Ruby Rose and the myth of Batman: The star deserved a better show than the one that left Batwoman in the shadows
While the first season of 'Batwoman' had many faults, Ruby Rose was not one of them and her departure comes all too soon
Ruby Rose has stepped down as 'Batwoman,' in a surprise announcement on May 19. The CW is already looking to recast her role, with Season 2 to return in January as scheduled. The reasons for her departure are unclear, but whatever the case, Ruby Rose has dropped the bat-mantle before she ever got the chance to truly make her mark with the character. There were many problems with 'Batwoman' Season 1, but Ruby Rose was not one of them.
'Batwoman' was not a well-written show, right from its premise. Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) returns to Gotham in the wake of her cousin Bruce Wayne's disappearance, discovers his Batcave, then uses his resources to continue his fight to protect Gotham. From his expensive gadgetry to a bulletproof Batsuit that was bizarrely central to much of the season's plot, the show's reliance on Batman's mythology put Batwoman deep in her cousin's shadow. Aside from her central antagonist, Alice (Rachel Skarsten), Batwoman was repeatedly put up against Batman's villains as well, instead of establishing her own rogues' gallery.
'Batwoman' adhered a little too strongly to the CW's established format for its superhero shows - a vigilante supported by a team of non-superheroes who become an essential part of the hero's exploits. Between that and the show's focus on Alice's backstory, there was very little room for Kate Kane's own story to shine as it got buried underneath all of its other characters. It is a shame because crossovers such as 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' and 'Elseworlds' proved a very important thing: Ruby Rose is great as Batwoman.
It's especially notable in 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' - whether it's quick one-liners that highlight both her badassery and her bewilderment at the strangeness of all the multiversal madness, Rose's Batwoman is a charismatic and impressive addition to an extensive superhero cast. Her chemistry with 'Supergirl' was strong, showing a mutual respect between the two heroes and an instant friendship. The Crisis gave the two heroes room to inspire each other, gain comfort from each other and the few scenes we have that focus on Batwoman's journey far outshine anything we've seen on her own show.
Even on 'Batwoman,' though, Rose grew more and more into her role as Kate and Season 2 would have been a chance for the show to take a new direction, and make up for the mistakes of Season 1. Unfortunately, we will never get the chance to see that happen. Rose's tenure as Batwoman will largely be remembered for its terrible first season, which is a disservice to Rose's performance. We've seen how well she does with better writing and between the internet backlash to her casting and the weak writing of Season 1, she deserved better.
'Batwoman' Season 2 is scheduled to return in January, 2021.