Batwoman: Pilot

Kate: “Bruce Wayne is Batman?”
Luke: “Yeah, I’m dead.”

CW pilots are a bit notorious for being kinda crappy. They usually have to backtrack from their introduction to give us their origin. There has to be a lot of characters, plot and world building and the tone of the series established in forty minutes of screen time. That isn’t a recipe for quality.

So what did work? Ruby Rose is a physical presence, she is very striking and dominates the screen. She isn’t the greatest actor yet, but she did a passable job at the narration and she did manage to carry the episode where she is in practically every scene. She also makes the suit work, and that’s important. We don’t yet have her full costume, but the proto suit based off of Bruce’s is actually pretty impressive by itself.

I liked Luke Fox as her Alfred/tech guy. He had a few good moments and they play off each other pretty well. I don’t know how I feel about the Batcave being located beneath Wayne Tech, but that’s not the worst idea. The Batcave, while dark, was a decent design for what I imagine will be a core location for the series.

Unfortunately, less can be said about pretty much everyone else. I wasn’t sure if it was the writing, acting or just everyone trying to figure out who they were playing, but everyone felt a bit stiff and emotionless. Even Dougray Scott came off a little wooden. I did like Nicole (Mary Hamilton), and her duality as a brainless socialite by day and an illegal clinic doctor by night. It makes the two step-sisters have an instant connection and might be setting up Nicole as an important character moving on.

There was a bit of chemistry between Meagan Tandy and Ruby as Sophie and Kate. Their almost by-the-numbers failed romance was fine as a set up. I don’t like that Sophie is now married; it creates another awkward love triangle where someone is going to get hurt. Especially if they make the husband character sympathetic. We'll see if this is the defining romance of the series, or like Laurel on Arrow, just a potential romance to see where it goes.

Rachel Skarsten was okay as Alice, but nowhere near as fun a character as she could be. Especially considering how important she is being set up to be. I also saw the twist coming a mile away because of the way Alice was treating Kate, although I wasn’t expecting Kate to figure it out right away. That gives me hope that they might be going down the detective route with Kate, making her a true Batman-esque character. There is even a deep mystery for her to solve involving the death of her mother and the disappearance of her sister.

My biggest question is this. Sure, Batman has been gone for three years. But what about the rest of the Bat family? Is there a Robin or Batgirl running around out there? Is it just that they are not enough to hold the city together? Or did they hang up their cowls when Bruce disappeared? How many of the classic rogues gallery are we going to see? Will we get the Riddler, Two-Face, Cat Woman, Poison Ivy and the Joker? I don’t know, but this pilot was good enough to have me intrigued.

Bits:

Ruby Rose injured herself during the filming of this episode, requiring surgery to correct two herniated disks in her neck.

I was hoping there would be a cameo with Rene Montoya, but I don’t know if they will go that direction.

Rachel Skarsten has previous experience on a DC show; she played Dinah Lance in Birds of Prey.

The one character that did stand out to me was the radio announcer Vesper Fairchild, who just happens to be played by Rachel Maddow.

The ending of the episode in the building under construction with the bomb threat was clear homage to the end of The Dark Knight.

No rating for the pilot, but I’d rank it somewhere above the Arrow pilot but below Supergirl.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Thanks for the review, J.D. I felt much the same -- somewhat intrigued, but not certain. I thought Ruby Rose was a real presence -- she is incredibly beautiful and it's hard to take your eyes off her when she's on screen.

I'll also admit that I'm a fan of Rachel Maddow and couldn't wait for her to show up. Although it was just a voice thing. :)

Images Animated Gif said...

A great start to the week!