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S01.E15: Off With Her Head

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More of Alice's dark past is uncovered when Cartwright (guest star John Emmet Tracy) shares a twisted story with Kate while Jacob goes searching for his wayward daughter. Mary and Luke follow a lead on Beth's killer.

Holly Dale directed the episode written by Natalie Abrams. 

Airdate: 3/15/2020

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The last 15 minutes was crazy insane and I loved every second of it. The lack of Crows certainly helped.

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This was good. Didn't notice Sophie wasn't in it till the end. I did not miss her at all. Poor Kate. I wish she would just talk to Mary.

I've thought this since the beginning, but things like a guy slashing his own throat and then getting it fixed with a staple gun makes me think they should really switch timeslots with Supergirl. 

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Ok that was probably one of or the Best episode yet. Agree with mtlchick about the last 15 minutes. I know Batman and Woman have thier no kill codes but I liked Kate Killing Cartwright in a fit of rage. He was a pyschotic Horrid POS who imprisoned her Sister and cut off her mother's head to use as a new face for his horrible mother. Didnt feel sorry for his mother being burned to a Crisp either 

9 minutes ago, bettername2come said:

This was good. Didn't notice Sophie wasn't in it till the end. I did not miss her at all. Poor Kate. I wish she would just talk to Mary.

I've thought this since the beginning, but things like a guy slashing his own throat and then getting it fixed with a staple gun makes me think they should really switch timeslots with Supergirl. 

LOL yeah tonight was an example of Why is this on at 8 again?

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Strong episode and even further makes me wish they didn't have Alice kill Mary's mom.. As horrible as it sounds having a villain off a bunch of no-names makes it easier for them to become anti- heros or at least Grey characters.. But she killed s fan fav's moms that's a tough mountain to climb over... And  they are setting up a Kane family reconciliation of sorts... Damn Alice was tormented tho.. Doesn't excuse her behavior but ibsee how she snapped.... Enjoyed kate snapping too... Mary needs ti just bite the bullet and tell Luke she knows so we can get past all this silliness... And show... You ain't slick sliding Mary holding Luke's hand telling him it wasnt his fault while the music changed... Y'all ain't low.. I see you

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Well, Rachel Skarsten brought her A-Game this episode.  Loved the part where Beth stopped being Beth and became Alice by flame broiling the old hag.  Shouldn't have kept her mother's head in the fridge...or repeatedly scald her hands...or stole those earrings.

Well, Mouse is loose now.  Wonder how that's going to play out.

Whoops.  Kate killed someone.  Don't know if this makes her an anti-hero considering she wasn't in costume at the time.  Still, this is going to have ramifications.  Wonder what those will be?

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1. Mary = the best.

2. Mary loftily announcing that she had to invoke doctor/vigilante privilege = really the best.

3. Ruby Rose = continually improving each episode.

4. The head in the fridge = ok, Alice. I'll stop judging you. This episode.

5. Mommie Dearest = I don't want to judge, exactly, but wearing the earrings you took off a head you're keeping in a freezer? Tacky. 

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Debra Mooney!  Loved her as Mommy Dearest.  She always a delight in everything she is, but I'll always think of her first as Edna from Everwood!

Whelp, they definitely seem to be proving that Batwoman is going be more similar to the likes of Arrow, compared to the more family-friendly Flash and Supergirl (seriously, I agree that they really should flip this show and Supergirl's timeslots), and insanity that is the Legends of Tomorrow.  Kate straight up killed a guy!  Granted, it was August, who is the worst, and factoring everything he did, it is easy to see why Kate would go off the deep end at that moment.  But I'm sure it's going to lead to turmoil within her, and will probably have lasting consequences.  The least of which is that Alice also knows, and seems prepared to help Kate and Jacob cover it up.  Yeah, I'm sure Alice is going to use all of this to her advantage.

Mary and Luke were a fun pair, even if Luke was being daft by doubting Mary most of the time.  Never underestimate her!  Especially since she was only a few feet away from finding the entrance to the Batcave!  Go Mary!

At least Sophie make an appearance in text form, heh.

I wonder where Mouse ran off too?

Got a Jonathan Crane name-drop.  I wonder if we'll ever see him somewhere down the line.

