Mild Spoilers ahead.
Batwoman has become a drastically different show than what was aired in 2019. After the announcement of Ruby Rose departing the show last year the fate of the show was left up in the air. And then, the CW announced a brand new character taking up the mantle of the Batwoman. But, before we get into that let us get into the nitty gritty of the first season.
Believe it or not, I desperately wanted to like this show. Having been a Batman/DC COMICS fanatic since birth I have watched every single show based upon their characters (yes, even the pilot of Aquaman and the forgotten Birds of Prey show). With the massive success of the Arrowverse on the CW it was inevitable that Batman would show up, He’s even been name dropped by Oliver Queen. But, when it was announced that instead of a Batman show we were getting a Batwoman show I was stoke. Literally, I was beyond excited. Kate Kane, in the comics that is, is such a complex character who has gone through so many extraordinary things and has given such beautiful representation for the LGBT+ community in the medium.
Her first appearance was in the “Elseworlds” crossover event in 2018 and it was met with generally positive reviews. Ruby Rose (although isn’t that strong of an actor and it shows) was a great choice for Kate Kane especially as an out lesbian in the real world.
But here is where the problems began. When the first trailer for the series released it became one of the most disliked videos on Youtube. Why was this? Well, in the first trailer we see Kate Kane break into the Batcave and she sees the Batsuit. Then, Luke Fox (the son of Lucius Fox who becomes Batwing in the comics) tells her that “the suit is literal perfection” to which she responds “it will be… when it fits a woman.”
This was the moment that the series screeches to a halt. In the comics, Kate Kane worked her ass off to become Batwoman. She made her own suit, learned the code of the Bat Family, and eventually EARNED Batman’s respect. This is vital to her character and her arc in the comics from an alcoholic, revengeful vigilante to a hero.
In Batwoman, this isn’t the case at all. She is given or takes everything to become the hero that Gotham needs. Bruce’s reputation as a kind, billionaire who looks out for Gotham, taken. The Batcave? Taken. The Bat Suit? Stolen and altered. Kate doesn’t earn or learn what it means to be Batwoman. She even states “I’m not about to let a man take credit for a woman’s work.”
Now, before you say to yourself “well Zack, what if it was the other way around?” And let me tell you, I’d feel the same way. Everyone, regardless of sex, gender, orientation, etc, needs to EARN this heroic journey. Batman? Trained his entire life to fight crime. Padme from Star Wars was the QUEEN and not only was she the queen but she was a bad ass who stood next to Jedi in wars due to her bravery, skill, and internal strength. Ashoka Tano, again from Star Wars, trained her entire childhood to become one of the best Jedi in the entire galaxy.
To get attached to a hero we need to learn their faults. We need to see them struggle, to fail time and time again. Through their failures and determination we get invested and they EARN their place in the pantheons of heroes.
But, enough with the essay on being a hero.
The show itself is a mixed bag. How it looks and feels is pretty standard. The production and costumes are actually pretty great, if not the best of the Arrowverse (up until Superman and Lois because Clark looks 10/10).
We are introduced to a fairly great narrative about a missing twin who returns to Gotham as Alice. She is determined to get revenge on Kate and their father for giving up on finding her. Is it groundbreaking? Absolutely not, but it is a good introduction to our characters. Throughout the season I kept thinking to myself that the plot would be great if we were given better writer.
Instead, after great sequences and plot lines are we given low level soup operas. Its feelings in hallways, feelings in offices, feelings while fighting. All we hear is how everyone feels and it gets exhausting. Show us this, show us how they feel. But they can’t because as an actor Ruby Rose is not capable of this.
It’s disappointing that a show that has the potential to become a great feminist icon that BOTH men and woman can love falters too low. Kate Kane is an amazing character that deserves more than what this show is willing or even capable to give.