05th Nov2019

‘Batwoman 1×05: Mine is a Long and a Sad Tale’ Review

by Jason Brigger

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


Batwoman answers the questions we, and Kate, have been asking this whole (well four episodes) season…where did Beth go after the car accident and how did she become Alice?

Team Batwoman is investigating a serial killer famous for taking faces and skin from his victims. Kate has suspicions it’s Alice doing the murder so dressed as Batwoman, she tracks Alice down due to the tracking device she placed in Alice’s boyfriend’s body when he was being held captive last week. A fight ensues and Alice is captured, rather easily I might add. We find out later that it was all part of Alice’s plan to get captured and have “one on one” time with Kate. At this point, I love the character of Alice.

The connection between Kate and Alice continues to be a strong asset to the series. Kate is desperate to find her sister Beth in the madness that is the Alice psyche, despite knowing she’s probably gone and only the madness of Alice remains. Kate in the first five episodes has tried to bargain with Alice, tried to beat her back into normalcy, and in this episode, offers to pay for the finest mental rehabilitation just to help her. When Kate offers Alice a choice between either the rehab center or a lifetime in Arkham Asylum, courtesy of turning her over to their dad, Alice chooses rehab as long as she can take one last trip with Kate to reveal her master plan.

Yes, we get a Kate and Alice road trip, which is so weird and crazy of an idea that it shouldn’t work, but it’s as amazing as you think it could be!

Throughout the episode we get flashbacks to Alice/Beth’s childhood after the car accident when she is found in the river by a middle-age man, who we never hear the name of, and his son Johnny. They bring her back to their house and despite the man’s insistence he has called the police to advise them of Beth being alive, he really hasn’t. Once Beth finds this out, she is locked in a cell in the basement of the house, a cell that has a creepy mask of a face floating in stationary tub. Beth learns she is being held because the man’s son, Johnny, doesn’t have any friends and is considered an outcast (and a monster by society) due to his facial deformity. The man experiments with human skin in order to make a new face/mask for his son, in hopes his son will one day be able to live in the outside world, but unfortunately, the experiments have not succeeded.

Beth eventually escapes the cell she is held in and calls her father on the phone but before she can reveal her location, she is caught by Johnny’s father and warned he will kill anyone that comes looking for her. Kate remembers this phone call, but the Gotham police fails to follow up on the lead, despite Jacob tracing the phone call to the man’s house. Jacob takes the matter into his own hands and travels to the house but when confronted, the man explains it was Johnny that made the phone call as he has an uncanny ability to mimic anything or anyone. A young Kate snoops around the house and finds the secured door to the cell that Beth is being held captive. Kate calls out her name but Beth refuses to answer, for fear of the man killing her father and sister. Kate ends up leaving, never realizing her twin sister is mere feet from her.

Back in the present day, Kate allowed her father to track her phone in order to put pressure on Alice to decide about her future. Jacob and Sophie take their own road trip to find and apprehend Alice but when they show up at a local diner, Alice’s gang is already there, and a shootout occurs. Somehow Jacob and Sophie are able to take down half a dozen members of the gang but unfortunately Alice is already gone. While Alice was monologuing her backstory to Kate at the diner, she secretly drugged Kate’s drink, knocking her out and taking her to the same house and cell that Alice/Beth grew up in. Luckily for Kate, Jacob and Sophie track her cellphone to the creepy house and find Alice waiting for them. Jacob, upon Alice appearing, asks “Where’s Kate?”, which angers her as she feels it’s always about Kate and not her. Alice has resentment for her father as he “abandoned” her at that house as a child. Jacob finally realizes Alice is his daughter and attempts to reason with her, which results in Jacob being stabbed in the stomach by Alice. What did you think was going to happen Jacob?

Also, at the house is Alice’s secret partner, Mouse (Sam Littlefield), who is really the boy she grew up with, Johnny. It seems Johnny is the serial killer Team Batwoman was looking for at the beginning of the episode and he has an affliction for stealing faces from his victims, just like his dad. An escaped Kate is able to subdue Mouse, but Kate lets him go in exchange for Alice not killing Jacob. Seriously Kate, stop letting Alice go! The side characters don’t have much of a role this week other than having Mary and Fox finally meet for the first time. Catherine is in damage control at this point as she comes clean to her daughter about staging the bones after the accident in order to give closure to Jacob and Kate. Mary is upset and runs off to Wayne Tower to tell Kate and expose Catherine… Unfortunately, Kate is on her road trip with Alice, so Mary decides to cry and get drunk on Fox’s shoulder. Fox is extremely annoyed by this interruption and tells Mary that Kate already knew that her sister was alive, resulting in Mary to drink more. The scenes were light-hearted and provided some much-needed levity in an extremely dark and serious episode.

One Good Thing:

  • The fight scenes. While most superhero fight scenes in television seem overly-choreographed, the scenes in Batwoman are gritty and very “Batman-like”. They do not come off as staged, they look very fluid, and play to Batwoman’s strengths of using the darkness to fight her battles. It’s another small detail the series gets right and adds to the reality of the series.

One Bad Thing:

  • Nothing. Everything clicked this week and while the majority of the episode focused on Alice/Beth’s backstory, it was well done and provided some much-needed answers.

This Episode’s Grade: B+ (Very Good)

Batwoman delves into Alice’s background this week and the series continues to provide another strong episode, which is now at three episodes in a row. Every time I think the writers are going one way, they throw a curve and do something different. Plus, the depth they have given Alice in the series in only five episodes is impressive and so far, has made Alice one of the better villains in quite some time.

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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