Batwoman Is Wasting Its Greatest Mystery

Batwoman Kate Kane and Alice

So far, Batwoman has been all about the mystery of Alice - but it's being wasted. Nobody was particularly surprised when the Batwoman season 1 premiere revealed that the insane Alice was Kate Kane's sister, Beth. But it was done in quite a smart way, because the mystery wasn't who Alice really is; it was how she became Batwoman's nemesis in the first place.

The premiere revealed that the young Beth was lost to a river 15 years ago, and the first flashback scene in Batwoman episode 3 confirmed that the child had been found and imprisoned in some sort of cellar or cabin. Catherine Hamilton faked Beth's death by placing skull fragments from a deer on the Miller farm, and then paying a DNA analyst to pretend they matched with Beth. It all felt terribly sinister, especially when Alice was captured and unknown parties attempted to kill her rather than allow her body to be DNA-tested.

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Unfortunately, the last two episodes have begun to explain the mystery of Beth Kane - and the truth seems to be a lot less interesting than it seemed. Far from being the victim of a grand conspiracy, the child was found by a mentally-disturbed man who imprisoned her as company for his facially-scarred son. She spent years of her life imprisoned in the cellar of his house, her mind escaping in Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland, which explains her odd fixation with the name "Alice" and the general Wonderland theme. It's frankly a whole lot less interesting than Alice's comic book origin, where Beth seems to have been kidnapped by a group known as the Religion of Crime, who she eventually came to lead.

Batwoman Alice Bike

The most surprising aspect of this origin, though, is that it has absolutely no greater relevance in terms of Batman lore. Viewers have long been speculating that Alice could somehow be connected to some of the most significant Batman foes, perhaps even manipulated by the Court of Owls. But instead, she's tied to a man named Cartwright and his son, neither of whom even have any clear comic book equivalent.

Worse still, the "conspiracy" to conceal Beth's death was shallow as well. Fifteen years ago, Catherine Hamilton saw the Kane family struggling, and her heart broke at their grief. She truly believed that Beth had to be dead but understood that the Kanes would never be able to begin to heal if they didn't have closure. As a result, she had her investigators plant fragments of deer skull, and paid an analyst to fake the results. What she did was wrong, but she did it out of love, and there was nothing sinister to it. With her role revealed, Catherine Hamilton has become a far less interesting character, already feeling as though her role in this season is largely played out.

This is the problem with making a mystery central to a story; when the answers are provided, they need to be satisfying. In this case, it's hard to escape the feeling that Batwoman's greatest mystery could have been greater - and that the theories were probably a lot more interesting than reality.

More: Batwoman Makes A Welcome Change To Batman's Origin & The Waynes' Deaths

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