Nuclear Family banner ad

Review/Recap: Batwoman S2E1 “What Happened to Kate Kane”

What Happened to Kate Kane

The first season of Batwoman ended on an unintentional cliffhanger after the season was cut short due to COVID-19 but, considering Ruby Rose’s departure from the show the shortened season might have given the writers and creative team some time to formulate a well thought out, equally compelling changing of the guard for the Batwoman lore. There’s a lot of pressure on Batwoman S2E1 “What Happened to Kate Kane” from the behind the scenes drama that ended the last season.

When things ended Alice had murdered her partner in crime Mouse and given Batman’s rival, Tommy, his face so that he could steal the kryptonite from Kate. Kate was still reeling, and healing mentally and physically, from a double-cross from her father who didn’t know she was in the suit. The betrayal still stung just as bad.

Things were getting really good towards the end of the first season. Between the familial and romantic drama, the action, and the LGBTQ+ representation all signs pointed to a killer season two with loads of goodies and unresolved drama to keep the show going. With the cast change and the familial bonds no longer a part of the story, most of us viewers wondered if those loose ends from the first season would get sorted out, what was going to be the bond that held everyone together or ripped them apart and what would Alice do now that she’s killed her soulmate Mouse all for a shot at revenge only to have the object of her revenge ripped away before she could kill her herself.

Goodbye, Kate: If the opening minutes of “What Happened to Kate Kane” is any indication, Kate is, in fact, dead even with the hint that she could return. Her plane from National City went down in flames and her suit has found a new owner. While there’s hope that Kate is still alive there’s a greater chance that she’s gone for good.

There’s Something About Mary: Mary is not handling losing yet another family member and is understandably starting to crumble under the weight of the pain, guilt and trauma. After her initial run in with Ryan and the subsequent voluntary return of the suit, Mary seems to be okay letting Ryan rock the suit so that some version of Kate is still around but, I’m a little concerned about the emotional fall out that’s likely to happen to her after feelings settle. Mary doing her due diligence to track down the suit realizes that she wants it to go after Alice and do the one thing that Kate couldn’t and in the process give her the vengeance that she wants as well since Alice killed her mom too.

The New Batwoman: Ryan Wilder finds Kate’s bat costume in the wreckage after failing to save a homeless man caught in the path of the crash. We get some insight into who Ryan is and the struggles that she’s going through, like losing her home and living in her car, or not being able to get a job because she can’t get a house because she is a convict, even if she was innocent. When Ryan decides to put on the suit to get a little revenge on the people who brutally beat her and got her sent to prison she realizes that putting on the cape with no understanding of the weaponry might not have been the best idea even if it was fun. Luckily, Ryan gets a second chance to do good and a place to live when she returns the bat suit. She’s just as badass as Kate was and she’s just different enough that she can fill the hole in the show while starting her own mythology.

Bad Bruce: When season one ended Alice had given Tommy her cousin Bruce’s face, since he had been missing for four years, no one questions his return when Kate’s plane goes down. I find it a little odd that Fox didn’t catch on earlier when he had to let Bruce into the batcave or when he knew things that he didn’t know. I’m still not getting why Alice and Bruce are still need the kryptonite ( and each other) or why that continued to be part of their plan after Kate was dead and they didn’t know someone new had the suit.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox: Fox has a lot going on, so much so that he missed that Bruce wasn’t Bruce. Fox is struggling with not being able to protect Kate and the guilt is wearing on him harder than it is on Mary. I’m glad they show him crying because I think that more men should cry on screen. I also love that he and Mary save Ryan from Tommy in the Bruce face when they realize that he’s after the suit now that he has the only thing, kryptonite, that can make him unstoppable.

Overall: It was a simple well-done way to introduce Ryan to the universe. I feel like she has what it takes to carry the show and move it forward even without the familial bonds that made season one so compelling. Since this episode focused mostly on set up and outlining the new threats and building bonds and trust amongst the team, I think it fulfilled its purpose. Taking away the moral ambiguity but, taking the safety off of Papa Kane’s gun by removing the will he or won’t he kill his own daughter tension should make for an interesting season. Although I love that Alice told her dad the truth about who her sister was although, with Ryan in the mix even with the evidence of Mary showing up to parlay for Batwoman, he might not even believe it. There’s a lot more that happens in this episode that made it well worth the wait but, I think it is well worth watching and enjoying so I left out a lot of the spoilers. Batwoman‘s second season starts off as a great reboot to the series and “What Happened to Kate Kane” is totally worth watching.

Overall Rating: 8.7