instincts, Kate’s belief in Alice’s former identity seemingly pays off when the deranged killer sits down and has a chat swing side.
As the most interesting part of Batwoman thus far, Alice dances the line between slightly unhinged and mysterious but sincere. Part of her conversation with Kate comes off as a villain playing on the hero’s vulnerabilities but then it becomes more likely that she is indeed telling the truth. This sentiment is almost verified when, at the end of it all, Alice provides Kate with the necessary DNA to prove her identity. It still doesn’t explain her drive but the fact that Catherine had a hand in removing Alice’s knife from Kate’s possession, presumably to keep the truth under wraps, adds another layer to the mystery that, if measured out properly, could last the better part of the 13-episode (at this time) season.
With Alice pretty much stealing the spotlight this go-round, there isn’t that much interest provided in Kate’s own narrative. There are a couple awkward and tense moments between her and Sophie but, other than that, Kate’s more a bystander (in her civilian life, at least) while others do the heavy lifting. That includes a moving conversation between Kate and her half-sister Mary. After narrowly avoiding a skewering by Dodgson on Alice’s orders—she doesn’t want to share her sister with another sibling—the usually cheerful Mary is open and honest about just how not-sisterly Kate has treated her. It’s a punch in the gut for Kate, who has admittedly been a bit self-absorbed when it comes to other people’s emotions. That doesn’t make her bad, mind you; it just makes her human. And though she almost takes a back seat from an emotional arc standpoint, Kate Kane’s world is slowly being filled out.
But where there are positive moments building towards a cohesive narrative, “The Rabbit Hole” is a far less effective outing than last week’s premiere. The musical beats were a distraction, poorly meshed with the scenes they should have enhanced. To top it off, there are too many instances where the cuts between scenes are downright jarring. Add to that some poorly crafted scenarios and the solid narrative arc being established is being marred by the details that should be strengthening it. It’s early on so there is plenty of room for improvement but if the directing and editing aren’t smoothed out, and if the individual episode acts aren’t tightened up, the positives I saw in the premiere could be all for naught.
From the Journal of Kate Kane
- One of the more positive things I’ve seen so far is how the show is slowly fleshing out the secondary characters. Though Luke hasn’t had much screen time, what he’s had so far is promising. Mary’s the big winner this week, not only showing more of her illegal clinic work but establishing the heartache she’s felt at being ignored by Kate. Whether she eventually becomes a part of team Batwoman is irrelevant (we know she will) but having someone like Mary that grounds Kate in her normal life will be imperative in this type of dual-identity drama.
- Based on her arguments she’s had with those closest to her—last week her father and this week Sophie—she’s one to dredge up the past to emotionally cut into someone else. That’s a very unbecoming trait, especially when you consider her anger at Sophie had to do with the Crow doing her freaking job and not lying to her boss. Too often the protagonist expects an ally to compromise themselves in order to get a favor done; sometimes it’s necessary and works out, but rarely do they show the aftermath when the ally has to answer for their actions.
- After that final flashback, I’m almost certain Jacob lied about searchers finding proof of Beth’s death. Not just because she’s alive (if there’s some brain damage involved, it may explain her sadistically violent streak) but his adamance that Alice couldn’t be Beth. It sounds like the guilt of a man who gave up hope of ever finding his child and now that she could be back and is an unforgiving murderer, the guilt is overwhelming. On the other side, if Alice believes her father gave up on her, and she had to go through hell in the meantime, her anger and resentment would also be understandable (though that would not be a pardon to her actions). This whole season should be the arc of this tense and violent family drama where Alice is eventually brought to justice and maybe gets put on a path of redemption.
What did you think of “The Rabbit Hole?” And don’t forget to come back next week for our review of Episode 3 titled “Down Down Down.”
‘Batwoman’ airs Sunday nights on the CW at 9pm ET/PT.