In their second season, Batwoman is paying respects to one of the best Arrowverse redemption stories by repeating Legends of Tomorrow’s Sara Lance’s complex character arc with Alice. When compared side by side, both metaphorically and in actual events, there are a great many similarities between Sara Lance’s complicated journey from assassin to hero, and the path Batwoman’s diabolical Alice is on.
Sara Lance’s journey began on Arrow as the rebellious sister of Oliver Queen’s love interest at the time, Laurel Lance. Sara survives a watery death not once but twice – first aboard the Queen’s Gambit, and then deranged scientist Ivo’s Amazo. Her life is saved and set on a new path by the mysterious League of Assassins. Her miracle return from the dead years later sees her donning the mantel of the Canary to help Oliver Queen in his quest to protect Star City, only for her to experience yet another watery rebirth in the Lazarus pit and emerges as the White Canary. She ultimately leaves to become one of the Legends of Tomorrow, later captain of the Wave Rider and then the Paragon of Destiny in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Like Sara Lance, Alice – aka Beth Kane – is a survivor, shocking Gotham and her family with a miraculous return from her own supposed death. The trauma of being held by Mouse and his psychopathic father transformed her into Batwoman’s warped nemesis, Alice. Although she returned years later seeking revenge on the family she thought abandoned her, she was thwarted by the disappearance of her sister, the first Batwoman. Now, Alice’s time away from Gotham and connection to the dangerous Safiyah is being unveiled in season 2, in a path that carries eerie similarities to Sara Lance’s journey.
Laid out side by side, Alice and Sara’s journeys clearly parallel one another – from their watery deaths and rebirths to their complicated relationships with their sisters. Both of their lives brought them into contact with dangerous individuals, and hiding behind a mask was a key component in both their journeys back home. Under the tutelage of the League of Assassins, Sara trained and became the assassin known as the Canary, while Batwoman’s lethal Alice was born out of Beth’s battered mental state at the hands of Cartwright. Despite facing similar trauma to Alice, Sara turned away from the assassins to fight for Star City with Oliver, later becoming captain of the Legends of Tomorrow, which results in her being named one of the paragons instrumental in saving the universe in Crisis. While her motives may be suspect, Alice is showing signs of not being wholly turned to the dark side. She gave Mary what she needed to create an antidote to her bat toxin, and now has teamed up with Sophie to find her sister.
Both women have skated the fine line between anger and insanity. After her murder, orchestrated by Malcolm Merlyn on Arrow, the Arrowvere’s Sara Lance briefly lost her mind and was called insane after her resurrection in the Lazarus Pit. Alice’s mental state has been shaped by her torture and several symbolic deaths, from the van crash in season 1, and her Earth 1 doppelganger being assassinated while impersonating her.
The latest similarity between the two arcs is now emerging on Batwoman. While with the League of Assassins, Sara shared a deep love with Nyssa Al Guhl. Alice’s recent flashback is indicating that while she was with Safiyah, Alice too found a great love with the mysterious Ocean. Sara Lance’s redemption story is told so well it deserves repeating. Batwoman’s Alice is an ideal character for that task. While Sara became a true hero, it’s still too early in Alice’s journey to say she will become a hero. However, backed by significant comic book canon, there is a chance that Alice could become a version of noted comic anti-hero Red Alice.