Sunday, April 5, 2020

Batwoman Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 15 - Off With Her Head

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here


Alice leaves Dr. Cartwright trussed up for Kate, along with a note reading "Ask about Mommy Dearest." What follows is a horrifying recounting of how Cartwright's mother, "The Queen of Hearts," came to live with him and Mouse and how Beth Kane truly became Alice, which will forever change Kate, Jacob and Alice.


Mommie Dearest (Mable Cartwright seems to be modeled on an aging Joan Crawford, as is the abuse she inflicts on a young Beth Kane modeled on what Crawford did to her daughter. )


Debra Mooney is a wonderfully nightmarish Queen of Hearts.

Nicole Kang has a nice comedic moment as Mary is secretly searching Kate's office for the Bat Cave entrance without Luke knowing.

The scene in which Kate loses control and realizes what she's done may be Ruby Rose's best moment yet as Kate Kane. Those who thinks Rose is a bad actress who can't emote rather than an actress playing a character who hides her emotion would do well to watch this scene and learn.

Again, Rachel Skarsten gives a powerhouse performance during Alice's breakdowns, all without saying a word.


Alice's nightmare sequences are tensely directed, with amazing Elfmaneqsue music suggesting a world gone mad. The blue lighting and zombie make-up on Mable Cartwright are nice touches as well.

Bat Trivia

Dr. Cartwright makes reference to "an old colleague" named Dr. Jonathan Crane who created a chemical that made Mouse quite easily to manipulate. Kate identifies this as fear toxin - the preferred weapon of The Scarecrow - the criminal identity of Dr. Jonathan Crane.

The address of the old Cartwright house is said to be 614 Williams Street. This is likely a nod to Batwoman artist J.H. Williams III.


Unless a person is given a shot of adrenaline soon after being exposed to a massive quantity of Scarecrow's fear toxin, they will become incurably insane.

The carotid artery pulses steadily, unlike other arteries contained within the human neck.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Gabi has just given Kate and Beth matching garnet necklaces.)
Gabi Kane: Red is a very symbolic color. It's the color of love, but also the color of passion, courage, war. At one point or another you're going to have to wrestle with all of these emotions and what defines your character is how you balance them. So keep me close to your heart, because I'll be thinking of you when I wear mine. (pulling aside her hair to reveal her matching earrings)

(A thug is following after some woman, cat-calling her and refusing to leave her alone.)
Thug: Come on! I'm friendly!
(Batwoman drops between the thug and the woman.)
Batwoman: I'm not.

(As Kate and Jacob argue about what to do with Cartwright, he starts coughing as he wakes up.)
Rise and shine, you son of a bitch!
Cartwright: (confused) I was expecting Alice.
Jacob: Well you got one meaner. (grabbing the back of Cartwright's head) Do you want me to start with your nose or your knee-caps?

(Cartwright has been describing the abuse Alice suffered at his mother's hands to Jacob and Kate.)
Cartwright: I imagine... now,in the throes of Alice's madness, my mother is once again calling for her tea.
Kate: You threw Beth in a cellar and taught her how to carve up faces, but mommy is the bad guy? Nice try.

Kate: Is that why Alice told me to ask about Mommy Dearest? Because your mom was the one who broke her?
Cartwright: She wanted you to hear her story. And get you to kill me. She wanted to break you too.
Kate: You're wrong. She knows I would never kill anyone.
Cartwright: Because... you're so different?
Kate: We are different.
Cartwright: Then be merciful. Give me water. I'll tell you where she is.

(Mary is advising Kate on how to treat a neck wound over the phone.)
Mary: Okay. It's not the carotid artery, but you still need to close the wound. Do you have a needle and thread?
Kate: Uh... I have a staple gun?
Mary: (wincing) Wouldn't be my first choice.

Kate: I'm offering you a free pass out of here.
Cartwright: And the second I tell you where she is, what's to stop you from killing me?
Kate: Me. Because I'm not a killer.
Cartwright: Yet.
Kate: You don't know me. So let me tell you who I am. I am everything you stripped away from my sister. Hope. Honor. Integrity. I'm what she would have been if not for you. And I'm giving you an out. Tell me where she is.