Next episode looks like it's going to be fun!

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Wait . . . so the head in the fridge . . . the one with the face removed . . . was the other of Kate and Beth/Alice? Fuck me. FUCK ME. I know killing is taboo even in the grittier parts of the Arrowverse (or whatever it's called), but I'd like to think Cousin Bruce would look the other way on that one. Maybe Kate could have a Paragon meeting with Sara . . . the graduate of the League of Assassins with the high body count.

1 hour ago, bmoore4026 said:

Well, Rachel Skarsten brought her A-Game this episode.

When doesn't she bring the A-Game?

15 minutes ago, quarks said:

1. Mary = the best.

Even her constant prying of Luke isn't that annoying, and that's a small miracle. "Look, I'm helpful. I'm a helpful woman. Whatever you and Kate need, I can handle. You need quick surgery? I'm there. An extra set of eyes? I'm your girl. Body disposal? I'd have to check my calendar, but I'll be up for anything. ANN-NEE-THING."

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Man, this episode was actually really, really good. Ok, they kind of sold me on a possible redemption for Alice down the line. I felt SO bad for her past. Seriously, what a disturbing revelation that Kidnapper Dearest had your own mother's head in his fridge and that his psychotic mother was wearing her jewelry? 

I can see why Alice became Alice. That shift from Beth to Alice was terrifying, yet effective. Rachel Skarsten is really incredible.

And Kate kills Kidnapper Dearest....rightfully so, but I appreciate that she's actually a bit messed up from it. Kate shouldn't have anything to feel guilty about because the guy was an absolute monster, but I love that Kate isn't just going to brush it aside. And Ruby Rose really was effective in this episode. I love watching her improve as an actress. 

We also got some solid Kane family moments. More Jacob, which has been needed for a while, so I appreciate what we got from him.

Mary/Luke's subplot was solid. I wish Mary would be honest about what she knows, but...at the same time, I really like having knowledge that the other characters don't know and getting to see her not just make (not so) subtle hints about what she knows, but also watch her sleuth around, discovering the entrance to the BatCave.

No Sophie, and I didn't miss her one bit.

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I agree, this episode really brought it. Based on the description, I wasn't looking forward to it because I was getting tired of watching past Alice be abused, but this was effective... and dark. I liked seeing the moment where she finally snapped. I also like that Kate has blood on her hands now... well, I don't like it, but I think it'll make for some interesting storytelling.

Mary was wonderful, as usual.

I didn't miss Sophie. However, I want to like Sophie. Last week made me understand her a little better and made me more sympathetic to her struggles, but I think they've gotta get her in the know and working with the other main characters soon if they want the audience to embrace her.

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I can see from the scene at the beginning with Kate and Beth’s mother, why Alice could eventually choose to take on the vigilante persona Red Alice, like in the comics.

Possible arc for season 2, I hope.

Edited by rogvortex58
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17 hours ago, Lantern7 said:

Wait . . . so the head in the fridge . . . the one with the face removed . . . was the other of Kate and Beth/Alice? Fuck me. FUCK ME. I know killing is taboo even in the grittier parts of the Arrowverse (or whatever it's called), but I'd like to think Cousin Bruce would look the other way on that one.

He wouldn't.  He'd do everything to make sure Cartwright would live to face Gotham City "justice".  Kate doesn't have that qualm, however.  And I'm not going to condemn her for it.  I mean, who wouldn't snap if they found out a psychopath was keeping a family member's head in the freezer, especially if it's your mother's. 

Edited by bmoore4026 · Reason: "wouldn't" not "would".
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This ep... 10/10. See, that's what you get when focusing on one storytelling - a cohesive and quality episode. I want more!

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Another strong episode. Maybe my favorite of the season. I like all the characters but the show seems to be at its best when it centers Kate's relationship with her family.

I thought Cartwright was going to die soon after he slit his own throat. I definitely didn't expect Kate to kill him.

I loved the flashbacks and the creepy Queen of Hearts. Little Alice wearing white and blue was a nice touch.

Always here for a Mary and Luke team-up. I wanted her to tell him that she knows Kate is Batwoman and he's a part of her team. She definitely proved what a valuable asset she would be.

I understand why Sophie wasn't in the episode but I actually missed her.

