Batwoman Season One Blu-ray: A Study in How Social Messaging Defeats Story Success

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Batwoman Season One Blu-ray

From its very preconception, BATWOMAN seemed to be a project destined for failure on the CW. From the inflammatory pre-show trailers to the shoe-horned identity-driven approach to storytelling, the series was determined to trip over itself to be something rather than letting an organically told story do the work for them, ultimately resulting in the lead actress, Ruby Rose, opting to leave the role of Kate Kane -- the titular hero -- after the freshman year.

The story arc of the season begins with Kate Kane, a disgraced military academy cadet expelled for same-sex relations with another cadet, returning from traveling the world learning different forms of combat (mirroring the personal journey of her cousin, Bruce Wayne) so that she can return home and be a good soldier for her father's private security force, The Crows, who supplement -- and apparently supersede -- the Gotham City Police Department. Colonel Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott), however, turns her down, not wanting to risk losing another daughter. And therein likes the macguffin to the series -- the other daughter. Kate was a twin, and her sister, Beth, was killed in a car accident, along with her mother. Kate should have died as well, but was able to escape the vehicle, which had been partially secured by Batman before it went over a bridge.

But Beth did not die. Instead, her body was recovered by a serial killer with a son graced with perfect mimicry talents. He abused and tortured her until she reached adulthood and escaped. Taking on the identify of Alice (Rachel Skarsten) from the Lewis Carroll books, she partnered with her only friend in her life, Mouse (Sam Littlefield), and together set out to get her revenge on the family that abandoned her for dead.

Kate discovers in the pilot episode that her cousin, Bruce Wayne, was secretly Batman, and that the leftover toys are being guarded by Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson), whom she co-opts into helping her give Gotham City a hero again. And for the rest of the season, it's a constant battle between Batwoman and Alice, catching each other, letting each other go, in an endless, tedious cycle.

As in the comics that inspired this show, Kate Kane is a lesbian. What the showrunners failed to grasp is that this is a facet of Kate Kane, not her singular, one-dimensional aspect. The tension between Kate and her former lover Sophie (Meagan Tandy) is completely undermined by Kate's casual relations with Julia Pennyworth (Christina Wolfe) and Reagan (Brianne Howey). Further, in the tenth episode, Kate finds herself compelled to quash rumors that Batwoman might possibly be the object of heterosexual attraction by declaring publicly her homosexuality, because even a disguised identity must be mired in the driving identity.

In the end, not even the introduction of minor Batman villains like Magpie (Rachel Matthews) or Hush (Gabriel Mann) were able to elevate this season above the ratings abyss it had plunged into.

Despite the departure of Rose from the series, CW has renewed the show for a second season with a new character prepped to assume the mantle of Batwoman, making it the first CW show of the Arrowverse to take such a glaring departure from the comics, essentially creating their own hero and placing her into the DC Universe, marking the first time an Arrowverse title hero did not have a comic book analog.

This four-disc set includes a fifth bonus disc collecting the entirety of the crossover event, CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, something which will be included as an extra in all the CW Arrowverse home video releases this year.

Batwoman Season One Episode Guide
Disc One
Disc Two

01. Pilot
02. The Rabbit Hole
03. Down, Down, Down
04. Who Are You?
05. Mine is a Long and a Sad Tale

06. I'll Be Judge, I'll Be Jury
07. Tell Me the Truth
08. A Mad Tea-Party
09. Crisis on Infinite Earths: Hour 2
10. How Queer Everything is Today!

Disc Three
Disc Four

11. An Un-Birthday Present
12. Take Your Choice
13. Drink Me
14. Grinning From Ear to Ear
15. Off With Her Head

16. Through the Looking-Glass
17. A Narrow Escape
18. If You Believe in Me, I'll Believe in You
19. A Secret Kept From All the Rest
20. O, Mouse!
Bonus: Best of DC TV's Comic-Con Panels, San Diego 2019

 

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0