The DC Universe on TV burst out with Arrow, added Flash, added DC Legends of Tomorrow, added Supergirl, added Black Lightning, and this season has gone full series for Batwoman. And, while Arrow is ending, a “birds of prey” by another name is set to spin off too. Since I like superhero shows and the tropes they follow, I tend to watch all of them. I’m not a equal fan of all of them, but I enjoy them. Arrow used to be dark, and I liked the difference. Flash is white innocence, as is Supergirl, while DC Legends is quirky and irreverent. I like Black Lightning probably least of all, as it seems more campy as they figure out their powers — less super hero than people with fun tech or mutants with glitz. Anyway. I love the Bat, so I was definitely going to be all in for Batwoman. Heck, I even watched Gotham and have burned through Season 1 of Pennyworth.
Yet, I’m not steeped in Batman lore. I have no idea all the different versions, nor the various links with Robin incarnations, and no idea why “Batman has left Gotham” three years ago as the story opens. But Kate Kane is his cousin (cute, huh? kind of like Kara and Clark) and while she didn’t know that Bruce was Batman, she loved him and hated Batman after Batman failed to save her and her family after a bus crash from the Joker (he thought he had saved them until the car materials gave way and the car fell).
Anyway, Kate is a badass who has been training to be a super private soldier in her father’s company, training all over the world kind of like the Dark Knight backstory (in the Christian Bale version of the Bat). She returns to Gotham, discovers Bruce’s lair, puts on the suit to protect the city and her family. A lot happens in the first episode, and overall it’s great.
Ruby Rose plays Kane, and other than other EPs of the DC shows, the only thing I had seen her in was Dark Matter where she played a kickass android. She was awesome in that EP, but it is her presence that defines her performance. She owns almost every scenes she’s in. I confess I was less impressed in a scene where she’s strung up and talking to Alice, the villain, and she didn’t look awesome in the first view of her in the suit when she’s not fighting. It seems awkward to me.
The villain, Alice, is played by Rachel Skarsten and I am a little embarrassed when it comes to her. Every time I see her, I can’t place her. AT ALL. Which makes no sense. I really only had a reason to pay attention when she played Tamsin on Lost Girl. She was fantastic, loved her and loved her various episodes. I went back and binged Birds of Prey at one point, and didn’t recognize her. Sure she was ten years younger, but still. She was also in The Listener, didn’t recognize her. Republic of Doyle, nope, no clue. Wynonna Earp, no clue. And here as Alice? Nope, couldn’t place her. Sigh. I generally love her, and while I even like her fight scenes, the fight scene here with Batwoman wasn’t that great. And it was no surprise ** spoiler alert ** to find out that she was Kane’s supposedly dead sister, as soon as they said they never found her body. They held that detail back or it would have been WAY too obvious upfront. Meh.
There are a bunch of other roles buried in there:
- Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox, aka Alfred to her Batwoman;
- Elizabeth Anweis as a flaky step mom;
- Nicole Kang as a weird, completely inconsistent step-sister — one minute flighty, one minute suburban underground clinic doctor; and,
- Meagan Tandy as a previous GF of Kane’s.
None of them are really worth writing about, but they were all fine. The only real other role in the pilot is that of Kane’s father, played by Dougray Scott. I don’t recognize him, although there’s a cute in-joke in the opener that his character is showing Zorro in the park, and Scott played in the Zorro TV series back in the day. Most of the episode, he seemed like a low-rent Russell Crowe wannabe, but he’s okay. Nothing great. If he turns out to be an evil Doc Ock-like turncoat, that will work probably just as well.
Will I watch? Yes. That was a given. Was it great? For the genre, sure. Will I predict renewal? Of course, it’s the CW and all the DC shows get renewed.