When your life unfolds into a nightmare, you pray your dreams will take you elsewhere.”
As Batwoman nears the halfway point for its original 13-episode order (it’s since been picked up for a full season), “Mine Is a Long and a Sad Tale” is the ideal point to examine the horrible past that transformed young Beth Kane into the unhinged and violent Alice. Background aside, it was all set up to give viewers a just cause to sympathize towards the series’ antagonist. Sadly “Mine” stumbles from the onset, with a rushed and maddeningly incohesive narrative that one can’t help but watch and lament on what could have been.
After catching her sister steal strips of recently deceased corpses from the morgue—Gotham papers have coined the perpetrator the Skin Pirate—Kate vows to take Alice down for good. Thanks to a tracker she planted in Dodgson, Kate traces Alice and her gang, dispatching the Wonderland henchmen with ease before taking Alice into custody.
Still trying to get the hang of the whole ‘Gotham’s Protector’ thing, Kate once again showcases her inability to think ahead. While it’s not ideal for the protagonist to continually show such poor decision-making, there’s a refreshing quality in watching Kate struggle to find her footing as the unexpected hero.
Kate’s folly aside, the lack of care and focus on Alice’s trip down memory lane is what hinders “Mine’s” effectiveness. It’s not difficult to fill in the blanks on why Alice would be a bit off after 15 years of living with the horrid Jonathan Cartwright and his son but unless the series plans to revisit Alice’s time here, instead of “Mine” adding depth to Alice as a character, it comes off as nothing more than a second-rate origin story for the villain lacking substance and offering no weight to Alice’s quest for vengeance. If anything, “Mine’ drops the ball on its most emotionally poignant scene when Jacob and Alice face off for the first time since he discovered the truth. After breaking through his own fears, Jacob calls her “Beth” and moves to embrace his lost daughter…only to have her shove a knife in his gut. While it wouldn’t do to have the pair reunite so early in the season, Alice’s actions here make it extremely difficult to sympathize with her plight and further calls into question her true motivation.
Harsh criticism aside, “Mine” isn’t a total loss as it relates to Kate’s primary antagonist. Despite her bizarre nature, Alice continues to show that there’s a brain behind the dodgy eyes and penchant for violence. This isn’t the first time she’s outsmarted Kate and though it makes the hero seem weak (to use a wrestling term), it also solidifies Alice as a formidable foe. Unfortunately, for a series like this to work, it needs more than one strong villain; having Kate and Alice go back-and-forth for an entire season will get old very quickly, thus there has to be a handful of tangential arcs of other bad guys and gals waiting to be explored. If not, the flashes of potential will dwindle and Batwoman will become another in a long line of shows whose freshman campaign just wasn’t up to the task.
From the Journal of Kate Kane
- Just like that, Catherine’s secret is out of the bag and those closest to her realize that she’s a terrible person. But what happens next? Considering she was also behind the convoy bombing, she can’t get away without facing consequences, right? Or will Jacob be too caught up in his daughter being a psychopathic killer to give his wife’s misdeeds the attention they deserve? Also, something tells me that Catherine still has a bit of dirty laundry that has yet to see the light of day.
- As middling as this week may have been, Mary and Luke provided “Mine” with the few moments of levity. They had a fantastic rapport, with Mary’s insecurities of being the forgotten sister shining through and Luke being the unwilling shoulder for her to complain to. Nicole Kang was solid enough, balancing petulance with genuine hurt but the gold star once again goes to Camrus Johnson. Considering that nearly every time he’s on screen the show’s energy picks up in a way most other scenes can’t manage, I’m really starting to think that Camrus Johnson is Batwoman’s hidden gem.