Batwoman: That's the point.
Batwoman is a 2019 superhero series on The CW, based on the DC Comics character of the same name, the fourth original live-action installment of the Arrowverse and the seventh live-action installment overall.note The series premiered on October 6, 2019.
After five years living overseas, Katherine "Kate" Kane (played in the first season by Ruby Rose) returns to her hometown of Gotham. Kate was called in after her father Jacob (Dougray Scott), head of the private Crows Security firm, told her that Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy), the firm's elite operative and Kate's ex-girlfriend, was abducted by the Wonderland Gang, an anarchist group which has been threatening Gotham ever since Batman, the city's caped protector, disappeared three years prior. Kate has had a longstanding grudge against Batman, whom she blames for the deaths of her mother and sister Beth during an attack by The Joker many years ago, so she is understandably shocked to find out that he is actually Bruce Wayne, her beloved paternal cousin (his mother Martha was Jacob's older sister).
Despite her misgivings, Kate realizes that as long as Batman is gone, Gotham will forever stay unsafe. Aided by Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson), son of frequent Batman ally Lucius Fox, Kate decides to take up her cousin's mantle before saving Sophie. The news of the rescue quickly spreads to the public, who become hopeful that Batman has finally returned, but Kate's brief encounter with Alice (Rachel Skarsten), the Wonderland Gang's leader, brings back traumatic memories of her past when she begins to suspect that Alice is Beth, all grown up.
Other cast members include Mary Hamilton (Nicole Kang), Kate's stepsister and a medical student, and Catherine Hamilton-Kane (Elizabeth Anweis), Kate's stepmother and CEO of Hamilton Dynamics.
Batwoman is notable for finally introducing a member of the Bat Family to the Arrowverse after many Easter eggs and mythology gags, as well as being the sixth live-action television series (following Batman, Birds of Prey, Gotham, Titans, and Pennyworth) based on elements of the Batman mythos.
Before the series started, Kate appeared in the Elseworlds crossover. The series pilot is set before the crossover, but every episodes afterward are set after. The first arc, featuring Kate battling Alice and the Wonderland Gang, is heavily inspired by Greg Rucka & JH Williams III's Elegy story from the comics.
The series participated in the 2019-2020 Crisis Crossover of the Arrowverse: Crisis on Infinite Earths, though since the series was relatively new, only Kate and Luke were featured. The series will also participate in the upcoming currently-unnamed Arrowverse crossover of the 2020-2021 season; according to The CW president Mark Pedowitz, the crossover will only involve Batwoman and the upcoming Superman and Lois.
The series began airing in the UK on the digital channel E4 on March 29th, 2020, finally bringing all of the CW series' to UK viewers (the rest of the shows are with Sky, except for Black Lightning, which is branded as a Netflix original), though the shows being on differing services and channels does inevitably lead to Continuity Lockout issues (especially since the Crisis Crossover episode is set to air at the end of the series* .
On May 19, 2020, Ruby Rose announced her departure from the series after completing Season 1. While it was initially assumed that the role of Kate Kane would be recast, it was later confirmed that a new character (called Ryan Wilder in the casting call, but it's possible this is a placeholder name) will be introduced to carry on the legacy.
Batwoman contains examples of the following tropes:
- Adaptation Amalgamation: The first season has combined elements of the three major Batwoman comics: Batwoman: Elegy, the New 52 Batwoman series, and Batwoman (Rebirth).
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Kate and Jacob have brown hair here rather than red. However, the Batwoman suit eventually is modified with a red wig just like her comic look.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Thomas Elliot, in his first comic appearance, was able to pull off still being a close friend to Bruce even while plotting against him; here he comes across like an arrogant scumbag from his first scene.
- Adult Fear: Jacob's treatment of Kate and refusal to believe that Alice is Beth boils down to this. He never had any intention of letting Kate be a Crow because he doesn't want her put in danger, and he can't accept the possibility of Beth being Alice because that would mean his other daughter has become an insane murderer.
