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Batwoman - Who Are You? - Review Roundtable: Lost Momentum

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This review was written by Aimee Hicks, Donna Cromeans (DJRiter), and Ellys Cartin.

Batwoman’s story continued withWho Are You? delivering an interesting villain of the week episode. Please continue reading below to find out all of our thoughts on the episode. After reading, please leave your own thoughts in the comments.

Alice complicated Catherine’s life drastically this episode. The meaning of the cards from last week was quickly revealed as Beth’s supposed grave and it led to a tense confrontation between the two women. Catherine was forced to come clean about the truth regarding Beth. Were you surprised that the truth came out so soon? Did you buy that Catherine just did it for Kate and Jacob? Do you think there were more nefarious reasons behind the cover-up?

Aimee: The one thing I’ll say about this show is they are plowing through reveals at a rather rapid pace. I think this one they could have been stretched out further and played with more. With that said, I don’t think the whole truth came out and there is still more to be told in regards to the aftermath of the accident. I also don’t, for a single moment, believe Catherine had Beth declared dead out of the goodness of her heart to protect Kate and Jacob. She seems like the type that has an agenda. I still think she is covering something up and hopefully we’ll find out in the next episode when Alice reveals some of her story to Kate.

Donna: I was a little surprised about how quickly Catherine’s machinations came to light, I thought Alice would delight in tormenting her as she had been tormented. There is not an explanation in the world that would make me believe that Catherine did it out of the goodness of her heart and concern for Kate and Jacob. She has had an agenda from the beginning, and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. I pegged her from the start as duplicitous and I think in coming weeks she could become even more of a threat to Kate and Alice. I think perhaps one of the reasons for the quick reveal on some storylines is so the show can catch up with the other shows in the Arrowverse timeline to be at the same place in time as them when the Crisis crossover begins.

Ellys: This episode committed multiple sins, but making Catherine look weak and silly was certainly one of the biggest. Were we meant to believe she was having the fake skull fragments dug up in broad daylight? The episode’s writing also didn’t make it clear that Alice was just asking for the weapon to force Catherine to tell Jacob the truth. So, some viewers might have thought Alice was silly enough to think that Catherine would hand over a weapon like that. Again, I worry the Alice story is moving too fast when it ought to have been in the background for the first half of the season. Skarsten is, of course, amazing, and they want to use her as much as possible. That decision is coming at a cost. Alice is losing all her mystery and menace, and now there’s no alternate antagonist to pick up the pieces. Catherine’s motives seem genuine enough. It makes sense she would have wanted to help Jacob and Kate. However, we haven’t seen enough of Jacob and Catherine for this rift to have any emotional or dramatic impact, making it yet another critical mistake to bring it about so early in the season.

After only one episode together, Reagan and Kate have parted paths. How do you think the series handled Kate’s first relationship as Batwoman? Do you believe Reagan will return eventually? Do you want her to return?

AH: I think how Kate and Reagan’s relationship was going to go from the start was painfully obvious. From the first scene when Kate had to leave with a bad excuse, I knew it would end in them not being together. The truly sad thing is that Ruby Rose and Brianne Howell have extremely strong chemistry and to throw that away on a relationship the writers clearly didn’t intend to give time to mature is disappointing. I get what they are trying to do. They are going with the whole storyline where the hero can’t love for risk of letting down the city. It was so obvious that it took away from the cute moments Kate and Reagan did get. I do hope Reagan will one day return. It would be a shame if the show lets such amazing chemistry go in the name of trying to force fans to like a pair that currently have, in my opinion, minute chemistry at the best of moments. I’m not at all saying Ruby Rose and Meagan Tandy can’t pull things together and develop chemistry, but I am saying that the chemistry they need between them just doesn’t exist at the moment. We have seen small sparks of potential, but they just can’t seem to lock anything in to make this star-crossed lover storyline work. So, I definitely want Reagan to return. I know the show will do everything in their power to make Sophie and Kate work. I get that, they have made it very clear that is their agenda, but they also should give the Kate and Reagan story another shot with a real storyline and see if a better path exists for Kate’s love story. They need to explore real viable options instead of making it obvious about the pairing they prefer.

