[Review] Batwoman Episode 2×01: “Whatever Happened To Kate Kane?”

written by Kate Danvers

Whatever happened to Kate Danvers? Well, I went through a massive quarantine, lived with a bunch of idiots who don’t take a pandemic seriously, and watched an attempted insurrection unfold on TV. Oh, also my shows were on hiatus. I reviewed the Final Fantasy VII: Remake, though!


For those who don’t know, Ruby Rose left Batwoman after the first season. Much as I don’t want to discuss that further, the nature of the Season Two premiere makes that impossible. That said, I’m going to address it the bare minimum I’m able to. I’ve said my piece on the matter before, and I’ve been over the casting discourse since before Season One even premiered.

The episode opens with Ryan Wilder sleeping in a van down by the river, dreaming about the day she and her mother moved into a new apartment. She’s woken up by a plane exploding overhead. As debris rains down, Ryan runs toward the wreckage to look for survivors. She finds a homeless man who was struck by debris near the wreckage and pushes through flashbacks of her dying mother to perform CPR and revive him.

In the Batcave, Mary and Luke hear about the crash and try to contact Kate, but both her phone and her suit’s GPS are off. She was flying back from National City and should have gotten in twenty minutes earlier. Checking air traffic reports, Luke realizes that the plane crash was Kate’s plane, just as Ryan finds the Batsuit in the wreckage.

It may have been tailored for someone else, but trust me – supersuits are one size fits all.

The Crows arrive on the scene to search the crash for survivors with Jacob and Sophie insisting on being there to look for Kate themselves. The next morning, as Luke and Mary discuss how Julia didn’t find the suit in the wreckage, they find “Bruce Wayne” – actually Tommy Elliott with a new face, courtesy of Alice – in Kate’s office, claiming to have come when he heard the news. Mary gets called by Jacob, and leaves to be with family. Billionaire genius playboy philanthropist Bruce “Totally Not Hush” Wayne can’t figure out how to open the Batcave and has Luke do it instead. He dodges questions about where he’s been, accidentally lets it slip that he knows Alice is Beth, and practically makes an O-face at the wall of Bat-gadgets. Then Luke just hands over the Kryptonite. Luke, I know you’ve got a lot on your plate, but come on!

Everyone is handling Kate’s apparent death differently. Mary still has hope that her sister survived, Luke thinks the Batsuit would have saved her, and Jacob is obsessed with finding her. Sophie, however, thinks Kate is gone and believes that Safiyah caused the crash to get to Julia. Julia isn’t able to tell Sophie that Kate was already on Safiyah’s radar without outing her as Batwoman.

Mary visits Jacob just as he ends a call with the GCPD commissioner. The pilot’s hand washed up onshore, and Kate’s body is assumed to be in the river. They’ve shifted the search from rescue to recovery.

MARY: “Who? The same people who convinced you to stop looking for Beth when she went missing?”

No, that was your mom, Mary. Did we forget last season already? Jacob despairs that it’s all happening again. Mary isn’t going to give up hope and won’t let Jacob give up either. Aww, Mary is the best.

After meeting with her parole officer and being made to feel frustrated and helpless over her homelessness, lack of job, and criminal record, Ryan puts on the suit to go beat up some bad guys.

See? Told you it would fit. Don’t knock the hero pose in front of the mirror, either. All of us would do the same thing.

Ryan’s first outing is…rough. She whiffs her first batarang, gets pulled down from her scary “hang upside down behind the bad guy” moment, grapples like a kid on a rope swing, and accidentally launches another batarang into a guy’s leg. So, you know, what a normal person would do with high tech bat-themed gadgets. She beats the baddies, though, and interrogates them because she’s looking for someone.

Alice visits “Bruce” at Wayne Manor and kills one of the women he just slept with. Alice is in mourning…sort of. Her plan was to give the kryptonite to Jacob and have him kill Batwoman only to unmask her as Kate. Which sounds like the original Season Two plan. Also, pretty messed up. What’s really messed up is that it probably would have worked – the shooting part, at least.

With the suit reactivated, Luke and Mary track down Ryan, who reveals her backstory in an exposition dump: Her mom died in childbirth, her adopted mother was murdered, and she served eighteen months in prison for a wrongful drug possession conviction during the time the Crows were corrupt. She intends to keep the suit long enough to track down her mother’s killer.

Fake Bruce sends Jacob after Wayne Manor’s “squatter”: Alice. While he’s at Crows headquarters, Julia says hi and asks if he’s gotten in touch with the Eagle yet. Fake Bruce doesn’t know who she means until she mentions her father. Julia gives him incorrect information about where Alfred is living to test him, and “Bruce” fails.

Mary researches Ryan while Ryan reads about Kate in the newspaper. We learn that Ryan’s mother was killed by a gang squatting in the apartment we saw in the flashback at the beginning of the episode, and they were part of the Wonderland gang. While Mary finally understands Ryan’s motives, Ryan realizes Kate Kane wasn’t just some rich socialite who found Batman’s suit. She turns the suit’s GPS back on so Luke can find her and take the suit back.

Luke breaks down, believing Kate to be dead because she didn’t have the suit to protect her. He also blames himself for Kate going to National City to talk to Kara about Kryptonite. Mary comforts him and says Kate wouldn’t want him blaming himself.

Talking to plants is an endearing quirk, but she needs some human friends, too. Maybe some Kryptonian friends. Plants are nice, but they can’t hug. Ryan needs hugs.

