REVIEW: Batwoman s1e5 “Mine is a Long and Sad Tale”

Batwoman s1e5 Kate Alice Diner

After a series of bizarre break-ins at several Gotham City morgues, Batwoman has captured Alice. Kate thinks that this is her chance to break through to her and to begin reconnecting with her sister Beth, but Alice has her own plans and laid a trap for Kate.

Alice was several steps ahead of Kate the whole time and engineered the chance to reunite them and begin to show the pain that Beth went through. Alice begins telling Kate what happened to Beth after the accident all those years ago and why she blames Kate and their father for everything that happened to her.

“Mine is a Long and Sad Tale” is a mixture of flashbacks to young Beth trapped in the house of a strange man, Jonathan Cartwright, and his son Johnny, aka Mouse. Jonathan seems nice enough, to begin with. Things quickly take a dark turn as he locks Beth in the basement, lies to her about her father, and threatens her. Cartwright’s motives are never very clear, other than he is disturbed and thinks Beth will make a friend for his son. Mouse’s face is scarred and we are told that this has caused him to be ostracized.

Batwoman s1e5 Jacob and Sophie

It’s clear that there is much more to Alice’s story, but this is a big piece of what happened in the weeks following the accident. I like how they have fleshed out the story from the two sisters’ different points of view. We saw Kate’s life immediately following the accident several episodes ago and now we see what Beth went through.

“Mine is a Long and Sad Tale” puts the focus on the characters and the drama as opposed to the action. The episode opens with a terrific action scene after Kate and Luke track Alice’s gang. Batwoman attacks from the shadows using a new night vision feature in her cowl. It’s possibly one of the best action scenes we’ve had so far on the show and it is classic Bat action.

While Alice is taking Kate down the rabbit hole, Catherine comes clean to Mary about faking Beth’s death with the animal bones and falsified DNA scans. This sends Mary into a spiral and she has trouble dealing with these revelations. She seeks out Kate to talk but finds Luke instead. This is my least favorite part of the episode. Nicole Kang as Mary does a good job of portraying confusion and spinning out of control. However, I feel like this storyline just fills up time in the episode. It doesn’t seem to add anything to the episode except some brief exposition about Mouse’s escape from Arkham during the Elseworlds crossover last year.

Batwoman s1e5 Alice

“Mine is a Long and Sad Tale” provides us a glimpse into the tragic events that began to twist Beth into Alice. I liked getting a glimpse into Alice’s world, showing us different facets of her character. Rachel Skarsten as Alice does a really good job first giving us vulnerability, where we can almost see Beth just below the surface but also showing how Alice manipulates everyone.

VERDICT 4 out of 5

Opinionated geek and writer born in the desert, raised on the beach, and now living in the mountains, Paul is a lifelong nerd who loves Star Wars, costuming, comic books, and all manner of geeky things.

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