DC: There were missteps in Kate’s first relationship as Batwoman, though technically the relationship got its beginnings before Kate made the decision to go all-in on her alter ego. The way it has been handled is reminiscent to other Arrowverse shows in that all of our heroes stumbled a bit in their first relationships trying to balance having a love interest and a secret identity, so in that respect, it played true to form. I sincerely hope Reagan comes back and Kate finds a way to balance the hero and a normal life, because the chemistry between Ruby Rose and Brianne Howell was electric. In fact, their chemistry is far more compelling and interesting to watch than that of Rose and Megan Tandy who plays Sophie. Although Sophie is being set up to be the love of Kate’s life, I’m still not seeing it.

Ellys: I have to say it. The show rushed this relationship. It was always going to be short, of course, but they introduced romantic conflict vs. demands of being a vigilante far too soon in the story. It’s yet another development issue that makes me want to pull out my hair. Howey shone, and I take some comfort in that she might come back into the picture. It would be easy to bring her back in, especially since she’s a bartender who is likely often around elite events that Kate’s family would frequent. At this point, I don’t want anything besides the show to step up its game.

Mary was finally utilized as Batwoman’s go-to doctor. We got to see a different side to Mary as she channeled her inner Alice. Mary was a massive help to Batwoman and she has clearly proven she can keep a secret. What do you think it will take for Kate to finally trust Mary with her secret? How do you think Mary would react to knowing Kate is Batwoman?

AH: Despite all Mary has done for Kate and Batwoman I don’t see Kate telling Mary the truth anytime soon. I don’t think it’s a trust thing anymore, I think its Kate thinking she is protecting Mary by not letting her know the truth. Eventually, Mary will have to be let in on the truth. I would love for Kate to just come out and tell Mary, but more likely she’ll either find out by accident or the decision will be taken from Kate due to a critical injury. One viable option for the reveal is Kate being injured and either Luke or even Alice will take her to Mary to save her, therefore, the truth being revealed. I think Mary will be angry at first for being kept in the dark so long after trusting Kate with her own big secret. But, I think over time she’d make peace with it and be a valuable asset for Kate.

DC: Kate won’t willingly tell Mary her secret identity in a noble attempt to protect her stepsister given the past attacks on Mary by Alice and her goons. Mary will learn Batwoman’s identity when the injured hero is brought to her clandestinely by either Lucas or even Alice, in a delicious twist. She may be ticked off at first but will grow to love the idea and relish joining Kate in her crusade, despite objections Kate is surely to have.

EC: I don’t think I noticed until this episode how no one seems to be set on a character arc. What is Mary’s internal conflict or even her external conflict? Keeping her clinic a secret, which hasn’t been shown to be a significant concern in any way? Does Mary have friends? Does Mary go to class? Who is Mary getting her training from? Who is Mary as a person? These past two episodes basically acted like that emotional scene she shared with Kate in Episode 2 didn’t exist. That scene in the clinic where she tearfully revealed how much Kate’s rejection over the years had hurt...did we dream that happened?!

Luke finally got a bit of a story this episode after weeks of being sidelined. What do you think the writers intend to do with him? Will we seem him mature into a hero like Arrow did with most of the characters in the know? Or do you think he will just remain at the Batcave serving as Kate’s only confidant?

AH: Clearly the writers want him as the tech guy because he’s proven himself miserable at security. I’m not ruling out the possibility they could mature him into a hero in his own right, but I see him being more of the tech guy hanging back guiding Batwoman and whomever may join her in the future. Unfortunately, for the time being, I do see him as Kate’s only confidant, though I do hope that doesn’t last too long. The whole keeping everyone in the dark storyline to up the drama bit is overdone especially in the superhero world. And, yes, I know secret identities and all, and I’m fine with that. I just think that if a hero clearly trusts a person they should tell that person the truth to get their help.

DC: I get the feeling their trying to turn Lucas into an ersatz Alfred to Kate’s Batwoman. I don’t think this is going to work. He’ll likely remain in the Batcave, only pulled out if Kate ends up in extreme danger. I think he remains the technical support, but there could be a fun dynamic if they were to team him up with Mary to help Batwoman. Watching Mary’s enthusiasm and energy draw Lucas out of his reserved shell and get him to fully buy into the adventure would be fun to watch.

EC: As with nearly every character on this show, there’s no interest from the writers in developing Luke yet or exploring who he is as a person. It’s a shame.

