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Batwoman - O, Mouse! - Review Roundtable: End Of The Line

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

Batwoman delivered a premature season finale episode with O, Mouse! that might have left some things to be desired. There were big betrayals and some minor surprises. After reading, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

With two episodes left to film, Batwoman's 20th episode had to serve as the season finale. Did you feel that it was a satisfactory concluding note to the major arcs this season? What do you feel was missing from this premature season finale that you think might have made it into the original final two episodes?

Aimee: It was a conclusion, I'll give it that, but it definitely didn't feel like a proper season finale. That's, unfortunately, the card that most shows were dealt this season. I applaud them for taking what they had and being able to pull out anything even remotely resembling a season finale. I don't envy what the creative team had to do to cut this into a season finale, doing the best they could with what they had. While it wasn't a terrific season finale I have to cut them some slack given everything being thrown at them. Because of this premature season finale, it's clear that a lot got left out. There is still Safiyah stuff that felt like was probably going to happen that would have helped build-up to her Season Two introduction. I feel like we missed out on some great Sophie (Meagan Tandy) and Julia (Christina Wolfe) stuff as that relationship surely would have kept growing. And I would like to think there was a big Kate (Ruby Rose) and Alice (Rachel Skarsten) showdown coming. I don't think we missed out much with the other characters as I expect they were destined to stay a bit off to the side until their stories really ramp up next season. I think there are still a lot of dangling plot points that are going to have to be dealt with early on next season.

Donna: As a finale it was a decent concluding season episode. What I feel was missing was nothing specifically storyline related as much as logic tying them all together which has been one of the show’s biggest weaknesses all season. The episode had some good ups and downs but sadly for me, it highlighted the show's weaknesses more than its strengths. I will give them major credit in that the one thing they did do right gave me more Batwoman in this episode than I'd seen most of the season and that is why I watch the show. As far as the family drama, perhaps I shouldn't have sat down to write this after watching a special on soap operas, in that there was far too much family drama. That said, I will give the producers/editors props for pulling together something that could serve as a season finale. Storylines wise I hope what was missing in the final episodes was more excellent Sophie/Julia development, the rising threat of Safiyah, and what I would hope would have been the end of Jacob and the Crows.

Ellys: We may have gotten less than was planned, but nothing about this finale made me feel that we were missing out on something better by losing those episodes. They did plan to dive into the Julia/Safiyah connection. We caught a glimpse of that when Julia revealed to Sophie that they were being stalked; it didn't really add up for Julia to share that information at all, but I don't think it made sense for her to share with Sophie before anyone else. The Hush twist was even more problematic for the overall storytelling.

The supporting villain of the week again introduced a troubled sibling relationship. Was this foreshadowing for Alice and Kate's next confrontation? If not, what was our take on how effective this story was?

Aimee: The show has spent all season playing other sibling relationships off of the Alice and Kate dynamic, so I feel like every single time they introduce a sibling relationship it is meant to be a surrogate to the main one. I would be willing to bet that had the season gone on we would have seen a rather similar (but less permanently deadly) version of what happened between the brothers.

Donna: We have been given and enduring sibling drama all season, whether it was Kate and Alice, Kate and alt-Earth Beth, Kate and Mary, Magpie (Rachel Matthews) and Reagan (Brianne Howey) and siblings of the heart Alice and Mouse (Sam Littlefield) and Luke (Camrus Johnson) and Julia, so I was not happy to see yet another troubled sibling relationship. Is there not one stable sibling relationship in all of Gotham City? I just found that the Titan sibling was one sibling drama too many. It was past time to move on and find another cohesive theme for the show, something, oh, I don’t know, how about maybe letting Batwoman be an actual crimefighter, that would be an original concept.

Ellys: On one hand, it could be a clever move of Batwoman to have used Titan (Terrence Terrell) and Apollo (Austin Anozie) as foreshadowing for Alice turning on Mouse (Sam Littlefield), but the parallel indicated that it was meant to be a reflection of Kate and Alice, which coming almost immediately after Magpie and Reagan felt like overkill. I thought the season had to be building to a major confrontation between Alice and Batwoman. However, ever since they used that powerful underwater moment way too early in the season, I have doubted that the show was going to effectively stick the landing with that storyline. The early finale has granted the show a stay of execution for how it wants to proceed with that next confrontation.

