“Trust me; this isn’t the story I expected to be telling.”
Though Arrowverse fans got a taste of Kate Kane in 2018’s “Elseworlds, Part 2” crossover event, that backdoor pilot didn’t get a chance to fully explore the character. This time around, she’s front and center as the brash, rule-breaking maverick that, thanks to circumstance, discovers that her purpose lies in taking the Bat-mantle that has been abandoned for the last several years.
In typical CW fashion, it begins with a voice over; Kate Kane, as she trains out on a frozen lake, expressing the surprise of the story she finds herself in. Estranged from Gotham and relegated to training so she can join the Crows, her father Jacob Kane’s (Dougray Scott, Mission: Impossible 2, Snatch, Hemlock Grove) private military company, Kate returns to her past when her stepsister Mary (Nicole Kang, You, Orange is the New Black) calls to tell her that, Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy, Teen Wolf, UnREAL), Kate’s ex, has been abducted.
The pilot doesn’t waste time establishing Kate’s own strife with her father when, after being bested Alice (Rachel Skarsten, Reign, Lost Girl), the story’s villain, she accuses him of not wanting her, the painful loss of her mother and sister Beth an open wound. Though they somewhat make amends when Jacob admits to his own selfishness and desire to see her safe, one hug and “I’m sorry” cannot wash away 15 years of resentment and slight, perceived or not. Their relationship will be one to watch and most definitely filled with ups and downs, especially considering his open dislike for Batman.
For those who know Kate Kane from the comics, her lesbian lifestyle is represented early on, with flashbacks of her and Sophie during their time at a military academy. Even showcasing a character sexuality not often seen in the genre world of comic book properties, the impediment between Kate and Sophie are just as familiar.
Donning the Batsuit, Kate rescues Sophie from the unhinged Alice (more on her later) and the intimacy they share (even though it’s just a glance) in the rescue is doused when Kate meets Sophie’s hubby Tyler. The awkwardness that follows is familiar, something most of us have experienced when running into an ex where feelings still remain and the split was somewhat messy. Though I didn’t quite like the chemistry between the two—the most tangible aspect of that was their eye contact after Kate swings in for the rescue. Still, a drama wouldn’t be complete without a bit of romantic strife. And yet, it’s the familiar discord that is the most captivating aspect of the Batwoman premiere.
Daddy issues seemingly put to the side, the big reveal comes at the end when Kate realizes Alice is her sister Beth. Legitimate threat aside, the extra umph of discovering the city’s biggest threat is your thought-to-be dead sister, and the tension writes itself. There are so many questions to Alice and her drive to show Gotham how much of a “bully” Jacob Kane and his Crows are; her motivations are still unknown but, if handled properly, Alice’s anger towards her father and her desire to win Kate over to her can be a powerful driving force in the two characters’ drive during this first season arc.
It’s only one episode but, like Titans, it seems as if the Batwoman trailer didn’t do the show any justice. As a pilot, the first episode did have a few stumbles and cringe-worthy lines (no need to rehash those) but Ruby Rose is a solid choice for the main role, her comfort in the premiere light years ahead of her at times stiffness during her Arrow appearance. If the series can keep to the smart writing and refrain from overdosing us with heavy-handed political commentary (I’m looking at you, Supergirl!) and instead trusting that viewers can suss out what’s being said, then Batwoman may become that suitable replacement for fans of Arrow who, after this season, will be missing the CW’s grittiest vigilante hero.
From the Journal of Kate Kane
- Even with the overall positives of the show, the premise itself is absurd. Batman abandoning Gotham? Unless the writers give us a genuinely good reason behind this—could it have anything to do with the upcoming Crisis crossover?—that’s a complete misunderstanding of his character. I understand that WB refuses to allow him on the CW but how much better would it have been for him to anoint her as worthy of the mantle than her basically taking squatter’s rights?
- One of my biggest issues with the CW is their incessant need to have the sidekick character as comic relief. Whether it’s Felicity, Curtis, Cisco, or Winn, the tech geeks are too often used for a laugh (Side note: Cisco works oh so well in that role as did Felicity. Curtis/Mr. Terrific? I won’t even comment on that character assassination). My hope is that Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson, Luke Cage, The Sun is Also a Star) is used more as a Caitlin Frost; serious but with moments of levity thrown in. There’s a chance to do something unique with Luke Fox and not just make him a CW tech sidekick retread.