Batwoman seems to have started off with more grounded in reality villains versus the metas and aliens that fellow CW DC shows dealt with in their first seasons. Given this series lives in the same general reality as those shows metas and aliens are likely to pop into the story at some point. Do you like that for now these villains are more relatable? Or do you hope to see metas and aliens come in to challenge Kate on a whole new level?

AH: Batwoman is part of the bigger Arrowverse, so I have no doubt that aliens and metas will appear at some point especially with Crisis looming. For now I am happy that they are at least starting off with villains that are human. I wouldn’t mind seeing metas and aliens brought in down the road to up and stakes and give Batwoman a real challenge. Or, at the very least, I’d like to see more formidable foes that can’t be taken down as easily as the last two. To be perfectly honest, the takedown of Magpie was just weak. In fact that whole sequence was on the weak side of things. If they stick with human foes, and I hope they do for a bit longer, I’d really like to see some that really challenge Batwoman.

DC: I’d say we’ll see more metas than aliens on Batwoman, much like the villains faced by The Flash. They would certainly provide Batwoman with greater challenges. If not, I would like to see more fully realized human villains that put her to the test. Hush and Magpie, while villains that come from DC canon were not that much of a challenge for the new hero of Gotham. Give these villains more complexity and reason for Kate/Batwoman to use those deductive skills her character is known for.

EC: Any villain not named Alice is milquetoast. Early villains often are in these sorts of shows, because the early episodes are supposed to be exploring the identities and inner turmoil of the protagonists and how the characters relate to each other.

This past week Batwoman was picked up for a full season. What are your hopes for the rest of the season? What would you like to see happen? What do you think will actually happen?

AH: I’m thrilled that Batwoman got a full-season pickup, but I hope that with the added benefit of these extra episodes the series will figure out its rhythm. Right now it feels uneven with some great material followed by mediocrity. This show has an insane amount of potential, so they need to spend less time trying to sell Kate and Sophie and more time on the relationships that are clicking with the audience like Alice and Kate as well as Mary and Kate. Those are the two dynamics where the show really shines and is at its best. I want to see Reagan return or at least show Kate in a real honest serious relationship with someone that isn’t Sophie. If the writers want us to believe Sophie still has feelings for Kate then they need to write a story where there is real competition that rocks Sophie to her core. Maybe something like that would finally allow Rose and Tandy to build a level of chemistry that could finally translate across the screen. To me, Sophie is the biggest weak link in this story. I don’t know how much is the writers struggling to write for Sophie or Tandy struggling to really connect with Sophie, but there is a disconnect happening and Sophie and Tandy seem to be the constant common denominator. I also want to see more people let in on the secret. Give Batwoman her core group like all the other heroes have because that is where the series currently has a lot of wasted potential not just with Kate but with Luke as well. The poor guy has literally been relegated to two sets. I know that a future episode synopsis has him interacting with Mary, so that’ll be nice. Letting more people in on the secret also opens up more potential for Luke. Overall I’m really excited to go on this ride with this show. It’s a CW DC show, so I know it’s going to have big ups and low lows, but I have faith in it. The show is still going through the fine-tuning stage every first season show goes through and I think given time they can tighten things up and really lock into all the dynamic relationships they’ve built over these past four episodes. So my biggest hope for the show is that it will just continue to grow and mature and become the show I believe it can.

DC: It is my deepest hope that the show continues to grow and improve to find its firm footing with the other heroes of the Arrowverse. They need to be patient in smoothing out the storylines and characters that work (Kate/Batwoman, Mary, Alice, Lucas, even Catherine) and revamping or removing those that don’t (Jacob, Sophie). The show is off to a solid start and can only improve. I would love to see a scenario in the future where Mary and Alice must team up to save their sister, either from some unknown foe or perhaps from Catherine’s evil. Bring Mary into the fold sooner rather than later, don’t spend so much time in setting up characters that they forget the story. I recently went back and read the Batwoman: Elegy graphic novel by Greg Rucka, which is said to be the source material for the show. There are several great storylines and angles from it that the show could explore.