After Mouse (Sam Littlefield) pressured Alice to escape Gotham with him, she symbolically severed ties with the pain of her past by burning her copy of Alice in Wonderland and poisoning her increasingly resentful compatriot. Was this confrontation inevitable? What do you predict this means for Alice's future and her perspective of her past?

Aimee: Like I noted in the previous roundtable, the show has been charging towards this inevitable conclusion of Mouse's storyline for many episodes. There was no way he was going to make it out of this season alive. I think that losing Mouse, especially at her own hand, will throw Alice into a spiral. I think her perspective on everything is going to shift. Mouse was a connection to a deeply traumatic time of her life. So, perhaps, him being gone will free her a bit. I think that more likely than not, she was already mentally unstable, so this is surely going to further complicate things in her twisted head making her more unstable. It will surely cause her to fixate on Kate even more than she already was.

Donna: Mouse's demise has been a foregone conclusion since his grown-up version showed up with Alice. The question that was always there was, at whose hand would he meet his end, Alice, Batwoman or Jacob and the Crows? However, as we went along, and Alice became more obsessed with her sister it became obvious that Alice would have to make a choice between her sister and Mouse. She was always going to choose Kate, even though she wants to kill her alter-ego Batwoman. It's almost as twisted as Alice herself that I think she wants to be with her sister but wants to kill Batwoman because, like Mouse, Batwoman was coming between her and her desired family reunion. As it played out it was a beautiful piece of work from Skarsten and Littlefield, from the burning of her book, Mouse's startling realization that Alice had poisoned him, to Alice's anguish that she had to kill the one person who had shown her the only human kindness she had known during the darkest time of her life. I think just as Beth died one day during her captivity; this was the death of the mad as a hatter Alice in Wonderland.

Ellys: The most interesting part of this for me was that it's been unclear if Alice has it in her to actually kill someone she cares about. This death was going to happen sooner rather than later, and it was sure to be at Alice's hand that Mouse died. Going forward, however, Alice may not handle her new loneliness as well as she anticipates. It's also possible that she may start to disassociate from her Wonderland persona as a result. Killing Mouse may make killing Batwoman harder.

Kate and Mary (Nicole Kang) took a bold swing by trying to make Jacob (Dougray Scott) team up with Batwoman. The results were not what either of them hoped for. Share your thoughts on this turn for the Kane family. Can the Kane family ever come back from this?

Aimee: The Kane family is fractured beyond belief. At this stage with Jacob still being in the dark about Kate being Batwoman, things are only likely to keep getting worse and worse for the family. At least Kate and Mary have each other, but they both still have to contend with Alice and the wayward Jacob. At this point, they could probably get a solid family discount at a therapist. I think the Kane family may recover one day, simply because the whole Jacob hating Batwoman storyline can only drag on for so long and it is already a bit of an annoying storyline. The other scenario is they kill off Jacob and I'm fine with that option as well. Either way, in the Kane family, Jacob is the weak link, so they either need to fix him as a character or get rid of him. The family will be tested greatly, that much is for sure.

Donna: I was a little surprised that someone as sharp as Mary would take such a bold move as to get Jacob to work with Batwoman knowing the depth of his hatred for the caped hero. I give her credit for trying. Yet, she and Kate both had to know they were on a fool's errand and that Jacob was so stubbornly single-minded in his hatred that he would never change. They'd both known him long enough to not have fallen for his sudden acquiescence. I would say the Kane family is essentially dead. As I mentioned previously it was my sincere hope that in the missing episodes something would have led to the end of Jacob and the Crows, both have outlived their welcome on the show. I found his trigger-happy response to having his men kill Titan then in a not surprising twist surround and then shoot Batwoman was overkill if you'll pardon the pun. It would have made a far more dramatic moment to have Batwoman unmask and face her father as herself and see if he had the guts to give the fire order then, but in my opinion, the writers took the easy way out. And also, the Crows must not be a very effective organization because they all knew the Bat-suit was impervious to bullets, so why, did not ONE Crow take the logical headshot to take out Batwoman before she swirled her cape over her head to protect herself? Doesn't exactly inspire anyone to hire them that nearly (what?) a dozen armed men couldn't take out one woman.

