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Batwoman - Through the Looking Glass - Review Roundtable: Frayed Relationships



This review was written by Aimee Hicks, Donna Cromeans (DJRiter), Ellys Cartin.

Batwoman delivered an exceptional episode withThrough the Looking Glass.Continue reading below to find out our thoughts on the episode. After reading, please leave your own thoughts in the comments.


This episode took a deep look at where Kate (Ruby Rose) and Alice’s (Rachel Skarsten) sisterly relationship stands after recent events. It’s still as perilous as always except there were some signs that they were finally starting to get better at communicating with each other. Alice even let her guard down a bit and trusted Kate which ultimately backfired on her. What do you think comes next when Alice inevitably gets out of Arkham? Can the sisters ever get back to a place of understanding in the wake of this betrayal? At this point, what do you think it would take for Alice to trust Kate again?

Aimee: I think that with that one choice Kate did just as much damage to their sisterly relationship as Alice has done. The difference is Alice has always been very upfront about things while Kate flat out went and betrayed Alice. Both sisters are immensely flawed and damaged by the events of their childhood, Alice clearly more so than Kate, but neither escaped without lasting trauma. Then Kate killed August Cartwright (John Emmet Tracy) and her life started to spiral and her fear of becoming the person Beth became overwhelmed her. That caused her to make a rash decision that one can only hope she already regrets. Now, to be fair, Alice has done unspeakable horrible things and the city is probably better with her out of the picture for a bit. But, Alice seemed like she was at a point where she was just about to turn a corner only for all of that to be set back by Kate’s betrayal. I think when Alice inevitably gets out the sisters are due another knock-down full-on brawl because they both have a ton more aggression to work out. With Alice’s mental instability I honestly have no idea what she will do when she next encounters her sister, but I think it will take a very long time and some big grand gestures for Alice to trust her sister again.

Donna: That’s a very complex question with no easy answer. Both sisters have been tragically influenced by the tragic events of their young lives and both still bear those scars. Some scars, however, are deeper than others. Once she is out of Arkham, Alice will react in the only way she knows how, by lashing out at Kate and her father. I think in some ways their father’s betrayal didn’t hurt as much as Kate’s did. She was finally getting to be close to her sister and saw the bizarre irony of them seemingly bonding and being alike over murder, so, having her happiness cruelly snatched from her is a deep wound. She doesn’t trust easily and having Kate betray that trust is going to be a bitter pill for her to swallow. I’m not sure they’ll ever get back to a place of total forgiveness of one another, although Alice is more likely to forgive Kate and blame a big part of her sister’s betrayal on their father. I think the only thing that might push Alice toward trusting Kate is them having to unite against a common foe.

Ellys: I am AGHAST. Also, heartbroken, angry, and elated. This the biggest risk the show has taken; I don’t know if it was wise or if it makes sense, but it was bold. Kate didn’t just betray Alice; she betrayed us all. The Paragon of Courage was nowhere to be found in this decision. To me, Kate was just yielding to her fear in a way that doesn’t quite work with who we know her to be. Dead Cartwright and all, I don’t know if Jacob and Kate’s decision here works with their behavior in the previous episode. The only thing consistent about Batwoman is its inconsistency, which leaves me uncertain that anything satisfying could be born of this. It’s hard to see Alice forgiving this or recovering from it. Something earth-shattering would have to occur.


Much like with Kate, Jacob (Dougray Scott) seemed to finally be making some headway with Alice. Then he convinced Kate to betray her sister and locked his own daughter up in Arkham. Do you think Jacob made the right decision to lock her up and protect the city from his daughter and to protect Alice from herself? Or was he being selfish? Do you see any possible scenario where Alice can forgive her father?These past couple episodes, we've seen more of Jacob than we have before. Has your perception of him changed as a result?

