WARNING! THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM EPISODE 1 OF SEASON 2 OF BATWOMAN
It seems like so long ago that Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane was introduced to The CW’s Arrowverse via the massive crossover event, Crisis on Infinite Earths. Now fast forward to January of 2021, the second season of Batwoman taking a different direction. This of course is due to the departure of Rose from the series that took everyone by surprise. Now this season enters the lovely and talented Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder. She will be taking on the mantel as Gothan City’s new Batwoman.
The first episode of season two of Batwoman is titled, Whatever Happened to Kate Kane? This officially kicks off this season’s offerings of DC programming on The CW that will of course be missing Arrow. But introducing us to Superman and Lois. Batwoman itself feels like a new series as it had to change its lead actress. I was very curious to see if they would once again rush Ryan into the now once again vacant Batsuit as they did with Kate in the first season. My complaint of the first season was that I didn’t feel like they gave Kate enough time to develop before becoming Batwoman. But enough about season one, let’s talk about what we saw last night!
Whatever Happened to Kate Kane?
Ryan Wilder was quickly introduced as someone who never really is able to catch a break. Life has been very hard for her. Throughout the episode, we learn that her birth mother died during childbirth. Her dad was absent from her life. This meant that she was raised in the system, where like in so many tales, she got into trouble. That all changed when she got adopted and was able to make a better life for herself. When she and her mom moved into a new apartment, they were attacked by squatters that we learn were under the command of Alice. The brutal beatdown resulted in the death of her mother. She was then convicted for drug possession and sent to jail. Upon her release, she is unable to find work due to her record. This is why we find her presently living in a van.
Here is where our new Batwoman story starts. A place from National City has crashed near where she is parked. She rushes over and is able to help an elderly man with CPR. Then something catches her eye, it’s Batwoman’s suit. Which she takes and decides that she is going to use it to avenge the death of her mother. Meanwhile, Mary and Luke are desperately trying to contact Kate about the plane crash but have no luck getting a hold of her. They are soon able to connect the dots and realize that Kate was on the plane that crash-landed. Their grief is interrupted by the surprise return of Bruce Wayne. Who we know from the end of the first season, is Thomas Elliot with a face provided by Alice to acquire kryptonite for her to penetrate the Batsuit.
Ryan was very quick to put on the batsuit and start her campaign of vengeance. In her first encounter, she is obviously very shakey and realizes that she may have bitten off more than she can handle. At this time, she also activates a homing beacon that Luke and Mary use to track her in the sewers. After trying to reason with her, she grapples hooks away.
The episode culminates with the group talking with Julia Pennyworth. They are able to come to the conclusion that it’s Thomas Elliot and not Bruce Wayne. But it may be too late as Luke has already revealed the Batcave to him. As they rush back they realize that he has stolen the Batmobile, which Luke didn’t even realize was there. Thomas was going to track down the Batwoman to take the Batsuit from her. What makes him even more dangerous is that he is in possession of the kryptonite. He shoots her but the bullet doesn’t go all the way through her allowing her to mount an offensive and taking him down.
The episodes also has a conversation between Alice and Jacob Kane. Revolving about Kate’s disappearance and her connection to Batwoman. Also, we see Meagan Tandy receive a letter from Kate where she expresses her love to her as well as her identity as Batwoman. Alice is also upset as she was not the one to take down Kate. At the end of the episode, she receives a note where Safiyah claims responsibility for bringing the plane down. Alice is now excited about the fact that she has a new purpose.
Overall, I thought it was a great episode. It must have been quite a headache for the writer’s team to have to pivot to a new character after crafting a story for Kate Kane. For a season we had invested in a mess of Kate’s family which included her dad and her sisters. I believe that there was more to the Thomas Elliot story that had to be cut short. I would have loved to have seen him in a more methodical role this season. For what they had to work with, they put out a great first episode.
One thing I must note is how quickly I have become invested in Leslie’s Ryan Wilder over Kate Kane. Is this a shot at Kate Kane? Or praise to Ryan Wilder? Or maybe both? I appreciated the fact that she returned the Batsuit because she recognized the responsibility. Meaning that we will get more time to get to know Ryan before she officially becomes Batwoman.
One thing that is interesting is the fact that bugs me a little is the fact that the new Batwoman came from. If she wasn’t a woman of color would they have used this background? Why couldn’t she also have come from wealth like the Waynes and the Kanes? It just seems like too often we have to see heroes that aren’t white have to rise above stereotypical backgrounds that send the wrong message about where a lot of us come from. Batman and Batwoman were rich and still had trauma and it could also work with other characters no matter where they are from.
I am excited to see this second season develop! Also looking forward to seeing more of the Batmobile in the series. While not a masterpiece it was a great episode to kick off a new direction for not only Batwoman but the Arrowverse.
OVERALL GRADE: B
What did you think of The CW’s second season premiere of Batwoman? Let us know in the comment section below!
The CW’s Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 8|7c only on The CW.