BATWOMAN 1.01 Review “Pilot”

What happens when your hero and the person you blame for your biggest trauma turn out to be the same person?

This post contains spoilers for Batwoman.

It’s finally happened. Eight years into the Arrowverse and we’ve finally set up permanent residence in Gotham City. Batwomans pilot features plenty of detective skills, complicated relationships of both the romantic and platonic varieties, and a hell of a lot of mentions of Bruce Wayne. It’s not perfect. But it is a great set-up for what’s to come as we watch Kate Kane’s (Ruby Rose) journey unfold.

Our story begins in a Gotham that’s since been abandoned by the Batman. With no one left to fear, the Gotham City Police Department is no longer able to keep a divided city safe. In response, Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) creates Crow Security. Our very own Kate has left Gotham to train with some of the best combat and defense specialists in the world in order to take up a job at her father’s company, but that training is cut short by the kidnapping of one Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy).

Sophie and Kate’s past is as complicated as you’d expect any CW Network relationship to be. The two attended West Point together (though it’s not recognized as such in the show), and quickly fell in love. Unfortunately, their story began in the midst of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. When they’re found out, each of them is given an option: sign an affidavit denying any past, present, or future homosexual activity, or expulsion. Kate chooses expulsion. Sophie doesn’t.

Kate’s return to Gotham City is met with mixed responses, but none are quite as complicated as the one from her father. With Kate being the lone survivor of a fatal car crash that took the lives of both her mother and sister, she sees herself as a constant reminder of what was lost. To save this from becoming an overlong paragraph: the girl’s got some daddy issues. And dad’s got some over-protection issues. Thankfully, the two share a common problem: Alice (Rachel Skarsten).

For those who haven’t followed along with Kate Kane’s story before Batwoman, Alice is essentially Kane’s Joker. Oh, and her twin sister? Typically a show of this kind would spend half of its season leading up to that reveal. The smartest thing Batwoman did tonight was reveal that “twist” nearly right out the gate. Alice knows exactly who Kate is, and spends the episode toying with her (and their father). Kate gets there through the aforementioned detective work, much to the chagrin of one Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson).

The day of the crash, Kate and Beth Kane both believed themselves to be betrayed by Batman. He tried to save their car, but quickly dashed away to capture the villain. His oversight resulted in the death of their mother, and the believed death of Beth. Kate spent her whole life hating him while growing up with her beloved cousin, Bruce.

After a couple of run-ins with Luke in the now abandoned Wayne Manor, Kate finds her way into the Bat Cave (by way of Martha Wayne’s pearls, that we are decidedly not forced to watch bounce across the concrete). It’s there that she learns that her cousin was the hero she grew to hate, but for all the wrong reasons. When she sees the newspaper clippings about her family’s death still up in the cave, Luke explains to her that Batman failed to account for structural issues with the car, and that he never forgave himself.

The premiere of Batwoman sets up a small web for Kate to unravel as she starts her journey as the Batwoman. We still haven’t seen her in her own suit yet (she’s currently running around Gotham in a modified version of Bruce’s old cowl), and she’s yet to meet her friends from Star and Central City. What we have seen is a showcase of detective skills, and the exact type of person you’d expect to be related to Bruce. Should the show immediately deviate from ever saying things like “you’re a female Bruce Wayne”? Absolutely. That major complaint aside, the show’s pilot set up a series that I can’t wait to see more of!

Reviews this year are going to work a little differently than they have in the past. I’m here for the gauntlet of Arrowverse premieres, you’ll see me again for Crisis on Infinite Earths, and then finally for the finales. If you had thoughts on Batwoman’s first showing, I want to hear ‘em in the comments!