This article contains nothing but spoilers through the most recent episode of Batwoman. We have a spoiler free review here.
With her new show, Batwoman steps into not only the CW’s Arrowverse legacy, but the decades-long cross-media Batman franchise that has touched just about every aspect of American pop culture, and the show knows it. Kate Kane has only been around since 2006, but she’s had a strong history of her own in that time, not to mention joining the Batfamily (or Batman Inc. if you prefer) on plenty of adventures, many of which are referenced on the show.
Here’s how this works. For each episode, we’re trying to find every single Batwoman, Batman, Arrowverse and DC reference packed into the show. But there’s no way we’ll catch ‘em all right out of the gate. That’s where you come in. If you spot something we didn’t, let us know in the comments or on Twitter, and if it checks out, we’ll update this. This article will be updated on a rolling basis after each new episode airs, so please don’t scroll down to new episodes that you haven’t watched yet.
Batwoman Episode 10:
– The title, “How Queer Everything is Today!” is, as usual, a Lewis Carroll quote from Alice in Wonderland. The obvious reference is the word queer, but the longer quote it comes from has a bit more depth. Alice says to herself, “Dear, dear! How queer everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is. Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle!” And she began thinking over all the children she knew, that were of the same age as herself, to see if she could have been changed for any of them.”
The passagine continues “‘I’m sure I’m not Ada,’ she said, ‘for her hair goes in such long ringlets, and mine doesn’t go in ringlets at all; and I’m sure I can’t be Mabel, for I know all sorts of things, and she, oh! she knows such a very little! Besides, she’s she, and I’m I, and—oh dear, how puzzling it all is!’”
There’s an element of soul-searching in there, which Kate did that episode, and perhaps a sendup of the idea that people wake up gay one day. It’s also wonderful foreshadowing of the Beth reveal at the end of the episode, a puzzle of mistaken identity, doppelgangers, and a new person created seemingly over night with the Crisis on Infinite Earths collapsing universes into one.
– A commuter on the train says “slow down, Keanu!” a reference to Speed, while another references Jagged Little Pill the musical. I guess this means Keanu and Alanis exist on Earth Prime?
– She loves the new bike from luke – hes like duh batwoman and kate cant ride around on exactly the same bike. Thank you luke! Will there be further vfx to make this new motorcycle comics accurate?
– Kate’s birthday takes place during this episode. Based on the gravestones in epsidoe three, she’s turning 29. From the comics, her birthday was March 21 according to writer/illustrator J.H. Williams III, although that appears to have been arbitrary.
– Alice sure does love a tea party. She has another one in this episode, this time pouring tea on Catherine’s grave.
– Apparently Scarecrow has taken over the trains of this version of Gotham – he’s the reason they run on analogue system
– Kate drops in a Mr. Robot reference while she’s searching for the Terrier
– It seems Terrier is a new character for the show, but let us know if you know of something we missed!
– The Terrier goes to Gotham Prep, Kate Kane’s old high school. I can’t remember Kate’s high school ever being reference by name in the comics (the military academy always got more airtime) but Gotham Academy has a history (and a run of comic books all its own!).
– Sophie’s cousin went to medical school in Metropolis – perhaps at Metropolis University, where Supes himself was once a student? Do we think this is a reference to a particular existing character from canon? Alice is at Gotham University, where Barbara Gordon taught computer science and Jonathan Crane taught psychology before he became scarecrow, both in the comics. Perhaps Batwoman is leaning toward making more use of higher ed institutions?
– Kate was in a 30 Lesbian CEOs Under 30-type article for The Advocate, a long-running LGBTQ magazine. Very cool! But also, doesn’t she only have one property in her real estate business? We should check back in on that…
– Mary: “As a doctor, you should really remove crazy from your daily vernacular.” She is correct.
Batwoman’s love life
– A newspaper headline says Batman’s got competition, once again referencing the idea that shes a love interest for bats
– “Slam Bradley” is a dudely cop that everyone is calling Captain America for some reason? Holy pop culture reference Batwoman, way to cross the great IP divide in comics! Is Slam Bradley (that’s a terrible name) actually attractive, or is he just a tall, straight man with a job? Does the fact that he’s a cop referred to as Chris Evans also make this a Lobby Hero reference?
