Ever since the crossover last year, this is that superhero show I was looking forward to next for the DC/CW shows. For the record, I refuse to call it the Arrowverse. Mainly because I always felt like this was the character we needed, not the mock version of Batman who they turned the whimsical robin hood, Green Arrow into. Everything about Batwoman just felt right when she sprang into action, commanded attention, and showed us why she was right as the protector of Gotham.
Off the bat, what I enjoyed about this first episode was the effort put into setting the foundation for what we can expect from Gotham. Gotham will always be that troublesome city in the world overrun by psychopaths and killers, but there’s always key differences when it comes to live-action on tv. The most important which grabs your attention is how they have shifted the attention away from the GCPD. Crow Security as they are called was a pretty cool creative decision made. Nothing too over the top for law enforcement, but all the same a present show of force against a city which loves to fight back against the rules.
The next thing that jumps out to you is what version of Kate Kane we are dealing with. It didn’t hurt to really get to know the person behind the mask. The crossover was cool, but it also didn’t exactly give us much personality from Kate. This is not to say that she is quirky or funny, but even if someone is serious, there are levels and layers you should still be able to see from that person. Layers like affection, desire, even awkwardness when being thrust into social situations unprepared for. One of the biggest changes was definitely her relationship with her father. It was still as defining as it was in the books, but there was also the emptiness and distance put between them which was truly heartbreaking for only the first hour of this series.
When you’ve nailed down who Kate is, what’s also crucial is the kind of company someone like her keeps. Not knowing who those people who be ahead of time, I was impressed by how different they turned out to be from everyone else in this universe. I mean, there is still that one quirky person who talks more than tolerable, but there was something different about Mary which made you connect easier than you would with a character like Felicity. It could have been her side job, but being that genuine made a big difference. As for having THAT tech guy, this person wasn’t too different from expectation, though credit where it is due that Luke didn’t turn out to be a joke.
One of the most important things about this premiere was the point in which this takes place. What we are more familiar with is the woman who found herself directionless, and then found herself on a mission to be the same kind of hero as Batman without either the need for his help or the restrictions he places upon himself and everyone else. What we get here is a version who met Batman and found herself disappointed by the kind of hero he turned out to be. The best motivation as it turns out for steering her down a path of justice. But even then, the point where this story takes place has us also working up to a point where she actually becomes Batwoman. I don’t think any of us were prepared to still go through the origin, though why not?
The villain for this first episode was a unique twist to the Mad Hatter. Some will argue that you need to do more than change a gender, but it was her motivations which mattered more than anything else. Not to mention who she actually turned out to be by the end of the episode. That was quite the shocker since we weren’t being introduced to a one-off villain. She had direction to her madness, and posed the kind of trouble to the city that makes sense given pull for power between the law and those evil. Between herself and Kate, I was very impressed by the fight choreography too. That tends to matter to viewers more for this show because of Kate’s size. It was awesome to see how her style was influenced by being smaller than other guys and attacking with precision when it came to elbows, knees, and even using other guy’s weight against them. For Alice, it was cool to see a villain who wasn’t too reliant on tricks. She had her own style as well which made her quite formidable.
What made the story engaging was also the addition of a narration throughout the episode. It wasn’t consistent, but it certainly made you feel as if this was a story being told to us, or rather someone else.
If you ask me, the best DC/CW shows that we have gotten so far have been new. To me, that would mean shows like DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Black Lightning. Two shows that struck their own tone, atmosphere, and found ways to do so without entangling too much with the rest of the other heroes. When I think of Batwoman, I think of them doing more of the same. Credit where it is due as well that like Black Lightning we can have a female character who likes other females and not have to paint a target on just that. If you want characters like these to succeed, then you must always write them as if them are normal, natural, not a unicorn.
The Batwoman series premiere was everything I had hoped for it to be and much more. This was a thrilling contrast to the other shows which tried to take their time molding the hero. The showrunners and writers jumped into this one saying screw it, and treated us like this was a superhero story that didn’t need to follow a formula.