Female Fury: Batwoman Episode 110, "How Queer Everything Is Today!"

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Batwoman 110 How Queer Everything Is Today

Throughout its freshmen season, I have defended BATWOMAN as being a good series in the face of all the criticisms that it existed only for the purpose of establishing identity politics over storytelling and plot.

This week, I was rewarded by the Batwoman writers through their decision to establish identity politics over storytelling and plot.

Batwoman has a secret identity. (Psst. Don't tell anyone. It's Kate Kane, played by RUBY ROSE.) Not that secret identities last in the CW Arrowverse. Star City was told countless times that Oliver Queen was a vigilante, and kept forgetting, and so many people know Barry Allen is The Flash that one wonders why he even bothers with a mask unless it's to avoid windburn.

But let's pretend that Kate is trying to maintain her secret identity so she can function as a masked vigilante. Why, then, would it be so important to her to establish that her secret identity is a lesbian? I mean, if you're trying to remain secret, is it a good idea to help out the bad guys by limiting the pool of likely candidates to the one-half of a percent of citizens who happen to be gay?

The issue comes to the fore when Batwoman stops a runaway train, after its computer braking system was hijacked by a hacker. In a moment of carelessness, she herself gets rescued at the last moment by Gotham PD Officer "Slam" Bradley (KURT SZARKA), an extremely handsome and extremely heterosexual male. This is enough to set tne entire population of Gotham City to shipping these two, which irks Kate. Her aide, Luke Fox (CAMRUS JOHNSON) says it's a natural assumption because her suit apparently screams "straight." Perhaps he needs to add some flannel to it, as there obviously isn't enough leather added to it already. Or maybe the shoes just aren't "comfortable" enough in Luke's eyes.

The terrorist sets about blackmailing Gotham City to crowdfunding five million dollars so she (yeah, she's a she) can escape Gotham City, else all their secrets will be exposed. Kate eventually tracks her down as a student, Parker Torres (MALIA PYLES), at a private school. But so does her psychotic sister, Alice (RACHEL SKARSTEN) who wants to put the girl's hacker skills to work for herself. But she'll let her go if Batwoman unmasks in front of the captured hacker.

But guess what: the hacking was all a stunt to get attention from mommy and daddy, because her parents were devastated by the revelation their daughter was (gasp!) a lesbian.

Apparently BATWOMAN is set in the late 1980s -- or the writers are just exorcising their own personal demons from growing up in an era where this was shocking.

So Batwoman unmasks. Parker recognizes her as a famous lesbian. Parker's life is forever changed because "Gosh, I have representation now and I feel instilled with self-worth." That's not a quote, but this is: "Why didn't you say you were super gay?" Why, because maybe she wouldn't have become a cyber-terrorist if she had known?

Here's the deal: Batwoman being gay is only relevant to the viewers of the show. It gives those viewers someone to identify with, which has a certain importance. It is, however, not relevant to the character of Batwoman in the performance of her duties as a masked vigilante, who operates under a "the less known the better" set of rules. (Of course it's relevant to Kate Kane, as that is her personal life.)

Not only does Batwoman unmask in front of Parker (who swears to secrecy once rescued), but she reveals her sexuality to the whole world through a newspaper interview; fortunately CATCO is now operated as a tabloid, so good friend Kara Danvers (now cohabitating on the same Earth, post-Crisis) has an article to turn in her publisher will actually like.

Oh, Parker is given community service (by Kate Kane, not the police), Alice is captured, her dad is still in jail for murder, and someone claiming to be Beth shows up at the end -- probably some multiple Earth post-Crisis remnant that will not confuse things in the slightest. Not that anyone cares, because those are just plot and story elements, and those are sacrificial lambs upon the altar of identity and representation.

The season is over half-completed, Batwoman writers. Let's see if you can fix this before it's through.

Grade: 
1.0 / 5.0