– “Have you not seen Batwoman? Major straight vibes.” Luke Fox, what straight BS is this? One can only hope this is meant as a joking reference to a queer tendency to read queerness in canonically straight characters, because queerbait is real and canon confirmations are rare.
– Parker’s ex revenge-outted her to her parents, saying being in the closet was prehistoric. While Kate Kane never outted anyone (as far as we’ve ever found), this does parallel the argument that ended Kate’s relationship with girlfriend Renee Montoya, a Latinx GCPD detective who wasn’t out at work or with her family. Kate didn’t seem to get that rich white girls might have fewer consequences to coming out than a working class Latinx woman in a male-dominated profession. This part of their relationship is the basis of the Kate/Sophie dynamic. You can catch a version of Renee in the new Birds of Prey movie, where she will hopefully be living her best life.
– Parker makes a speech that seems aimed directly at every television or movie executive too afraid to put LGBTQ characters in their big budget properties for real, and the line about them probably ending up as just ancillary characters is particularly biting. Yes, there’s a lot of LGBTQ representation, but it’s still mostly from certain letters, mostly white, mostly on the small screen, and mostly from DCTV, with notable contributions from The Runaways and Watchmen. It’s still not enough. Read showrunner/episode writer Caroline Dries’s thoughts on that.
– Vesper Fairchild uses the old Seinfeld line“…not that theres anything wrong with that” but also complains, “so tell me Gotham, whatever happened to politics staying out of our superheroes?” Ugh, but also so on-brand! As you may have heard, trolls were so bad before the show even started that star Ruby Rose left twitter.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
– Vesper Fairchild reminds us that Oliver Queen died (again), and now I’m sad again again.
– When Kate talks to Luke about not feeling right about wearing a mask, living in shadows, and letting people think she’s straight, she references the idea that she’s supposed to be a Paragon of Courage and doesn’t feel very courageous about what’s happening in her life right now. Way to hit us in the feels.
– Kate’s cover story of course ran in Catco, which, thanks to the crisis is now on the same earth as Kate. Written, of course, by none other than Kara Danvers. Kanvers shippers, are you getting all this?
– Waitttt did the crisis give us a Beth AND an Alice??? We dig into it here.
Batwoman Episode 9: Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two
We rounded up all the Easter Eggs for the Crisis on Infinite Earths together. Read the complete Crisis on Infinite Earths: DC Easter Eggs Explained here!
Batwoman Episode 7: Tell Me the Truth
– This episode introduces our live-action Julia Pennyworth, Alfred’s daughter. She’s had a couple of comic book incarnations, and it seems they’re using the New 52 version – who is usually mixed race, as she has a black mother. Other versions have been white but didn’t interact with Batwoman or have the backstory and personality traits that they’re clearly drawing on here.
– Julia was part of Kate’s “lost year,” when her father sent her away to be trained by all kinds of people. As Julia insinuated with her “glimpses of pleasure” line, she and Kate have long had an implied sexual relationship in the comics.
– There’s plenty of Pennyworth-related Easter eggs in this episode. In the opening, she refers to herself by her comic book codename, Tuxedo 1.
– Still no word on Alfred’s whereabouts, even though he was mentioned plenty in this episode. Apparently he and Lucius were the only ones who knew Bruce was Batman…except for all the other people who also knew, like Luke and Julia.
THE MANY ARMS OF DEATH
– The villain of the week, The Rifle, comes from the “Many Arms of Death” Batwoman storyline, which also featured Julia Pennyworth heavily. Might some of the other arms show up, like The Knife and The Gun? The Knife has ties to a certain mysterious new character, Safiyah…
– Julia and Kate refer to meeting on an island and at the end of the episode, Julia has to continue her search on an island as well – in the post-Alice era of the comics, Kate goes to a Hamilton family island in the Mediterranean sea to relax. The Many Arms of Death option? During the comic book version of Kate’s “lost year” when she was training (and met Julia in the first place) she washed up on an island with ties to the Many Arms of Death.
