A New Batwoman for a New Season
The news has been out for a while that Ruby Rose stepped away from the role of Batwoman after just the first season. Everyone has to do what is best for themselves and their careers, but I always thought it was an odd choice to step away from a role of a character in the Bat family, especially one with her own TV show. That meant that a new actress needed to be found for the role if the series was to continue. It also meant that a reason for the obvious change needed to be thought of. Do you make her the same Kate Kane but looking different? Or do you write Kate out somehow after the last season finale without the original actress? Or, like happens in so many soap operas, do you just recast and try to pretend nothing has happened? (I remember hearing “The role of _____ is now played by ________” on soap operas my mother watched while I was growing up.) Personally, I hope option 3 was never given consideration, but option 2 was chosen and Javicia Leslie was chosen to play the new role of Ryan Wilder. It was revealed that the new character would be gay just like Kate was. After that was revealed, all we could do was wait for the new season to premiere after a much delayed season start due to COVID-19.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this change. Growing up, I remember the original Batwoman (Kathy Kane, so technically they are both Katherine) and remember her being killed back in Detective Comics. I’m not usually a big Batman family fan (tho I have followed Nightwing and Grayson), but I guess they actually brought her back in the New 52 even with the modern Batwoman active by adding her to Batman’s history. The idea of a whole new character out of the blue with no history in the comics sounded like a risk. The idea that the replacement hero just happens to be another lesbian is quite a coincidence too. Obviously, I’m totally behind keeping LGBTQ characters on the shows, especially when they are the main character, but this is a bit of a longshot. But, I figured I’d give it a few episodes to see how it went. I’m really happy so far. The new Arrowverse season (It will always be the Arrowverse to me, not the CWverse.) is off to a good start.On January 17, the new season started. From the start, we are introduced to Ryan just in time to see an airplane crash near where she was sleeping. Right away, it was pretty obvious how they were getting rid of Kate, but how does she take over? Oh, the suit is laying right there in the wreckage. That’s how. It wasn’t in a suitcase or anything else; it was just laying in the wreckage of the plane out in the open. Did Kate have it sitting on the seat next to her? I mean, I know Ryan needed to get it somehow but it could have at least been in something that had come open in the crash. We find out that Ryan was a wrongfully accused ex-con who has martial arts training. She’s going to be good in a fight and has a good reason. (The whole wrong-fully accused black person is a bit overdone though.) From the start, Luke is against Ryan from taking over though Mary does come around. After watching the character grow, I really started to like her. She’s got a fire in here that really drives the character.
But, what about Alice? Her main place in the story is to be the villain counterpoint to her sister being the hero. Now the hero is someone else though. Queue the flashback of her and her mother being attacked in the new apartment they rented and her mother being killed. I was like “OK. This start to her story really sucks,” but wasn’t sure how much it was going to connected anything until in walks Alice. Gotcha! During the initial attack, I hadn’t noticed the masks on the thugs so didn’t see this coming so it was an interesting surprise. The two-sided connection isn’t there though. Ryan was just a random person who wouldn’t even pop up on Alice’s radar even though Ryan is out for revenge. Alice still sees someone else trying to fill her sister’s shoes though and gives her a whole different view on things.
There are still a few loose strings that need to be addressed. A picture of the new Batwoman was released back in October and she didn’t have the long red hair that Kate did but Ryan was going into the third episode with it. We have to remember that Kate was using Batman’s old cowl for a few episodes too before she added the red wig so it was just a matter of time before it was pointed out to her (by Hush, who she was battling at the time of all things) that the Batwoman she was wasn’t really her. So, she makes the suit her own. Now, let me point out that it’s not like she went to Luke and was like “Hey, I need some changes to this so it fits and looks better.” Instead, she modifies a suit that is invulnerable to everything except Kryptonite. (WTF!? How the heck does that work? Kryptonite isn’t DC’s version of adamantium.) So, how did she manage to not only make the suit fit better but change the whole look of the material on her own? Somehow, I’m betting they won’t address this as Luke was upset that she did it and not amazed that she was able to. Now, speaking of the Kryptonite, Ryan got shot with it in the first episode and they showed her getting a form of Kryptonite poisoning from it. All of a sudden there’s no more mention of it. You’d think it would still be bothering her. Are they going to just ignore that now or is it going to miraculously pop back up in the story at just the right time after not being present for a while. And now there’s one last thing. We’ve never seen Kate’s body. They never found it in the lake and this is what has kept hope alive for Luke (but not Mary) that Kate is still alive. Given that Ruby Rose left the role, I’d have expected to just see a body bag but not the body at some point. Instead, by episode 3, they start leaving hints that she’s still alive. I have absolutely no idea where this is going to go.
Tomorrow, episode 4 will air. After walking into this unsure, I am really looking forward to seeing Ryan grow as the character. I’m really liking her attitude and I think it’s going to be fun seeing her and Luke butt heads. She has a job at Kate’s bar with is the obvious place to set her up after having her parole officer tell her she needs to find one. Now, she needs a place to live with an actual street address. I’m waiting to see where they go with this one. Also, given that Kate’s father found out Kate was Batwoman after she died, I’m waiting to see how he ends up relating to Ryan, though it will probably only be as Batwoman at least for now. If you haven’t given season 2 a try yet, I’d definitely recommend it while it’s still early in the season.