In Batwoman: Who Are You?, the titular hero learns that being a caped crusader and living a life don’t go hand in hand. What does it mean for Kate Kane’s future?
Superheroes don’t always have it easy and that’s just what Batwoman finds out in episode four of season one, ‘Who Are You?’.
With a new villain in Gotham, and a new partner in her life, Kate Kane/ Batwoman (Ruby Rose) struggles to balance her everyday life with her secret identity.
We delve into the episode to find out what this realisation could mean for Batwoman. Spoilers ahead.
Magpie and the Everyman Villain
DC Comics fans will be familiar with Magpie—a thief with an eye for anything shiny, just like her name suggests, because Gotham has never heard of subtlety.
But as we learn by the end of the episode, Magpie isn’t just stealing for the fun of it—she’s doing it to survive.
She even tries to enlist Batwoman into her team because she believes they should be on the same side. It isn’t surprising that she thinks this way.
Magpie clearly sees herself as a kind of Robin Hood character—except she steals from the rich and gives only to herself. But considering her poor conditions, that’s the best she can do.
And Magpie’s mission ties into what Kate learns about Gotham’s corrupt real estate business in Batwoman: Who Are You?.
Affordable housing being torn down to build high-end and expensive condos is a reality that people are facing every day around the world. It’s the reason why millennials are only able to enter the housing market some 5-10 years after the previous generation did (if at all).
Magpie may be stealing from people—which is a crime—but she’s doing it because she has no other choice. She’s also taking things that people rarely even care about or miss, as Kate comments late into the episode.
I don’t know whether Magpie will be seen again but I liked her treatment in this episode. Gotham’s villains are often bombastic and evil for the sake of being evil. Having a regular person take to crime because she can’t pay the bills was a good change of pace for the Bat-universe.
It also shows Kate a whole different side of Gotham—one that she has been too privileged to see—and which leads her to make an important decision at the end of the episode.
Kate and Reagan
In the DC Comics, Batwoman has had relationships with Renee Montoya and Maggie Sawyer. But neither of those characters are likely to be available to make appearances on Batwoman as they have already appeared in other Arrowverse shows.
In their place, Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy) is the intended love interest for Kate. But in Batwoman: Who Are You?, Kate begins to establish a relationship with bartender Reagan (Brianne Howey), who she had met in the previous episode.
And though Kate seems very happy to be involved with Reagan, her duties as Batwoman keep getting in the way.
Kate has to come up with a series of ever more hilarious excuses—from a burst pipe to a fire—so that she can save the city while on her dates with Reagan.
Arrowverse fans will have flashbacks to Barry Allen’s doomed relationship with Patty Spivet. And like Patty, Reagan has had enough of the silly excuses, putting an end to the relationship.
It’s a stark reminder for Kate that being Batwoman means keeping secrets from the people you care about and secrets are never good for a relationship.
But what I particularly loved was seeing how enjoying life as Kate Kane negatively impacts Kate’s duties as Batwoman.
Superhero shows far too often put so much emphasis on the superheroism that they forget about the person behind the mask. Barry Allen barely does anything as a CSI anymore, and Oliver Queen only belatedly got to be Mayor of Star City. The Legends don’t even have lives outside of the masks. Thus far, only Kara Danvers has managed to save the world with her journalism, and not just as Supergirl.
It was fun to see Kate so involved in her relationship with Reagan that she doesn’t bother to go after Magpie—something she gets called out for by Gotham’s radio host, Vesper Fairchild (Rachel Maddow).
And it leads to an even more costly—literally—mistake when she does confront Magpie.
Not having had time to understand how Batwoman works differently Batman, Kate’s ally and tech geek Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson) fails to adjust Batman’s batarangs for Kate’s height and arm length.
As a result, Kate misses her returning batarang, which careens into an ancient and priceless artefact. All of which is caught on tape.
Fortunately, by the end of the episode, Luke has accepted his mistake and Kate gets to be a hero in her own right.
And despite Kate’s short-lived joy at finding someone after Sophie, she deals with the end of her relationship with Reagan very well.
It’s great to see a mature and mutual breakup between two characters, especially in the Arrowverse where romantic relationships tend to be overly melodramatic for no reason.
Kate’s Future Plans
By the end of Batwoman: Who Are You?, Batwoman has caught Magpie and won the hearts of the people of Gotham—she also gets a partial compliment from Fairchild, so that’s an achievement.
But what about Kate? How does she fit into Gotham? She’s determined not to join her father’s company, is nowhere near winning back Sophie, and has lost any chance of being with Reagan.
But that doesn’t stop Kate from finding a way to help her city even without her mask.
Having found out about the state of Gotham real estate and how it is leading people to enter a life of crime, Kate decides to start a real estate company with the sole purpose of creating affordable housing for the people.
In the comics universe, we know that Bruce Wayne does a great deal of charity work to help the people of Gotham and it’s good to see that Kate is finding her own path as Kate Kane, saviour of Gotham.
I’m glad that Batwoman is bringing in Kate, and not just Batwoman, as a character so early on in the series, and I hope it continues. It will likely make Kate’s dual life more of a challenge, but the assumption is that Sophie and Kate’s step-sister Mary will be brought into the fold soon enough to make a new Bat-team that Kate can feel more comfortable with and grow with.
Batwoman: Who Are You? sets up a new dynamic for Kate and it’s going to be interesting to see where she goes with it, and what hurdles she will have to overcome along the way.