Female Fury: Batwoman Episode 101, "Pilot"

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Batwoman 101 Pilot

It was the CW series with what was perhaps the most off-putting promo trailers ever created. BATWOMAN starred RUBY ROSE as Kate Kane, and our introduction to her had her uttering a sequence of lines that came off as smarmy and militantly feminist, claiming the Batsuit would be perfect "when it fit a woman," and remarking that she wasn't going to let the credit for her work go to a man (after, of course, borrowing everything right up to the reputation of the man who built it).

When the pilot finally aired in its totality, we do get the line about the Batsuit, but given that it wasn't so concentrated with similar lines, it was easier to swallow.

We first meet Kate when she is chained in icy waters, effecting an escape. She is being trained, but we do not know for what, or why, until she gets called back home to Gotham City, with the news that her friend Sophie (MEAGAN TANDY) has gone missing. She rushes straight back to her father, Colonel Jacob Kane (DOUGRAY SCOTT), who has forged an elite force of Navy SEALS and Green Berets called Crow Security -- think Blackwater on domestic soil. The Crows have filled the gap for Batman, who went missing over three years ago.

Kate's goal has always been to join the Crows. But her dismissal from the military for her lesbian tryst with a fellow soldier forced her to pursue other options to get her training, to be good enough to work for daddy. But even then, he won't let her in. He's already lost one wife and daughter, and he is now very protective. The accident that took his and Kate's family -- and Batman's role in it -- are pivotal to the origin story.

The "big bad" of the season is a blonde named Alice (RACHEL SKARSTEN), who makes her presence known at an event that involves turning off the Bat-signal for the first time, amid protests demanding it remain lit in the hope of Batman's return. She quotes lines from "Alice in Wonderland" and has a grudge against Jacob in particular, which adds to the mystery of her origin -- a mystery Kate pieces together in the final moments of the pilot.

When the Crows' security footage turns up no evidence of Sophie's abduction, Kate takes it upon herself to try another option -- the security cameras of the Wayne Foundation, owned and operated by her cousin, Bruce Wayne, himself having left the city three years ago. This leads to a rather rushed introduction to Luke Fox (CAMRUS JOHNSON), and the discovery of Gotham City's most coveted secret: the revelation that Bruce Wayne was Batman.

Whatever the depth of Kate's training abroad was, it translates easily to putting on the (modified) costume and going out to find her lost friend. But it puts her into direct confrontation with Alice, whose gang gets the upper hand on her, showcasing she has vulnerabilities. That's a good thing for the story, because it would be boring to start out with an already unbeatable fighter and tactician. That leaves room for growth of the character -- and evolution of the costume, as it's truly just the Batman costume fitted to Rose's body in this pilot episode.

Exceeding low expectations is, perhaps faint praise, but if the rest of the freshman season of BATWOMAN can keep up this level of storytelling and mystery, the show may actually get some legs under it.


4.0 / 5.0