EC: Stop squashing Ruby Rose! They shouldn’t be having her play this watered-down version of Kate who acts way younger and more inexperienced than Kate should be. Kate is supposed to be approximately 28-29, someone who has spent years traveling the world being educated and trained. However, they have her act like someone much younger. Her life is supposed to have hardened her, the loss of her mother and sister, Sophie’s rejection, not being able to join the Army or the Crows, weighing heavily upon her. She’s supposed to have this swagger and edge that have formed as a result of her experiences but also as a result of her confidence in the abilities she has developed as a way of coping with those experiences. Ruby Rose has exactly that charisma in real life, but the show refuses to let her play to those strengths by having Kate act like a rattled teenager who is sad she won’t be able to have a love life and fight crime. That’s not who Kate Kane should be. She isn’t someone with a preexisting stable life who is having to put that at risk by taking up the mantle of a hero. They’re having Kate be a Barry Allen/Kara Danvers when she is a Sara Lance/Oliver Queen type of character. We’ve been saying all along that we want the Kate from the Elseworlds crossover, because with that Kate you could feel the darkness surrounding her and emanating from her in spite of her heroism. She was above the other characters, not so much by her attitude as by the sense you got of the weight she carried and how she had converted that burden into the force necessary to enable her to be Batwoman. Also, Kate is a poster child for goodness, which doesn’t work either. A protagonist needs to have flaws or weaknesses in their character so that we can root for their evolution and self-discovery. The Kate Kane of the comics was reckless and selfish before starting down the path to be a vigilante, and even then her motives weren’t black and white.

Reader Question: Submitted by Jan van Es. We know that Reagan can read people. Will this become an eventual power that she will use as a villain or as an ally to Batwoman?

AH: They sent Reagan on her way this week, but I’m hopeful we’ll see her again. I don’t know that she’s going to be a meta or a super-powered individual, though that would be pretty cool. It would certainly provide great story potential to bring her back into the story. And if they do bring her back I hope it is with a storyline that would allow her to be incorporated into the overall story other than just being Kate’s girl. If she did prove to be super-powered, just because of her personality, I would expect her to be an ally to Batwoman. She seems to be a genuinely good person with a good heart. That could be interesting if Kate could date her with no secrets next time. It would definitely make things more dynamic in regards to Sophie always being a factor.

DC: Interesting question. I guess I missed that Reagan had that power. It would be great if she did and in developing it realized what Kate was doing and decided to return to Gotham. Howell would be a great addition to the cast as a regular. Another angle to consider is that she was deliberately placed to get close to Kate by either Jacob or Catherine in order to keep tabs on her but has second thoughts about her role in deceiving someone she grows to genuinely care about.

EC: Batwoman doesn’t have the slightest interest right now in branching into more elaborate villains. I can see Reagan’s people skills making her a valuable asset, should the show bring her back.

What are your final thoughts regarding this episode?

AH: This was easily the weakest episode since the pilot. It had pacing issues and the writers made it painfully obvious what was going to happen long before it even happened. On a positive side, the acting was much improved all around. I’ve said before, as long as Ruby Rose keeps improving she could truly be the Batwoman this show deserves and she took huge leaps in that regard this week. What hurt this particular episode was the writing. It wasn’t nearly as tight or well constructed as the last two episodes. This one felt like it was thrown together on a deadline and just to get it done the writing team wrote it on the fly without much structure. There were parts that were clever and fun, but overall the writing was to the detriment to this particular episode while the acting was its strength.

DC: The episode was a step back from previous ones. The pacing and editing were off and awkward. I thought the villain of the week was weak, as was Jacob’s outrage at Catherine. The writing seemed rushed and at times cliché’d. What did work was the continued growth of Ruby Rose as Kate and Batwoman, and her interactions with Mary were great. Camrus Johnson was greatly improved as Lucas and was given better material. The highlight of the episode for me was the creative Batwoman rescue of the little girl at the gala. Again, the weak link was Megan Tandy as Sophie and her lack of connection or chemistry with Rose. Tandy is a fine actress, just not sure what the problem is here whether it’s the writing or something else.

EC: Let’s just pretend it didn’t happen. I loved the chemistry between Kate and Reagan, but even that slapped up against the major structural issues with this season. I would love to promote the next episode, which may provide some great material for Skarsten, but I can’t overlook that the Alice story is moving too quickly. The episode after that one is written by seasoned TV writers James Stoteraux & Chad Fiveash who have written well-received episodes of Switched at Birth, Krypton, and Gotham. Yes, that’s what Batwoman has brought me too--hoping that men will save the show!

Each week we will select one question from all of you to include in our roundtable. Please submit your questions in the comments section below.

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