We’re back with Batwoman S1E11 “An Un-Happy Birthday Present,” and it’s time to figure out what exactly last episode’s cliff hanger means for Kate and the rest of the crew. Mairzee Almas directed the episode written by Chad Fiveash and James Stoteraux. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
This is a full recap of Batwoman S1E11: AKA beware of spoilers.
“I’m back? Happy birthday?”
We begin where we left off last time; in Wayne Tower with the totally normal Beth (Rachel Skarsten) and Kate (Ruby Rose) who is extremely suspicious, given that Alice was just arrested hours ago. Meanwhile, those of us who watched Crisis remember that, in another timeline, Beth survived and was also not a supervillain. Beth pepper sprays Kate to escape her chokehold, runs out of Wayne Tower, and we cut to Alice, still in police custody. Then, it’s flashback time. Mouse has a birthday present for Beth – it’s a kitty! Mouse’s dad comes down, and Beth hides her new friend. He lights a candle on a sad blueberry muffin, telling Beth to make a wish. Dejectedly, she says she hopes to see her family again. Beth’s captor scoffs, reminding her that if you say your wish out loud, it’ll never come true.
On that happy note, we cut back to present day Alice. Jacob (Dougray Scott) and Sophie (Meagan Tandy) talk on the phone about whether they should interrogate Alice or not. Jacob thinks it’s not worth it, given how much nonsense she likes to spill, but Sophie doesn’t want to waste the opportunity. Before they reach a decision, Kate pops in, asking why the hell Sophie didn’t tell her Alice escaped – only to be shown footage of Alice, currently cuffed and secured. Sophie tells her that Mary (Nicole Kang) also thought she saw Alice on the loose, so Kate heads back to Wayne Tower for a pow-wow with Luke (Camrus Johnson) and her step-sister.
Luke did his research. He says he took prints off of the fake Beth’s purse and examined her ID – both of which check out. Kate, meanwhile is taking a dive through her phone, where she finds a familiar picture (see above Crisis mention). Mary says she’s going to ask around the Astrophysics department at school to see if anyone knows her. Kate and Luke put together the whole Crisis swap situation fairly quickly though, so Kate tracks her down.
Over at the park (their go-to birthday spot), Beth confesses she feels like she’s going crazy; her own sister attacked her out of nowhere and no one has any clue who she is. Skarsten and Rose really pull this scene together. They embrace and we cut back to Crow HQ.
“Ever since then, you’ve been my hero.”
Alice is trying to convince Sophie to give her her book (yes that book). She says it’s the one thing that’ll comfort her while she’s being confined to a cell and, after Sophie denies her, goes on to make a big supervillain threat. Sophie leaves her to her maniacal laughter, as she’s got bigger things to worry about; the Crows have just gotten a video message from Mouse (Sam Littlefield), who’s a wee bit upset about Alice’s capture.
Remember how Kate has a gay bar now? So Kate and Beth are there and they’ve just gone over the whole death of the multiverse spiel. Beth takes it surprisingly well, given her Masters in Astrophysics; so they begin to talk about the differences between their Earths. Beth confesses she feels safe with this Kate, then we find out about her version of the crash. Mom still died, but on this Earth, Kate went back into the car and saved her sister. Beth calls Kate her hero and the dramatic irony runs heavy. Thankfully, Luke cuts the scene, telling Kate that the Wonderland gang is back at it.
Sophie is hearing about the situation on… the news? And it turns out that Kate never realized what was going on because the GCPD never turned on the Bat-Signal. On the scene, a reporter asks the Commander if it’s because Batwoman has come out as a lesbian; a question which he dodges outright (no surprise there). Sophie, watching, looks disgusted. She rallies the Crows to help, then goes to see Alice.
She’s brought her the book. Alice tells her it’s the thing that set her free as we fade into another flashback in which Mouse’s dad is fitting flesh masks to his son’s face (gross). Sophie and Alice talk about being trapped, as Alice does what she does best; “the only thing you’ve dreamed about is being out,” she tells Sophie.
On the phone with Luke, Kate says to get the suit ready. Kate, feeling down, confesses she feels awful about not saving Beth in her own Earth; but a pep talk from Luke sets her straight. We’re right in the middle of a dope motorcycle montage – when she’s hit by a van, knocking her off her bike and taking us into DNR territory. Sophie gets a call from Mouse, revealing an escalation in their evil plan.
Beth heads over to Wayne Tower, where she finds Luke. He tells her Kate’s in a bind and reveals that, in this Earth, Beth is Alice. Unsurprisingly, she does not take that news well.
Sophie and Alice talk again, this time about secret codes. We flashback to Alice and Mouse using their own and, sadly, Mouse’s dad discovering and killing the birthday kitty. Alice presses her threat even further and we cut back to Beth and Luke.
Luke tracks Kate using her bike’s transmitter, but they’re unsure about how to save her once they find her. It’s then that Beth makes a crazy suggestion which Luke doesn’t like. Without any other options, they don’t have a choice.
“It is no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
The Sophie/Alice convo continues as Sophie tries to appeal to her past. Another flashback of Mouse’s dad scolding Beth: he tells her she’s been replaced, that her father has given up on finding her. Then, we find out that the master flesh mask maker, this whole time, has been Alice. She tells Sophie it was then that she finally realized no one was coming for her.
Then, Mary is on the scene with Beth. She helps out with her plan and gives some pointers that hit a little close to home. Also, apparently Mary knows about the multiverse thing? That’s unclear. Anyway, Luke’s got a lock on Kate, so the plan is greenlit. Unfortunately, it does not go as planned. Beth, too is captured and Kate is left to improvise. She kicks some serious ass in an action scene this show could definitely use more of, but Mouse gets to the hostages first.
Meanwhile, Sophie is still working Alice. We get a final look back, revealing how Beth became Alice, how Johnny became Mouse, and their very first tea-party. Alice reveals parallels between her and Sophie; that they both put on a façade to deal with their trauma. More DNRs abound– but it doesn’t go well as Alice sinks her claws deep into Sophie’s psyche.
Back with the Wonderland gang, Kate struggles to be the hero her sister deserves. Beth is trapped in another car and, in a tense moment, Kate saves her, just in time.
At Crow HQ, Sophie prepares the crew to react to this episode’s events. Mouse may be captured, but, well other assets are loose. Kate comes to check in on Sophie, who’s rattled. They have a nice moment for a brief second, before attention turns to the news. Gotham’s citizenry is pissed that GCPD won’t turn on the Bat-Signal, so there’s a huge protest in front of the police station (a nice wrap up to this c-plot).
Then, Sophie goes to see Jacob. She regrets how she handled Alice, though Jacob is firm. He tells her they should “put a bullet in her head.” Yikes.
Uhh anyway, birthday! Mary, Luke and Beth surprise Kate at the bar with a small get together. Mary confesses she’s beginning to understand why Kate held out hope for Alice for so long; she’s even read some of Beth’s work and that’s lead her to a theory. “What if there were a bunch of different planet Earths and they all came together?” Mary, you’re so dang smart. The birthday song commences, the two sisters make their wishes and of COURSE something sinister happens because Kate can’t have nice things.
Batwoman S1E11 “An Un-Happy Birthday Present” did exactly what I hoped it would with Beth, and we had some genuinely interesting contrasts between Alice and Sophie, lifting both of their characters in doing so. Fingers crossed that Beth is here to stay! I don’t think Kate (or honestly me) would be able to handle losing her a second time.