Warning: The following contains spoilers for the first two episodes of CW’s “Batwoman.”
“Gotham,” “Pennyworth,” now “Batwoman”: How long before Animal Planet and Comedy Central team to make “The Adventures of Bat-Hound”? (Hollywood! Call me!) What do we have to do to get a proper Batman TV series?
Warner continues to find another way to milk the Bat-universe sans the Dark Knight in this latest addition to CW’s stable of Greg Berlanti/DC collaborations.
“Batwoman” owes so much to Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight,” everyone involved should spend their weekends doing yard work at Nolan’s home.
Set apparently years before the “Arrow”-“Flash”-“Supergirl” crossover that introduced Batwoman last year, the series opens with Bruce Wayne’s cousin, Kate Kane (Ruby Rose), returning to Gotham City after years of honing her fighting skills and discovering the city is even more of a hellhole than she remembered.
Batman disappeared three years earlier. With Gotham police especially useless, her father, Jacob (Dougray Scott), heads Crows Private Security, and finds himself tested when Alice (Rachel Skarsten) and her gang attack a public gathering to dismantle the Bat-Signal.
Alice seems cut from the Joker’s Arkham straitjacket (“Sanity is so pedestrian,” she snipes), and she has a longstanding grudge against Jacob and a fascination for Kate.
“Batwoman” doesn’t require the services of a master detective: Through flashbacks played throughout the first two episodes, we learn Kate and her father still struggle with the loss of Kate’s mom and twin sister in a terrible accident brought on by the Joker in which the family car plunged off a bridge into icy waters below.
One of the fascinating elements of “Batwoman” is how everyone, not just our blank-faced heroine, is leading a double life.
Kate’s stepsister Mary (an endearing Nicole Kang) seems like an airhead obsessed with getting more Instagram followers. Then we learn she’s using her med school skills to run an underground clinic in the festering armpit of the city. Then there’s Alice, who in her few lucid moments, makes a convincing case that she’s actually Kate’s presumed dead sister. Jacob’s best officer, Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy), has a new husband and a steamy past with Kate neither one can forget. (Forbidden love is so hot.) And that brings us to the most remarkable thing about “Batwoman,” a lesbian hero played by an out, gender-fluid actress.
Rose just looks so bored throughout. Can someone get her a five-hour energy drink?
That kind of attitude is contagious in “Batwoman.”
The show’s central mystery may just overpower the show: What did happen to Batman? Why did he leave Gotham? Just as “Supergirl” producers realized they had to bring in Superman, “Batwoman” may have no choice but to acknowledge the debt of one dark knight to another.
The cape and cowl, if not freely given, looks like a rented Halloween suit.