– At the end of the episode the mercenary who bought the gun from Alice name-dropped Safiyah, a complicated and cutthroat former lover of Kate’s straight from the comics who has ties to – you guessed it – the Many Arms of Death.
– We see Kate doing flips while shadow boxing angrily – she used to be an elite gymnast in the comics
– It’s interesting that Mary calls Jake Kane “dad.” They’ve moved up the Hamilton-Kane marriage timeline from the comics and moved Mary from being cousin Bette to Catherine’s daughter (although in the comics she was still Catherine’s blood relative, yet they barely interacted because Catherine is largely irrelevant). Mary is meant to be a med student, so she’s probably around 23-24 to Kate’s 28. 15 years is a significant time to have Jake in her life (it certainly seems like Catherine came on the scene almost immediately) and Mary was probably 8 or 9 at the time, so I guess that makes sense. Where’s her father?
– We get more detail here about Sophie’s decision back at the academy. In the comics, only Kate is ever accused of misconduct, and it’s made clear that someone who is jealous of her skills was targeting her specifically to take out the competition, which is why they didn’t even bother getting her girlfriend in trouble. However, Kate does run into Sophie later on in the comics. It’s awkward as hell, when Kate is engaged to Maggie Sawyer (yes, that Maggie Sawyer) and she has made a similar decision as this Sophie, to live a celebrated life as a closeted, straight-passing woman in the military. Kate is thoroughly uninterested in revisiting old times.
– Sophie namedropped ARGUS as part of her technobabble
– As far as I know, Gotham Pride Real Estate is completely new – but how long do we have to wait until we can get merch? And the gay bar is a great story note, but it also adds to the similarities between Batwoman and Arrow, where Oliver’s lair was (sometimes) underneath a night club that he and his sister variously owned.
Batwoman Episode 6: I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury
– Sophie calls Dr. August Cartwright, the creep who held Beth, “a madmen with a medical license,” saying, “apparently he was a better magician than he was a doctor” because he just disappeared. Is this a reference to the Religion of Crime from this comics and their magical powers? So far there’s no clear analogue for either the father or his son Mouse/Johnny. Perhaps Cartwright will be one of several magicians Batwoman faced in the comics.
– The Joker gets a namedrop here – they’re going with Jack Napier, which is the same name from the Keaton/Burton movies. In the world of Batwoman, ADA Stanton brought him to justice.
– The Executioner is an obscure Batman villain that looks pretty much exactly as he’s shown here, axe and all. His civilian identity, a carnival worker named Willy Hooker, differs a bit, although the elements of both carceral systems and corruption are still there, as he murdered wanted criminals for a reward, but was also the person who let them out in the first place. On the show Gotham he had a somewhat similar law enforcement background, as police captain Nathaniel Barnes.
– They have the death penalty in Gotham. This puts the city at odds with “The Batman Rule” and makes it harder to imagine it as New York City, Chicago, or most of the other yankee metropolitan areas it can be compared to.
– Someone claiming to be the Executioner barricaded himself at the 200 block of Rucka avenue – named for Kate Kane’s creator, comic book author Greg Rucka, who wrote her issues of Detective Comics, which were collected as Batwoman Elegy.
– Did anyone else hear them say Mayor Cobblepot?! We’re taking bets, is this a reference to the father, a la the Burton films (which seem to be a running theme, at least this episode) or the Penguin himself?
Batwoman Episode 5: Mine is a Long and a Sad Tale
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
– It feels almost silly to point some of these out since they’re so obvious, so we’re going to group them. First, the episode title, like all episode titles thus far, is a Lewis Carrol/Alice reference
– Alice threatens Dodgson with the trademark line from the Queen of Hearts: “off with your head.”
– Going to the roadside diner is kate’s first stop “down the rabbit hole” and she later says they’re going, “down down down the rabbit hole.” She also describes Johnny’s house by saying, “upstairs there was a room like a child’s wonderland,” which might be a reach but the word wonderland is so unusual it hardly seems like a coincidence.
