Batwoman makes a strong debut in the new CW series. The first episode is set before her appearance in last year’s Elseworlds crossover tale, as Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) only adopts the super hero identity towards the end of the episode.
Many elements of the Batwoman who appears in the comics are carried over into the show. Kate Kane’s mother and sister were both killed, though under different circumstances than in the comics, and her father Jacob (Dougray Scott) has remarried. He runs a private security firm that seems to have basically become the law in Gotham City, as Batman abandoned the town, and his masked identity, three years earlier.
As in the comics, Kate is a lesbian, and this lead to her expulsion from a military academy, although the woman she was caught in a romantic interlude with, Sophie (Meagan Tandy) decided to play the game the army demanded of her, and denied the relationship.
Batwoman’s main enemy, Alice (Rachel Skarsten) is also the main villain of the show. She doesn’t speak as extensively in quotations from Lewis Carroll’s Alice book as she does in the comics. That’s unfortunate, but does allow her a more extensive vocabulary. A major reveal about the character, which took a long time in the comics, takes place towards the end of the episode. I won’t spoil it, but I think it was a wise decision for the show to play this card up front.
Batwoman looks to be one of the heavier CW shows. I guess it will replace Arrow in that sense. Levity is added by the character of Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson). I am assuming that, like in the comics, he is the son of Lucius Fox. He has been caretaking the Wayne Enterprises building since Bruce Wayne’s departure from Gotham. He is not quite as competent a sidekick as his father is usually portrayed, but Johnson plays the role with a lot of charm. His performance is definitely an asset in a series that is going for such a serious feel.
In the episode, Kate discovers the secret identity of her cousin, Bruce, and decides to re-create the Batman in her own image. She has not yet adopted her own version of the costume, nor do the public at large realize there is a new hero in town. Gotham is under siege from Alice and her horde of minions, and the city has lost hope of having a protector.
It’s a well done introduction, fulfilling for those who know the character from the comics, and effectively told for those who do not.