Aimee: I still don’t much like Jacob. He is, honestly, in my opinion, the weakest character of the show at this point. I was hoping seeing him with more screen time would make me like him more, but it has just made me like him less. With that said, I do think he is trying his best in a really hard and unprecedented situation in regards to Alice, but he is having trouble balancing the fact this woman is his daughter with the horrible things she has done to him directly and to the city. He saved her in the prior episode and then convinced Kate to help him lock up Alice this week. I really don’t know what game he is playing here. Is he trying to actually protect his daughter from herself and the city from her or is he trying to get revenge on her for what she did to him and Catherine (Elizabeth Anweis)? The fact he didn’t just straight up try to kill her is a promising sign, but they are a long way off from ever being able to have a real father-daughter relationship. This set back all the progress they made in the prior episode and I really don’t know if Alice will ever be able to forgive him for locking her up. I think she will eventually come around regarding Kate, especially if Kate realizes the error in her ways and tries to go back for Alice, but I just don’t see how she will ever be able to forgive her father. It will be very interesting to see how things play out between them in the few remaining episodes we have left before the season abruptly concludes.

Donna: My opinion of Jacob hasn’t changed. His motives for doing whatever he does is based on one thing and one thing only his selfish need to keep control and hold onto his power. He’s the ultimate master in self-serving decisions. Protecting Alice from herself was necessary but there were less cruel and brutal ways of doing it. Also, I think convincing Kate to betray her sister was a crappy thing for him to do. He exploited Kate’s vulnerability about Alice while she was dealing with her self-doubt about killing. Jacob is power-hungry and controlling and not a candidate for father of the year any time soon in my book.

Ellys: The scene with Jacob and Beth was one of my favorites in the previous episode, and Scott’s never been better on this show than last week and this week. I don’t think it made sense for him to put her in Arkham, because Arkham is not a healthy place. That seems obvious and the Jacob that rescued Beth in the previous episode and the Jacob that locked his daughter up in a place of nightmares in this episode almost seemed like different people. That may all come back to the ever-present inconsistency of how the character has been developed and written.


Kate spent the entire episode terrified that she was becoming Alice. Then she pulled a very Alice-like move by betraying her sister in a way fulfilling a self-fulfilling prophecy. Do you think Kate was on her way to becoming like her sister? Or, in a big display of irony, do you think she is more liable to turn into her sister now after betraying her sister? Do you think it’s even possible for Kate to become like Alice since it was a set of horrible circumstances that made Alice versus one life taken?

Aimee: I don’t think that Kate was on a path to becoming Alice. I suspect that is something that her father might have put in her head while convincing her to betray her sister. I do think that by betraying Alice she did in some ways become Alice. She fulfilled the very thing she was trying to avoid happening. It is very ironic that by trying to not become her sister she started to become like her. They do still diverge at the fact that I don’t think Kate can kill in cold blood without merit like Alice can. They still have that to separate them, but by trying to not become Alice, I believe we are seeing Kate slowly walking down a path to blurring lines like Alice. I don’t think Kate will ever be allowed to go as dark as Alice has. She has mental trauma, but nothing like Alice suffered at the hands of the Cartwright family. Void of that, Kate can never fully become Alice, but she is definitely going down a dark path that in its early days is a bit like what Alice experienced.

Donna: No way was Kate becoming like her sister, and I don’t, for one second buy her argument that she was feeling guilty about not feeling guilty about taking a life. I think Kate was cruelly manipulated by her father and fell into the rabbit hole of possibly becoming more like her sister because of his actions. However, Kate’s moral center and her role as the Paragon of Courage will prevent her from going too far down that hole. I think we’re going to see her slide and go dark for a while, but ultimately her true nature will bring her back.

