Batwoman: 1.08 A Mad Tea-Party
The third episode of Batwoman Down Down Down felt like the end of a long prologue, with Kate's assumption of the Batwoman mantle putting the story properly into motion. Several weeks later, the eighth episode A Mad Tea Party feels like another end point has been reached in the Batwoman story. The fragile status quo that existed in Gotham as of late has been shattered completely, and things may never be the same for any of our heroes (or villains) ever again.
In this episode, the "mad tea party" that Alice has been hinting at finally arrives, and with it came the apparent death of any hope Kate had of getting her sister back. It did take a while for it to become clear where the story was going, and if the episode has one weakness it's that lack of clarity, but once everything comes together...it's shocking and heartrending all at the same time.
It was surprising that the episode went the direction that it did. That someone would die (or at least be permanently disabled) was clear, but for THIS character to go...it seems odd because it felt like there was so much more for them to do and there was a lot about what they were doing that wasn't clear yet. Now these things might never be known. At the same time, their end led to one of the most upsetting scenes in the series since Mine is a Long and a Sad Tale. The ramifications of this death will be felt for a long time to come.
One character that I feel really bad for, especially after the last two episodes, is Tyler, Sophie's husband. Tyler hasn't gotten a lot of screen time compared to other characters, but he's been around enough to make it clear that he is very unhappy with this situation, and rightfully so, since he's caught between Kate and Sophie through no fault of his own. Depending on how the rest of the season plays out, and based on Sophie's reaction to a certain event, this might be the last we see of Tyler for a long time.
As for Sophie, I honestly don't know how to feel about her right now. On the one hand, I understand that she bowed to pressure and did what she felt was right at the time, even though it really hurt Kate. Then again, now that the consequences of those actions are catching up to her, are we supposed to feel bad for Sophie? If Sophie had just stood up for herself, she might be with Kate even now. I do find Sophie's story to be incredibly interesting right now, so I can't wait to see where it goes once the regular story resumes.
This is the last episode of Batwoman before the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover begins (the other parts have now aired on Sky One in the UK last month). And with that in mind, I can't help but wonder how many of these massive changes will stick by the time the crossover special is over. It's my understanding that this event will permanently reshape the Arrowverse, so does that mean that some of these plot developments will be undone? It would make for an interesting plot twist: to have Kate be the only one who remembers the events of this episode and have that affect her actions going forward.
Whether that actually happens or not, the ending of this episode implies that Kate is now dedicated to permanently taking out Alice. While Kate's intentions are no longer in doubt, it still feels unlikely that this will happen. Alice is a fascinating character, and given her connections to Kate, I can't believe that she'll be killed off any time soon, at least not before the season finale.
Presuming this to be the mid-season finale (counting the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover as a separate event unto itself), I feel like Batwoman is in pretty good shape eight episodes in. There have undoubtedly been some storytelling flaws, but overall I'm excited to see where Batwoman goes in the second half of the season, and it will be really interesting to see what happens to Kate in Crisis on Infinite Earths.