WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the series premiere of Batwoman, which aired Sunday on The CW.
The CW's Arrowverse has always brought it when it comes to Big Bads. From Deathstroke to Reverse Flash, the heroes of the universe have never been able to put down their guards. That trend won't change with the network's newest series, Batwoman, as fans of the Arrowverse may have just met the franchise's best villain.
Early in the pilot episode of Batwoman, a ceremony to turn off the Bat-signal three years after the Dark Knight's disappearance was interrupted by a gang of thugs led by Alice (Rachel Skarsten). Her goal was to make the people of Gotham understand that their new security team, the Crows, could not keep them safe. The gang ruins the event and kidnaps a member of the Crows, Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy).
The abduction brings Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) back to town, as she was once romantically involved with Sophie. The Crows and Kate attempt to learn Alice's motives, and Kate discovers her vendetta is against her father, Colonel Jacob Kane. The end of the episode sees Kate deduce that Alice is actually her twin sister, Beth, who was assumed dead after a car accident when the two were children.
For those familiar with Alice in the comics, it should come as no surprise that she was revealed to be Kate's sister. First appearing in Detective Comics #854, Beth Kane was seemingly murdered by a group of terrorists known as the "Many Arms Of Death." However, that wasn't actually the case. The terrorists kidnapped Beth with the goal of having her lead them alongside her sister. When Kate's father was able to rescue her, Beth became expendable, so the Many Arms of Death sent her to the Religion of Crime where she learned to be a criminal.
Batwoman took some liberties with Alice's origin story that the people behind the show hope will help audiences grow to understand the villain sooner rather than later. Series star Rachel Skarsten put it best when discussing the twist with CinemaBlend.
"I think a lot of people were surprised that that dropped in the first episode," she explained. "But I liked it, because I thought it kind of ups the stakes of their relationship and them being sort of a nemesis to one another. Because the depth of that relationship, the history of that relationship, goes so far beyond just, 'I want to do good,' and 'I'm going to do evil,' you know? It puts them in this position where [they have to ask themselves], 'Can I hurt you? Can I kill you even if I need to? Because even though you're so against what I'm doing, you are my sibling. You're my sister.' And so I think that makes it quite interesting, to kind of take it to the edge every time, but then you can't cross the line."
Skarsten hit the nail on the head when she talked about upping the stakes. For years, the Arrowverse has been plagued by one of the most overdone tropes: Hiding the villain's identity. Early on, mysteries were a strength of the franchise, with The Flash's first season Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne twist being one of the best in superhero television.
That all changed when The CW began to rely too heavily on the bait and switch. The most egregious example came in Season 3 of The Flash when it was revealed Savitar was a future version of Barry Allen, something fans caught onto months before it came to light.
The CW hopes to remedy this issue on Batwoman by making it clear who Alice is right out of the gate. The elimination of the drawn-out identity reveal leaves the show with a ton of room to play with an already fascinating character. Alice is out to get revenge on her father for leaving her to fend for herself as a child. That makes Kate the moral center of the story. This lays the groundwork for Alice to become one of, if not the, most impactful villain the Arrowverse has seen yet.
Written by Caroline Dries and developed by Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, Batwoman stars Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott, Elizabeth Anweis and Nicole Kang. The series airs on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
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