Batwoman: 1.16 Through the Looking-Glass
*note: minor spoilers for this episode can be found below...
Through the Looking-Glass is the epitome of a busy episode. The end of the season is slowly coming into sight and that means it's time to start wrapping up loose ends and teasing events that might come into play for the season finale or the second season. There is a lot going on, but the crux of the episode focuses on the aftermath of Kate's actions with Cartwright and her efforts to help Alice locate Mouse, who is still on the run after being dosed with hefty amounts of fear toxin.
Both Ruby Rose and Rachel Skarsten put on excellent performances in this episode as Kate and Alice respectively. The episode did a good job of dramatizing Kate’s mental condition in the wake of the previous episode. Kate is clearly not okay and the story doesn't shy away from that. She's clearly worn down from holding in her emotions for so long, and once Alice confirms that she set her twin up in regards to Cartwright, everything boils over into an emotional fight scene that seems to serve as a turning point between the sisters. In fact, the way the fight scene between Kate and Alice ends only serves to make their final scene even more of an emotional gut-punch for the viewer. It's not entirely clear where Alice's story is going from here, but it seems that the tenuous relationship between Alice and Kate is at an end.
The other major plot point in this episode is the ongoing investigation into the circumstances of Lucius Fox's death. The series has built up this sub-plot in a superb way, because when it started, it seemed like Reggie, Fox's alleged killer, was just looking for an easy way out of jail. But then all the hints of a conspiracy started to be dropped, all culminating in this episode where it became clear that someone arranged all of this and is now cleaning up their tracks. All of this raises a big question: who is doing this and why? This could be the set up to reveal a new "big villain" character down the road, or reveal a known character as the mastermind all along, but the fact that it isn't at all clear who is pulling the strings makes this story arc a lot of fun to watch. Good television should always leave the viewer guessing.
A more minor plot development, but one that seems to be growing in importance, is that Alice has received a note from "your friend in Coryana." If that name sounds familiar, remember that the mid-season finale revolved around Alice creating a cure-all with the Coryana rose. Fans of the Batwoman comics will also know that a reference to "Safiyah" in episode seven is also connected to Coryana. In fact, all of this is referencing an important character in the Batwoman comics, both to Kate and Alice (but for different reasons). The fact that the show keeps dropping hints about this character seems to imply that they will be arriving in Gotham sooner or later.
All of that aside, there were a few other things that also helped to make this episode a lot of fun to watch, one of them being the return of Julia Pennyworth. She was a lot of fun to watch in her first appearance and her second visit to Gotham did not disappoint. And then there's that last scene with Kate...is this show really teasing an emotional love triangle? I kind of hope not because I don't know if I'm ready for that kind of drama, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Also, on a final side note, I couldn't help but note that there seems to be chemistry building between Mary and Luke. It's not even something the characters are acknowledging at this point, but there's definitely potential for something to happen and it would be an interesting development for both characters.
Through the Looking-Glass does a good job of building intrigue for the last portion of the season. There are conspiracies, hints of what's to come, and plot twists that leave the viewer guessing at what the future holds for Gotham's resident superhero. There have been a number of good episodes so far in Batwoman's first season and this is definitely one of the best.