- Badass in Distress: Sophie Moore, who is the Crow's top agent and a capable fighter, is kidnapped by Alice, which is what leads Kate to return to Gotham and become Batwoman to save her.
- The Bad Guy Wins: By the end of the initial eight episodes, Alice's plans have come together flawlessly while the heroes' lives have turned into utter train wrecks.
- Batter Up!: Alice whacks a captured Kate in the face with a cricket bat. Edge-first.
- Being Good Sucks: Only eight episodes into the show and literally everything about Kate's life has already gone straight to hell from the moment she put on the Batsuit for the first time. Her family life is a wreck, her love life is even worse, she was forced to go against several of her own core beliefs and character traits, and none of her sacrifices have really paid off yet both for herself and the people around her.
- Bookcase Passage:
- The elevator to the Batcave is hidden behind a bookcase in Bruce's office and activated by turning a display case of Martha Wayne's pearls rather than the more conventional book-lever.
- The cellar where Beth was held captive for 11 years is hidden behind a textbook example.
- Breather Episode: Drink Me, a mostly light-hearted episode follows the pretty heavy Post-Crisis story arc with Beth. Luke leans on the fourth wall by saying that going after a supposed vampire villain will be a nice change of pace.
- Broken Masquerade: Kate seems to have trouble hiding her double identity, at least with people who she's familiar with - Alice straight up knows, and Sophie becomes suspicious after one meeting. Sophie is eventually convinced otherwise, but Julia Pennyworth shows up in Episode 7 and figures it out even faster because Batwoman uses a fighting move that Julia taught Kate.
- Bulletproof Vest: The Batsuit is this to an insane degree. Described by Luke as "military-grade kevlar woven with enriched carbon nanotubes of [his] dad's own design," it can stop a test-fired .50 caliber round from a Desert Eagle (which is basically a hand-held rifle) without a scratch, making the wearer effectively immune to handguns. Kate does mention that getting shot still stings, though. Its toughness is such that Bruce designed a handheld railgun so he'd have a weapon capable of piercing the armor if it was stolen.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: This seems to be Alice's rationale behind saving Kate from Tommy.
- Cheated Death, Died Anyway: In one episode, Alice and her good alternate-reality counterpart Beth are both dying because only one version of them can exist in the same reality. Beth's stepsister Mary manages to find a medical cure that will keep her alive just long enough that she'll outlive Alice, at which point she''ll survive by default. Unfortunately, as Lucas is transporting Beth to a safe place to recuperate, Beth gets shot by a sniper who mistakes her for Alice, against whom he has a grudge.
- Coming-Out Story:
- Kate comes out as a lesbian in her Batwoman persona (she'd already been out as herself), after hearing a sad story from the hacker in "How Queer Is Everything Today?" who'd been forcibly outed by her lover.
- Sophie eventually admits to her mother she was involved with a woman at Point Rock (without naming Kate as the one), and she really never loved her husband, saying she wants to rekindle things with her former girlfriend. Her mother's unhappy and leaves, which makes Sophie cry.
- Cool Bike: Kate's civilian ride is a Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883. She gets another Batwoman-specific one in the second half of Season 1.
- Cool Cars: The Crows have a few in the form of International-brand armored trucks and a customized MXT variant.
- Cool Guns: Crows agents use Walther P99s as sidearms, and have the option of MP5 or UMP submachine guns.
- Dead All Along: It is revealed that the Joker has been dead for years rather than locked up in Arkham, as Batman killed him before his disappearance.
- Delayed Seasons:
- Kate and Sophie's relationship is discovered a week before they were to graduate, which would realistically have been around May, but the scene looks like it's in autumn, complete with a carpet of fallen leaves.
- It's a similar case with the car crash flashbacks. They take place in early January, but look again like they're in fall or even late summer, certainly not a typically-snowy winter of the Great Lakes region.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Crows Security is comprised mostly of former Green Berets and Navy SEALs.