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From the previews, I knew that this episode would be way too dark for me to watch. Thanks to all of you for the summaries so that I can know what happened in the episode without having to actually see it. 

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Kate killing in this episode made me think of Crisis and old embittered Kevin Conroy batman who told Kate once he started killing, it got easier to continue doing do. It will be interesting to see Kate struggle with that dire prophecy.

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More thoughts later... maybe;

So lemme get this straight: sicko Cartwright just... found a severed head by the river, and was like, "Can't let this go to waste...."

LOL at Mary trying to get on the team, but avoiding saying she KNOWS.

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10 hours ago, Trini said:

So lemme get this straight: sicko Cartwright just... found a severed head by the river, and was like, "Can't let this go to waste...."

As I understood, the good doctor found Beth's and Kate's mother's body in the river, fished her out, and fought, hey, I can use her skin! Neat!

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When I saw what the opening scene was, I instinctively cringed and starting getting ready to yell at the TV "Was your name MARTHA?" in my gravelliest Batfleck voice, but it actually wasn't bad. I don't like flashbacks, I don't like dream sequences (drug-induced or otherwise,) and I don't even really like Kate's father. Usually. Yet the whole thing was so well written that I loved it. The potentially weak parts avoided being cliches by not phoning themselves in, and the twists were horrifying! Bad pun or not, this series is delightfully batshit.

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On 3/16/2020 at 3:26 PM, bmoore4026 said:

He wouldn't.  He'd do everything to make sure Cartwright would live to face Gotham City "justice".  Kate doesn't have that qualm, however.  And I'm not going to condemn her for it.  I mean, who wouldn't snap if they found out a psychopath was keeping a family member's head in the freezer, especially if it's your mother's. 

If it was Martha Wayne's head in the freezer I'm pretty sure that would've set him off.
 

On 3/17/2020 at 5:14 AM, Spaceman Spiff said:

Kate killing in this episode made me think of Crisis and old embittered Kevin Conroy batman who told Kate once he started killing, it got easier to continue doing do. It will be interesting to see Kate struggle with that dire prophecy.

Which is the ridiculous line of reasoning for that psycho to use and thus entirely appropriate for a nutjob to say. If you kills someone for well justified reasons like Kate did this episode it doesn't mean you're 1 iota more likely to kill again and if you do it won't be even the slightest bit easier. If you are more inclined to kill after having done it once no matter how justified you were completely nuts to begin with.

Cartwright definitely deserved death and Kate shouldn't even the slightest bit guilty about killing him. In Kate's situation she should only be distressed that she lost it to such an extent that she'd kill someone in a blind rage, not that she did it.

Onto the subject of Luke, if Kate had actually told him what was going on he probably would've found the house in the space of about 5 minutes and Alice would've been rescued quickly. Just tracking down the car Luke ended up finding out nearly everything Kate found out from Cartwright. Keep each other in the loop people!

Edited by immortalfrieza
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Seriously, someone needs to think about switching up the time slots, this is really freaking dark for 8pm on the CW! This was a great episode, definitely one of my favorites of the series so far, and they did make me feel really bad for Alice. I have always seen them going into a "Alice gets redeemed" direction, but this one really made me think that it could work, if done correctly. She has done horrible things and she should pay for them, but holy crap has she been through the ringer. Not only was she kidnapped by a monster who made her cut faces off, she was also horribly abused by his psycho mom, and found her dead moms head in the fridge! No wonder she is all kinds of messed up. Really dark and creepy episode in general.

I cant really blame Kate for losing it for a second and killing that sick piece of crap, but that was super, with her finally finishing him off in a rage. Again, I get it, but thats still a pretty hard core moment for your main hero, especially considering Bruce's no tolerance killing code (in most continuities anyway, unless he turns into angry bitter old man Bats) especially when its not even in the heat of battle or in self defense. I like it as a narrative choice for Kate's character though, and I am very interested to see where she goes from here. Will killing this guy make her really commit to not killing ever again, or will she go easier on the killing code, or will it just lead to more "I am just like Alice" angst. I hope she doesn't beat herself  up about it too terribly much though, this was a really extreme situation with an evil person who was already dying, that doesent make her the same as the rest of the gleefully murderous rouges gallery, including Alice. Context does matter, even when it comes to killing. 

