The CW’s ‘Batwoman’ Knows What It’s Doing and Does it Well – Review
Think you’re tired of superhero adaptations? Think you’ve seen it all? You’re wrong. Check out Batwoman. The CW Arrowverse show twists the classic superhero tropes to make for a deliciously promising tale of a young woman struggling to find her path. It’s relatable until she just ultimately chooses vigilantism instead of community college.
Set before the Elseworlds crossover from last year, the pilot follows Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) as she returns to Gotham. For three years, the city has been without a Batman, causing crime rates to rise. Kate’s father, Jacob (Dougray Scott), fills in for the caped crusader by creating The Crows, an elite group of ex-military people designed to fight crime and make Gotham safer. This seems a bit too close to martial law for comfort, but its outright intentions seem genuinely good. Still, any reasonable person can’t help but think there’s something off about the whole organization. However, Alice seems to be this season’s main villain, wreaking havoc and killing innocent people from the get-go. With Alice and Crow already in action, we wait for Kate to join the chaos that is Gotham.
Batwoman may wear strictly red and black only, but her show proudly showcases every color on the rainbow. The literal colors are ugly together on paper, but their figurative counterparts work so beautifully on TV. The show positively represents women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. It’s riddled with strong women beyond Kate. Sophie (Meagan Tandy), Kate’s ex-girlfirend, is a fierce Black Crow agent that demands respect and Mary (Nicole Kang), Kate’s stepsister, is an Asian-American one-percenter that proves to be more than just a superficial pretty face. Stesiblings and ex’s normally don’t get the best treatment, but they’re written with heart and competence. It’d be foolish to brush them off as mere supporting characters. As a break from the plethora of heterosexual superheroes, Batwoman is a fresh of breath air with Kate’s sexuality and relationship with Sophie taking center stage.
True to Arrowverse fashion, director Marcos Siega gives us flashbacks of the couple doing cute couple things while struggling to fit in their heteronormative environment. Not only does this further shed light on how the LGBTQ+ is too often discriminated against, but it also shows that the relationship isn’t forced for the sake of diversity. It’s just as sincere and natural as any other relationship.
It’s undoubtedly hard to make a superhero show seem unique, especially when the main character is based off an iconic hero. However, the show cleverly doesn’t shy away from that. It knows Kate Kane/Batwoman was inspired by her cousin, Bruce Wayne/Batman, and leans into it. Focusing on their familial relationship, the show is more invested in Bruce than his brooding alter ego. Kate’s father says to her, “You’re like a female Bruce Wayne. But unlike him, you actually have a shot of making something of your life.” Writer Caroline Dries appropriately places nods to Bruce like this in the dialogue, automatically giving Kate big shoes to fill in. It gives her origin story poetic justice; her journey begins with his journey ending.
I don’t think we’ll see Batman outside of the flashbacks—we certainly won’t see him unmasked—but I prefer it that way. It adds to the famous mystic of Batman in Gotham, but Batman’s been on screen enough times. Audiences already know about the guy, it is time to get to know someone else.
In the past, I always got Kate Kane confused with Cassandra Cain a.k.a. Batgirl. Why would DC decide to have two members of the Bat Family have homophonic last names? That’s beyond me. But from the bits and pieces I’ve gathered about Batwoman from comics and cartoons, I knew that Kate Kane was a badass vigilante with really good sense of style. So far, the show remains true to that, and promises more.
If you’re something different and a healthy dose of TV-14 action, Batwoman is just the thing you need. You can check it out on the CW app, just make sure you watch it before the next episode, “The Rabbit Hole”, premieres next Sunday, October 13 at 8/7c! I recommend watching the Elsewords crossover on Netflix first, but it’s not absolutely necessary to understand what’s going on.
Have you already Batwoman? What did you think? Let me know in the comments down below!
Nothing but love.