Ellys: I found the entire "working with Jacob" plot to be silly. First, it was obviously far too soon. The action scene at the beginning with Kate and Jacob fighting Titan on the train was fun, but it was far too much of a stretch to believe that either Kate or Mary would have rushed into trusting their dad with a Batwoman team-up. Thus, I felt nothing when Jacob ultimately betrayed the partnership. Of course, Jacob has been an underdeveloped character the entire season, so my default reaction to everything involving him as lukewarm. Every time I started to care about him, the writers would hit a reset button on his character and send him back into bitter robot mode.

We learned that Safiyah is targeting Julia and is possibly also an ex of Julia's. Julia shared this information with Sophie. What are your hopes for Sophie and Julia's future? And what is your dream casting for Safiyah?

Aimee: I hope that the writers will let the Sophie and Julia relationship continue to develop for at least the first part of next season. I really enjoy the chemistry between Tandy and Wolfe. This is where I'd normally say that I like Tandy's chemistry with Wolfe better than with Rose, but recent news made that a moot point, so my opinion on this topic may be entirely different next season. For now, I really like what Julia and Sophie have together. Safiyah, however, if she is indeed an ex of Julia's could change things up depending on who they cast and what level of chemistry the two have. I had some thoughts on who I'd like to see play Safiyah, but that was taking into account comparable chemistry with Rose, so, again, since that's a bit of a moot point now I think I'll have to skip on answering that until we see who ultimately ends up playing Kate Kane moving forward. A lot is up in the air now. What I know for sure is Season Two is destined to be a quite different show, which, honestly, may not be the worst thing to ever happen.

Donna: Despite the producer's declaration that Kate and Sophie are endgame, they would be foolish to ignore the insane chemistry between Tandy and Wolfe and make them an endgame couple. They work well together as colleagues and as a romantic duo. As far as Safiyah, several names come to mind. Whoever she is I see her as a little older, but very exotic. If she hadn’t already carved a place for herself in this Arrowverse history I'd say Katrina Law would be a contender, but think I'm going to lean in another direction. Although she's already played an iconic DC villain on Supergirl, I think Dichem Lachmen plays a wonderfully evil organization head and has been far enough removed from her portrayal of Roulette to become Safiyah.

Ellys: Going out on a limb and a Moscow Mule here, but I need Safiyah to be played by someone just super mature and sexy. Everyone on this show is so buttoned up and lacking in confidence 99% of the time that it can feel Puritan. The Batwoman showrunner has stated that Sophie and Kate are endgame, so there's not much we can hope for regarding Julia except that they'll show her bonding with someone else in a friendship or relationship kind of way.

Bruce Wayne (Warren Christie) has entered the building. Share your thoughts on this twist and the pros and cons it has for the show. How do you feel about Kate's cousin having a larger role in the show going forward?

Aimee: Technically speaking, and for the sake of who currently owns the actual Batman character, it's not really Bruce Wayne that entered the picture. Still, it's a cool twist, but one I'm not sure would have played out much beyond this season had the season been allowed to continue like normal. The fact they were even able to give Bruce a face, even a faux version of him, had to take a fair bit of negotiating and is impressive. I like Warren Christie, but it will be interesting to see if he has the range to handle Hush and perhaps one day (pending miraculous contract negotiations for the rights to use the character) the real Bruce Wayne. I would love for them to work it out so that they could utilize the real Bruce Wayne eventually. I'd like to see that complicated cousin's dynamic play out on screen. They worked it out regarding Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), so I suppose never say never. While having Batman on the show isn't ideal, it was always inevitable that they would have to give him a face eventually. I'm curious to see how they play this story out next season and if it'll conclude quickly or if they'll have it be an ongoing thing.

