Emily Clark
Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

Gotham has been abandoned.

Not literally. There are still plenty of helpless families and psychotic criminals running around, but Batman is nowhere to be found. In fact, he’s been absent for three years with no return in sight.

You’d think some vigilante would have stepped up to take his crown, but the only real protection Gotham has is found in Crow Security, a militia-like group determined to bring some peace to the streets.

The only problem is that peace and protection are an illusion. Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne’s cousin, donned the bat-suit and worked some vigilante justice for a while. But now she’s gone too, missing and presumed dead after a plane crash.Kate’s friends and family aren’t ready to accept that she’s really gone—and Gotham still needs a hero. Enter Ryan Wilder.

After Ryan finds the bat-suit at the scene of the crash, she decides to take it for a test drive. A former martial arts instructor, Ryan is bent on avenging her adoptive mother’s murder. Of course, putting on the suit is one thing, wearing it is another.

Ryan doesn’t think she’s worthy to carry the legacies of Batman and Batwoman. They were heroes both in and out of the suit, whereas Ryan is an ex-con (though she insists she didn’t commit the crime she served time for). But she might not have a choice since Alice and her Wonderland Gang, Gotham’s biggest threat to the peace, have decided to wage war against fellow crime-lord Safiyah.

Ryan has a choice: right some wrongs, save innocents, and maybe fall into a same-sex romance or two (much like Kate herself), all while wearing Bruce’s old costume, or let Gotham become the battleground of Arkham Asylum’s finest.

Guess Who’s Bat Again?

The story of Batwoman is one that’s been retold numerous times. And for the first season, courtesy of the CW, Batwoman was portrayed by the Australian gender-fluid actress, Ruby Rose. Which fans told us was a big deal, since Ruby Rose played the first LGBTQ superhero to lead a network TV show.

However, Rose declined to return for a second season due to a difficult recovery from back surgery and the emotional tax of carrying such an important character. So for Season Two (and presumably future seasons) actress Javicia Leslie picks up the mantle.

But she plays a slightly different character than Rose. Kate Kane was a rich but dejected woman trying to find her place in the world. Leslie’s Wilder is someone who has been let down by the system her whole life. From her birth she’s been a statistic—the daughter of a black woman who died in childbirth, a foster child who ran away from home and dropped out of school, a victim of gang activity, and finally an inmate committed for dealing drugs. However, being Batwoman gives her a purpose and a place where she finally feels she can truly be herself—much like it did for Kate. And while there are some positive attributes attached to this strong female lead, as well as messages of redemption, hope and acceptance, we must also deal with the obvious issues.

The show is rated TV-14 and sees its fair share of moderate violence, scattered profanity and, naturally, same-sex intimacy between Batwoman and her partners (since both characters who don the suit are lesbians). It also famously introduces insane villains who seem to thrive in causing chaos on the streets of Gotham.

In short, it’s riddled with as many flaws as you’d see in a superhero who finds their refuge on the angsty CW.

Episode Reviews

Jan. 17, 2021: “What Happened to Kate Kane”

After a plane crash presumably kills Kate, Ryan finds the bat-suit and uses it to help fight against her mother’s killers.

Ryan, her mother and landlord are brutally beaten by thugs when they enter their new apartment and find the men squatting there. (Her mom and landlord die despite CPR attempts.) A woman is killed when a knife is thrown into her neck. Batwoman beats up several bad guys. The bat-suit protects her from bullets, but she later gets an infected wound from a shard of Kryptonite. She also hits a man repeatedly in the face after he tries to kill her, destroying the mask he was wearing to make him look like Bruce Wayne. A woman cuddles with a corpse.

A plane crashes, killing almost everyone on board. (One man is revived after CPR is administered, but we later hear that the pilot’s hand washed up onshore.) In a car chase, the Batmobile fires several missiles.

A man leaves two nude women in his bed presumably after having sex (both covered by sheets). Two women hold hands. We hear about several same-sex pairings and Kate’s philanthropist work with the LGBTQ community. Someone steals a car. A man blames himself for Kate’s death. People drink alcohol (with a few getting drunk), and we hear about drug use. A woman vomits. God’s name is misused a few times, and we also hear multiple uses of “h—,” “d–n,” “a–” and “b–ch.”

Oct. 6, 2019: “Pilot”

In the series premiere, Bruce Wayne’s cousin, Kate Kane, returns to Gotham to help locate her ex-girlfriend who has been kidnapped by a psychopath. Kate hopes to join the ranks of her father’s security militia, Crow Security, but chooses instead to become Batwoman in Batman’s absence.

A psychotic criminal terrorizes Gotham by kidnapping a woman, beating up multiple men and women, stabbing and killing innocent officers and threatening to bomb a nearby park filled with families. Men and women engage in hand-to-hand combat. A woman gets stabbed in the arm and must get stitches. A car crashes and a young girl and mother plummet to their death.

Flashbacks show Kate and her girlfriend kissing multiple times. In one scene the two are caught and punished in school for “homosexual conduct.” Kate swims in shorts and a sports bra.

Kate references her use of a Ouija board as a child. Doll heads lie around an abandoned warehouse. A woman steals medical supplies to help wounded victims.

Men and women alike consume champagne and a woman asks her sister to take alcoholic shots with her. God’s name is misused once and other profanities such as “h—,” “a–” and d–n” are heard multiple times.

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Emily Clark
Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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