- "You're not asking the right questions, Kate. 'What is my evil plan?' 'Who am I targeting next?' 'How am I going to do it?' When you really should be asking 'why'? 'Why am I like this?'"
- —Beth Kane on Kate questioning her motives.
"Mine Is a Long And a Sad Tale" is the fifth episode of the first season of , and the fifth episode overall. It aired on November 3, 2019.
|Alice takes Kate down the sad, winding road of her life in the days after the accident as Jacob and Sophie attempt to track them. Mary has an argument with Catherine which sends her looking for Kate at Wayne Tower, but instead she becomes unwelcome company for Luke.|
- Ruby Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman
- Rachel Skarsten as Beth Kane/Alice
- Meagan Tandy as Sophie Moore
- Nicole Kang as Mary Hamilton
- Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox
- Elizabeth Anweis as Catherine Hamilton-Kane
- Dougray Scott as Jacob Kane
- Sam Littlefield as Jonathan Cartwright/Mouse
- Brendon Zub as Chuck Dodgson
- Gracyn Shinyei as Young Kate
- Ava Sleeth as Young Beth
- John Emmet Tracy as Dr. August Cartwright
- Nicholas Holmes as Young Johnny
At a morgue, Alice is seen cutting into the body of someone with an almost exact medical precision. She cuts several pieces of flesh into perfect rectangles, and puts them in a container, and then leaves. In one of her letters to Bruce, Kate talks about how despite spending nine months in her mother's womb alongside Beth and then every other day for 13 years, she finds that Beth how she is now is a complete mystery to her. She admits that she doesn't know the rest of her story, but vows to solve this mystery before it's too late.
Back at Wayne Tower, Luke tells Kate about “The Skin Pirate”, who is being reported as a citizen of Gotham that has hit three morgues in one night so far, and taken skin from the corpses. The newspapers are assuming it's a male, but upon checking surveillance cameras that Wayne Tech has, they find out that the aforementioned thief, is in fact, Alice. Kate decides that whatever Alice has planned for Gotham ends today upon seeing the video footage. Even though at first, she thought that Alice wouldn't be behind it because it's too sick, even for her. She figures that she can track Alice through Dodgson, who she put a tracker on.
In another part of Gotham City, Alice is with Dogdson and the rest of the Wonderland Gang. She tells him how "forgetting pain is convenient. Remembering it is agonizing. But recovering the truth is worth the suffering." as she's patching him up. She warns him that if he told Kate anything of value, it is off with his head. Shortly after though, Kate ambushes Alice and the rest of her Wonderland Gang, she yells to Batwoman that, she's not afraid of the dark or of her before she is subsequently knocked out with a bo-staff Kate had on her. When she wakes up, Alice is chained up.
Later, Alice wakes up strung up from a pipe. Kate asks what the skin was for, and asks if the "Mouse" that Dodgson mentioned is real or a figment of Alice's imagination. Alice defends herself by saying she didn't hurt anyone since they were already dead. Alice then refers to Mary as an attention-starved step-sister who illegally drugged Dogdson.
Kate proceed to tell Alice that if she keeps going down this road, it will end badly but she can get her into a rehabilitation hospital. A good one. But Alice refuses to say what happened to her after the crash, and Kate calls Jacob so that he can find Alice and take her to Arkham. Kate says that Alice is contained and she thought he should know. Well aware that Jacob will track the call, Kate tells Alice to start talking. Alice says that if Kate releases her then she'll tell her story. While on the road with Kate, she tells her sister about how her long and sad tale begins 14 months before Catherine Hamilton- Kane fakes her death. She deduces that no one told Kate about it, and proceeds to tell her how their stepmother faked her DNA results. But also how their father just found out they had a funeral for Bambi. Eventually, Alice gets frustrated with Kate because she feels as though her sister isn't asking the right questions. She proceeds to tell her that she really doesn't want to know why she is the way she is now when the latter asks her why. However, when Kate tells her that she has waited 15 years to hear it, Alice relents.