Donna: For me the show is called Batwoman and I think Bruce Wayne is one of those enigmatic characters that should have remained in the background or existing through clandestine messages of guidance or encouragement to Kate. Why can't this show let Batwoman be Batwoman? I can't believe Mary, Kate, Luke, or Jacob will be naïve enough to believe that Alice's fake-faced imposter is Cousin Bruce. There are just too many little things they would know that he doesn't for him to make them believe he is the original Bruce. What's going to happen here is the same thing that happened when they brought Superman into Supergirl, despite great casting for the parts and no offense to the actors who play the roles very well, the minute he shows up it becomes all about him and Batman and not Kate and Batwoman. Leave Bruce Wayne and Batman in the background, this is Kate and Batwoman's story, not his.

Ellys: PLEASE, Batwoman. YOU DID NOT JUST DO THAT. I'm not angry. I'm just disappointed. My affection for Bruce Wayne is infinite, and there was no way to bring him into this milquetoast version of a Bat show without turning the show into a microwaved tuna fish sandwich. First, we're supposed to believe there's even a chance Hush being Bruce would work. The show asks us to believe that either Luke or Kate or Mary would be dumb enough to fall for it and that there wouldn't be some obvious giveaway. It's either a throwaway moment because they immediately realize it's not Bruce OR it's just utter nonsense. The decision also robs the show of its first introduction to Bruce in person, should they decide to work him into a later season in a meaningful way. They can always recast, but this cliffhanger is just weak, weak, weak stuff.

In what must be the most shocking exit in recent TV history, Ruby Rose has chosen to exit the show leaving the title character spot vacant. What are your thoughts on her exit? How do you think the show will handle the recast? Who do you think should be on the shortlist to replace her? How do you think bringing in a new lead may change the cast dynamics?

Aimee: My jaw hit the ground when the news broke. It was extremely shocking especially given that she really had grown into the role. I wasn't a big fan of the way Rose started off portraying the character, but she hit her stride and was doing some decent work. Depending on who is delivering the news, this was either a mutual parting of ways or a contentious firing, both seem very plausible. As for how they'll handle the recasting, well, that's a bit of a huge question mark. They have a few options at their disposal. They can for some reason have Kate take on a new face. Or something can happen to this Kate off-screen and a new alternate-Kate could appear on the scene. Or if they want to go truly bonkers, they could shake up everything and wipe the slate completely clean by following a whole new Team Batwoman from another Earth with the same actors portraying the same characters, but with new twists. I think the last option is the most unlikely and I don't particularly like the idea of having Kate take on a new face. I would not object to a whole new Kate appearing in the story. However this plays out I hope the actress who ultimately wins this role will be able to stand up against the scrutiny she is surely going to be under. I also hope that they cast someone with chemistry with all her co-stars. This time around they have the luxury of knowing each of the remaining members of the cast and I hope they really aim for someone who will seamlessly fit in with the cast. I think that if they recast Kate right then it could help take the show to the next level. But if they cast her wrong then it could tank all the hard work this cast has put in throughout this first season and that would be a darn shame. This show was far from perfect, but that was largely, in my opinion, because of the writers struggling with the flow of the season. The cast kept the show afloat through some cringe-worthy scripts and I don't want to see their dynamic shift too drastically. Now, for actresses for the shortlist, all the ones I can think of that fit the LGBT criteria are already committed to other shows. Kat Barrell would be a good Kate Kane, but she's committed to a few projects, so she's not an option and I'm not sure that she and Rachel Skarsten could pull off being sisters. That's another important factor, is someone that at least looks semi-sisterly to Skarsten. Someone like Caitlin Stasey might also work. I think that ultimately, they will end up casting someone who is relatively unknown and can bring a fresh take to the character. I for one am very excited to find out who will pick up the cowl from Rose and carry on developing Kate Kane.

Donna: I must admit I'm shocked and disappointed at the news. I thought Rose had grown so much into the roles of both Kate and Batwoman, especially after Crisis and had done some of her best work of the season in recent episodes. I do not envy the actress that is chosen to replace her because she will be under an instant extremely intense and oft times judgmental microscope from the moment her name is announced. As for how the show will handle it and who to cast, no one comes to mind immediately. What I do know is I'd like to see them cast an actress that bears some physical similarities to Rose, not necessarily a double, but someone who would not present too jarring a change to the Kate Kane that has been established. Will the hairstyle be the same and what about the tattoos? Will the new Kate have them and if not please do not go to the tired trope of an accident and plastic surgery to explain the changes. Batwoman has a strong and talented cast and while I'm sure they're stunned and upset now; they are also professionals and will deal with a new lead smoothly.

