Batwoman is a show that feels like it’s constantly having up and down moments. The end of season 1 built something great, then the star actress who plays Kate Kane, Ruby Rose left the show and her role. In this case, I can imagine the writer’s room was in utter shock, I think like most of us were.
They then cast Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder, a brand new character never been seen before in comics or animations. This has its pros and cons, but either way, Javicia was ready for the role and that’s all that we can hope for at that moment. Season 2, like 1, had many poor moments but fantastic highs.
Today, I will put 5 characters against one another to see which season was ultimately better. Please bare in mind this is my OWN personal opinion and doesn’t reflect on others. If you disagree that’s fine, you can let me know in the comments as I always love to see what people’s thoughts are.
Let’s get into it;
Season 1 began with Bruce Wayne missing, and his cousin, Kate, discovering the Batcave and taking over the Bat mantle within Gotham. That’s ultimately it. She obviously got better as time passed, and the story had some groundbreaking moments such as the moment Kate actually killed someone, which shook the foundations of what we know from the Bat mantle. Despite Alice being the villain, it still centered around Bruce Wayne, which is where the end of the season set up perfectly, with Bruce actually cast in the face-swapping aspect. Let’s also give props to the backstories of Kate, and cast out for being gay – which highlighted a cause that the LGBT community is still targeted when we’re all just human.
Then there’s season 2. Ryan Wilder took up the mantle after stealing the suit from the then-thought-dead Kate. Which is kinda twisted. She then takes down fake Bruce, and ultimately she’s given the suit by Luke and Mary. The problem with season 2 was the first half, it still focused TOO much on Kate, and not on Ryan which affected the progression of our brand new character. It wasn’t until the second half where it began to focus on Ryan, and who she actually was. I think the show was also helped with Wallis Day being cast as Kate Kane to fill that void from Ruby’s exit, which really did help. The second half was much better, but because of how poor the first half was – your winner is as follows;
Winner: Season 1
One of the major problems I had with season 1 was the action. I don’t know if it’s a problem with the suit or not, which was later used better by Javicia but the action was atrocious. All season. No ifs and buts, it was trash. The scenes were wonky, looked unrealistic, and oftentimes when Kate and Alice battled, it just looked dumb. That’s the most simple way I can describe the action, despite having a better story, I have to be honest, the action was not there at all. I had to go back and read my previous reviews because I can barely remember any action scenes.
Unfortunately, this problem pushed into season 2. I blamed the suit again, but I also had to blame the stunt and choreography team because the action was again, awful. I actually wrote an article displaying my issues with the action which you can read here. However, the action for season 2 managed to become much, much better. The second half just changed, the fights were smooth, they looked realistic, fast-paced, and enjoyable to watch. So, because of this alone, here’s your winner;
Winner: Season 2
Season 1 was Alice. Season 2 was Black Mask. One of the best parts of Batwoman is Rachel Skarsten, who portrays Alice. Alice also did lead into season 2 as a villain, but a more laid back in comparison to season 1, where she was unpredictable, brutal, and downright savage. One of the reasons she stood out more as a villain is because she’s Kate Kane’s twin sister. It adds an element into the villain that runs deep, and not just a typical street thug type. Alice was calculating, and read every single step Kate was doing. Not to mention, she capitalized on the fact she knew Kate wouldn’t kill her, the same way Adrian Chase did to Oliver Queen in Arrow’s season 5.
This leads me on to Black Mask, who, unfortunately, was bang average. I watched the DCEU’s Birds of Prey with Ewan McGregor’s Black Mask, and in comparison, it just shows that Ewan was far superior. Black Mask just felt like an ordinary villain with no edge to being better, which was a problem from the show. He was missing in large portions of the season which affected his credibility. Not to mention in the way they brought Kate back through his daughter was a cheap move.
Winner: Season 1
Both seasons were very close in the number of episodes. Season 1 had 20, whereas season 2 had 18 from the usual 23 from The CW. It’s very likely season 2’s was cut short because of the COVID pandemic, in order to push back for their usual October releases. Batwoman’s first season does get some brownie points here because one of their episodes was an episode of Crisis on Infinite Earths, whereas season 2’s did not feature any crossover events, with the exception of a John Diggle cameo.
However, it’s worth noting that whilst a lot of season 1’s episodes were forgettable, the second half of season 2’s episode cannot be ignored. Before this, there had never been a moment where I was genuinely excited for the next episode of Batwoman, whereas, in the final half of season 2, there were a number of occasions in which I was. The aforementioned Crisis episode for Batwoman was perhaps the most enjoyable, albeit if that wasn’t a proper dedicated episode for Batwoman, and that’s where my decision comes in.
Winner: Season 2
For pure strict entertainment, I have to weigh up which one engaged me the most. Season 1’s story with Bruce near the end did grip me, especially considering we had a Bruce Wayne casting (even if it wasn’t actually Bruce), it was still Bruce’s face which meant it opened the doors for us to actually get a fully-fledged Bruce Wayne, meaning we could have got Batman at some point, which still could happen.
Season 2 with Ryan Wilder just got fantastic. I keep it saying it, and I know I’m beginning to feel like a broken record but I truly can’t deny how great the final half of the season was. With Wallis Day cast as Kate, to the eventual Batwing reveal, the Crow’s collapsing, Diggle, and more. For pure entertainment value, season 2 wins this section by an absolute landslide.
Winner: Season 2
Ruby vs Javicia
Both of these women are truly exceptional human beings, and both fantastic Batwomen. However, for me, only one can take the crown here and it’s not by a lot. Javicia came into Batwoman into a completely fractured story, into literally a story that nobody believed in anymore and made it her own. Her style of fighting, attitude, and genuine respect for the mantle is why I prefer Javicia. I’ll always love what Ruby brought to the show, but Jacivica has been perfect for me.
Winner: Javicia Leslie
Season 1: 8.7/10
Season 2: 8.1/10
Winner: Season 1
Overall winner: Season 2
So there we have it, please remember that this is simply just my opinion. I broke these down into these specific categories because these are usually the things that make a season for me. I do love both Ruby and Jacivia, and the show is fantastic. How season 2 ended, I cannot wait to see how it pans out.