Batwoman: Who Are You? Review
On this week’s episode of CW’s Batwoman, Who Are You?, there’s a new villain introduced and the show continues to be more and more problematic by adding things that are too familiar and not fixing anything with its supporting characters.
Right off the bat, no pun intended, we’re introduced to a new villain that’s interested in all things shiny and has become Gotham’s newest jewel thief – Catwoman…I’m sorry I meant Magpie (Rachel Matthews). You know what, though, it’s honestly hard to tell the difference as the series continues to add no substance to anything new it tries to bring. Other than a couple of bird quips, there’s nothing that special about Magpie that makes her stand apart and she’s really just a lesser version of an iconic Batman villain. It’s disappointing on two fronts with the series wasting the talents of Matthews, who’s best known for being hilarious in the Happy Death Day series, and this addition just stacks on more issues that Batwoman already has.
Even Starsken’s performance as Alice isn’t enough anymore because she’s just goes full on Joker in this episode. I don’t even know why she’s even Alice at this point because there’s very little Wonderland references and, honestly, Mary (Nicole Kang) does a more authentic Alice when she’s getting info out of her henchmen and that’s saying something. For a character and a show that says and thinks it’s standing on its own, it’s constant reminder of better material and characters makes it have more bark than bite.
As for the new things from the previous episode, Kate (Ruby Rose) has begun a new relationship with Reagan (Brianne Howey) and it’s just as generic and uninteresting as anything else. The two are just normally likable and their big “argument” at the end of the episode has no emotional weight to it because of how little we’ve gotten to know and care for their relationship. Frankly, it looks like things with them are about to go one of two ways: either Reagan and her are just going to be on and off again or she’s going to become some kind of villain because it wouldn’t even surprise me at this point if they went this generic of a route.
Frankly, Reagan fits right in with the show’s inability to give its supporting characters any kind of substance to make them more interesting. Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson) is still a negative nerd with very little charm to make him anything more than a lesser version of Alfred. The Crows are still pointless right now with everything with Kate’s dad (Dougray Scott) and Sophie (Meagan Tandy) being incredibly dull and just plain boring at this point. Even the “confrontation” between Kate’s dad and Catherine (Elizabeth Anweis) about her hiding Beth’s death was incredibly anti-climatic. The only one, at this point, that’s proving her worth is Mary as she becomes more involved with Batwoman and is given an interesting moment to show her skills when she tricks a henchman into giving up information about Alice’s plan.
What really makes Batwoman a frustrating experience, though, is the constant use of unnecessary narration, rough looking effects and editing, and how the show thinks it’s a strong symbol of feminism but puts no substance behind it. The narration from Gotham podcaster Vesper Fairchild (Rachel Maddow) is becoming annoying because it offers no depth to Batwoman’s influence on Gotham. Even her narrations to Bruce are really lackluster and are just lazy ways for viewers to get an insight into Kate’s head. Not to mention, the explosion effects in this episode look like hot trash and some of the editing actually makes it hard to tell what’s happening.
This episode in particular also leans heavily into trying to make Batwoman, as a character and a show, this tentpole for feminism, but doesn’t give it any uniqueness or legs to stand on. Outside of a nice, personal moment of a young girl seeing Batwoman for the first time, we’re just offered more “all talk and no show.” It’s a lot of talking about strong women and not really showing it with constantly egregious mentionings about Martha Wayne and how strong she was – even though there’s not much proof to back that up. Batwoman doesn’t even get a moment to capitalize on the moment of inspiration to take down Magpie as she is easily taken in by the Crows. Hell, it almost felt as if Kate took the credit for knowing that Magpie was a random photographer in one scene even though she never brings it up at and the episode doesn’t really earn this mystery solving moment. Frankly, in the future, the series needs to give more personal and endearing moments to Batwoman’s rise in admiration and, honestly, some more building of her as an LGBT hero wouldn’t hurt as her opening monologue about it is really good actually.
Who Are You? Is actually quite an apt name for this episode because it highlights the series’ biggest problem – that it has no identity of its own. As the problems continue to stack and nothing seems to be getting fixed, the only surefire feeling I have about Batwoman is that my excitement for a new episode each week is starting to dwindle.