TV Review: Batwoman S1E1 Pilot

Batwoman

Kate Kane returns to Gotham when a gang targets her father and her ex-girlfriend Sophie Moore. Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, is gone and Gotham is facing increasing lawlessness. That’s the base of Batwoman, the latest entry into The CW‘s DCTV.

Ruby Rose suits up in the iconic role, donning the cape as Batwoman. Much speculation and nervousness has surrounded the show. Batwoman has become both an LGBTQ+ icon but also one of the few Jewish characters in comics. How much the show would lean into the many aspects of the character remained a mystery but the show has no problem in putting at least some of her out there.

At the center of Kate’s return is trying to save her ex-girlfriend. A woman she was expelled from the military due to “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” It’s an aspect of the comic character that was forward for its time and still has an impact today. The acknowledgment is there and it’s an important part of this version’s history.

Also present is the strife with her father Colonel Jacob Kane played by Dougray Scott. His history is teased but not quite as clear as to how closely it aligns with that of the comic counterpart. Where the show takes this relationship may become key as even in this first episode it’s a bit by the books and breaks little new ground.

Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox is her tech guy and he too adds little for emotional depth. His role is one we’ve seen on every CW show.

What is interesting is Kate falling into the role of Batwoman. Her discovery of her cousin’s secret identity falls short in a cold emotional scene. Sadly it comes off as too distant and doesn’t resonate. It highlights Rose’s flat performance. It works well for the military aspects of the character but beyond that, it borderlines unlikeable. This isn’t a character I want to route for beyond stopping the bad guys. The fun we see in the other DC based CW shows isn’t present.

The show picks up slightly as Kate dons the cape but that’s mostly due to Rachel Skarsten‘s Alice. As a villain, she brings a certain flair to an otherwise cold and unemotional show. She has a Joker like quality enhanced due to the seriousness and blandness of everyone else involved. Unfortunately, the reveal of the character is delivered too soon in the series and again lacks an emotional punch.

As a debut, the pilot for Batwoman has potential but falls short of the fun or excitement of previous CW DC shows. Its different tone may be the cause of that as it’s so different from the rest. The show’s last ten minutes is where the potential is as we learn more about Sophie and we see the result of the return of “Batman” around Gotham. The show has the fundamentals but it takes too much of Gotham’s dour tone to heart. Even Batman, and Batwoman, can enjoy themselves.

Overall Rating: 7.0