Alice says that it all began with an unfortunate event of which she remembers vividly, and if given the chance again, she would take it back in a heartbeat. It was a simple, effortless thing that she had done so many times before. Upon waking up, she is on a couch in a house with a man wearing glasses and his son. She asks about her mom and telling the older man how her mom needed help. When he asks Beth what she needs, she tells him that she wants her dad, but instead, the man says he will go make her a sandwich. She tells Kate that for her, this was the first worst day of her life. The man had a son, Johnny, who just sits there playing with his trucks. In present, day, Kate asks her if she remembers the man's name, but Alice tells her how she never knew it, and that it doesn't really matter. She temporarily changes the topic, when she suggests they should stop at a nearby diner that is up the road.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Gotham City Catherine and Mary are walking alongside a body of water. She tells Mary that it was all a lie when her daughter says she doesn't get how there could have been a mix-up with the bones long thought to have belonged to Beth. She mentions how the bone density alone should have tipped them off. Not to mention the fact that the genomes are completely different. Unable to take it anymore, she blurts out to her daughter that she was behind it, and it was a deliberate move because she saw the toll it was taking on Jacob and Kate not being able to find Beth. Mary calls what her mother did a horrible thing, and says how she knows her and pleads with her to tell her that she didn't do this. When it's obvious that she can't, Mary walks off.
Back at the Diner, Alice tells Kate the reason they are there is because she used to dream of running away from her captor to a place like this. But then her own hunger would wake her. So she admits that alas, it was not meant to be. Alice continues with her story and says how upstairs, in the house she was in after the crash, there was room, she could only describe as a child's Wonderland. This room belonged to the one and only Mouse. Johnny reveals to Beth that he can mimic any voice he hears and uses his ability to reference The Goonies by quoting how, "Goonies never say die" and then he also uses his mimicry ability to sound like Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone scene, when she tells Ron he's saying it's wrong and that, "it's Leviosa not Leviosar…"
Now feeling more comfortable around the other child, Beth asks Johnny why he covers his face like that, and he says it's to hide what happened to him in an accident. He goes onto say it's so that he doesn't scare people. But tells him that he doesn't scare her. Which makes him smile. However, while in Johnny's room, the TV is playing and the two kids get a snippet of a breaking news segment regarding the search for Beth, and how it has been expanded to include Blüdhaven. Beth immediately finds it odd, since Johnny's dad had told her previously he had called the police, and they'd be there for her soon. Soon after, the aforementioned unnamed man comes into the room, and shuts off the TV, saying no more TV for them because of the information the two kids just heard. She tries to run, but the aforementioned man grabs her and drags her down to the basement and locks her in a room. Looking around the room, Alice finds a skinned face in a sink, and she screams.
Back at Wayne Tower, Mary is being held tightly by security while yelling for Kate, and saying how she hates her (Catherine) too. Luke hears this and asks if he can help her with anything and says maybe an A.A. meeting after he can see that Mary is visibly drunk. She calls herself Mary, Kate's soon-to-be ex-stepsister. Luke tells Mary that she can leave Kate a message, so she says to tell her that "I'm so sorry, that I was ever born from the Wicked Witch of Gotham, and I get why she's avoiding me, but I'm totally on her side. I can't believe my mom would ever do something so awful."
Meanwhile, at Crows Security Headquarters, Jacob decides not to send the whole team, and instead, it's just him and Sophie who go in search of Kate and Alice after the former called him earlier. After telling Jacob how she knows its breaking protocol for a subordinate to ask her superior, Sophie asks him if he is okay. So he reveals to her that he and Catherine are going through a rough patch. Sophie realizes that Kate was right the whole time, but Jacob says that they have to capture Alice and test her DNA.
At Dusty's, Kate references Hannibal Lecter, when she asks Alice why there was a face in a sink, and if the unnamed man who she calls Hannibal Lecter wanted to kill her or skin her. Alice says that she wasn't a prisoner, but a friend. However, she does admit to learning that a friend takes on a different meaning depending on who you ask. In the locked room, where she is being kept, a young Beth sees a mouse there by the aforementioned sink. The unnamed man tells Alice that this is her home now and that his son waited a long time for someone like her. He tells her how, his son didn't get the opportunity to find a purpose, because the whole world cast him aside, and called him a monster.
