CW'S NEW BATWOMAN
I have to admit, I was sad to see Ruby Rose go. Mostly because I thought her departure signaled the end of the BATWOMAN series just as it got started.
Admittedly, Rose never quite found her footing in the series. Maybe she was having to do too many things while developing the character. Kate Kane was just plopped down in the middle of a bunch of messy relationships: her demented and murderous twin sister, her unsupportive father, trying to figure out her relationships with her stepsister and Luke Fox, and an ex who betrayed her, yet she still wasn't ready to be done with.
That was a lot. Maybe too much. On top of that, the world of Gotham had to be fleshed out, and Kate Kane/Batwoman had to find her place in it while hiding one identity or the other.
There's also the fact that Rachel Skarsten just steals every scene she's in. Skarsten is a great actress, but it's the role of Mad Alice, leader of the Wonderland Gang, that gives her boundless freedom to do and say things that most viewers relish. Skarsten is really good at being really bad, and there's a whole raft of unexplored emotions regarding her relationship with Kate Kane.
However, Kate's gone. At least for now.
I was pleasantly surprised by Javicia Leslie's performance in the first new BATWOMAN episode. I'd put off watching it because I wasn't expecting much and thought I'd wait till the series had a few episodes under its belt before I weighed in.
Last night I decided on a whim to watch the first episode anyway.
Javicia Leslie was unknown to me, but she carried enough weight in the episode that I paid attention as she developed the character. She plays Ryan Wilder, a child fostered through orphanages, tragedy, and bad luck, who has ended up on the wrong side of the law and now deals with a parole officer.
She's a far cry from socialite/ex-military Kate Kane.
The differences work. And also Ryan Wilder seems encumbered by baggage from her past life, her origin story is simple: her foster mother, a woman who taught young Ryan to believe in love again, was killed by gang members who worked for Alice.
Bang! Instant origin story for a character driven to get justice and vengeance. Simply add Batsuit.
I like the new look of Batwoman. The curly red hair is supposed to emphasize the new Batwoman as a person of color, and it does. The choice in the changes and the character is great and really works for me.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Ryan/Batwoman fits into Gotham and the existing relationships, but the transition into that world is going to be leaner, more understandable than Kate Kane's maiden voyage. Oh, I have no doubt that Batwoman's life will be messy, and she's not quite emotional level (she talks to her plant!), but I'm going to enjoy the journey. I'm settling into Season 2 with a lot more confidence.
PS--what's up with the Kryptonite bullet? Ryan's wound doesn't look good at all!