Batwoman is the latest ‘superhero’ show to join the CW’s growing roster, which started with Arrow back in 2012, and has since expanded into a multiverse of shows which include The Flash (2014), Supergirl (2015) and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (2016).
Batwoman was first introduced to us during the Elseworlds crossover event in 2018, which saw Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) travel to Gotham city, only to be met by a mysterious figure dressed in a costume not too dissimilar to the famous Batman. However, the group soon realised that this character had flowing red hair attached to the costume, and so we were given our first look at the mysterious Batwoman!
Ruby Rose takes on the titular role in this series as Kate Kane, a young cousin to billionaire Bruce Wayne. Bruce seems to have disappeared from Gotham for some time, along with Batman. Enough time that people feel the need to forget about him, and switch of the famous Bat-signal.
As the episode begins we get a glimpse at the type of intense training that Kate is going through to become the badass she is, with a dive into freezing cold waters, whilst handcuffed at the feet, with the key located somewhere at the bottom of the frozen lake. As the scene progresses we learn a little bit more about Kate’s past, which drives her focus and determination to succeed in this scenario. Throughout the episode we learn more about Kate’s past involving tragedy, love, heartbreak, and deceit, all of which have made her a stronger person that we see in the main timeline of the story.
Other cast members in this episode include Meagan Tandy as Sophie Moore, Kate’s ex-girlfriend from their days in military training, and whilst Kate stills holds strong feelings for her, it seems the feeling is not mutual anymore. Dougray Scott brings us Colonel Jacob Kane, father of Kate Kane and the commander of the security team known as The Crows. Nicole Kang portrayes a charming and somewhat humorous character known as Mary Hamilton who is Kate’s step sister after Colonel Jacob Kane married Catherine Hamilton (now named Catherine Hamilton-Kane) portrayed by Elizabeth Anweis.
The stand out cast & characters of the show were the three we will most likely see the most of, with the obvious one being Ruby Rose as Batwoman. Rose, brings a brilliantly determined vibe to the role as someone who portrays a tough visage but inside is just as fragile as the rest of us, which will make for some great drama and character development as this show continues it’s journey throughout the season (and hopefully more to come). As Kate Kane, she’s rebellious & fun, but with a lot of troubled emotions towards the people around her due to her past, which has seen her hurt and heartbroken more than once.
As Batwoman, she becomes a focused force for good, who wants to remind the people of Gotham that there is still someone out there protecting them, but mostly to remind the villains that there is something they should be afraid of, but in this pilot episode, they all still believe it’s Batman.
Rachel Skarsten, known to some DC fans for her portrayal of Dinah Lance in the short lived 2002-2003 series Birds of Prey, has returned to DC television as a villain rather than a hero. In Batwoman, Skarsten portrays a menacingly maniacal Alice, along with her wonderland themed goons, to help her wreak havoc on Gotham. Skarsten’s portrayal is entertaining, if not a little creepy, which brings the character to life and really makes you curioser and curioser about what her plans are. Her weapon of choice seems to be knives, which will pose a real threat to anyone who gets in her way, but what will make this threat more interesting, is that the use of a knife will make the threats slower and more personal. When villains use guns, they’re usually quick to the point but knives represent a character that wants to really hurt somebody, which will make the journey of this series, one that will keep us on the edge of our seats.
Of course for many Batman fans, we know that there couldn’t really be a Batman, or character similar to him, without the help of his Wayne Tech genius, and friend Lucius Fox. Well, this isn’t Batman, and Lucius Fox isn’t around either (or at least there’s been no mention of him in the episode) and so that character is replaced by Camrus Johnson who plays none other than Lucius Fox’s son Luke Fox. Now, whilst this may sound like the writers are simply trying to make a Batman show and replace the characters with relatives, this character choice makes a lot of sense. Who else could know about Wayne’s big secret, and who else could develop the gear that someone wanting to take on the mantle of the vigilante, would need. Johnson portrays a funny and charming character that reminds me somewhat of Echo Kellum’s character Kurtis Holt in Arrow, when we first meet him. He’s nervous, somewhat intimidated by the other characters, and brings a lighthearted humour to an otherwise dark tone of the show. I know that this character will be a pleasure to watch in the episodes to come, and will help ease some of the darker moments of the series, along with some character development to become an independent genius, stepping out of the shadow of his father and into his own.
The score for the show sees the return of Blake Neely who has composed the music for all of the Arrowverse shows, and for this episode at least, with possibly more episodes to come, he is joined by composer Sherri Chung who has composed music for the show Riverdale (2017), as well as working with Neely on various episodes of the CW Arrowverse, including crossover events such as Crisis on Earth-X and the more recent Elseworlds crossover which saw the introduction of Batwoman as previously mentioned above.
My only issue with the episode, and possibly future episodes should they continue to use this method, is the narration. Throughout all of the CW Arrowverse shows, there has always been this constant narration in the beginning and finale of the episodes, and after a while you get used to it. In this show, it feels like they’re using it more, as it appears in the middle of the episode during a big reveal to Kate as she discovers Bruce Wayne, her own cousin, is Batman. Whilst I have no issue with what the narration gives us, I feel like the episode could do without it. It feels like we are being spoon fed information when really we should be seeing this through the portrayals. Obviously Kate is shocked to discover that Bruce is Batman, and we have already seen a big part of her history with him, so the narration that tells us “The Bruce I knew had a million secrets, and now I know why they were kept from me”, could have easily been put in as actual dialogue between Kate and Luke, but instead we’re given this narration over the scene that I guess is suppose to make us feel as though we are in the mind of Kate Kane, but in reality, it just feels uneccesary. Other than that however, I have no issue with this episode or it’s production.
Overall the pilot was a great start to the series, and I personally cannot wait to see these characters evolve, as more villains are introduced in later episodes, no matter how minor their role is in the overall plot. The cast have all given a strong performance to their characters first appearance, meaning that it can surely only get better. The sets look fantastic and really give the audience the vibe of Gotham City that we’ve seen in the comics. The score is fantastic and feels very much like a Bat-themed hero show should. This pilot gets a 4/5 from me.
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