Batwoman S1E15 “Off With Her Head,” takes us deeper down the rabbit hole of Alice’s past as she tries to save Mouse and take Cartwright down. Kate, meanwhile, is handling a sort-of break up with Sophie, all while keeping Gotham safe in the gruffest, toughest way possible. How much more CW can you get? Holly Dale directed this week’s episode and it’s written by Natalie Abrams.
This is a full recap of Batwoman S1E15: AKA beware of spoilers.
“How do you find the balance, Bruce?”
This episode kicks off with a flashback to Kate and Beth as kids. It’s the first time we see Mom around and she’s got a super metaphorical gift, along with a speech about having to wrestle with who you’ll become and the balance of emotions. Then, we transition to present day, where Kate (Ruby Rose) narrates the memory and Batwoman intervenes as a creep approaches a woman in an alley. She deals with him, sees the Bat-signal, grapples over – and finds Cartwright (John Emmet Tracy), unconscious.
Then, Jacob (Dougray Scott) arrives at Kate’s place. She called him over to talk to Cartwright and to tell him, once again, that her sister is not truly dead.
Alice (Rachel Skarsten) is back in her old prison of sorts, where she finds Mouse (Sam Littlefield), still hooked up to the fear gas. Still under its effects, he’s terrified by the sight of her, still thinking she’s dead. They trade passcodes, though and that calms him down a bit. That’s when we realize that it’s not actually where the two grew up. It’s the old home of Mouse’s grandmother, who they call the Queen of Hearts. We flashback again. Beth, Mouse and his dad are all prepping for the Queen’s arrival, signaled by an oxygen tank knocking along the ground. Just about everyone is pretty intimidated by her, except for Beth. That is, until the Queen takes an interest in the necklace her mom gave her.
Meanwhile, Kate is trying to come up with an excuse about how Alice is still alive, without diving into the whole multiverse thing. She goes the skin pirate route and the two argue about how to put Cartwright behind bars. Before they can decide, he wakes up and Jacob goes bad cop fast. They try to question him, but Cartwright remains cocky and quiet.
Then, Alice, tries to figure out why Cartwright locked Mouse away. He tells her that she’s his greatest fear and, in a series of events we can’t talk about due to Do Not Reveals from the CW, Alice begins having nightmares.
Switching gears to this episode’s C plot, Luke (Camrus Johnson) arrives at Mary’s (Nicole Kang) clinic, notably sans-Kate. The back alley doctor herself has a lead on who killed Beth, thanks to someone she calls Mr. Dog. He found a car matching their description, so they head over to the junkyard to find it (hype).
In Kate’s bar, Cartwright decides to explain how he’s manipulated his son to kill Beth – unless they go to help her before it’s too late. Refusing to tell them where she is, Jacob goes to choke him out, only to be stopped by Kate. Cartwright threatens that Mommy Dearest is surely visiting Beth as they speak, and sure enough, we transition to just that.
Back in the past, the Queen reminisces on her loveless marriage and faded beauty as Beth serves her tea. She’s dissatisfied with its sweetness and pours hot tea all over her hands. The Queen chops her hair off with a barrage of insults. Then as she starts demanding more cream for the tea, Beth goes off to get it – and finds none. Cartwright finds her somewhere she shouldn’t be, slaps her and we’re back in the bar.
Now, Cartwright assures Kate and Jacob that it’s his mother’s fault that she’s cut herself off emotionally. Obviously, Kate doesn’t fall for it and Jacob is so mad that he threatens to skin him alive. She holds him off again and asks him to go trace Beth’s signal. That’s when Cartwright loosens his ties, grabs a glass from behind him and cuts his own throat.
Luke and Mary are over at the junkyard, and the former still isn’t convinced that there’s anything here. Mary keeps the faith though. Thinking like Mr. Dog, she follows the clues to the car. Luke apologizes for doubting, they crack the trunk and sitting there is the very gun used to kill Beth. Right on time, Mary gets a call from Kate (as Batwoman?), asking how to save Cartwright. In a nutshell, Kate uses a staple gun to stop the bleed.
“What a wonderful dream it had been.”
Beth is still hallucinating and the Queen tells her no one’s coming for her. That’s when Dream Batwoman and Dream Jacob arrive, fighting over whether ot not she can be saved. Jacob wins out and they leave Beth alone, one more time.
Post staple-suture, Cartwright is totally fine and great. Kate makes him an offer for his life, telling him that she is all the hope and courage he stripped away from her sister. He gives up the address and Jacob goes to investigate.
Mary and Luke are back at Wayne Tower running the plates. Luke finds out they expired twenty years ago – and they belonged to a woman with the last name Cartwright.
The nightmares worsen for Alice as she begins to feel trapped and pleads to herself that she can’t go through this again. In desperation, she smashes a window. As she’s close to ending her torment, Jacob slams the door open. He saves her from the nightmares, holding her and wrapping a blanket around her. A bit later, Jacob explains how he and Kate found her, tells them that he cares for her. Beth has one final reveal.
Kate, now with the information that Cartwright was the shooter, is pissed. He talks more, mentioning something about earrings. We flashback a few more times to the Queen, taunting Beth with them. Jacob wants to know more – so Alice reluctantly confirms his theory. So, too, does Cartwright.
Some wild stuff happens that the CW is asking us not to mention here, then Jacob and Alice return to the bar.
Kate monologues about this episodes climax, saying she thought she had found a balance, but she was wrong. Sipping on a bottle of liquor in an alley, she texts Sophie (Meagan Tandy) – but doesn’t follow through. Instead, Alice joins her and takes a swig.
“We’re gonna need this with the night we have ahead of us.”
Being honest – this was probably one of the best episodes so far. Batwoman S1E15, “Off With Her Head” keeps a solid pace (at least streaming without commercials), has some compelling story beats and even a few lighter moments with faves, Mary and Luke. That’s not to mention Alice’s allusion to next episode which – let’s just say is very exciting. Skarsgard handles her emotional beats as well as ever and I’m starting to see Dougray’s gritty take on Jacob as delightfully campy. Definitely check back in next week for an assuredly entertaining episode likely to put Kate and Alice in the spotlight.