Ellys: Viewed by itself, out of context, this might be Season One’s best episode, especially with the season order possibly being shortened. It’s never not enthralling. Kate teaming up with Alice for some sisterly deception, breaking and entering, and bonding is easily the most delightful the show can get. This episode, however, just reminded me that sometimes this show often does this weird thing with Kate. It acts like Kate is this very young woman with all this pureness of mind and heart that is constantly being affronted by the harshness of reality; when it does that, it not only ignores her Paragon of Courage status and refuses to give us the snarky, edgy Kate from Elseworld, but also diminishes everything the show says she’s supposed to be. Her life was darkened by seeing her sister and mother die, she joined the military only to get the boot, she traveled the world and had an entire life for years, and the show tends to act like that person doesn’t even exist. It acts like Kate is this “normal” person who stumbled on this superhero business and just wants to do everything by the good book and hates the darkness they are forced to cloak themselves in...but that’s not who Kate is by the terms of the very backstory and identity the show has given her. I am constantly frustrated that the show wants Kate to be Barry Boy Scout Allen instead of a grown woman with baggage and drama and power. I do not find the “someone manipulated me into killing the man who brutalized my sister and desecrated my mother’s corpse so now I must languish in worry that my soul is tainted as it never was before” narrative compelling.


Throughout the episode it seemed like an invisible enemy was lurking in the shadows. Alice got a mysterious, and bloody, message from “Your Friend From Coryana”, which has ties to the Batwoman comics. Do you think that Alice’s friend from Coryana, the bounty placed on Sophie’s (Meagan Tandy) head, the attempt on Jacob’s life, and the murder of Reggie Harris (Seth Whittaker) are all tied together somehow? If so, who do you think is behind all of this? Are we about to see a new big bad emerge while Alice is confined in Arkham?

Aimee: I definitely think it is all connected, and all goes right back to Coryana. By killing off Alice’s gang that just leaves her and Mouse and they are both out of the equation for a bit which leaves a void in Gotham’s seedy underground. With a void for a big bad, it seems like the writers are about to introduce a big bad that might humble Alice and Mouse. Coryana is a significant place in the comics that has deep ties to both Kate and Alice. It will be very interesting to see how much of the comic story they use. We also got to see that Alice looked genuinely concerned and perhaps even a little scared when she saw what happened to her gang and then saw that sign. Whomever her “friend” is from Coryana they are enough to make even Alice concerned and that is not good for the citizens of Gotham. Safiyah Sohail is a prime candidate and given we heard her name earlier in the season she could be a prime candidate. Some very interesting things lie ahead if Safiyah is on the horizon to be introduced in a formal capacity. She may very well force Kate and Alice to reconcile as they have to deal with her.

Donna: I do think we’re seeing the emergence of a new big bad who is proving to be a master at setting all these events into motion. I for one will be relieved when all the Kane family drama is over. While it has given us exceptional work from Rose and Skarsten it’s growing wearisome and moves the show further and further away from its title. Batwoman is not a main character anymore, she’s become the sideshow. I’m not that familiar with Coryana from the comics (but will be going to read up on it now). However, I am all in for any villain that can move the show out of it’s Alice in Wonderland and Kane Family Chronicles sturm and drang.

Ellys: Light a candle, because dark days are coming to Gotham. At least, that’s what the show plans to eventually do. This episode certainly suggested the Lady of Coryana (curator of rare poison anecdotes and hater of Batman) was behind Lucius Fox’s murder and possibly also corrupted the Crows, put out a hit on Sophie and Jacob, massacred Alice’s Wonderland Gang, and killed Reggie. (Who we kidding?! She was behind all that). Undoubtedly, the Lady is coming to visit. She’ll probably break Alice out, although I can’t begin to imagine what shenanigans the show will have to create to explain how she fits into Alice’s backstory. One thing I do know is that this character should have been more frequently hinted at far earlier in the series.


This was a big episode for Luke (Camrus Johnson) as well. He came face-to-face with the man that he long thought had killed his father only for him to be murdered in front of him. This plot point, regarding his father’s murder seems to have been the only big storyline earmarked for Luke this season. It seems like the writers are trying to build up to something big for the character. What do you think they are working towards? Do you think this is the catalyst that starts to push him towards becoming Batwing?

