27th Mar2020

‘Batwoman 1×16: Through the Looking Glass’ Review

by Jason Brigger

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


Batwoman isn’t afraid to shake the status quo up or afraid to kill off characters but after the non-stop surprises last week, Batwoman takes a step back this week to deliver an episode that nicely sets up the final quarter of the season.

The episode picks up with Jacob and his two daughters, Alice and Kate, burying the body of Dr. Cartwright in an unmarked grave. You know, typical father-daughter bonding. Alice, to the shock of no one, is able to distract her family long enough to pull a gun on them and escape for the 100th time. At this point, Gotham might as well just make Alice a “finding Waldo” mascot for the city because neither Batwoman, the Crows, or the police can keep her in custody.

Alice wants to find Mouse but in order to do that, she needs to recruit her Wonderland gang to help but unfortunately, someone killed her whole gang. Alone and needing someone she can trust, Alice returns to Kate and asks for assistance in finding Mouse. Kate really has no choice as Alice knows what Kate did to Cartwright, knows where he is buried, and knows Jacob and Kate’s DNA is all over his body. Kate agrees to help but only if there is no killing, which is kind of ironic that it’s coming from Kate given the previous 24 hours of her life.

Kate and Alice, through some quick detective work, realize Mouse is on a murder spree of all his prior nurses that treated him while he was a prisoner at Arkham Asylum. Kate and Alice arrive at the nurse’s house just as Mouse is arriving, but before the sisters can stop him, the Crows swoop in and take Mouse into custody and a trip to Arkham Asylum.

After escaping the Crows, Alice again requests help from Kate to know breaking Mouse out of Arkham Asylum because she knows the psychotic doctor at the prison will put Mouse through psychological torture. Kate agrees but only if they do it “her” way, which again means no killing. Alice begrudgery agrees because what choice does, she have? Her gang is gone, her father won’t help, and she has no one else.

Kate, under a Wonderland gang bunny mask, succeeds in helping Alice reach Mouse in Arkham. Just when you think Kate and Alice have turned the corner on their complicated relationship, we find out it was just a set up by Kate and Jacob to get Alice to Arkham and into custody. As soon as Alice walks into Mouse’s cell (where he is knocked out from a day’s worth of torment), Kate closes the cell door on her and Jacob reveals himself, shocking Alice. It was a clever twist that I should have seen coming but I was more hopeful that Kate and Alice would actually be a regular team-up.

A few things we learned about Alice and Kate in this episode (in bullet form!):

  • Alice admits to setting up Kate (last episode) to hear Cartwright tell Alice’s origin story in hopes Kate would snap and murder Cartwright, Alice’s own devil…which Kate did. Whether Alice set this up because she couldn’t kill Cartwright herself due to his years of abuse or she just wanted Kate to join her on the dark side, we don’t really know.
  • Kate is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to her murdering Cartwright. Kate finds herself choking two different people (a low-level thug and even Alice) before realizing what she was actually doing. Kate slipping mentally will not be good for Gotham and if she “snaps” as Batwoman, all the good will she has done as the vigilante will be undone. It also doesn’t help that she hasn’t told Luke anything about Cartwright dying and her being responsible!
  • The character of Alice continues to be a strong point in this series and every time you think she is turning back to the good side and becoming more “Beth”-like, something or someone stops her transformation. With Kate being the reason this time, it will be interesting to see if Kate realizes how much her decision to turn on her sister will have on Alice in the future.

In other stories this week, Reggie Harris (Seth Whittaker), the convicted felon that allegedly murdered Luke’s father, Lucius, is granted a new trial and is freed on bail. Mary understands what Luke is going through with losing a parent, and plays the good friend by his side throughout the ordeal. These two have such good chemistry and it never seems they are forced together just for a plot point. At this point, I would watch a Mary/Luke talk-show about pop culture news, just to get them on my television more.

Later in the episode, Luke confronts Reggie on the street, and Reggie makes a pretty convincing argument to Luke about his innocence and how he was framed for the murder. Unfortunately, Reggie can’t explain who he thinks actually set him up as he is shot and killed by a sniper bullet. Luke makes every attempt to save Reggie but to no avail.

Even more team-ups this week as Sophie, while doing some detective work on the Lucius Fox murder, is joined by the unexpected return of Julia Pennyworth. It’s a good thing Julia shows up too as she saves Sophie from being shot by the mysterious sniper that has been hunting in Gotham. The real reason why Julia is back in Gotham is pushed to the side with a very vague reason and only opens up more questions on who Julia really is.

The episode ends with Jacob being targeted by the sniper and in some unbelievable trick shooting, Jacob shoots around a car, while running, and kills the sniper that is hiding 50 yards away. That is one magic bullet. I, like Jacob, cannot figure out the identity of the sniper when they reveal his face, which I hope means that it’s a nobody and I somehow didn’t miss a big reveal.

One Good Thing:

  • Character Development. As I have mentioned many times, it’s the subtle nods to prior episodes that each character alludes to that makes me enjoy this series. Whether it’s Alice’s sisterly barbs at Kate, Mary resorting back to her social influencer persona from time to time, or Jacob realizing, despite all Alice went through, that he is still her father, it’s the little things that make the cast and characters stand out from other television shows.

This Episode’s Grade: B (Good)

The last two episodes have started to add even more substance to an already strong first season. Where do we go from here? Obviously, the main story is who is putting the hits out on the people close to Kate but how does this tie into Alice and Mouse, since they are now securely in Arkham? Plus, I’m not entirely convinced that Kate’s ex, Julia, isn’t the one that Kate should be investigating. Something about her, and her sudden return, makes me think she is the real villain this 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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