Jessie Robertson reviews the premiere episode of Batwoman…
In our premiere episode of Batwoman, we are introduced to Kate Kane, distant (but close) relative of Bruce Wayne and the Wayne family. We find her training in the Arctic, being locked in feet cuffs and dropped in the freezing cold water, only to have to escape by an Intuit mentor. When news reaches her of a past flame in danger in Gotham City, Kate knows it’s time to come back home.
I find there’s been a lot of chatter about the abilities of star Ruby Rose to pull this show off but in her first outing, there is life there. Some of the dialogue ls a bit wooden but you believe what this character stands for as you get snippets of her backstory. Her mother and sister died when she was young, in a tragic car accident (that Batman thought he prevented) and Kate was booted from military academy when she was found kissing another cadet, a female cadet. Kate (through Ruby) embodies a strong lesbian character who is not defined by her sexuality but instead, defined by her drive and unwillingness to do what people want her to do.
Upon her return to Gotham, we’re introduced to the city’s infrastructure for the show: it’s mainly policed by her father’s Crows security force, made up of past Seals and Green Berets with Batman being gone for the past 3 years. Looking for clues of Sophie’s disappearance, she goes to the only place she knows in Gotham: Wayne Tower. Upon meeting who is sure to be the tech guy for her CW Superhero team, Luke Fox (obviously son to Lucius) she not only stumbles upon clues, but when returning she finds the Batcave in both a slick nod to Batman lore (the pearl necklace his mother wore the night she was killed) but also a very convenient story point from her past that allows her to locate the Batcave. For the show’s purposes, I quite like the look of the cave. It’s not massive, as you usually get (no Batmobile housed here) but just big enough for a crew of 1 or 2.
Our first villain is Alice, a quirky but not strange over the top villain one might expect that resembles a type of Wonderland gang, with thugs adorning various animal masks from Lewis Carroll’s classic story. One can’t help but think of the Mad Hatter when seeing her especially when inside their orphanage lair with “Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat” scrawled on the wall and various head mannequins around. Alice is very serviceable (played by Rachel Skarston) but once you see the ending of the episode, you sort of get why they didn’t get too over the top right out of the gate.
If there are two things these CW shows are known for is action and the love interests. On both fronts, I’m on board after “Pilot.” Kate’s fighting style is rough, and doesn’t look too choreographed like Arrow’s; it’s a bit brutal actually and I like that. It will only be a bit of time before any show romances get kicked up but so far, Sophie is a strong character who’s had to make difficult choices and I think it’s a fresh look for one of these shows. Gotham City is not as dark as I would have thought though: it feels like Star City’s more affluent uncle rather than the pit of grime and crime we most know it to be.
Rating: 7/10 – This wasn’t a homerun pilot episode like The Flash but it also didn’t throw everything it had at you on it’s first up to bat. Ruby Rose looks poised to give us raw action and sex appeal and possibly some cheesy drama to boot.