“Batwoman” – Episode 1
Writer: Caroline Dries
Director: Marcos Siega
Starring: Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Elizabeth Anweis, Dougray Scott and Rachel Maddow
Review by Steve J. Ray
Batwoman episode 1 is a decent pilot and introduction to the characters and situations that revolve around Kate Kane. I say decent, as it suffers from the same problems that most pilot episodes do, by heavily relying on laying groundwork and setting up the elements for the season of TV that’s set to follow.
The opening scene is pretty terrific, as it shows Kate at her most impressive; faced with a nigh on impossible challenge, and overcoming it. Straight away we see that this is a strong character with no quit in her whatsoever. Ruby Rose clearly likes playing Kate and her cloaked alter-ego, and that’s a strong plus.
A hero is only as good as the villain they face
Rachel Skarsten steals the show and chews up the scenery with gusto as Alice. Batwoman’s nemesis is one of my favorite ever female comic-book villains, and one of the few to come across as scary, demented, yet ultimately tragic and sympathetic at the same time. I feel for her, and in time – if the show progresses in a similar fashion to the source material – I’m sure that viewers will too.
As always, I’m not going to give anything away, but the story behind Alice is a cool one. Thankfully the pilot doesn’t drag it out, yet still manages to deliver a surprise to anyone who hasn’t read the comics. As someone who loves Kate Kane’s illustrated adventures, though I knew what was coming, the slight changes made by the TV show did lead to the reveal not being anti-climactic. It was well handled and well realised.
These Characters Are All Bats!
The supporting cast and characters, new and old, were all interesting. Dougray Scott is a seasoned and talented character actor (he was the villain in Mission Impossible II and the original pick to play Wolverine), and his version of Jacob Kane ticks all the right boxes. He’s clearly a strong leader, is in a position of power… yet you can’t help but feel that everything isn’t as it seems with him.
Meagan Tandy adds depth and tension in her role as Sophie, Kate’s ex-girlfriend and member of Jacob’s elite security force, the Crows.
Comics fans will no doubt squee with delight at hearing and seeing Mayor Akins (a character who briefly took over as GCPD police Commissioner from Jim Gordon in the comics) and hearing Rachel Maddow’s dulcet tones as Vesper Fairchild. I love it when TV shows based on comic books pay tribute to and respect the art that they have been inspired by and drawn from.
After Rachel Skarsten’s Alice though, my favorite character and cast member has to be Camrus Johnson’s Luke Fox. While he’s a little more dweeby than his comic-book counterpart, I’m hoping this means that we’ll see him grow and develop. If he one day takes up the mantle and armor of Batwing, I will jump for joy!
Is Batwoman episode 1 perfect? No, not by any means. Is it intriguing enough to pique my curiosity, and have me interested in seeing more?
I watched the show with my lady wife, someone who really isn’t the biggest fan of comics, or their live action adaptations. She, like me, found some of the action, fight scenes and acting a little lacklustre in places, but sympathised with Kate and was intrigued by Alice, particularly at the end of the episode.
Yes, Mrs R. wants to watch episode 2. That’s good enough for me…
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