Welcome back Bat-family, it’s been a great month with loads of Bat-material for fans of the caped crusader and other protectors of Gotham. Not only did we get the long-awaited The Batman, described as a technical achievement by our own Tucker Watkins, but we also got the season three finale of Batwoman on the CW. It seems like we just began this season. However, with a shortened 13 episode season due to Covid-19, we have already wrapped on the sophomore run of Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder a.k.a. Batwoman.
Did this season hit high marks, or did it fall flat like a bat with a broken wing? Let’s dive into my review of Batwoman season three, Bat-people!
[Warning: Spoilers for season three of Batwoman are below!]
Season three picks up a few months after the finale of the previous season. Ryan Wilder (Leslie) has fully embraced Batwoman, having received the blessing from Kate Kane (Wallis Day). She works hard with her teams, Mary (Nicole Kang) and Luke (Camrus Johnson) to track down the weapons that Batman kept as trophies after they were seen floating down the river at the end of season two.
The mission served as the greatest hits of Batman’s villains, however giving a twist to each one. The Mad Hatter, Killer Croc, and Mr. Freeze resurfaced in the opening episodes, with a new generation assuming the roles. This helped to establish a new collection of villains for Ryan that represent the classic villains fans love from Batman’s lore.
While those three villains served as minor inconveniences for the Bat-family, two other individuals from Batman’s rogue gallery were the main antagonists of the season. The first saw lovable Mary Hamilton, the younger adopted sister of Kate Kane, assume the role as Poison Ivy.
Throughout the season we watched Mary go through an incredible character development arch, that at times left me heartbroken and anxious. Mary is someone who strives to help everyone she can, exhibited by her continued use of the underground clinic, even after she got her medical degree early in this season. However, when she is infected by the plant, she becomes someone unrecognizable.
It’s easy to say that Mary was infected and therefore not herself, however, the actions and destruction she caused over her tenure as Poison Ivy lingers longer than the pheromones she releases. At times it was hard to see someone I’ve come to care about so much descend into madness and then fight to regain her composure when she was released from the plant’s spell. However, Kang killed every scene she was in and exhibited a range of talent that other actors should be jealous of.
The other villain was a new Joker, however, to speak of him requires a discussion of the main message of this season, family. Ryan, having finally found herself in a position of confidence and ease, struggles throughout the season when introduced to her real family.
Jada Jet, played by the incomparable Robin Givens, is the female equivalent of Bruce Wayne, who gave Ryan up at birth. Ryan comes into conflict with this many times over the course of this season, especially in the earlier episodes when she comes head to head with Jada. However, over time the two learn to first respect, then love each other. The building of their relationship gave this season a lot of heart that was missing from previous seasons.
Along with Jada comes a new brother, who, as you might have guessed by now, is the new Joker in Gotham. In the same incident that created Alice (Rachel Skarsten), Marquis Jet (Nick Creegan) came up close and personal with the Joker and the Joker’s buzzer. A quick hit from the buzzer to his temple scrambled Marquis’s brain, creating an infatuation and obsession with completing the Joker’s mission. Marquis adds a lot of tension between Ryan and Jada, testing loyalties and creating more conflict than not. Creegan was amazing as Marquis and terrifying as the new Joker. I was sad to see how his story ended because I would love to see more of New Joker in action.
This season also provided us with Luke’s evolution into Batwing. While he suited him many times, it took time to build his confidence and put the voice of his father to bed. Camrus did an exceptional job with the internal struggle as he learns to be his own hero.
Every actor in the show stepped up their game this season, however, stand-out performances truly go to Nicole Kang and Rachel Skarsten. Skarsten took Alice on her own personal internal journey this season as she strives to be better and find a cure for her own madness. While her actions may not have always aligned with this desire, you could tell that she wants nothing more than to be Beth again. I look forward to how this journey continues in season four.
Overall, this season was a huge improvement over the past two and stands out as one of the best CW shows this season. It had many darker moments, reflecting the darkness of the comics as well as Gotham. However, it had a lot more heart without beating the message over the heads of the audience like Supergirl or Flash. It put family at the center, showing that caring for others isn’t a weakness, but a strength. If you have been sleeping on this show or dropped off in previous seasons, now is the time to give it another look, because I promise you won’t regret it.
Batwoman season three is now streaming on the CW App.