The unnamed father was using the skin for experiments to hide Johnny's hideous face according to Alice. She goes onto say how Johnny's father thought that the ridicule would end for Johnny once he looked normal. It's then revealed that Alice with Mouse's help drugged her. So now it's Kate who is the one that is kidnapped.
Jacob and Sophie make it Dusty's but they are ambushed and several Wonderland Gang members begin shooting at them. Dodgson calls on Jacob to come out, and Sophie distracts the Wonderland Gang members while Jacob shoots a propane tank. It explodes, scattering the Wonderland Gang members in the process. They find Dodgson and he tells Jacob that he joined the Crows to make Gotham a better place for all. Instead, Jacob divided it. He goes onto say how only the wealthy are safe, and that he's too blind to see that. Dodgson then taunts Jacob by telling how he was also too blind to see his own daughter. Making Jacob angry, and he slams Dodgson to the ground and beats him to a pulp until Sophie pulls him away. The wealthy are safe, and you're too blind and divided to see it.
At Wayne Tower, Mary makes herself drinks and says that she's not going back to her penthouse. All while Luke is trying to do some research on the Skin Pirate, and Mary says that she's going through a life crisis. May realizes that Kate is with Alice and figures that she's doing some sisterly bonding. She gets visibly upset, and vents to Luke about how she's killed zero people and is the good sister. But instead, Kate is off with a cold-blooded killer.
Kate wakes up chained to a wall. Alice is watching her and admits that she found the tracker on Dodgson and had a friend drug Kate's drink back at Dusty's. She figures the plan she and Mouse have for Gotham will go better with Kate out of the equation. Alice continues with the rest of her story and tells her sister how after weeks and weeks in captivity, like a little rabbit down a hole so small, she finally managed to claw her way out. She remarks how it's curious, for there are so many out-of-the-way things that when one becomes desperate, present themselves. She goes onto say she found one such opportunity, in a rusty, little friend. She laments her poor delicate fingers but says quite proudly that success, she eventually did make hers.
Years earlier, a young Beth uses a nail she took out of a headboard on the wall to pick the lock of the room she was being locked in. She manages to open said door and walks up the stairs. She sees the landline there and uses it to call her dad. But the unnamed man vows that if anyone comes looking for her, he will kill them and it will be all her fault.S he calls that call her first and last chance at freedom. Kate reveals she remembers that call and talks about how there had been so many false leads that the GCPD didn't believe them when her dad traced the call. But the two of them were at that location in an hour. The police had canvassed and searched the area several times and had come up empty-handed.
Jacob and a young Kate arrive at the Cartwright house, and the unnamed man comes out to tell Jacob that it was a prank. Storming past him, Jacob goes into the house and calls to Beth. He hears someone moving upstairs and goes up to find Johnny playing with his trucks. The man follows Jacob up and says that Johnny mimicked Beth's voice. Johnny refuses to demonstrate until his father insists, and the boy demonstrates his mimicry skills. Meanwhile, Kate goes down to the basement where Alice is being kept. Beth cries remembering the unnamed man's promise to kill anyone that comes looking for her. So on the other side of the door, she mouths to her sister that she loves her. Meanwhile, Johnny's father lies to Jacob saying how his son became obsessed with Beth's disappearance and apologizes once more.
In present day, Alice looks up the stairs and then turns to Kate, who is locked up in the room where she was once locked up years earlier. She says that she waited for Kate to sense that she was there, but Kate sensed nothing. With that, Alice turns and leaves, closing the door behind her. When Sophie tells Jacob that the trail has gone cold regarding Kate's whereabouts, Jacob realizes he had been down this path 15 years earlier, and figures out where Beth and Kate are. Meanwhile, with Mary's help, Luke finds out that two weeks ago, a guy named Jonathan Cartwright, who admitted to having a similar hobby to stealing skin off dead people escaped in the Arkham Asylum breakout. Since Mary didn't hear anything about a breakout, she figures out that the Arkham officials are covering this up, and she ironically says how that is so comforting.