Alice: Where's Kate? Waiting outside with her hand on the door?
Jacob: She's with Cartwright. She was the one who got him to tell us where you were.
Alice: And you came running?  Why?
Jacob: Because I care. And to keep you hanging on to whatever sense of sanity you have left.
Alice: (smiling slightly) Touching. Well, I take it if Cartwright's still alive he hasn't gotten to the part of the story about Mommy Dearest.
Jacob: Oh, he told us everything. His mother sounded like a treat.
Alice: (confused) His mother? (smiling weakly) Is that what you think this is about?

Kate: Did you shoot a woman in a motel parking lot who you believed to be Alice?
Cartwright: She... looked just like her. The face... The eyes.
Kate: Of course you did! (sweeping the glasses off a table)  Of course it was you!
Cartwright: I thought it was her. Even wore a necklace that matched those damned earrings.
Kate: (quietly) What did you just say? What necklace matched what earrings?
Cartwright: The ones my mother so coveted that caused all the problems.

Kate (Voice Over): I thought I'd found the balance, Bruce. But I was wrong. I crossed the line. And now I'm the very thing I've been fighting against.


Gabi Kane had a set of garnet earrings which matched the necklaces her daughters were given for their bat mitzvah.

Alice leaves Dr. Cartwright tied up by the Bat-Signal for Kate, along with a note reading "Ask about Mommy Dearest."

Kate takes Dr. Cartwright to her bar and contacts Jacob.

Kate tells Jacob that Alice is still alive. She does not try to explain the alternate universe Beth to him, saying that it doesn't matter if she was a Skin Pirate impostor or whatever Jacob tells himself to understand it.

Alice finds Mouse in the basement of the old Cartwright house - the one that used to belong to "The Queen of Hearts.".

"The Queen of Hearts" was the nickname Alice and Mouse gave to Mouse's grandmother, Mable Cartwright, who came to live with them after she proved unable to care for herself anymore and required an oxygen tank to live.

By this point in time, Dr. Cartwright was addressing Beth as Alice and Beth was repressing all memory of her old life, saying she couldn't remember where she'd gotten her bat mitzvah necklace from when questioned about it by Mable Cartwright.

Kate reveals to Jacob that Dr. Cartwright was posing as Dr. Campbell.

Jacob says they can't go to the police because their story sounds insane and the only person who can collaborate any of it is Alice, who everyone thinks is dead.

There's bad blood between Jacob and the GCPD Police Commissioner ever since Jacob was freed from jail based on Dr. Campbell's testimony.

Cartwright confesses he spent the last six years posing as Dr. Campbell.

Kate asks Cartwright about the phrase "Mommy Dearest" and Cartwright begins to tell Jacob and Kate about what happened when his mother came to live with him, Alice and Mouse.

Mouse has become unbalanced from the fear gas exposure and hates Alice now, having bought into his father's lies about her being dead and trying to destroy their family. He claims that Alice was ultimately the thing he was most afraid of.

Mouse leaves Alice tied up and exposes her to the fear gas as he makes his escape.

Alice begins to hallucinate Mable Cartwright when first exposed to the fear gas.

Luke goes to Mary's clinic for the first time, after Mary contacts him, saying she thinks she has a lead on Beth's killer.

Mary's lead is a man named Mad Dog who saw her flyer, who came into the clinic for a flu shot. He claims to have seen a car matching the description of the one Luke saw with the same plate numbers in a junk yard at 30 and Green.

Dr. Cartwright tries to bargain for his freedom in exchange for Alice's location. Both Kate and Jacob refuse the bargain, even as Cartwright points out that Alice could become even more dangerous if she isn't found soon.

Alice's flashback visions reveal that she was a slave to Mable Cartwright for years and was made to call her "Your Majesty."

