There’s something about Alice (Rachel Skarsten) on the CW’s brand new Batwoman, isn't there? From the moment we meet Gotham’s newest villain, her rage over the city’s security group the Crows and its leader Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) seems especially intense. It seems personal.
The final seconds of the DC Comics adaptation explains why: Alice is actually Beth, the presumed-dead daughter of Jacob and sister to Batwoman herself, Kate Kane (Orange Is the New Black heartthrob Ruby Rose). Kate realizes as much when she sees the gem encrusted on Alice’s knife is identical to the one hanging on her own neck and the one Beth had as a necklace before “dying” years prior. To ensure viewers understand Alice is Beth, Batwoman shows Alice admiring a photo the Kane sisters took of themselves on the day Beth “died.” They're both wearing the necklaces. “I’ll win you over, my dear sister,” Alice says in voiceover, referring to Kate.
Of course Alice's vendetta against the Kanes is personal — they’re family. Although this pilot twist may shock you, Batwoman’s writers dropped a few clues about the revelation much earlier in the episode.
One scene appears at the midpoint of the premiere that initially seems peculiar — but isn’t in hindsight. In the second act of “Pilot,” Kate tracks down Alice’s lair through Wayne Enterprise’s vast video network and pure detective aptitude. Although Kate fights off a few of Alice’s lackeys, she is eventually overpowered and brought to Alice. It is here, chained and hanging by some rope, that Kate should die. Alice is a deranged domestic terrorist who, in the span of single episode, kidnaps Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy), drops her from a skyscraper, and nearly blows up a park full of families. This is someone who should show Kate — a trespasser and relative of Jacob Kane — no mercy.
Instead, Alice knocks Kate out.
By the end of the episode, we realize “Alice” didn’t kill Kate because she is actually her long lost sister Beth. This is a fact Alice refers to during her first conversation with Kate under the guise of criminal madness. “I am not used to being found,” Alice says when Kate shows up at her hideout.
In the moment, it seems like Alice is referencing her ability to hide from the police. But the natural riddle-smith is nodding towards something much deeper and darker. She’s talking about her past as Beth — and the aftermath of Beth’s so-called “death.” On the day Beth and her mother supposedly died, a bus driven by the Joker rammed into the Kane family car, which held young Kate, Beth, and their mom. The vehicle was thrown onto the edge of a bridge directly over a rushing river. Batman appeared to save the car, shooting two hooks into the trunk. Yet, suspiciously, the cables broke. The car plummeted off the bridge and into the water below.
Although Kate managed to crawl out of her car's back window, Beth and Mrs. Kane weren’t so lucky. They fell with the car and were presumed dead. Although Beth’s body was never found, Gotham Police eventually stopped looking for her. While Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson) confirms Batman continued his search for Beth's body indefinitely, that is not a detail Alice/Beth is privy to. She is someone who has never been found.
That heartbreaking twist also explains why Alice knows so much about the Kane family in her subsequent “Pilot” villain monologue. “Oh dear, this is quite sad actually. You poor thing. You haven’t figured it out yet. I took Sophie because she’ll actually get his attention,” Alice tells a tied-up Kate. “Your father doesn’t want you, Kate … I assumed you knew. But, then again, you have been so busy trying to convince him to love you. My sweet, pathetic girl. Sophie is the daughter your father always wanted, not you, dear.”
These are the loving, macabre words of someone who is obsessed with the Kane family dynamics — not a supervillain generally fixated on bringing Gotham to its knees. Alice’s speech suggests she has been keeping up with her family since she plunged into the water so many years ago. At this point, it seems likely Batwoman fans will get flashbacks of Beth/Alice lurking around the Kane family home, devastated by Jacob and Kate's apparent lack of vigilance or mourning.
“I want to be memorable. The kind of girl who never leaves your thoughts,” Alice tells Jacob towards the end of the premiere. As the daughter he seemingly forgot about years ago, it’s a bleakly sensible request. Now that Kate is clued into Beth’s true identity, it looks like Alice is going to get what she asked for — whether she really wants that much attention or not.