Welcome back Bat-fans. I hope you’ve got a hearty stock of tissues for Batwoman S1E8, because this mid-season finale is a lot. All I’ll say is that this episode hurts me as a Mary stan. And Kate kicks butt as Alice’s plan comes together in “A Mad Tea-Party,” directed by Holly Dale with a script from Nancy Kiu.
This is a full recap of Batwoman S1E8: AKA beware of spoilers.
“They say the choices we make define us.”
We’re back to basics with Batwoman S1E8 as we pan across Gotham with the sounds of Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) narrating about holding hope for Beth. She mugs a Wonderland crony for his jacket, gives it to Luke (Camrus Johnson) and they use it to find Alice’s location. Somehow? Kate heads over to meet Alice (Rachel Skarsten) to discuss last episode’s attempted murder on Batwoman, which, Alice clarifies, was actually a fake attempted murder. She hints at needing to find something to wear and shoos Kate off.
The next day, Mary (Nicole Kang) runs into Kate, who’s cleaning glasses at the bar. Still reeling from her parents’ break up and trying to pull her family back together, Mary begs Kate to come to tonight’s gala, where Catherine (Elizabeth Anweis) is being honored. Kate, still salty about Catherine’s little white lie, says she can’t. Not just for her, but for her dad. Surprise surprise! Jacob (Dougray Scott) is going. Weeeeeeeeird. Mary leaves, upset that Kate will give her homicidal sister a second chance, but not her evil step-mother. Folks, if this scene hurtcha – buckle up for these next thirty-five minutes.
Kate heads over to Crow HQ, confronting Jacob about getting back together with Catherine. He says some… more weird stuff and adds that he’s beginning to understand why Catherine lied to him about Beth’s death.
This episode moves pretty quickly into Do Not Review territory, which is unfortunate given how raw this particular scene is. Long story short, this bad boy can fit so much quality writing about coping with grief – and it has even more room for foreshadowing.
“I want this evening to go off without a hitch.”
Kate, upset with her dad, turns to the bottle and to Luke. She talks things through with him and has an epiphany about Jacob’s motivations.
Meanwhile, Sophie (Meagan Tandy) tries to pretend everything is cool and chill with Tyler (Greyton Holt) and, well, it’s not. He’s still dealing with the news that Sophie was hiding her sexuality and past relationship with Kate. They try to talk things out, but the plot has other things in mind for the Crow couple as a pair of tranquilizer darts land in their necks, courtesy of gasps Jacob Kane.
Vesper Fairchild (Rachel Maddow) transitions us through to the next scene as she takes a few jabs at Catherine, calling her Gotham’s Matriarch of Munitions. Speak of the devil, her, Mary and Jacob are in a limo on their way to the event. There, Mary livestreams a toast to her mom and the camera makes it VERY clear that both women drank their champagne. HMMM.
Then, Kate makes another date with her sister. They chat about Jacob and Kate reveals that Alice keeps a picture of the two of them from their childhood, hinting that Alice and Beth are still battling.
As the gala begins, Luke follows up on Kate’s realization from earlier. He face ID’s a Crow working security and finds out that dude isn’t a Crow at all. The gala moves onward! Catherine heads up to the stage, beginning her acceptance speech.
“It’s a neurotoxin designed to kill without mercy.”
At Crow HQ, Sophie and Tyler wake up. They try to figure out what exactly is going on – but Sophie does a lot of the work. She pieces together that Alice is making trouble at the gala and then that the only reason they’re still alive is because, as Tyler puts it, “Kate’s still in love with you.” Even though she all but says the same, Sophie deflects the comment.
It’s not long before we see that Sophie is totally right. Her speech is hijacked by Alice and she’s forced to reveal some truths about how her business profits. Like many real world companies, it takes advantage of poor people. The show’s been hinting at it for awhile, so this culmination is a welcome one, especially as it adds another layer of moral complication to Alice and Catherine. Anyway, before she can finish her revised speech, Catherine falls to the floor. They take her backstage along with Mary and the fake Crow.
Meanwhile, the event goes on lock down. With the power out, all those rich folks are kept inside as more Crows block the exits. Batwoman arrives on the scene quickly, cracking open a fresh can of whoop-ass for a series’ best action sequence.
We’ll come back to that in a moment, but for now it’s over to Sophie and Tyler. He finagles off her engagement ring to slice through their bindings , asking if she even wants it back. Sophie dodges another question, telling Tyler that Kate was the first rule she ever broke. Hoping to do some dodging of his own, Tyler says they should head over to the gala and help.
“Do you know how many horrible people that I’ve saved?”
Backstage, Alice joins the tea party. She monologues at Mary and Catherine, explaining that she’s being poisoned by Hamilton’s own creation, one that her company never bothered to make an antidote for. Fortunately, Alice and her gang were able to brew one up. She’ll let Catherine have a sip – as long as she apologizes for ruining her life. Catherine is quick to say sorry, but Alice doesn’t believe her.
As Mary begs for her mother’s life, Alice gets passive aggressive. Yeah, she says, it would suck to watch your mom die, especially if you drove into a river with her and saw her decapitated. Hearing that, Catherine tries again. She tells her she was only trying to help Kate and ease her pain. Alice accepts that. She serves the tea – but there’s another complication. Mary’s step-sister leaves them to their choices and sadness ensues. I always wanted more Mary-content but CW this is not the way I wanted it.
After kick-punching her way through Wonderland, Batwoman finds Alice. They have… a tense little chat as Kate tells Beth that she’s gone too far. But Alice, reveling in her vengeance, has no qualms. She disses Mary, which is absolutely unacceptable and, for an instant, Kate loses control, nearly strangling Alice. She lets go and is punched off the balcony by a nearby crony.
And now backstage again – oh. Oh no. It’s too sad. Let’s just keep going.
“When I get outta here, we’re gonna put her down once and for all.”
So anyway wipes away tears Jacob wakes up in an SUV in a parking garage. On the phone with Kate, he realizes he has no recollection of what’s gone down in the last few hours. Before he can do anything, the GCPD finds and arrests him.
Arguably even worse than the prior scene is this one. In the aftermath of the gala, Kate finds Mary. She tries to comfort her, but Mary wants absolutely nothing to do with her. She’s sad, angry and far passed trying to mend her relationship with Kate. Mary walks off and Kate’s face says loud and clear I messed up.
Sophie tries to get Jacob out of the clink, but, without evidence of his innocence, is unsuccessful. She tries to talk it through with Tyler, but he’d rather talk about their future. They do and he tells her he’s ready to have a family. To settle down and have kids. He asks Sophie if she is, too. And I can’t say what her answer is, so instead just cue the sad indie music.
The tunes carry us over to a montage of sweeping things off of desks, then to Kate meeting her dad. Jacob vows to bring Alice down. He grabs Kate’s hands and she says this time, she won’t stop him.
If you’re tuned into the larger Arrowverse, you know that “Crisis on Infinite Earths” is nearly upon us. If you want to know what this teaser is all about, our own Joe Grunenwald has got you covered.
Now it’s the end, promise.
Batwoman S1E8, the mid-season finale, was some of the series’ best (even though watching Mary suffer was the worst). Thanks to an extra helping of screen time from Kang and Anweis, “The Mad Tea-Party” shows off its cast’s strongest qualities. Plus, Ruby Rose got a real chance to stretch her kicking legs in a few action sequences that softened a lot of this episode’s hard pills. With a lost of new character threads to follow, we’ll see how Batwoman handles a whole new Crisis next week – see you then!