Mable Cartwright claimed she was beautiful when she was young, but she got married to a man who didn't really love her.

Mable Cartwright was physically abusive to Alice, throwing things at her or striking her if her tea was too sweat and burning her hands if her tea was too hot. She also forced Alice to go out in the cold without a coat to a pantry in the same building as Cartwright's workshop to get certain foods she wanted. She also made Alice keep her hair cut short because she was too pretty with long hair.

There was one refrigerator in Cartwright's workshop he kept locked and told Alice not to go near.

Cartwright tells Kate and Jacob about how his mother abused Alice, downplaying his own role in abusing her.

Kate gives Jacob Cartwright's cell-phone and suggests he use it to track where Cartwright had been. Jacob leaves to do that.

Cartwright asks for a glass of water. He manages to get a hand free and breaks the glass, attempting to cut his own throat with it.

Mary and Luke find the car Mad Dog told them about in the junk yard. Inside the trunk, they find a rifle with a bullet of the same caliber that killed Beth.still in the chamber.

Kate calls Mary using an unlisted number and identifies herself as Batwoman, asking her for advice on how to treat a slit throat.

Alice hallucinates Kate coming to rescue her as Batwoman but being stopped by Jacob. The two fight with Jacob finally convincing Batwoman that Alice isn't worth saving.

Alice's real worst fear is being abandoned by her family and left alone forever.

Kate offers to let Cartwright go if he tells her where Alice is. Cartwright doesn't believe her, saying there is nothing to stop her from killing him once he tells her what she wants to know. Kate says there is - her honor, which is what she believes separates her from Alice now.

Kate calls Jacob and tells him Alice is at 614 Williams Street.

Mary tries to search for the Bat Cave entrance while Luke tracks the license plate number they found.

Luke matches the plate of the car to Mable Cartwright, after checking inactive license plate entries.

Alice breaks a window and is in the verge of slitting her throat when Jacob finds her and gives her an adrenaline shot.

Alice tells Jacob that when she wrote the note about "Mommy Dearest" she didn't mean Mable Cartwright; she was referring to her own mother, Gabi Kane.

Luke and Mary tell Kate that Mable Cartwright's car was used by the man who killed Beth and that the murder weapon was in the trunk of the car.

Kate grills Cartwright on whether or not he killed a woman he thought was Alice. Cartwright confesses to the killing, saying that the woman he shot looked like Alice and even had a necklace which matched the earrings his mother wanted that caused all the problems.

It is revealed that the incident which finally turned Beth Kane into Alice came one day when Mable Cartwright was showing off a fancy set of garnet earrings, which she said were a gift from her son. Alice recognized them as Gabi Kane's earrings that matched her daughters' necklaces and finally remembered where her necklace came from.

Alice opened the forbidden fridge and found Gabi Kane's severed head, being preserved.

Alice tells Jacob the same story Catwright tells Kate; about him keeping Gabi Kane's severed head in a fridge.

Cartwright admitted he was using the head as leverage to keep his mother pacified, promising that someday he would give her a beautiful, young woman's face again. He said he couldn't use actually Gabi Kane's face, however, because she was too well known as a Gotham City socialite, but he did finally give his mother Gabi's earrings.

Mable Cartwright was Alice's first kill.  Alice killed her by turning Mable's oxygen tank into an improvised flamethrower.

Kate loses her temper and strangles Catwright after he says that Gabi Kane was a beautiful woman and it would be a shame for her face to go to waste.

Mary and Luke look up the fate of Mable Cartwright and confirm that she seemingly died in a house fire 7 years earlier - just before her son disappeared and replaced Dr. Campbell.

Kate sends Sophie a text, saying she needs someone to talk to.

The episodes ends with Kate, Alice and Jacob preparing to dispose of Cartwright's body.

The Bottom Line

A deeply disturbing ride from beginning to end that manages to convey more true horror than many horror movies and series. Brilliant on all levels and powerfully acted by the entire ensemble. Perhaps the best episode of the series so far.

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