Aimee: I think they are working towards keying him up as Batwing. However, I stick to a prediction I made in a prior review that if this arc starts it won’t be until Season 2. They have too many loose plot points as it is right now to try to start this one this season. I think we will finally get to see him start to come more into his own identity as a hero next season. And, I do think watching Reggie be murdered in front of him will be a big push in his journey to becoming Batwing, but I think there will be something even more profound to push him over the edge to becoming a hero in his own right.

Donna: I think they are working hard to give Lucas more depth and relevance to the story beyond being Batwoman’s sidekick. It would be funny to see them turn him into Batwing, which I believe is what is being set up, and then see him in a Bat costume more than Kate. Luke has been an interesting character all season, so it is gratifying that they are finally giving him more to do. Johnson is shining and giving the character so much, well, “character”, if you will with this much meatier material he deserves.

Ellys: That makes two people murdered in front of Luke this season. He is getting more than his fair share of trauma, but he handled it in perhaps the smartest, healthiest way--seeking out Mary (Nicole Kang) and confiding in her what happened. Luke recognized that he can’t carry these burdens alone. Luke is going to feel a bit of betrayal when he learns that Kate didn’t trust him with the truth about Beth’s killer, and now he has this fresh new wound to deal with. I expect we’ll see him take a more analytical approach to seeking justice and getting answers, so no Batwing just yet.


After a far too long absence Julia Pennyworth (Christina Wolfe) made her grand return to Gotham. In the process she saved Sophie’s life and rekindled a romantic spark with Kate. What do you think her return to Gotham means? How long will she hang around? Is it just coincidence that she showed up in time to save Sophie or was she looking for a reason to return to the city every since she last parted ways with Kate? Will this time be different between Kate and Julia or do you think Julia will betray Kate again?

Aimee: I was beyond thrilled when I saw Julia in the extended promo trailer for this episode. I have wanted Julia to return since last we saw her. The last time Julia was in Gotham she made it clear that she regretted how things went with Kate when they were together in the past. I don’t think she came back just to save Sophie (Meagan Tandy). She came back to see if there was any path forward for her and Kate, and she used Sophie as an excuse. I would like to believe that Julia came back to fight for Kate and what they have this time will be real. Unfortunately, I got real vibes that this romance will be a bit like what Arrow did with Sara (Caity Lotz) and Oliver (Stephen Amell) where they throw them together as a couple for a bit to infuse drama into the journey of the endgame couple. I hope more than anything that I’m wrong. While I have come around to not hating Sophie, I do still like Julia and Kate so much more. Wolfe and Rose just have a very easy chemistry that was there from the very first moment they shared the screen. I hope more than anything that Julia sticks around on a permanent basis and the show locks Wolfe in as a series regular next season. She is such an amazing addition to the show that letting her slip away would be a travesty.

Donna: I really don’t care what her reasons are for being back, I’m just glad she’s returned to give the show some much-needed spark. The chemistry between Wolfe and Rose, hence Julia and Kate far outweighs anything between Kate and Sophie. Having her back will inject some energy into the story and shift the focus away from something besides the Kane family drama. I would love to see her hang around and become a regular next season. Julia has been a powerful addition to each appearance. She’s been one of the more intriguing characters the show has introduced and bringing her back is one of the smartest things the show has done recently. I cannot wait to explore more about her, especially with her ties to several of the core characters.

Ellys: How long have we been hoping and even praying for Julia’s return! Wolfe proved her electric contribution to the show wasn’t a fluke, because everything and everyone is more alive when Julia is in the room. Julia is clearly on the same mission she was on in her previous appearance, tracking down (whether she knows it or not) this mysterious Lady of Coryana. Now that we know for sure that it’s possible and likely this new Big Bad has ties to several Gotham residents, Julia will surely be around for a long time to keep up the hunt. (Or at least she would have been before the whole pandemic thing). Another reason I love the addition of Julia is that she too is connected to more than one of our regular characters. She’s Luke’s god sister basically, she has a romantic connection with Kate, and she met both Sophie and Mary with positive results. Her character just has a way of interweaving all the show’s threads and characters with very satisfying results.


