I have been very behind on watching anything on The CW, but finally had the time to catch up on the brand new season of Batwoman. I had been a bit critical of the first season for a variety of reasons, don’t worry I will share those thoughts with you, and when I heard a new Batwoman would be taking over I was curious. I had hoped that the character of Kate Kane would be reborn in the body of another person, this is something that I am very sure they could have done if they wanted what with the Tommy Elliot plot, but I will say that I am now on board with how they chose to continue the storyline of the cowl of Batwoman.
For those who don’t know, though at this point how could you not, the second season of Batwoman does not star Kate Kane or include in any way Ruby Rose. There are some moments were voiceover work from her seems like it should be happening, but doesn’t so seriously completely out of the show. Javicia Leslie was announced as the replacement for Ruby Rose, but instead of being Kate Kane she would be a brand new character, Ryan Wilder. Still a lesbian and still has some training, which would be useful as Batwoman, but not the same person. A lot of people pushed back about the removal of the character Kate Kane and I will say I was one of the people who was irritated by the loss of the character Kate Kane. I had been hoping that they would just recast and have the audience roll with it, but as soon as I saw the first episode I knew I had been wrong. Having Ryan take on the cowl after finding Batwoman’s suit does work much better and the writers did ensure that there is still a connection to Alice. This connection also lends itself to them being true adversaries since Ryan truly wants to destroy Alice, unlike Kate who had hoped to rehabilitate her sister and bring Beth back. Though if only the Beth from another Earth had stayed because that Beth was a delight.
Season two so far has highlighted many of my favorite things about the Batwoman series, which in season one was not actually Batwoman or Kate Kane. This is the point where I am going to briefly share my critical thoughts on the first season. The major one being I am not a fan of Ruby Rose as an actor. I just don’t get a leading person vibe from her and her acting just didn’t really work for me. I love, love with a passion, comic Kate Kane and Batwoman, but with the writing choices and Ruby Rose in the role that character was by far my least favorite in the first season. I stay for Alice, Rachel Skarsten, Mary, Nicole Kang, Luke, Camrus Johnson, and Sophie, Meagan Tandy. I even argued that Tandy would be a perfect Batwoman and could have been a bridge between The Crows and the caped crusader in Gotham. Sophie is still a Crow so I lost that, but it was worth the hope. I will also say I enjoyed Alice in the comics and based on the writing on season one the Kate Kane elements I loved had in part been used as part of Alice’s backstory.
This really comes into play in season two with Coryana and Safiyah. In the comics Kate had a relationship with Safiyah and spent a period of time on Coyana, which had a comic arc focusing on her lost year. What the writers have done is make Alice the connection point to Coryana and through her they have been able to introduce Safiyah, who was hinted at early on as the possible cause of Kate’s death. They have said Kate died, which is probably for the best plot wise since Ruby Rose is not coming back based, though in episode three Safiyah said she was just somewhere Alice couldn’t get to her. I mean seriously, couldn’t even get voiceover work for the first episode of season two. By shifting this element of the plot to Alice we have in essence removed the need for Kate Kane to be present for the comics to be used. The series created new characters and significantly altered some of the key comics characters already so the connection to the source material doesn’t really seem crucial at this point.
Now coming back to the major change between season one and season two, Ryan Wilder. DC made sure to work very hard with promoting this new character and even had her appear in a Batgirl comic before the season premiere. Hands down Javicia Leslie is a fantastic Batwoman choice and I really wish they had just cast her as Kate Kane to begin with. She is a strong actress, plays both comedic moments and serious moments with conviction and she is just such a powerful performer. I am more invested in her as a lead character and am actually tuning in for her. There is something about her that fills the screen, that makes you care more about Batwoman and her quest for justice. Ryan has been let down by Gotham and The Crows, but there was a chance moment where she connected with the previous Batwoman. The cowl means something to her and while she deals with pushback from the Batfam, she is committed. She wants to be that positive force for others and is actively looking to bring Alice to justice for what happened to her adopted mother. Ryan has a reason to fight and Leslie brings that to the forefront of her performance. I am actually excited for this season and have actually felt myself relaxing into watching instead of contending with the feelings I had in season one that often pulled me out of enjoying the show. I now need DC and Funko to get on making Leslie’s Batwoman a Pop I can put on display and I would like merchandise for her season to come out asap. Even if you didn’t watch season one, this second season has set up a strong lead and while there are references to season one if you don’t want to commit to watching it there are plenty of recaps online that will give you the basic info you need to start watching season two. You can watch Batwoman on The CW on Sundays or catch up on The CW app. Season One is on HBOMax as well as a bunch of other DC related shows and movies.