One problem with television series that rely on serialization and constantly churning subplots is that it’s occasionally tough to let the narrative just stop long enough for the next episode to feel like it naturally takes place a few weeks later. Episode five of this story is apparently set long enough after episode four for Batwoman to briefly meet the Flash and Green Arrow and to tell them to get outta Gotham, because Luke briefly mentions an Arkham Asylum breakout, which we saw in Arrow last year. On the other hand, the subplot with Kate’s stepmother and sister seems to have had a break of maybe two days, so it doesn’t fit like a glove.
I’d really been hoping that the show was going to reveal something a lot more fanciful about Alice’s origins than what this episode shows us. I was thinking the Mad Hatter and hypnotism, which would have been a million times more pleasant than the intense and very frightening kidnapping that we learn about in this story. Alice’s kidnapper is a horrible “just an ordinary guy” serial killer-type, a mundane and scary real world evil. His son, whose name is Jonathan Cartwright but who goes by Mouse, was one of the Arkham escapees, and he and Beth, renamed Alice, grew up together. Mouse, whose face is scarred and who has the talent of perfect mimicry, is based on a Batvillain of more recent vintage called Jane Doe, and who went by “Jane Cartwright” when she was used in Fox’s recent Gotham TV series.
Because Beth’s kidnapper is so humdrum and ordinary, full of the banality of evil instead of comic book grandiosity, it put a chain of events together that had our son briefly get upset. The elder Cartwright tells Beth that he will kill anyone who comes looking for Beth, and it will all be Beth’s fault. So Beth stays silent when she had the chance to call out for Kate. Our son rebounded, but that scene hit him hard enough that both of us parents were worried. We asked whether he’d like to shelve the show. He’s emphatic that he likes it and wants to watch more. I’ll be happier if the show would stick to jewel thieves and bombs in elevators. Or bring the Flash back through so Kate can snarl at him again. Maybe a Frosty Freezy machine or something.
Kate and her dad share a good scene right at the end. I sincerely hope that everybody’s resolved to stop treating Alice with kid gloves from here on and stop letting her get away because she might be Beth and everybody wants answers instead of an arrest. Everybody knows, so let’s take out the Wonderland Gang, okay? After all, the show and all its subplots have to have enough of a conclusion very soon in order to close the curtain and pretend a few months have passed so it can catch up to all the other Arrowverse programs and tie in to “Crisis on Infinite Earths” with them next month.