Batwoman “Pilot” – Episode Review

Sunday night, Oct 6, saw the debut of Batwoman, the latest entry into producer Greg Berlanti’s Arrowverse. There’s been a lot of hope for this series, especially among those excited to see a LGBTQ superhero television show with a LGBT lead. However, now that it has delivered, is it any good?

Before we find out, I need to warn you that spoilers follow here.

Source: DC Comics (altered)

The Listing

Source: CW (Instagram)

Written by Caroline Dries
Directed by Marcos Siega
Original airdate 10/6/2019.

Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) never planned to be Gotham’s new vigilante. Gotham is a city in despair, the Gotham City Police Department have been overrun and outgunned by criminal gangs. Enter Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) and his military-grade Crows Private Security, which now protects the city with omnipresent firepower and militia. Years before, Jacob’s first wife and daughter were killed in the crossfire of Gotham crime. He sent his only surviving daughter, Kate Kane, away from Gotham for her safety. After a dishonorable discharge from military school and years of brutal survival training, Kate returns home when the Alice in Wonderland gang targets her father and his security firm by kidnapping his best Crow officer – and Kate’s ex-girlfriend – Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy). Although remarried to wealthy socialite Catherine Hamilton-Kane (Elizabeth Anweis), who bankrolls the Crows, Jacob is still struggling with the family he lost, while keeping Kate — the daughter he still has — at a distance. But Kate is a woman who’s done asking for permission. In order to help her family and her city, she’ll have to become the one thing her father loathes — a vigilante. With the help of her compassionate stepsister, Mary (Nicole Kang), and the crafty Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson), the son of Wayne Enterprises’ tech guru Lucius Fox, Kate Kane continues the legacy of her missing cousin, Bruce Wayne, as Batwoman. Still holding a flame for Sophie, Kate uses everything in her power to combat the dark machinations of the psychotic Alice (Rachel Skarsten), who’s always somewhere slipping between sane and insane. Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate soars through the shadowed streets of Gotham as Batwoman. 

Is It Any Good?

In a nutshell, yes. It is definitely an origin story. It stays pretty close to the roots of the comics, with a few exceptions. The story does rely on the absence of Batman, yet doesn’t shy away from using his legacy. We see Kate’s Batcave for the first time, and it is an excellent introduction, complete with a swarm of bats.

After she reveals herself to Gotham, there is speculation that Batman has returned. After all, she is using a modified Batman suit. Her father mentions that a few would-be Batman have tried to take up the mantle, but ended up getting themselves killed. I like this little nod, as it makes sense that someone would try to give Gotham a new Batman.

Alice is a good Joker for Batwoman, but I’ve always questioned her being Kate’s lost sister. Here it does give a reason for Alice to target Jacob Kane’s security service. Knowing that Kate is back in Gotham, but not Batwoman, gives an interesting dynamic. It’s one that I hope lasts. 

What About The LGBTQ Element?

My first instinct is what about it? I don’t think it’s an element that should come up every episode. I don’t recall it being an issue in the character’s debut during Elseworlds. However, it is an aspect of the character that shouldn’t be ignored. Doing so is a disservice to the character and to the fans that are drawn to it precisely because of the LGBTQ representation.

I like that Kate’s prior love interest is still closeted. Even after leaving the military, it’s an issue for her. There might be an element of hurting those close to her. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kate try to intentionally push her away. This would also allow there to be more LGBTQ representation on the show. I’m inclined to make it a point to not bring this element up. in future reviews.

So, Overall…

The show is very good, and this episode is a good start. I’m glad that we didn’t get a 2 hour “movie” that carried through and got us to the point of the red and black costume. It does look like the next few episodes will feature Alice as the protagonist and have Gotham believing that Kate is Batman. One element that I don’t want to see is that there would suddenly be a team helping Kate. I’d rather it stick to just Luke Fox. I also want some more Batman villains to show up, like Magpie, who has been promised due to the casting of Rachel Matthews in Episode 4. (source)

Final rating: 7.0 (out of 10)