Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for the latest episode of Batwoman.
There’s a new Batwoman….again.
In a massive twist, the CW’s Batwoman revealed that Kate Kane is alive. However, not only is she injured but she is now physically altered and played by Krypton star Wallis Day.
This change will alter the entire direction of the show in major ways.
The new Batwoman
Shortly after Batwoman’s first season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, Ruby Rose shocked fans by announcing she was leaving the series, citing exhaustion from leading a regular TV show.
The second season premiere had Kate seemingly killed in a plane explosion and her suit found by Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie), a homeless former soldier who took it to become the new Batwoman.
Meanwhile, Kate’s psychotic sister Alice (Rachel Skarsten) was told by villainess Safiyah (Shivaani Ghai) that Kate was alive and held captive. This led to a complex chase where Alice tried to hunt Kate to kill her herself with their father Jacob (Dougray Scott) trying to stop her.
In this week’s episode, Survived Much Worse, Safiyah confessed she’d been lying all along about having Kate just as Alice realized she didn’t actually want to murder her sister. An irate Alice burned all of the special Desert Rose plants before Jacob could get one to heal Ryan, who’s been slowly dying of Kryptonite poisoning.
On the bright side, Mary and Luke found another version of the Rose to save Ryan. However, they were stunned by Julia (Christina Wolfe) revealing evidence that Kate did indeed die in the crash.
But in the closing scene, the audience learned that Kate was alive, her face now altered by injuries from the crash and held captive somewhere in Gotham City.
The plan all along
Once we sat down and huddled for season 2 and decided, “Look, we are not killing Kate Kane. That’s not the way we want that character to go out.” We looked back at what our options were, and to me, this seemed like the most organic option to tell in this space we had for our season 2 launch.
Ultimately, we [thought], “What’s the midpoint of our season? It’s probably about episode 8 or 9. Let’s make this reveal here.” And the way we revealed it was very specific which is we have the Bat Team and all of Kate’s loved ones looking for her for the first half of the season, and they definitively learn that she’s dead so that they can now close the book on Kate and grieve, but the audience is let in on this huge secret that she’s alive, and that then propels these two parallel stories moving on to the second half of our season which [are]: the Bat Team coalescing without Kate, and Kate going through her mysterious journey as will unfold as the season goes on.
This move is notable as Rose had hinted she’d be interested in returning to the role of Kate if the story was right. It now seems that was never an option.
Kate’s new path
Some may be surprised at the showrunners going for the entire Ryan replacement storyline rather than simply have Day take on Kate’s role from the start of the season and brush over her new appearance.
But Dries explains that rather than a “clunky” transition, they wanted a storyline examining the role of Batwoman and the challenge of Kate discovering someone else can take the mantle.
As she explains, the Bat-Family just getting used to Kate being gone, and then she returns will be a dramatic moment for the series. It will especially hit Ryan who had just finally felt she had a place to belong in the world.
Seeing Ryan grow into the Batsuit has been priority one from a storytelling point of view, and it’s been a beautiful journey so far witnessing Ryan take on that mantle, and she’s proven to the city by episode 8 that she is Batwoman. She belongs in the suit. And when Kate comes back, and when they discover Kate’s back, that confidence will be rattled a little bit, and she’ll start to wonder, “Well, where do I fit?” And so while the city believes in her, full heartedly, Ryan will go through her own journey of learning to believe in herself, and that’s really something we focus on towards the later part of season two.
Day starred on the Syfy series Krypton, set 200 years before Superman’s birth. She had actually auditioned for Ryan’s role, and some fans had pushed for her to be cast as Kate.
When Kate does return, she’ll be in for a surprise herself as both Jacob and her former lover Sophie (Meagan Tandy) know of her true identity to shift up their dynamics.
According to Dries, the next episode will jump ahead a month after Kate’s “funeral,” with episodes exploring how she survived the crash, who is holding her captive, and her escape. Also, Alice will be attempting to grieve for her sister while the loss changes her plans for the city.
Just as fans were getting used to the new Batwoman, Kate Kane’s return with a different face throws the entire season into a new direction as a battle for the cowl is coming.
Batwoman airs Sundays on the CW.