The premiere also has a bad habit of inundating viewers with information about Ryan’s past rather than allowing the character to develop organically. Her origin story, as it were, is needlessly complicated for a character who has seemingly lucked into inheriting the Batsuit. She has the traditional superhero motivation of wanting to avenge a dead parent. She’s also a walking indictment of the prison industrial complex who’s happy to rattle off statistics whenever anyone prods into her personal life. And to top it off, she also has a personal grudge against Alice. Maybe all of this will coalesce into an effective whole, but it does seem as though the writers are trying too hard to give Ryan a tragic back-story. Why not simply focus on the notion that Ryan is a person who was chewed up and spit out by Gotham’s failed system and leave it at that? Why can’t we have more superheroes who yearn to fight evil for the sake of it and not because they’re mourning a loved one?
The most heartening takeaway from the premiere is that Kate’s disappearance may work in Alice’s favor. The fact that Kate vanished before she could complete her Season 1 arc plays directly into Alice’s story now. She never got closure with her sister. We find out her endgame for Kate and see her grapple with the frustration over being robbed of the chance to carry it out. Not to mention the genuine grief coming from whatever shred of Beth Kane still remains. She may well be the series’ most compelling character now as she morphs from Batwoman’s main antagonist into… whatever she’s destined to be now. This episode also wisely avoids going too far in trying to humanize Alice. Her casual murder of innocent bystanders shows she’s not going to magically become a hero overnight. Whatever role Alice plays in Ryan Wilder’s story, it won’t merely be as the reformed villain.As promising as Alice’s story looks at the moment, it is a shame to see the whole Tommy Elliot as Bruce Wayne plot twist wrapped up in the span of a single episode. This definitely comes across as an unfortunate side-effect of the pivot to the new lead. There was a lot of potential for Faux-Bruce to play a recurring role in the series and slowly worm his way into the lives of Team Batwoman. But alas. It’s also unfortunate considering Warren Christie’s performance is much stronger when he’s specifically playing Tommy Elliot, deranged Arkham escapee, as opposed to an approximation of Bruce Wayne, handsome billionaire playboy. This episode does little to generate any excitement for the prospect of Christie returning to play the actual Bruce Wayne, yet now the Arrowverse has effectively pigeon-holed itself into this casting choice. All the more reason for the series to focus on building up the new Batwoman rather than dwell on Kate Kane’s extended family.