– Mouse gave Alice her (I’m assuming first) copy of Alice in Wonderland.
– At the end of the episode, Mouse asks, “are we mad? I am afraid so,” a classic Mad Hatter line, and Alice replies, “oh mouse, do you know the way out of this pool? Im very tired of swimming in my own tears,” which comes from when Alice was tiny and swimming in her own tears from when she was large.
– Alice saying, “I’m not afraid of the dark and I’m not afraid of you!” reminds me of Christopher Nolan’s childhood version of Bruce Wayne.
– Batwoman with her night vision goggle eyes looks very comics-like. I dig it.
– Alice line, “it’ll go down a little better without a bat in the broth,” feels reminiscent of Catwoman telling the Penguin that Batman is the fly in the ointment in Batman Returns.
– There was an Arkham Asylum breakout a couple of weeks ago that Mary didn’t hear about. That was last year’s Elseworlds crossover, of course, but you knew that already, right?
– Mouse’s name is given as Johnathan Cartwright. Who might he turn out to be? Guesses?
– Mouse brings us some other pop culture references, including “Goonies never say die!” and “it’s Leviosa, not leviosa,” from Harry Potter.
– Lots of sobriety talk in this episode – Alice trying to force beer on Kate, Luke joking about bringing Mary to an AA meeting. Ruby Rose is actually sober. Kate Kane, on the other hand, had some serious struggles with alcohol in the comics after she was kicked out of the academy. It was an extremely self-destructive phase and becoming Batwoman helped her come out of it.
– Mary squeezes in a couple of Wizard of Oz references, calling her mothers, “the wicked witch of Gotham,” and referring to herself as the “good sister” (remember the “are you a good witch or a bad witch line from Glenda to Dorothy? And the fact that all those witches were sisters?) compared to Alice.
– The Hannibal Lecter reference feels pretty self-explanatory in an episode where human faces are just lying around, but for the sake of completionism, the whole Silence of the Lambs/Hannibal franchise can consider itself referenced.
Batwoman Episode 4: Who Are You
– Magpie is a comics villain who went up against both Superman and Batman. Her backstory is very similar to this one: a museum curator surrounded by luxuries she couldn’t possess. She’s a great pick for Batwoman’s focus on class issues.
– When Kate and Reagan are in bed, Reagan says, “I heard she’s doing batman.” Kate dryly replies, “oh you heard? From who? Killer croc?” As we’ve mentioned in other entries, the OG Batwoman Kathy Kane was brought on as a love interest for Bruce Wayne/Batman. Killer Croc is a great Batwoman comic villain, one who transformed physically, magically, and emotionally over time. Unfortunately, continuing to develop his character is the other major issue J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman cited (along with the headline issue of not being able to show Kate Kane and her fiancé/longtime girlfriend Maggie Sawyer get married) when they departed the Batwoman books in 2013.
It’s really a shame because at that point Killer Croc had found a place where he was loved, accepted, and seen as a leader among other people like him, and he might have had a legitimate path to redemption, something I never thought possible for what was initially a silly, throwaway one-note villain. I would love to see that kind of serious character development for Killer Croc on screen.
– In the same scene, Kate joked, “oh, so you’re into redheads now?” In the comes, Kate Kane is a natural redhead and actually puts the wig on over her own hair.
– We cannot let the brilliant Rihanna quote go by without a mention. Might this be the first time Rihanna has ever been referenced in connection to the Bat family?
– Kate’s tattoos do not include her red nautical star tattoo on her back or the green special forces symbol on her arm from the comics, so that means they’re just using Ruby Rose’s own tattoos. That means less time in the makeup chair and worrying over continuity shots, but does it also mean her parents weren’t actually special forces in this iteration of Batwoman?
– Per the gravestones Catherine is digging up, Beth and Kate were born in 1990, making them 28 now and 13 when they disappeared in 2003, in case you were looking for context. Mother and daughter’s full names are Gabrielle Lorna Kane and Elizabeth Marie Kane. The middle names are new to me, but everything else tracks with the comics.
– Mary’s “Screw the haters” remark might refer to the trolling that drove Ruby Rose off Twitter when her casting was announced or the review-bombing the show has experienced.
