Kate Kane walks out, Ryan Wilder walks in!
Batwoman was born as a groundbreaking series bringing the first LGBT superhero to the CW screens. Now, with the departure of actress Ruby Rose, shortly after the conclusion of the first season, the series had to reinvent itself again. Kate Kane is missing and Gotham needs a new Batwoman – so Ryan Wilder shows up.
If this name isn’t familiar to you, it shouldn’t be: Ryan Wilder is a completely new character. Rather than adapting another member of the Bat family, the producers preferred to take on the thankless task of introducing an original Arrowverse character. How did the series fare in the face of this bold move? This is exactly what we are going to discuss.
Where’s Kate Kane?
The first episode of the second season of Batwoman brings a special feeling. If on the one hand the desire to tell an origin story brings a feeling of novelty, as if it were the beginning of an original series, the continuity of the plot of Kate Kane reminds us that it is it is about an expanding universe.
Kate’s apparent sudden death – as a result of her plane crash at the end of the first season – shakes up the entire cast of the series: heroes and villains. A necessary break for a story that was beginning to get lost in its sub-plots. It’s even interesting how Kate’s death has so far forced the series’ main villain – Alice – to reconsider all of her plans, opening up to the emergence of a new antagonist.
The continuation of Kate’s civil plot, from what the first episode implied, will be worn by Mary and Luke Fox. Plus, of course, a bold addition to make things even more interesting – Bruce Wayne.
The great businessman had been missing for three years before the plot of the show’s first season, but his return couldn’t have been more timely. Even because it’s not Bruce Wayne, but Tommy Elliot. Even if her presence is only momentary, Alice’s plan to infiltrate Wayne Industries will rattle Kate Kane’s loyal squires in the long run. This plan can only be prevented by Batwoman. But after all, who is Ryan Wilder, the new woman in the mask?
Who is Ryan Wilder?
This is the moment when the script behaves purely like an origin story, almost dissonant with the rest of the story experienced by the other characters. Played by Javicia Leslie, the first black Batwoman is presented as a homeless man living in a van.
She accidentally discovers the heroine costume. For the sake of fate, Kate’s plane wreckage crashed just outside where Ryan had parked his van. She finds the costume without an owner and sees it as a miraculous opportunity to change her life. It is then that we know his tragic past.
Ryan’s mother was murdered a few years ago by Alice’s henchmen. The young woman ended up in prison for months because of the Corbins’ corruption, the paramilitary group planted drugs so that she could be detained. She has been acquitted, but is unable to pay lawyers for not having a job. And she can’t find a job because she’s an ex-con. And you can’t rent a house because you don’t have a job …
While Ryan’s story offers plenty of scope for magnifying the series, showing a heroine with a similar experience to Gotham’s poorest citizens whom she swears to protect, it’s clear how the tragic past was written is a reflection of the cast of Javicia Leslie. like Batwoman. After all, she’s just a hero now. She’s a black heroine!
A black Batwoman
Ryan brings a necessary breath of life to the series with his personality inversely different from that of Kate Kane. She is a charismatic vigilante who makes a joke, and while she is trained as a martial arts teacher, she is not trained militarily like Kate. A Batwoman born from writers’ interpretation of what it means to be black.
If on the one hand we have a story more linked to the reality of several African Americans who suffer from police abuse in the United States, what is the obstacle for Ryan Wilder to have been a powerful and rich person like Bruce Wayne? and Kate Kane? For these writers, is the black experience necessarily linked to failure and poverty?
However, it is too early to judge of a story that has just begun. Even with reservations, it’s laudable that the racial issue has been incorporated quite naturally this season.
It is not possible to measure the importance of such an important black member in the Bat family, as well as the discussion of topics normally overlooked in series of this caliber. The problem is the trap of making Ryan no longer a product of current stereotypes, defining her only by her race. I hope he shows a lot more of it throughout the season.
Passage of cape
Even with the absence of Ruby Rose as the heroine, the older version of Batwoman is still around at times to connect the former Watcher with her successor.
Despite resentment about not fighting for the same reasons, Ryan feels a certain admiration for Kate Kane’s legacy, especially since she is also a lesbian. While wearing the cape, she still wonders what it means to be a heroine and her answers differ slightly from Kate’s.
She is still learning the skills to honor her cloak, but she will have to understand much more than that. Ryan is ready to kill Alice for finally revenge, which Kate would never agree to. The discussion has some interesting thoughts on the characters of Mary and Luke.
This disagreement, while one-off, reflects the show’s need to know what kind of Batwoman Ryan will become. The producers seem to have figured out that it won’t be enough to replicate the same choices that worked with Kate. It remains to be seen which path Ryan chooses to take.
Evil does not rest
Finally, Kate Kane’s sudden death completely destroyed any plan the writers initially had for evil Alice. As revealed in the show’s first episode, his original idea was to trick his father, leader of the Ravens, into killing Batwoman and only then discovering that he had murdered his own daughter.
She wanted to end Kate Kane in her own way. The absence of a bigger goal can make it even more unstable, an opportunity to take history on new paths. Alice is not going to make this affront to her cheap plan and has promised to take revenge on the person responsible for this misfortune: Safiyah.
Each new episode is a small step towards the arrival of the big bad of the series, but we still haven’t had the chance to meet her. According to actress Shivaani Ghai, Safiyah will be a much more multifaceted character than Alice, with moments of tenderness and compassion. It remains to be seen how a villain so personally linked to Kate Kane will relate to Ryan Wilder.
We’ve had little chance to see Ryan Wilder fight the criminals of Gotham yet, but this woman has the experience to do what she needs to do. Gotham may not have expected this change. It was a process of accepting the old heroine. Fortunately, Ryan arrives with a lot more charisma, to give hope to this desolate city.
It might not be the Batwoman we’ve been waiting for, but it’s the Batwoman we need.