What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the Batwoman Season Two Premiere! Now I’m not going to lie, when it came to this second season? I was not so sure that I was confident enough to give it a shot. There was just one too many things from the first season which was either hit or miss, outside of just about anything having to do with the writing for Alice. And then when you add the massive change in direction due to the lead of the show shifting from Kate to Ryan? It’s fair for just about anyone to have their concerns about how that first episode would turn out.
Which brings us to our biggest question. Is Ryan Wilder a good replacement for Kate? My answer to that would be yes. Much of what I saw in Ryan is what I for so long wanted to see from Kate when she first set eyes on the Batman suit. It matters that you see this symbol and run through that question of what it means to put it on. Ryan stumbles upon the suit by chance of course, but it did not change the fact that she was quick to spring into action, and to do something about something she thought was wrong. As they said, this was a personal journey that takes her from fledgling substitute to confident caped crusader, from living in her van with her plant to chasing villains in the Batmobile. That did not disappoint one bit. Especially when it came to understanding what put Ryan in a position where she was living out of her van in the first place. Her tragedy was real, not to mention it is probably relatable to someone out there. Maybe not for who she may have lost, or how, but certainly for the struggles she endures for her identity and everything she identifies as.
Now where I do see the promise in Ryan is the fact that her drive is much different from Kate. The honest truth is that the first season was lacking a lot of heroism if you ask me. I still remember when we were first introduced to Batwoman in the crossover, and the excitement was undeniable seeing someone who was comfortable in their suit and role as hero. None of that was what we saw in the first season. We did not see someone who genuinely understood the weight of what they represented, or who they were representing as a whole. I mean it’s a good thing that Batwoman here and there stood for LGBT rights, but outside of those few occurrences, where was she really out there creating that hope you heard of on the radio? In the case of Ryan, it makes a big difference that off the bat you see someone who recognizes what it feels like to be the victim, and zeroes in on the people who make people like her feel like a victim.
With that said, let’s talk about the rest of the cast. How they handled this change in direction was interesting to say the least. Some of them still couldn’t escape from that circle of drama, though others did not disappoint as the ones who would continue moving the story forward. You know, the characters like Luke and Mary. Mary in particular who in most cases is actually written just as well as Alice. It wasn’t hard to invest in what they were going through on their end. Trying to figure out what happened to Kate, why someone else had her suit, and how to preserve the image which Kate had created up to that point. I mean I had my troubles believing what Batwoman represented from their perspective, considering what I have already had to say on that above, though at the very least I could see that their words were coming from the right place. I couldn’t say I was too bothered with Jacob Kane, Sophie, or even Julia. These three characters don’t do much for you in terms of long-term investment in the story. They perpetuate drama, and sometimes there are others things you would rather see than the cliche they represent.
The writing for Alice was as usual top notch. It would have been a crime if losing Kate meant that we also lost Alice in the process, because as I said above, Alice has somehow always been the best written character on the show. So having said that, it was good to see where her story would go from here. Obviously there had to be a new motivation for her continuing as the villain. How they approached this worked well as a start. Of course she would be given her time to lose it over her chance for revenge to slip by. However, that is not all which has ever driven Alice. In a city like Gotham, it only ever makes sense that these villains are all in their own way trying to stake their claim on the city. They found a great way to make sure this was not forgotten, and that even Alice herself was given someone new to target at the same time to achieve this. Now aside from this, I should also address that in some way Alice did end up getting what she wanted by the end of this episode. That was a shocker of a scene which I would say they executed very well. Something else which Alice isn’t given enough credit for is for being brutally honest with people. You can call it all mind games, but at the end of the day she keeps it real unlike most characters on this cast. She just simply has a better delivery of the truth.
Aside from this, I enjoyed the effort they put into wrapping up the story set into motion during the first season. One of the main problems this second season was going to face was finding a proper transition into a plot which better fit a new character, rather than piggy-backing something which started with Kate. Now I was also thankful for this too. Mainly because I’m not a fan of the way that they are trying to use Kryptonite. Kryptonite is Superman’s weakness. What matters most about this rock is its more toxic traits to Kryptonians, NOT its ability to bypass body armor. This isn’t to say the toxic traits are ignored completely by the end of the episode, but there is no overlooking them using something which has no business being a weakness for anyone other than Superman or Supergirl. If you want something for Batwoman or anyone like her to fear? Look around you, anything can be dangerous to regular humans.
By the end of the Batwoman season two premiere, they did prove that for a bit it will probably be a bumpy ride. Though the hope is that this will fade as the story begins to fully accept Ryan as the new lead and orbit for the rest of these characters.