Lots of good Kane family dynamics this week in general, especially with Alice and Jacob, this was really the first time he even seemed to see a bit of his daughter in Alice, even if it was just in sadness. 

Loving the Mary and Luke team up, and that Mary so much wants to work with Batwoman, that she is about to start sliding her sidekick resume under Kates door. "Yep, I am super good at healing people...and keeping secrets...and finding clues...and being a side kick..." 

Edited by tennisgurl
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7 minutes ago, tennisgurl said:

I cant really blame Kate for losing it for a second and killing that sick piece of crap, but that was super, with her finally finishing him off in a rage. Again, I get it, but thats still a pretty hard core moment for your main hero, especially considering Bruce's no tolerance killing code (in most continuities anyway, unless he turns into angry bitter old man Bats) especially when its not even in the heat of battle or in self defense. I like it as a narrative choice for Kate's character though, and I am very interested to see where she goes from here. Will killing this guy make her really commit to not killing ever again, or will she go easier on the killing code, or will it just lead to more "I am just like Alice" angst. I hope she doesn't beat herself  up about it too terribly much though, this was a really extreme situation with an evil person who was already dying, that doesent make her the same as the rest of the gleefully murderous rouges gallery, including Alice. Context does matter, even when it comes to killing. 

If she (or anyone) wants an out; one could say that Kate didn't kill him directly, Cartwright had already severely wounded himself, then Kate's actions exacerbated his condition... that he might have died of anyway.

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This was a really good episode. I think all the Alice focused episodes have been the strongest. 

I know this won't relieve any of Kate's guilt but, his throat was already sliced open. Idk if she would have killed him if he was in perfect condition. 

I'm liking that the dad (name?) Is starting to sympathize with Alice a little now. Hopefully he'll stop trying to kill her now that he knows more about what she's gone through. And, alternatively, hopefully Alice really takes it to heart that her dad rescued her and stops trying to kill him. 

I think I said something in one of the very first episode threads like, being held captive for years doesn't turn you into a psychopath. I need to take that back. As we've been told more and more about what Beth went through, I can see how she became Alice. 

Edited to add: I think it would have been hilarious if when Kate called Mary, Mary was like, Batwoman? Kate? Which one am I speaking to?

Edited by Samwise979
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12 hours ago, immortalfrieza said:

Which is the ridiculous line of reasoning for that psycho to use and thus entirely appropriate for a nutjob to say. If you kills someone for well justified reasons like Kate did this episode it doesn't mean you're 1 iota more likely to kill again and if you do it won't be even the slightest bit easier. If you are more inclined to kill after having done it once no matter how justified you were completely nuts to begin with.

Cartwright definitely deserved death and Kate shouldn't even the slightest bit guilty about killing him. In Kate's situation she should only be distressed that she lost it to such an extent that she'd kill someone in a blind rage, not that she did it.

I think I would have to disagree with this. Kate was not well justified. Someone told her a story, that could either be true or fabricated. She has no proof it actually happened. Unlike say Brad Pitt in Seven when he found out "what's in the box", the box and severed head were right there. We don't know that Cartwright killed the mother, and then took her head, we just know he had the head. Even then, if you hear that X killed Y so many years ago, no one has the right to say "Then they deserve to die" and kill them. Society would collapse were that the case. Our justice system is in no way perfect, but it is there for a reason.

Cartwright, who just minutes ago tried to take his own life may have just wanted to provoke Kate to "finish the job for him". Kind of like suicide by cop shooting. There are only so may reasons for justifiable homicide, and I don't Kate had one in that moment. Just my opinion of course.

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Was it legally justified? No. But, then, I'm also pretty sure that tying someone to a chair, beating them, forcing them to plead for water, and using a staple gun on their neck instead of calling an ambulance are also illegal. If I judge Batwoman by legality alone, I'm going to be upset every time she illegally enters any place and looks for evidence without a warrant. Cartwright wasn't just a dick. He was a monster. The only thing Kate should feel bad about is that there is now one less fun villain on her show.

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On 3/20/2020 at 2:20 AM, Spaceman Spiff said:

We don't know that Cartwright killed the mother, and then took her head, we just know he had the head.