Which performer do you think delivered the most memorable performance in the episode? Why did their performance standout for you? What were their best scenes?

Aimee: I must go with a tie between Rachel Skarsten and Christina Wolfe. While Ruby Rose, Nicole Kang, and Camrus Johnson were all great I just really enjoyed watching Skarsten and Wolfe the most this week. When Kate locked Alice in the cell the way that Skarsten portrayed Alice’s reaction to that was heart-shattering. The betrayal and primal fear that Alice was experiencing was palpable. That scene was haunting and so powerful because of how deep Skarsten went with her performance. She was amazing throughout the whole episode, but that scene won’t be soon be forgotten. As for Wolfe, she didn’t have a big emotional storyline in this episode, but the charm she brings to every interaction Julia has is captivating to watch. Her last scene with Rose was beautifully done. Wolfe kept up Julia’s bravado and charm right until she locked eyes with Kate and the two fell back into an old connection. In the blink of an eye Wolfe dropped Julia’s walls and there was a very real vulnerability that made the kiss between Kate and Julia feel more emotional than it might have otherwise. These two women need each other at this moment in time and I hope that helps them forge an even stronger bond.

Donna: Again most of the performers of the show, with a couple of notable exceptions, are rising far beyond the material they are being given and are making the show interesting to watch. There’s no denying Skarsten was masterful and heart-breaking in Alice’s reaction to Kate and Jacob’s betrayal, Kang is always a delight to watch and it was nice to see this softer less snarky side to her in her support of Johnson’s Lucas. Wolfe’s return injected some much-needed energy into the show and Rose continues to grow into her role of Kate Kane weekly, I’m just hoping we see her grow more into Batwoman. However, this week’s standout to me was Johnson, who was finally given the weighty material his character so desperately needed to make him more than a sidekick. Kudos to him for more than living up to the challenge with an exceptional performance.

Ellys: Does Earth have one moon? Does an apple fall towards the ground? Mirror mirror on the wall, does Rachel Skarsten still get the best material of all? Yes indeed. And no one delivers a bloodcurdling plea like Skarsten does. The scene where Alice begs her father and sister to not desert her yet again. All the humorous moments, dark and wonderful, as Alice relishes working with Kate. However, Camrus Johnson can’t be overlooked. He gave a truly powerful performance, and I feel that Luke truly came to life as his own individual through Johnson’s work this week.


What are your final thoughts regarding this episode?

Aimee: I think this was one of the strongest episodes of the season. I loved everything about it except for the moment Kate betrayed Alice. That one moment made me want to go through the screen and yell at Kate about the mistake she was making. Other than that it was an amazing episode. Plus it marked the epic return of Julia Pennyworth and I’m thrilled about that. I look forward to seeing what the rest of the season holds (whenever it resumes from this coronavirus induced hiatus) with Julia back in the picture, Alice in Arkham, and Coryana in the mix. There seems to be lots of amazing stuff to look forward to when the season resumes. If the upcoming episodes can deliver the same energy and same level of compelling stories as these last handful of episodes, then I’m excited for what the rest of the season holds.

Donna: While it was one of the stronger episodes of the season, I am not happy about some of the choices the writers made. Having Kate and Jacob betray Alice in the manner they did was cruel and for me took Kate very close to the line of being out of character. The scenes between Mary and Lucas, and Lucas’ emerging storyline were standouts to me. That said, as I stated before the on-going angst of the Kane family saga is starting to get long in the tooth. The show is called Batwoman, when are they going to let it be about Batwoman?

Ellys: There was never a dull moment. There were countless elements that I adored, such as everything Julia, everything with Mary, everything with Luke, etc. Getting to watch Skarsten and Rose play together for the bulk of the episode was a real treat. While I’m reeling from Jacob and Kate’s decision, the fact that I am emotionally wounded is a testament to the fact that the show has built something meaningful. I do care about these characters and what happens next.


Each week we will select one question from all of you to include in our roundtable. Please submit your questions in the comments section below.


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