- Enhance Button: Downplayed. After Alice and her goons kidnap Sophie in the pilot, the Crows are able to enhance a low-res surveillance camera feed to make out an inscription on a cricket bat. However, the lettering still isn't clearly legible. Kate only figures out what it says because she recognizes it as the motto of the Burnside Orphanage, where she and Beth used to sneak around.
- Experimented in College: Sophie briefly passes her past relationship with Kate off as this to Tyler.
- Failed a Spot Check: Luke doesn't notice Kate holding a paperclip before he handcuffs her, which allows her to pick the cuffs and use them on him.
- Fictional Counterpart: The United States Military Academy (West Point) has become the fictional Point Rock Academy.
- Fingore: When Catherine sends some mooks to assassinate Alice, she retaliates by chopping off one of their pinkie fingers with some garden shears to send a message.
- First-Episode Twist: The end of the pilot reveals that Alice is actually Kate's long-thought dead twin sister Beth.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing: Because it's so obvious where it will lead, said First-Episode Twist sets up the fact that Beth's body was never found barely a minute before revealing that Alice is almost certainly Beth.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Safiyah Sohail appears to be this for season 1. She's stated to be located outside Gotham, in Coryana, but has an influence on many of the events that happen in the season, and is connected to a number of the characters, including Alice. However, she never directly appears in the season.
- Hairpin Lockpick: Kate uses a paper clip to pick the handcuffs Luke puts her in when he apprehends her at Wayne Tower.
- Heteronormative Crusader:
- Kate and her girlfriend Sophie fell afoul of this attitude at Point Rock Academy. When they were cadets there, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was still military policy, so when they were caught kissing, both soon got brought up on charges. Kate refused to deny their relationship and was expelled. However, Sophie denied it in order to stay. Though naturally Kate is dismayed by this, Sophie counters that unlike Kate, she isn't from a very wealthy background and can't simply land on her feet afterward, needing the education the academy provides.
- Years later, Kate and Sophie run into another one when the owner of a fancy restaurant where they were having dinner attempts to throw them out after spotting the pair holding hands. Kate takes her revenge by purchasing the derelict building across the street and turning it into a gay bar.
- The hacker in "How Queer Is Everything Today?" had this as her backstory. She'd been reluctant to come out as her parents were anti-gay. Her girlfriend insisted though, and told them when she wouldn't. Kate later also comes out as a result in her Batwoman persona (she'd already been as herself), thus eliciting some negative comments from a popular talk show host who complains of superheroes getting politicized (who, ironically, is voiced by the openly lesbian Rachel Maddow) after saying "Not that theres anything wrong with that".
- Diane Moore clearly dislikes Batwoman for coming out as a lesbian. Sophie coming out to her also makes her quite unhappy, saying her daughter's "choice" will simply make things harder for her.
- Hidden Depths: Mary Hamilton is a socialite and Instagram influencer by day, but by night she runs a secret medical clinic for Gotham's have-nots.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title, with the exception of the pilot and crossover episode is taken from one of the two ''Alice'' books.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Kate is really bad at thinking on her feet when explaining her sudden departures to Reagan. It ties into a voiceover mentioning that Kate strives for personal honesty, and becomes one of the reasons their relationship crashes and burns after just a few days.
- Info Dump: The first three episodes, particularly the pilot, contain a lot of exposition.
- Keeping Secrets Sucks:
- The main theme of episode 3. Kate, as an out and proud gay woman, has never had/wanted to hide any part of herself from anybody whatsoever. So having to hide being Batwoman is a personal hell for her. It doesn't help that she's a Bad Liar when it comes to making things up on the spot.
- Lampshaded when Kate and Luke are talking about Bruce being Batman.Kate: How did Bruce make living a double life look so easy?
Luke: Oh, he didn't; he was miserable.
