Tuesday, September 21, 2021

TV Show Review: Batwoman - Season 2

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Alice, Characters and stories mostly entertain
Cons: Lectures, still a bit dark for my taste
The Bottom Line:
Changing characters
Transition does go smoothly
Still could be better

“There’s No Shark Repellant on the Utility Belt.”  “Why Not?!”  “Because it’s Stupid.”

While I was debating whether I wanted to come back for the second season of Batwoman, they announced that original star Ruby Rose was leaving the show.  Ironically, that was enough to get me to tune in for season 2, curious to see how they would write out Kate Kane and fold the new character into a show where all the characters were centered around Kate.

This season opens to find all of the characters in turmoil.  Kate Kane was in an airplane that had an accident mid-flight.  While most people would assume that Kate had died on board, her family and friends aren’t willing to believe she might be gone.  Her dad, Jacob (Dougray Scott), and step-sister Mary (Nicole Kang) are leading the charge, but right behind them are her friend Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson) and her ex-girlfriend Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy).  However, it is Kate’s twin sister Alice (Rachel Skarsten) who is the most upset about Kate’s disappearance – in her own sick, twisty way, of course.

In the fallout from the accident, Kate’s Batwoman suit lands next to Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie).  Ryan is a young woman in trouble, a parolee who can’t find a job and has taken to living in her van.  She views the suit as a chance to get her revenge on the people who killed her foster mother and possibly even clear her name of the bogus charges that sent her to prison.  However, her activities catch the attention of Kate’s family and friends.  How will they take to Ryan?  Will she step into the role full time?  Is Kate alive?

The first season of the show was cut short due to the pandemic, so that made the transition even more awkward.  They had to try to wrap up the storylines they had left hanging while also introducing Ryan.  They did a decent job of juggling everything they had to juggle.  I was fairly impressed.

I wasn’t as impressed to see the lecturing continue.  Not that I was surprised.  Once again, we have a lesbian as Batwoman, but we also now have several minorities in prominent roles, so that gives them lots of options to lecture us.  A few times it overtook the show, even making one episode’s cliffhanger obvious early, but it isn’t as bad as it is over on Supergirl.  Still, I wish they’d tone it down.

And yes, the show continues to be dark.  I’m not only talking about lighting since so much of the show takes place at night, but thematically.  I get it, this is Batwoman – it’s supposed to be dark.  Still, it wasn’t quite as disturbing as the first season was.

There was plenty I enjoyed this season, or I wouldn’t have kept watching after the first two or three episodes.  Several of the storylines continued to intrigue me, and I had to keep tuning in to find out what was going to happen next.  The action is always entertaining and well done.  The cast is all great at bringing their characters to life, which is important for making me care about what is happening on screen.

I have to once again give a shout out to Rachel Skarsten.  Her Alice makes the show.  Alice is crazy, and Rachel’s portrayal hits that sweet spot of being fun and entertaining without being over the top and annoying.  When she is on screen, I don’t want to look away because every look and gesture is wonderful.  If they write her off the show, I will be more tempted to drop it.

Season two was shortened a little thanks to pandemic production issues, but the eighteen episode order was known early, so the writers were able to give us a satisfying conclusion to the stories told here while teasing us with what is to come in season three.  In other words, it feels like a normal season of a modern TV show.

Batwoman’s second season was entertaining enough that I’ll keep watching this fall.  It’s not must watch TV, thanks in part to the lectures, but I’m still enjoying seeing what happens to the characters – both old and new.

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