Ellys: This would be shocking news if Batwoman was a good TV show or even a consistent show. As is, I greet this news with a shrug. I'm not sure a new lead will significantly alter a show that isn't great at telling interesting stories. Throughout its first season, this show didn't come across as being composed by someone who understood or even liked Batwoman or Kate Kane or Gotham or superheroes or vigilantes or social commentary…instead it came across as a show made by someone who read Batwoman's Wikipedia page and tried to rearrange the details to fit the CW formula. Regarding Ruby Rose herself, she did a fantastic job playing a character that was written to behave much younger than made sense. Her crossover performances were particularly excellent, as they allowed her to play a tougher, snarkier version of Kate Kane than the show was interested in keeping around.

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: Rachel Skarsten, without question. She was solid throughout the season and took us on a heck of a journey with Alice and Beth. This episode gave Skarsten some powerful moments to play, but the most haunting one was when Alice killed Mouse. The way Skarsten played that scene allowed the audience to really feel the conflict raging inside Alice even after Mouse was gone. I can't wait to see where Alice's story takes her next season and what fun and complex stuff Skarsten will get to bring to our screens.

Donna: In this episode my usual three suspects were outstanding. Before the stunning news of the day, Rose, Skarsten, and Kang had developed into a formidable acting trio. Skarsten, showing Alice's genuine remorse at having to kill her companion was chilling, and the Rose/Kang combination of Kate/Mary was fabulous, doing wonderful work in their final moments lamenting about Jacob's betrayal.

Ellys: I'll just use this space to recognize that Batwoman has a stellar ensemble that just needs material worthy of their talent and hard work.

What are your final thoughts regarding this episode?

Aimee: As I mentioned earlier, this didn't really feel like a normal season finale, because it wasn't. It had some very strong moments and some mediocre, it continued on the uneven pacing that has plagued this entire season. The one thing that none of us could have known at the time was just how final this season finale was. We will never ever see this version of Kate ever again. Whatever they do with the character just the dynamic of bringing in a new actress will inevitably fundamentally change the character. I look forward to next season with cautious hope that over this very extended hiatus they'll be able to work out some of the problems that plagued them all season. I'm also going to be very intently waiting for casting news regarding Safiyah and the recasting of Kate Kane. This season was very uneven, it had some spectacular moments and some truly cringe-worthy moments, but it is a first season show and this sort of unevenness isn't entirely unexpected. This show has so much potential at its core that I hope come January 2021 we'll get to set eyes on a new Batwoman that is ready to take things to new heights.

Donna: These last few episodes of Batwoman were beginning to give me hope that despite numerous stumbles there is the potential for it to develop into a very good show in a second season. Ruby Rose's portrayal of Batwoman was never the issue regarding the problems the show has, far from it. The problems from the very beginning have been inconsistent writing, some weeks we would have flashes of brilliance, and others it was if the writers had never seen the characters before and have them acting completely out of character. Another major issue I've had with the first season is that there was far too little Batwoman in the show. It was as though they spent the entire season introducing us to and trying to discover who this interesting group of characters was. Now that we know, and being essentially given a new slate on discovering the nuances and shades of Kate/Batwoman, how about the writers up their writing game, or bring in a new writing staff and show us what these characters can do. My first suggestion would be to get rid of Jacob and the Crows.

Ellys: If I am ranking first seasons of superhero and comics-derived shows, Batwoman would be negotiating with Iron Fist Season 1 and Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 for bottom place. However, those two shows had at least one strong character arc each in their first seasons; I can't say the same for Batwoman. My fondness for all things Gotham, Batman, and Batwoman has me biased more in the show's favor than I would be if I didn't have a previous affinity for its source material. There were some particularly good episodes this season that gave us glimpses of what the show could become. I hope they aim higher in season two.

Please use the comments section to let us know your thoughts on this episode.

With this, we sign off on our weekly roundtables. We will be back in January 2021 to continue talking about this show every week.

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