– Blackgate Prison got a shout-out in this episode. It’s the prison for those deemed sane in Gotham, and has incarcerated everyone from Catwoman, Bane, and the Penguin to Deathstroke, Deadshot, Bronze Tiger and Killer Croc. Of course, they also employed Drs. Harleen Quinzel and Jonathan Crane so their judgment isn’t exactly pristine.
– Vesper Fairchild asking Batwoman to smile more could easily reference the common catcall to women, the increased scrutiny women superheroes face (see also: Captain Marvel), or criticism that Ruby Rose is too wooden as an actor. Also on the Marvel side of things, Jessica Jones had a pretty famous/disturbing “smile” storyline of her own.
– Last year’s Elseworlds crossover takes place sometime between this episode and the next.
Batwoman Episode 3: Down, Down, Down
– Alice making bunny shadow puppets on the Bat signal might be a mad hatter reference, but it could also just be her funny, unhinged way of sending up the seriousness with which Batman is treated.
– However, when Alice says she “lost her pocket watch,” that is for sure a Mad Hatter reference, with another Lewis Carroll reference when she claims Beth has gone down, down, down the rabbit hole
– The Bat-signal is finally off as promised in the first episode of the series, in this case smashed by Alice. The signal has actually been broken on a number of occasions, including by Commissioner Jack Forbes during his anti-Batman campaign and Commissioner Gordan after a loss of faith in Batman in the comics as well as at the end of The Dark Knight to play his part in keeping the secret of Harvey Dent’s corruption.
– Tommy Elliot AKA Hush first shows up, here in a commercial. Hear more about Hush from Meagan Tandy (Sophie) and Rachel Skarsten (Alice) here. Gotham’s public safety and gentrification concerns have collided into this terrifying one percenter, who’s building “Gotham’s walls within the walls” and promises to “make Gotham safe again.” Yikes.
– Tommy Elliot called Kate “Candy” Kane. This nickname from the comics was referenced during Kate’s time in the military academy. It accompanied Sophie’s “Gimme” Moore nickname but there was no explanation for the provenance. Did they nickname each other with a certain amount of irony? Timmy using the nickname suggests it comes from even earlier than the academy.
– Tommy quoting Aristotle is a detail plucked directly from the comics, as is his resentment for Bruce’s wealth. Tommy’s creepy reference to friends being one soul in two bodies might be foreshadowing or a reference to the plastic surgery he got in the comics to make himself look just like Bruce Wayne.
– Kate meets Reagan the bartender, a completely new love interest. (Her known love interests from the comics are Sophie Moore, Renee Montoya, Maggie Sawyer – yes, that one – and Dr. Mallory Kimball.) We’ve got nothing for you since this character was created new for the show, but we’ll keep an eye out!
– “I paid a man to riddle me the answer” In the comics the Riddler offered to tell Tommy the Batman’s secret identity for cash but he didn’t take him up on it. Let’s call this the road less traveled. This is also, of course, an echo of one of the greatest classic Batman lines/cultural references of any kind of all time, “Riddle me this, Batman!”
– Tommy’s frustration about wanting his inheritance (and trying to kill a parent to get it) also comes right from the comics, although in the comics he tries to kill both of them and, more tragically/cruelly, his mother was a victim of abuse at the hands of his father, survived the “accident” and Tommy later smothered her with a pillow. It’s possible more of this will come out or come to pass.
– Batwoman finally has her red symbol, lip color, and wig. I still want her to get her red boots, belt, and gauntlets, but likely time was of the essence and those will come later, since they’re on the promo material (minus the boots). In the comics, Kate Kane had red hair and wore her natural hair out until Batman pointed out that one hair pull would bring her down. She switched to the wig, which an enemy could snatch without harming her. With the on-screen incarnation, it makes her look distinct from Batman while obscuring her actual hair.
– Alice and Kate say the red on the Batwoman symbol comes from their birthstone, to remind them where they came from. As many folks on Twitter have pointed out, in the comics when her father gave her the suit, Kate notes “red and black…gevurah, the pillar of severity…the colors of war.” Kate Kane is canonically Jewish, which thus far has not been acknowledged on screen in the CW adaptation and has been a bone of contention with a non-Jewish actor being cast.
