Batwoman season 2, episode 1 review: What Happened to Kate Kane?

Batwoman -- “What Happened to Kate Kane?” -- Image Number: BWN201fg_0021r -- Pictured: Javicia Leslie as Batwoman -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Batwoman -- “What Happened to Kate Kane?” -- Image Number: BWN201fg_0021r -- Pictured: Javicia Leslie as Batwoman -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

“Where is Kate’s plane?!” Spoilers for Batwoman season 2, episode 1 follow.

In a tragic accident on her way back from National City, Kate Kane’s plane has crashed, and the Arrowverse hero is presumed dead. In the aftermath, someone new is about to take over the mantle of the Scarlet Knight in Batwoman season 2.

After finding the Batsuit in the wreckage, Ryan Wilder has now been thrust into a world that she could never have comprehended beforehand.

The fate of Kate Kane

With Ruby Rose stepping down from the role of Kate Kane at the end of the first season, it was unclear how they were going to move forward with Batwoman season 2. Well, the first scene of this episode makes it pretty clear. She’s dead. Or at least that’s what we’re being made to believe. The rule with any fantastical property, especially comic book properties, is that if there isn’t a body, then don’t believe they’re dead. For now though, this is what Batwoman is going with, but that could very much change in the future.

Just from a story perspective, having Kate be killed was probably the best choice in order to move the characters forward – especially Luke and Mary – and for them to quickly accept Ryan as the new Batwoman. Both Luke and Mary have several great scenes throughout the episode when coming to grips with Kate’s death, but one that sticks out more than the rest is the one that they share together. With Luke blaming himself for even sending to her National City, it’s a genuinely heartbreaking moment for him. Luckily, Mary is strong enough for the both of them.

Enter Ryan Wilder

With Kate now out of the scene, we have a new Batwoman in the form of Ryan Wilder and, from her first scene, we know who she is: She’s a hero. And now that she has a super-suit, well, now she can truly be the hero that she knows that she is.

Just from the first couple of scenes with Ryan in this episode, there’s an attachment to her character that really had yet to exist with anyone else on this show, including Kate. Even if the show hadn’t needed to move on from the character of Kate Kane, it would’ve probably been the right choice to bring in Ryan Wilder.

Most of what makes Ryan an interesting character comes from Javicia Leslie’s performance though. She’s fantastic in the role. The pain from the character’s past comes through incredibly clearly simply through her performance. Even before everything about her past is known, with what little is shown and implied through her scenes in the present, Leslie makes Ryan an immensely three-dimensional character. We get her pain even before her entire past had been revealed.

However, the dialogue for Ryan just doesn’t really hold up as well as the overarching story developments and Leslie’s performance do. There are a couple of monologues that Ryan has in this episode that just lack any sense of subtlety at all.

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The first one with her parole officer was fine – very on-the-nose with what it was going for, but it was fine. Then there’s another monologue from her that is just a list of statistics trying to explain why she deserves the Batsuit, despite Mary and Luke’s insistence that she give it back to them. It makes sense as to what the scene is trying to accomplish, but the execution lets it down – especially as the same information is given in the next scene. Not Leslie’s fault at all, just poor dialogue. And the same goes with other actors in this episode as there is a more occasionally questionable dialogue.

Bruce Wayne has returned

Bruce Wayne has seemingly come back to Gotham. However, this is obviously not the case as it is very much Tommy Elliot wearing Bruce’s face – something that couldn’t have come at a more trying time for Team Batwoman.

As a whole, this is an adequate enough adaptation of several Hush storylines, but where it really shines is in Warren Christie’s performance. He chews the scenery incredibly well through his performance of Tommy’s performance as Bruce. His chemistry with both Camrus Johnson and Rachel Skarsten is great and it’s very satisfying to see his face literally punched off by Ryan.

As for Alice, she goes full Joker in this episode from her grief over Kate’s death. She even goes so far as murdering at least one person for literally no reason other than the fact that she is angry. It really felt that they were skirting the Joker comparisons for her last season due to continuously trying to build her relationship with Kate and possibly turn her to the side of the angels. However, with Kate gone, there’s no reason to hold back with her arc and this episode makes that very clear.

Kate Kane is gone, but Ryan Wilder’s introduction as Batwoman is a relatively strong one, which bodes well for the season moving forward. Here’s hoping the dialogue can be a little tighter though.

Batwoman season 2 airs on The CW on Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET.

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