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'Batwoman' Arrives Amid Controversy
October 6, 2019  | By David Hinckley
 


Batwoman
 has finally almost arrived, which means maybe we can take a break and consider the quaint question of whether it is an entertaining television show.

Batwoman premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on the CW, following months of social media argument over matters like whether Ruby Rose, who plays the title character, is "gay enough" to portray a lesbian.

Before she threw up her hands and decamped from social media, Rose had called herself "gender fluid."

The premiere of Batwoman is unlikely to terminate the argument as to whether that's gay enough. It does, however, provide an opportunity to assess the actual show, the viewership of which will presumably include some people who haven't engaged in the preliminary discussion but care more about the Batman world, DC Comics, Batwoman herself, or just superhero action TV shows.

The short answer here is mixed. Batwoman isn't perfect and isn't bad. It's less ambitious and takes a cleaner path than the last major Batman-related TV show, Gotham. That's not a bad thing since Gotham got too tangled up in itself.

The lesbian aspect of the plot isn't left in the shadows, nor does it dominate the show. It comes out in the middle of the first episode when Kate Kane, Batwoman's civilian name, is seen kissing Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy) at the Academy where they are both training to become Crows, the private security agents who aim to protect Gotham City since Batman mysteriously disappeared three years earlier.

Kate is the daughter of Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott), who manages the Crows and is obsessed with proving his team can do a better job than Batman, which it can't.

Kate was expelled from the Academy for "homosexual" conduct. Sophie denounced homosexuality after explaining to Kate that her future was at stake, and she had no choice. Sophie graduated and is now a Crow.

When bad guys take Sophie hostage, Kate tells her father she wants to help in the rescue search. Her father says no, she would be too emotionally involved. This doesn't stop Kate, who gets intel from the shuttered headquarters of Wayne Enterprises, which has been shut down since Bruce Wayne, a/k/a Batman, disappeared. Did we mention that Kate is Bruce Wayne's cousin?

The massive HQ building seems to be guarded mainly by a nerdish looking fellow named Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson), whom Kate enlists as a reluctant ally in her search for clues that might lead to Sophie. Happily, he turns out to be more robust and skilled than he at first seems.

Anyhow, skipping past further spoilers, Kate emerges from all this as Batwoman. Her public debut, it might be added, is not entirely smooth, featuring a number of curveballs...

There's a decent amount of action in the opening episode, with the one-on-one fight scenes coming off better than the sweeping panorama scenes. We're so spoiled by Marvel movie effects, with their multi-zillion-dollar budgets, that TV special effects seem a little tame.

The first episode does a good job setting up a healthy number of inter-character conflicts and dynamics, which are critical because otherwise we could end up seeing familiar showdowns with a different batperson.

We do get our first alpha villain, Alice (Rachel Skarsten), who is appropriately over the top from the moment we meet her. She has the sneering self-confidence of all villains in the bat-universe, so she's easy to root against.

On social media, of course, that apparently describes everyone. 

 
 
 
 
 
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