- Knife Nut: Alice loves flicking her butterfly knife open and closed while she talks, as well as being quite accurate with throwing it and other knives.
- Law Enforcement, Inc.: The Crows, a private security force run by Jacob Kane to supplement the GCPD.
- Locked Out of the Loop: In a teaser for Crisis on Infinite Earths, Harbinger informs Kate that the multiverse is in great danger. Kate's response? "I'm sorry, the what?"
- MasculineFeminine Gay Couple: Kate and Sophie were an example during their relationship. The former is quite butch in her looks, while Sophie's very feminine. The same goes for Kate with Julia and Reagan, who are both very feminine too.
- The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Kate comes to this realization by the end of episode 4, and stops whatever she could have had with Reagan in its tracks.
- Missing Mom: Gabi, Kate and Beth's mother, was killed in their childhood when a bus the Joker hijacked rear-ended the car she was driving (with them inside). It was run off the bridge she had been driving on-Gabi was decapitated and killed instantly on hitting the water below. This traumatic event overshadows her daughter's afterward (particularly with Beth, as we see it helped lead her to become Alice).
- My God, What Have I Done?: Suggested to have at least played a part in Batman's disappearance, considering that he violated his rule against killing by killing the Joker.
- Myth Arc: The mystery behind Batman's disappearance will play a big role in the show, including such revelations as Batman killed the Joker before his disappearance.
- Mythology Gag:
- Crows Security takes its name from the Murder of Crows, the nickname given to a group of special operations personnel who trained Kate in the comics, and who are Jacob's closest friends in that community.
- The map of Gotham used in the series is the same one used in most other contemporary depictions of the city.
- Batwoman's suit seems to synthesize several of its other depictions elsewhere. The nose of the mask looks like the way it was drawn in 52, the belt and portions of the gauntlets resemble the design in Batman: Bad Blood, and the bodysuit has similarities to a resin statue made by Sideshow Collectibles.
- Her very first suit, without any red elements (including the wig), resembles the version of Batwoman seen in Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman.
- The display alcove for Batman's batsuit looks similar to the one from the DCEU.
- The Batcave features an octagonal section of walkway that surrounds a tree, which is a reference to Kate's HQ in the comics (an octagonal panic room in her apartment with a tree that grows though the center of her building).
- Also in the Batcave: a toy T-Rex, which references the much larger version seen in the comics.
- Kate mentions Bruce's birthday is February 19th, which is the one usually given in the comics.
- The film shown at the "Movie in the Park" event is The Mark of Zorro, which has traditionally been the film the Waynes were watching shortly before the murders.
- Kate and Beth's favorite Belgian waffle stand was called Grand Place. In the comics, the twins were on their way to the actual Grand Place in Brussels to get waffles for their birthday when they were kidnapped.
- A news report reveals that The Joker in this universe is Jack Napier. Another passing mention is that of a Mayor Cobblepot.
- Kate has the same hairstyle here as a cadet that she did in the source.
- Some newspaper clippings in the Batcave mention relatively obscure Baman villains, such as Maxie Zeus or the Penny Plunderer.
- The Batcave has 60's style computers and devices in the background, with even the main console taking on this style in design (just not in functionality). This appears to allude to the 60's Batman show, which had similar equipment in its batcave.
- Not So Different: Alice says that like her years of captivity, Sophie has also been kept "imprisoned" in a sense with being closeted about her attraction to women.
- One Steve Limit: Kate's full first name is "Katherine", which is pronounced the same way as the name of her step-mother, "Catherine". This is consistent to how it was in the comics.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Ruby Rose and Dougray Scott mostly do okay American accents, but the occasional word will slip. This is made all the more noticeable by their natural accents being rather pronounced.
- Origins Episode: The pilot is one, set before Elseworlds.
- The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The password to get into Wayne Enterprise's mainframe is "Alfred". Lampshaded when Kate tells Luke that he might wanna change it.
