05th Dec2019

‘Batwoman 1×08: A Mad Tea Party’ Review

by Jason Brigger

Stars: Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Elizabeth Anweis, Dougray Scott | Created by Caroline Dries


It’s the mid-season finale (when did this become a thing?) and Alice has placed all the pieces on her chess board and is ready to unleash her tea party! It wasn’t a real tea party setting, but rather the Humanitarian Gala, the party event of the year in Gotham, as it honors Catherine Hamilton-Kane for all her contributions to this corrupt city.

Mouse is impersonating a now kidnapped Jacob and has infiltrated his home and the Crows. Just to keep us all sane, from here till the rest of the review when I mention Mouse, just realize Mouse is impersonating Jacob and no one knows the difference. Thank you. So, where were we? Oh yes, Mouse has infiltrated the Crows with his own henchman and has something hideous planned for Catherine on her big night. It doesn’t take long for Kate to realize that the father she is talking to is actually Mouse and spreads the news to Sophie and her husband, who has become so pointless, I don’t even know his name anymore. Mouse realizes Sophie knows his identity and knocks out her and her nameless husband, leading them to be tied up for majority of the episode. This allows Sophie and her husband to talk about their feelings and their marriage, resulting in her husband realizing that Sophie still has feelings for Kate. Let’s all agree this marriage is on its final legs. This is one storyline I have not become invested in and the quicker we can get beyond this relationship, the better the series will be.

Mouse, Catherine, and Mary travel together as one big happy family as Mouse, disguised as Jacob, forgives Catherine in order get the majority of Kane/Hamilton family to the Gala so Alice’s plan can work. The first part of Alice’s plan is to embarrass Catherine, which she does when she replaces the Catherine’s original speech on the teleprompter with an updated speech revealing how Catherine is the true criminal in Gotham, supplying the villains with weapons. The speech is interrupted with the arrival of Batwoman and after a brief melee between Alice’s gang and Batwoman, Alice takes off with Catherine and Mary. The big shocker is that Alice poisoned the champagne Catherine drank and unexpectedly, Mary took a drink from the same champagne. This is an issue as Alice only has one antidote, which causes Catherine to make the ultimate sacrifice and give the antidote to Mary. While Mary is saved, Catherine is not so lucky and dies in the arms of her daughter. To say I was surprised by the death of Catherine is an understatement as I thought there was a lot of potential for her, especially if she truly was leading a criminal gang, which was hinted at a few episodes ago. While it doesn’t change the series drastically, not having Catherine around will shake Jacob and Mary’s core and provide another shakeup in the Kane/Hamilton family.

Batwoman battles Alice in a short fight but Alice eventually escapes thanks to Mouse showing up and shoving Batwoman and causing her to fall two stories to the floor below. Alice and her deranged sidekick are happy with how the night played out and drift off into the shadows, waiting to fight another day.

Throughout the episode Alice continued to harass a chained-up Jacob at her facility and she finally gets what she always wanted…Jacob to apologize for not continuing to search for his daughter longer. Jacob states he never had the right answer as he never knew how long to look for her and once the fake identification of the bones occurred, he had to move on. He admits it’s his fault his daughter Beth turned into Alice and wishes for everything to be different. It was a well-acted scene and Dougray Scott brought his acting prowess to this episode. Finally, the mid-season finale wraps up with Jacob being let go but quickly arrested by the Gotham Police as Alice planted drugs on him. Jacob is hauled off to prison and his tenure as head of the Crows is in jeopardy. Kate visits him in jail and tells him that due to Alice killing Catherine, the gloves are off and just like Jacob, Kate is out for blood now.

Easter Egg:

  • Riddler exists! We have seen several name drops this season and we now know the Riddler is in this universe as Catherine mentions him during her speech. The big question is, if or when we will see any major villains appear on the series.

One Good Thing:

  • Kate and Alice. One of the strongest aspects of this season has been the interaction between Alice and Kate and Kate’s insistence of saving Alice. Kate is desperate to have her sister back that her judgement is clouded but after this episode, I’m interested in the change to their dynamic for the rest of the season.

One Bad Thing:

  • Nothing. The mid-season finale didn’t disappoint and outside of Sophie’s marriage, which was addressed above, everything seemed to click.

This Episode’s Grade: A- (Very Good)

Batwoman’s mid-season finale seems small in stature as there is no major fight, no fancy CGI effects, and no huge reveal but it sets up the second half of the season spectacularly. Jacob seems to be on the outs with the Crows after his arrest, which opens the door for him to run things for Team Batwoman (as he does in the comic book series) and Kate has finally learned her sister is truly gone and only Alice remains. Speaking of Alice, it will be interesting to see her descent into true madness now that her sister is no longer trying to help her maintain some sense of normalcy. The Alice character has unlimited potential and hopefully the writers can fully embrace the madness of this character.

Overall, the mid-season finale did a lot of little things well and was a good way to cap off a strong first half of the new series. I’ll see you back in January for the second-half of the season!

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here.

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