The pilot episode established the basics of what we needed to know about Batwoman, introducing the various characters, some back story, and at least the broad outlines of the status quo. There’s a bit of a continuity issue, since this is clearly the start of Batwoman’s career, she was established by the time of the Elseworlds crossover, and in both, Batman has been missing for “three years.” Either Kate gets her feet under her remarkably quickly, or the timelines aren’t lining up quite right. That to one side, I enjoyed the start of the series, and was looking forward to seeing how things went in “The Rabbit Hole.”
The episode opens with a cross between flashbacks of the tragic car accident, and more of Kate’s journal entries she’s leaving for Bruce. I like this narrative conceit, it makes more sense to me than the random voiceovers the other CW/DC characters indulge in. She talks about how at first, everyone helped search for the missing Beth, and, as people lost interest, it got whittled down to just Jacob and Kate. In the present, Jacob rants about the Wonderland Gang trying to undermine the Crows, while parts of the gang set fire to an armored car for no apparent reason. Batwoman goes after some of the thugs, but has apparently not been testing her equipment that well, since she’s surprised the armor turns out to be bulletproof. As she makes an appropriate Bat-exit via grapple line when the Crows show up, she muses about how to prevent her father from killing her sister.
Afterward, she rides her motorcycle through the streets, eventually returning to the in-city Batcave. I’m not sure how great an idea it is having the secret entrance in a parking garage. It seems to me like it would be far too easy for someone to see something they shouldn’t. As she returns, Luke Fox tries to talk to her about the consequences of her getting people hoping about Batman being back, but she’s far too wrapped up in her own worries to really listen. On the radio, host Vesper Fairchild talks about Batman fever with the Dark Knight’s apparent return, and the listener comments are largely positive. Still not having the hang of the secret identity concept (sister Mary is much better at it already), Kate drops a bombshell about her Beth/Alice theory in the midst of family breakfast. No one is particularly happy to hear this. Kate brings up the knife she managed to get and wants it tested for DNA, which the elder Kanes are very much against for no real good reason I can tell. She’s also, again, risking her ID, since Batwoman is the one that captured this knife. Kate stalks off when no one takes her seriously or seems willing to listen.
Alice has taken over some poor family’s home and is holding a very tense tea party as she rails against the Crows. Later, she’s also very focused on getting her knife back. Her second, Chuck Dodgson, who betrayed the Crows for her, is worried Alice is getting distracted with personal vendettas. To further the Alice theme to unlikely lengths, Dodgson was the real name of Alice’s creator, Lewis Carroll being a penname. While Alice rants about her knife, Kate contemplates the same item, suffering through yet more flashbacks of the accident’s aftermath, having nightmares her father did his best to comfort her from. The young Kate gets her father to promise to never stop looking for their missing Beth.
Kate brings the knife to the Batcave, and once again ignores Luke’s warnings about the city getting its hopes up. It actually echoes the early dynamic on Arrow, when Oliver was obsessively focused on his father’s list and Diggle kept urging him to help the city in general. Luke uses some of Batman’s armory to make his point, and Kate is cuttingly mean in rebuttal. Going to visit Sophie, Kate gets another surprise when her former lover starts asking about the reappearance of the Bat. In the first of a few interesting name drops, Kate’s banter confirms the existence in the Arrow-verse of Wonder Woman, which had been hinted at before. Sophie, too, is on the “Alice can’t be Beth” bandwagon, to Kate’s annoyance. Their talk detours into some unpleasant conversations about Sophie’s marriage before they get jumped in the parking lot by more of Alice’s gang, who are very intent on reclaiming the knife. In the aftermath of the attack, the knife is gone, Jacob argues with Kate more, and we hear some unlikely but troubling news from the GCPD. An overheard conversation sends Kate to Mary’s illicit clinic. While Mary shows off a new souvenir and makes dinner plans, Kate frees the Alice thug Mary has been treating, sending him off with a message for his boss.
The Crows strategize about Alice, and try and puzzle out why she’s been seen in the suburbs. Jacob gets a sudden flash of insight, and orders them to a specific address without explanation. Kate pleads for time from Sophie to let her secret plan work, but Jacob isn’t likely to listen to either of them. Luke notes more missing gear and gets clearly irritated, stabbing buttons on the computer until he accidently turns some things on. Hoping to be proven right, Kate rushes to the meeting site she hinted at and gets more flashbacks, showing the crushing burden of guilt young Kate was dealing with. The Crows burst in to the house Jacob directed them to, and make a horrifying discovery. Sophie wonders at what this might mean, but Jacob is determinedly closed-minded.
Kate hears something and finds Alice on a nearby swingset. The villain is more than willing to play headgames with Kate, which seems pointless. At the new crime scene, Sophie betrays a confidence while Kate shares some of her past reasoning with Alice. The villain in return gives a sort of accounting of the accident, and hints at some other plans she has in motion. Both are surprised when the Crows arrive in force, although Alice won’t believe Kate didn’t set this up. Kate does some quick maneuvering and manages to irritate everyone there, but Alice is taken alive. Having deciphered Alice’s clue, Kate races off. Meanwhile, Mary gets an unwelcome visitor and gets to use her new toy before eventually being rescued by Batwoman.
Ever see a criminal mastermind taken to prison quietly and uneventfully? Well, you won’t see that here, either. The Crow convoy gets attacked, and Alice’s history repeats itself. Ignoring Luke’s warnings, Batwoman races to the scene and manages a last minute rescue, bringing a sort of closure to both women. It’s short-lived, as something or other explodes. Luke manages to help save Batwoman’s life via remote, and she barely gets away from the searching Crows. And seriously, who names themselves Crows? It’s not a bird with a great reputation in most circles. Public opinion is fickle, and Vesper Fairchild makes comments about Batman not being at the explosion on the Loeb Bridge. Loeb could variously be the prior mayor of Gotham or a DC writer. Fairchild’s comments are also the first time Robin is confirmed to be part of the Arrow-verse. Kate tries to make up for some missed plans, but she’s not doing real well with any of her family at this point.
In flashback, young Kate gets some bad news and turns her rage and grief on her father. Things aren’t much better in the present, as Kate and Sophie have an unpleasant conversation on several fronts. Sophie is getting harder and harder to like, at least to me. Returning to the cave, Kate gets confronted by Luke again, and seems to possibly actually listen this time about his concerns for the city at large. There were a few minor things that didn’t quite line up for this episode, but a scene in a park explains them all and shows there’s another faction in play. The episode closes with more of Kate’s journal entries, and a gift with a note left on her bike. The note is important in the comics, at least.
What I liked: The show is taking time to let Kate focus on the Alice mess, which makes perfect sense for the character. While I don’t like the bumbling aspects of the character, I do admire Luke’s devotion to his job and his worry for the city that Kate is blithely ignoring. Mary is impressing me more as we see more of her, or at least most of the time. I didn’t see the park scene coming, and am intensely curious about what’s behind that.
What I didn’t: Jacob’s insistence that Alice can’t possibly be Beth is taking on some real deep denial connotations. The reveal about who Alice actually is was kind of obvious early on. I’m really not liking Sophie the more we see and hear of her. Dodgson’s name is a stretch.
I have a few problems with the episode, but enjoyed it overall. I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5.