Alice makes her presence known to Jacob and asks him when was the last time he wondered if Beth was okay. She asks him if it was in this house, and she confronts him for not believing it was her who made the call all those years ago. Finally, Jacob breaks and calls Alice, Beth instead and orders her to put the knife down. Alice is teary-eyed and says out loud how he finally said it. Jacob gets closer, and just after touching Beth's cheek, she stabs him. He falls to the ground, and she composes herself shortly thereafter.
With Jacob inside, Sophie goes into one of the shacks in the Cartwright residence to investigate and comes across the skin grafts for a human face that Johnny's dad used to put on his son years earlier. She then hears Kate yelling out to her, but it turns out to be, a now adult Mouse, mimicking Kate, and he proceeds to attack her. Meanwhile, similar to Beth years prior, Kate uses a nail to pick the lock on her handcuffs. Back at the shacks, Sophie knocks Mouse loose and he stops to put the skin graft on face back on. She runs off and finds Kate.
Inside the Cartwright residence, Jacob tries to crawl away, but Alice kicks him. Kate comes in holding a gun to Mouse's head and tells Alice to decide which is more important to her: killing Jacob or keeping Mouse alive. Alice figures that Kate is bluffing, but Sophie comes in and aims her gun at Alice. Irritated, Alice says that killing Jacob would be too easy and if they all walk out, no one has to die. Kate releases Mouse and goes to Jacob, and Alice leaves with Mouse. Jacob tells Kate that Alice is Beth.
Mary orders pizza and Luke tells her that her ride is there. She asks Luke to tell Kate that she's sorry, and Luke gives her the pizza back before she leaves. Kate blames herself for what happened to Alice. Jacob joins her, and Kate wonders if anyone can save Alice. Alice removes Mouse's skin craft, while he asks Alice why she didn't visit him, while he was at Arkham She mentions how she realistically, couldn't because if she had stepped foot there, she too would have been arrested. Mouse confesses that he felt her in his dreams.
Years prior, Johnny visits Beth and apologizes for tricking Jacob and Kate. Beth asks him to release her, and Jonny says that he wants to be her friend. He pushes a copy of Alice in Wonderland beneath the door to keep Alice company. In the present, Mouse and Alice are reunited once more, and he surprises her with a copy of the same book. He assures her that he'll escape her pool of tears. Alice says that he saved her, and gives him the face that she assembled from her stint as the Skin Pirate. Mouse says that he loves her, and Alice tells her "dear brother" that she loves him too and she can help him become anyone he wants to be. She vows that once they're done with Jacob, he'll never forget about her again.
- The episode was previously titled "Mine Is a Long and Sad Tale".
- Luke mentioned that there was a breakout in Arkham Asylum 2 weeks prior, which resulted in some patients escaping. This is a callback to the events of "", which served as a set-up to .
- Kate has white eyes on her cowl when she uses its night vision function, making her look similar to her animated counterpart from Batman: Bad Blood (and most animated depictions of the Bat-family in general).
- Kate uses a bo-staff to fight members of Alice's gang, a reference to Robin who uses a staff in the comics and games.
- "The Mouse's Tale" is a shaped poem by Lewis Carroll which appears in his novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Though no formal title for the poem is given in the text, the chapter title refers to "A Long Tale" and The Mouse introduces it by saying, "Mine is a long and Sad Tale!".
- Alice threatens to kill Dodgson by saying, "off with your head", a reference to the Alice in Wonderland character, Queen of Hearts.
- When young Beth sees a news report on the search for her, it's mentioned that the search has expanded to Blüdhaven, which in the comics was the city Dick Grayson protected as Nightwing and was previously mentioned in the Arrowverse.
- A white mask can be seen at the Cartwright house, which is a reference to Jane Cartwright (whom Jonathan Cartwright is based on). Jane's mask, in turn, was based on Calendar Girl's mask.
- Through the character of Mouse and his ability to mimic voices to cheer up Beth, films like The Goonies (1985), when he is heard saying that "Goonies never say die!".
- Subsequently, Mouse also uses his mimicry ability to sound like Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in the scene from the 2001 film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when she tells Ron that he's saying it wrong and that, "it's Leviosa, not Leviosar…".
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