Julia tells Luke and Mary about the fake Bruce and that she ran his fingerprints from a glass in Jacob’s office. Now that they all know “Bruce” is Tommy, they hurry back to the Batcave just as Tommy steals the Batmobile and speeds off to find the suit.

Jacob, eager to prove that the Crows still suck, goes into Wayne Manor alone to apprehend Alice. He doesn’t find a fight; instead, Alice utterly annihilates him with four words: “Kate Kane is Batwoman!” He doesn’t believe it until Alice convinces him. She really rubs it in by reminding him that he spent the last few days of his daughter’s life trying to kill her. Props to Dougray Scott here, who looks appropriately shellshocked and devastated for this scene. Alice takes Jacob’s gun and tells him to turn on the Bat-signal if he doesn’t believe her.

Luke calls Ryan on the suit’s comms just in time to warn her about Tommy’s attack. She does an admirable job of using her van to outmaneuver the Batmobile, which is firing missiles at her! Seriously Bruce, what the shit?! I don’t mean Fake Bruce, I mean real Bruce “I don’t kill” Wayne driving around in a car that launches missiles. Yes, I’m aware of other versions of the Batmobile which also have lethal countermeasures, and those are stupid and out of character too.

At Mary’s suggestion, Luke hacks the Batmobile (he even says “I’m in” because bless his heart) and messes with the missile guidance before shutting down the car entirely. Now on foot, Tommy shoots Ryan with a rifle loaded with a Kryptonite bullet. Although it pierces the suit, it doesn’t go all the way through. When he breaks the pot of her houseplant (which belonged to her mother), she lunges at him in a rage and repeatedly punches him, knocking him out with the side effect of tearing off his skin mask.

Tommy is taken back to Arkham and Ryan shows up at Wayne Tower to give the suit and the Kryptonite bullet back. Mary tries to get her to stay, talk, and maybe wear the suit, but Ryan apologizes for taking the suit and says she hopes they find Kate.

MARY: “What about everything that you said? What about your mom?”
RYAN: “That suit, it’s bigger than me. It’s one thing to put it on, and it’s another thing to wear it. Like you said, Kate was a hero. I’m not.”

You sure? Because that “it’s another thing to wear it” line shows that you get it a lot more than a lot of “heroes,” both real and fictional.

Julia asks Sophie if she’s still in love with Kate, then delivers a letter that was in Kate’s “do not open unless I’m dead” safe. In the letter, Kate tells Sophie that she’s Batwoman and confesses her love and desire to protect her. Safiyah sends Alice a note, taking credit for crashing Kate’s plane. Alice monologues to Mouse’s corpse about how she’s going to destroy Safiyah for this. I know it’s only been a few days, but that thing has got to be pretty ripe at this point and she’s cuddling it. Ew.

Luke returns the suit to the Batcave, Mary sobs in her bed at home, Jacob activates the Bat-signal to call out for his lost daughter, and Ryan sits atop her van talking to her mother through her plant about how she did good today and will continue to do good. A jolt of pain makes her examine the wound from the Kryptonite bullet – it looks green, veiny, and infected.

Put a candle in the window…

This episode had the difficult triple task of retiring the series’ main character, introducing a new one, and trying to make an existing thing work with a new core. Regarding Kate’s disappearance, the cynical part of me is saying the show creators don’t think it’s Bury Your Gays if there’s no body. If I’m being fair, though, there wasn’t much they could do without recasting Kate. Either they have her disappear willingly and abandon her friends, family, and her duties, or disappear unwillingly through either kidnapping or death. A plane crash where maybe she survived and is just “missing” might be the best solution to a bad situation.

Regardless of how they were going to write out Kate, what was going to make or break Season Two for me was Ryan Wilder. After seeing the first episode, I really like her. She’s different from Kate in a lot of positive ways. Watching her learning to use the suit and its gadgets was a lot of fun, especially the “woo-hoo” when she was swinging back and forth on the grapple. Okay, yeah, the part where Luke and Mary first confront her and she gives her “numbers” speech is a little heavy-handed but a) it’s the CW, and b) she’s right.

The way each character handled Kate’s disappearance was not only believable but relatable. Luke went into denial at first, believing the Bat-tech would save her. Once he found out she didn’t have the suit, he started blaming himself. Mary was optimistic the whole episode and kept it together for everyone else’s sake, but broke down at the end when she was home alone. Jacob fell back into the way he was when he was searching for Beth. Even Alice mourned in her own way, redirecting her anger toward Jacob and even trying to make it about how she wanted to kill her sister.

Where the show goes from here is important. You have a lot of characters with connections to Kate and no characters with connections to Ryan. Luke, Mary, and Julia will have opportunities to connect to Ryan, since they’re part of Batwoman’s inner circle. With Sophie and Jacob now knowing Kate was Batwoman, how they react to the new Batwoman may be their arc for the season. In the long term, the show is going to have to figure out what their relationships to Ryan will be. Having them only know her as Batwoman is going to seriously limit what arcs we can have with those characters.

Anyway, I’m sad about Kate, but excited for Ryan. I’m onboard for the rest of the show.

NEXT TIME: Gotham needs Batwoman, Ryan needs something to do… I see this as a win-win.


Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Kate Danvers wouldn’t be able to operate a Batsuit and Bat-gadgets as she can barely figure out her Twitter @WearyKatie.

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