A New Look for a New Bat
Arrowverse 2021 Season: Week 3
So before we get into this week's one an only ArrowverseWhen it was announced that the CW was creating a show based on the Green Arrow, people laughed. The CW? Really? Was it going to be teen-oriented like everything else on the network and be called "Arrow High"? And yet that one show, Arrow has spawned three spin-offs, various related shows and given DC a successful shared universe, the Arrowverse on TV and streaming. episode, I have to note a big bit of news: apparently, despite everything I expected, Batwoman will be back for a third season. That renewal announcement comes along with renewals for The Flash (which was expected) and Legends of Tomorrow (which was rumored to end this year but apparently not). You will note that this comes before two of those shows have even debuted a single episode this season. The CW seems fully committed to the 'verse, even now.
So, with that good news out of the way, let's see if this third episode warrants that early renewal already. Was the CW right to put its faith in this show?
Batwoman, Season 2, Episode 3: Bat Girl Magic!
This week saw the show splitting into very certain, and very removed, A- and B-plots. Our A-plot focused on Ryan still trying to earn the respect of team leader Luke. Luke, as we know, has been holding out hope that Kate will one day return (and, of course, become Batwoman once again), so he's been holding that against Ryan, noting giving our new Batwoman II a chance. She gets a chance to prove herself today, while finding a way to make the Batwoman persona her own, by taking on the effective (and incredibly charismatic) Victor Zsasz (wonderfully played by Alex Morf). This assassin gleefully goes about his job, killing a select set of people in Gotham, and it's up to Team Bat to try and tame him down (something Batman struggled with in the past).
Meanwhile, Alice and Sophie were captured by Safiyah's men last week and this week they're on the super-villainess's private island. There, the queen and Alice have a number of chats about how Alice betrayed her (releasing the desert rose miracle cure to the world) and why Alice did that (because Safiyah killed Kate). And that's when the next big bit is dropped: Kate isn't dead, just held prisoner by Safiyah, and if Alice is to get Kate back (presumably so she can kill her sister), Alice is going to have to do whatever Safiyah wants.
The Safiyah plot line was, honestly, tedious, with scene after scene of the two characters talking over and over on the same conversation. This plot line was a total snooze, honestly, but the revelation that Kate is for certain alive kicked up the energy of this episode. Let's be clear: Kate may be alive but don't expect Ruby Rose to come back for an extended stint on the show. The actress has already said she's done with the series so if she did somehow come back it would likely only be fore a cameo and not to take back over the identity of Batwoman. It would shock us if Ryan only lasted a season and then Rose was back in the role (considering everything the actress has said, that would make no sense).
Meanwhile, I'm really happy with how the show is integrating Javicia Leslie's character into the show. It was a bit unsteady for the first couple of episodes, to be sure, but now that we're getting past the "origin" story for her and the characters don't keep fighting her actually becoming Batwoman, things have settled into a comfortable groove. Leslie is solid in the role which isn't Kate Kane's Batwoman but her own deal instead. I do think the show has struggled trying to justify needing a new character to fill the suit -- wouldn't it have just been easier to recast Kate with a different actress? -- but now that things are settling down the show is at least doing good work with this new character.
Plus, seriously, Victor Zsasz is great here. It just illustrates that what a superhero show really needs is a great villain to play against. Alice is good when she's in villain mode, but the show often muddies the waters around her, dragging out her storylines unnecessarily sometimes. Zsasz, though, is the perfect kind of pop-up villain this show needs, enjoyable to watch without overstaying his welcome. If the show brings him back once or twice more this season, I'll be okay with that because he really was fun to watch.
It took three weeks but finally Batwoman is back where it needs to be, just in time for the CW to decide to keep it on the air. That's great news for fans of the show and it makes Leslie is going to get at least a second season as the character. I'm happy with that now as the show really seems to understand where's going once more.
Elsewhere in the 'Verse
- We're still in a holding pattern waiting for any other shows to come back, so it's more Batwoman next week, and nothing but the Batwoman.