TV Review: Same Costume, New Hero and Familiar Family Issues in Premiere of ‘Batwoman’October 8, 2019
*SOME SPOILERS AHEAD*
Well, that was…weird.
A mix of training sessions, voiceovers, and flashbacks made for a solid origin story yet the premiere, on the whole, felt emotionally flat and distant. Still, there were enough interesting bits in the first episode, and a strong performance by Ruby Rose, to think this series has a chance to improve and grow.
We are introduced to Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) right away as she trains in a frozen lake somewhere, diving deep to try and find the key to unlock the cuffs on her ankles and wrists. In between that and being chastised by a master for being too slow, she has a flashback involving her sister, Batman and a very important accident that binds them all together.
Kate begins her on-again, off-again narrating of the story, as we learn Batman has been gone for three years and the city is preparing to shut off the Bat-Signal for good, signaling new start for the city. Behind this ‘new start’ is Kate’s father Jacob (Dougray Scott) and Crow Security, basically a private security force full of ex-soldiers that are supposed to protect the city. But before everyone can high-five each other and have a big group hug, a mysterious figure named Alice and her Wonderland Gang show up to remind everyone that really, no one is safe in Gotham anymore.
The rest of the episode is broken down into the characters and relationships that we are going to get to know. The father-daughter relationship between Jacob and Kate, the ‘romance’ between Kate and Sophie, what part Alice plays in all of this…it does make for an interesting set-up, not to mention Kate’s morphing into Batwoman.
While the premiere covers a lot in terms of storytelling, origins, and emotions, it isn’t without its flaws. Some of the storylines are too predictable, and at times the actors look like they are forcing things to make up for this. Also, there area lot of leaps in logic or gaps in plot arcs that one hopes will be filled in later as it makes the storylines, while executed nicely, far too convenient.
The big issue for me was if Ruby Rose could carry this show on her back and I thought she did a fine job. She is convincing in terms of action and has that emotional tone that you would expect from someone wearing a Batwoman costume. It is a tough gig, going from straight ahead, monotone superhero to the emotional woman with a lot to prove. Let’s hope she can continue to grow in the role and pull it off.
All in all the premiere was a success, although there is room for improvement in many areas. Still, Ruby Rose looked good as Batwoman and the setup was interesting so fingers crossed the show is allowed some time to find itself so it can crawl out of the very large shadow created by Batman.
Three stars out of five