REVIEW: Batwoman 02×01 – Kate *WHO?!*

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No longer hatewatching Batwoman

A couple of weeks ago, I outlined what I was most excited and concerned about in Season 2 of Batwoman. I am happy to report that those concerns were immediately allayed in the first episode of Batwoman’s sophomore season. Javicia Leslie was absolutely the right casting move. Amazing how much a show can change when there isn’t tension with the lead.

That headline isn’t flippant, by the way. There are a lot of ways I, as a lesbian Jewish redheaded twin who is a native New Yorker, relate to Kate Kane. But I also never thought Ruby Rose was right for the part. I now have a lot more role models in 2021 than I did in 2011: I’m thrilled for the young queer black girls who can look to Batwoman and see themselves in her.

If the writing team can keep up their energy (a big if for a CW show), season 2 is looking like it’ll be the Batwoman we were always meant to have.

Synopsis (Spoilers Below!)

I mean…does anyone watch this show for the plot?

For me, the characters have always been stronger than the storyline, though it’s exciting to see when and how they bring in elements from the comics.

Those elements are coming in fast and hot! Other than Alice, comic-Kate’s only real adversary was the mysterious assassin Safiyah. If you haven’t read the comics yet, I’ll give you a hint: keep an eye out for roses. Julia Pennyworth wears a t-shirt with a rose, a departure from the comic and an interesting hint.

But let’s rewind: Ryan, in her camper, is awoken by a plane crash right outsider her door. She finds the intact Batwoman suit in the wreckage, but not Kate herself. She takes the suit for a spin, having her own reasons to bash some gangster skulls. We learn that she’s got the worst probation officer ever, and that she was framed for drug possession by one of Gotham’s many gangs.

Luke (Camrus Johnson) and Mary (Nicole Kang) in the CW's Batwoman
Courtesy of The CW

Luke (Camrus Johnson) and Mary (Nicole Kang), seeing the suit activated, hope to find Kate, who had gone to National City to ask Kara to destroy her little nugget of kryptonite. Instead, they find someone who’s the opposite of Kate. Mary doesn’t take the news well — it makes sense; she just lost her mom and learned how terrible her step-dad is.

Meanwhile, “Bruce” returns to the Bat Cave to help look for Kate — remember, he’s actually Bruce’s Jared Kushner wannabe friend wearing…a face. In his grief, Luke lets him right into the Bat Cave without any suspicions of his friend seeming out of sick. Julia Pennyworth, of course, figures it out right away.

Alice (Rachel Skarsten) confronts "Bruce Wayne" (Warren Christie) in the CW's Batwoman
Courtesy of The CW

As for Alice (Rachel Skarsten), she’s in mourning for her lost sister. She rants about her foiled scheme to “Bruce,” which I realized was going to be the plot for the first four episodes of the season. Oops. Anyway, she’s extra unhinged now and, we learn towards the end of the episode, directly responsible for the death of Ryan’s foster mother.

By the end of the episode, the disparate threads come together: Sophie and Julia’s budding relationship is thrown into question by a love letter from Kate; Alice’s new murderous mission is to off Safiyah, for getting to Kate before she could; Luke and Mary want Ryan in the suit; “Bruce” is offed and sent back to Arkham; Jacob has to live with the guilt of spurning Kate’s choice to be Batwoman; and Ryan is poisoned by the kryptonite nugget, even though she’s human???

Bat-Thoughts

  • At least for this episode, the writers have done away with baroque plots and twists for the sake of having twists. If they can fight their worst impulses, we’ll be in for a much better ride.
  • There’s a particularly moving montage in the middle of the episode where Mary cyberstalks Ryan and Ryan reads Kate’s obituary aloud. Ryan finds a grudging respect for Kate, and Mary realizes Ryan is in fact the hero they need.
  • On top of that, Ryan delivers a powerful monologue about being the face of dozens of statistics that directly impact black woman. On the one hand, it’s ham-fisted. On the other hand, it gave me chills.
  • I’m sad that Bruce didn’t last longer; Warren Christie was the best Bruce I’ve seen in a long time.
  • The Batmobile gave me Feelings and I’m not even interested in cars!
The Batmobile in the CW's Batwoman
Courtesy of the CW
  • Ryan is having FUN, and that’s what was missing from Ruby Rose’s morose Kate. (Not entirely her fault, given her painkiller regimen, but still her fault.)
  • Most importantly: this show is no longer our weekly hatewatch!

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