- Pistol-Whipping: Kate does this to one of Alice's goons with his own pistol.
- Police Are Useless: After Batman's disappearance, the people of Gotham felt this about the GCPD, so Crows Security was hired by the city to bolster public safety. The GCPD is still around, but the Crows conduct many of the same activities: patrols, security, the hunting of fugitives, etc.
- Police Brutality: Just as Batwoman's gotten through to Troy (and as he's lowered his weapons) the Crows shoot him to death. This could be considered murder, as Troy wasn't presenting an active threat. After that, they also try to shoot Batwoman dead, who's only saved by her body armor, which definitely is attempted murder as she had made no aggressive move toward them at all.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: In the comics, Kate and Beth are identical twins. Here they're fraternal. Pulling off identical twins as central characters would require either being lucky enough to find real-life identical twins who are both actresses, or using CGI on a regular basis to allow one actress to portray both in the same scene. Also, not being identical makes it more plausible that Kate and others don't recognize Beth right away.
- Running Gag: Kate picking up or attempting to pick up various pieces of Bat-tech, and Luke stopping her from doing so.
- Sadistic Choice: In "A Narrow Escape" a bomber called The Detonator returns, whose shtick is forcing people viewed as heroes into this. They're strapped to bombs, with a button disarming them which will trigger another bomb planted somewhere else which will murder people. It's to show they're not really so heroic, as they won't sacrifice themselves for others. However, it turns out this is a copycat using the same m.o. to cover up crimes for a different end.
- Sexy Back: Two for the price of one in episode 4, thanks to Ruby Rose and Brianne Howey.
- Sherlock Scan: How Kate finds the door to the Batcave. She notices that the display case containing Martha Wayne's pearls has been moved from where she remembered it as a child. Upon examining it closer, she finds the unlocking mechanism for the door built into the shelf, and simply has to reattach the case.
- Shown Their Work: Aside from her ponytail, which would be out-of-regulation in this context, Sophie wears a pretty accurate recreation of West Point's "As For Class" uniform during a flashback (West Point being the real-life version of Point Rock Academy). It's really only missing pins for rank and class, but those may not be used at Point Rock.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Kate pulls a stealth bye on Jacob when she leaves for Alice's hideout after showing the Crows the surveillance footage of Sophie's kidnapping.
- Swiss Cheese Security: Wayne Enterprises seems to have the same level of security as STAR Labs. Not only is Kate able to break in through a seemingly unlocked window, but Tommy Elliot jokes that he just used a "hidden key".
- Tap on the Head: Alice whacks Kate with a cricket bat hard enough to knock her out for an unspecified period of time, but Kate is fine with no visible head wound or bruising there after waking up, and seemingly didn't even need painkillers. Realistically, such a hit would probably have given her a concussion at best, if not outright cracked her skull.
- Tragic Keepsake: Martha Wayne's pearl necklace. Bruce spent ages scouring the alleys of Gotham searching for it, until finally finding it in an auction house and spending literally a million dollars to buy it back.
- Training from Hell: Jacob sent Kate on a long global journey for this purpose, ostensibly as a form of training so she could join the Crows. Kate is introduced during one segment of this, when she free-dives under a frozen lake with her ankles cuffed to retrieve the cuff's key.
- Ultimate Job Security: Kate and Sophie discuss this regarding their potential expulsion from Point Rock. Kate rationalizes that, since they're the Academy's top two cadets, the school won't actually expel them under DADT, even if they tell the truth and don't sign a denial. She ends up being mistaken about that, and Sophie is initially prepared to do the same before changing her mind.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: In flashbacks, it's shown that when Kate was brought up on charges for having a same-sex relationship with Sophie, Sophie just let her take the fall and be kicked out, along with telling Kate she didn't love her back. In the present, as Batwoman, Kate manages to save Sophie's life. She comes back to see how she's doing, clearly hoping they can reunite at last... and meets Sophie's husband.