Cartwright never said that he killed Kate's mother. He only said that he had found the head and taken it and that his mother had kept it in the freezer because she wanted Cartwright to use it to make her look as young and beautiful as Kate's mother. And Cartwright DID take everything from Kate and Alice, either directly or indirectly. Kate didn't kill an innocent man. She executed a monster and did society a favor. And yes, Bruce would have done the same thing to his parents' murderer if he'd had the chance and had been pushed far enough.

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On 3/20/2020 at 12:23 PM, CletusMusashi said:

Was it legally justified? No. But, then, I'm also pretty sure that tying someone to a chair, beating them, forcing them to plead for water, and using a staple gun on their neck instead of calling an ambulance are also illegal. If I judge Batwoman by legality alone, I'm going to be upset every time she illegally enters any place and looks for evidence without a warrant.

I never questioned these things. We all know Batwoman/Batman is a vigilante who works outside the law. I questioned the moral justification of Kate killing Carwright. She crossed a line in that moment, not one that can easily be stepped back from.

7 hours ago, legaleagle53 said:

Kate didn't kill an innocent man.

Never said he was innocent. It is still not Kate's decision to be judge, jury and executioner.

7 hours ago, legaleagle53 said:

And yes, Bruce would have done the same thing to his parents' murderer if he'd had the chance and had been pushed far enough.

Not from any iteration of Batman I have read or watched. The Joker. Killing Joke, Gordon reminds him not to cross that line. Kingdom Come, Magog kills the Joker because no one else would. Killing Jason Todd even didn't cause Bruce to cross that line. And in The Dark Knight Returns all he could do was break his spine to the point the Joker mocks him about not being able to finish the job.

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Kate isn't Bruce, though. Bruce trained for a decade with the specific goal of becoming Batman. Kate did go through some special ninja-esque training, but first went through traditional military training with the goal of becoming a Crow. So I don't feel like the idea that she might sometimes have to shoot to kill was always off the table for her. Yeah, I know, choking somebody with a wounded neck until the staples come loose is pretty gory, but so is blowing someone's brains out. She should be able to move past this with less difficulty than most versions of Bruce could.

ETA: I'm not implying that soldiers and cops should be immune to PTSD, but this isn't really being sold as that. They're selling it as more of an existential crisis of "If I kill a murderous sociopath who kidnaps little girls and makes them into slaves just so his family don't get bored, that means I'm just as bad as him!"

Bull fucking shit. I like this show enough to respect Kate enough to say that I think it's bullshit that sells the character short. I would much rather see it as "I know he was a horrible person, but I keep having nightmares about when I was choking him to death and he was begging for his life."  And/or "I'd already made the decision not to kill him, but if he could make me completely lose control like that, maybe I'm not cut out to be Batwoman." A little nuance, that's all I ask. She can still be bothered by killing him, hell, it makes her a better member of the Bat-family if she is, but they're just not packaging it quite right.

Oh well. By process of elimination, there's always gonna be something that's not quite as good as the rest of the script. Such is life.

Edited by CletusMusashi
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he routinely beats up and injures innocent people who are just doing their jobs-- like security staff at Arkham this week. She never seems to have the slightest care about doing that stuff, either. I think it's not that big of a leap for her to kill Cartwright, and the show pretending it is, is kind of a flaw in all the superhero shows who act like mayhem and mass casualties are no big deal.

I'm not saying murder is a-okay.

I'm saying that the complete disconnect, where heroes don't have any guilt, PTSD, or qualms of any kind about the other stuff, makes the prohibition on killing a psychopath like Cartwright much less credible.

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On 3/16/2020 at 3:26 PM, bmoore4026 said:

He wouldn't.  He'd do everything to make sure Cartwright would live to face Gotham City "justice".  Kate doesn't have that qualm, however.  And I'm not going to condemn her for it.  I mean, who wouldn't snap if they found out a psychopath was keeping a family member's head in the freezer, especially if it's your mother's. 

And it's only the first season. She's still new to what kind of hero she wants to be. We know Oliver had a whole lot of blood on his hands in the 1st season alone and I don't see that being Kate's thing in future seasons but like in this episode I can see her going where Batman wouldn't go. But not breaking Oliver's body count record. 😄 

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