– Tommy’s line about wanting Batman not his “side piece” is both gross and likely a reference to the origin of the original Batwoman, Kathy Kane. Kathy Kane was created as a love interest for Batman, in response to rumors of (gasp!) Batman and Robin being gay.
– Vesper Fairchild’s line wondering what to call the new bat included “Bat Lady” and “Bat Chick” but not her actual name or Bat Girl, which has been used by many crime fighters as well. Perhpas there will one day be a Bat Girl on the show?
Batwoman Episode 2: The Rabbit Hole
– The opening credit thing is a red batarang – Batwoman doesn’t actually use them in the comics, but owns an authentic one thanks to Nightwing. Instead, the red spikes in her forearms are removable and function similar to batarangs. She doesn’t have her full suit yet so we haven’t seen these in action, but perhaps they’ll be similar, or maybe she just has her own batarangs here.
– Kate’s motorcycle is still a basic black model, but I’m hopeful that eventually she’ll get a comics-accurate, souped-up red one with her giant, red bat symbol on the front, based on Kathy Kane’s original.
– The Wonderland Gang members burned the words “We must burn the house down” into the van at the beginning. That comes from chapter four of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: “‘We must burn the house down!’ said the Rabbit’s voice; and Alice called out as loud as she could, ‘If you do. I’ll set Dinah at you!’”
– Kate seemed pleasantly surprised to learn that her suit was bulletproof. Her dad made her suit in the comics out of military-grade tech, but either way bulletproof is a good thing.
– There’s a tree stump in the middle of the lair! That’s exactly like Kate Kane’s lair in the comics.
– Vesper Fairchild’s “Who got drunk, who got clawed” sounds an awful lot like a Catwoman reference. We got a joker reference via Batwoman’s voiceover last episode – Gotham
– Does anyone recognize the specific part of Gotham that’s the gated community on steroids? Help us out!
– Alice’s creepy tea party/hostage situation is, of course, a reference to the Mad Hatter’s tea parties in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
– “If I were going to save you in a totally dramatic fashion, I would dress as Wonder Woman.” Batwoman and Wonder Woman teamed up in the comics while Batwoman was under the DEO’s thumb. Also, Wonder Woman is queer AF too, but you knew that already, right?
– It might be unintentional, but Mary’s yellow plaid evoke’s Cher Horowitz’s iconic look – another smart, empathetic heiress who people routinely underestimate because she’s an enthusiastic young woman with a social calendar and nice clothes.
– Waffles! In the comics this is Kate and Beth’s favorite meal. Their mother took them to get waffles and chocolate on their birthday, and they were attacked/kidnapped on the way back (yes, it happened on their damn birthday). Great little nod.
– According to the Crows’ surveillance, Dodson is in the Kubrick District, presumably named for Stanley. Batman trilogy director Christopher Nolan is a fan, and Heath Ledger’s Joker performance was apparently was inspired by Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.
– “Tell us a story, said the March Hare…” In the comics the March Hare is a member of Mad Hatter’s Wonderland Gang.
– Batwoman has spent an unusual amount of time on underwater stories – practically all of “Hydrology” and “Drown” have her underwater, including a very similar scenario to this one where she’s unconscious on the bank of the Gotham River after an underwater altercation, her motorcycle stashed nearby, and the cops closing in.
– It’s tricky trying to nail down Bruce Wayne’s age here. He’s clearly been Batman-ing around for at least 15 years, since the time of the car accident. Vesper Fairchild scathingly asked if he missed the explosion because he was at Robin’s high school graduation. So I guess that means there’s a Robin in the DCTV universe, and he’s young enough that people crack jokes about his age.
Batwoman Episode 1: Pilot
– Kate Kane AKA Batwoman first appeared in July of 2006, in issue #7 of the yearlong series 52, which focused on the DC universe without Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman in the afterman of the Infinite Crisis crossover.
If that doesn’t sound quite right, you might be thinking of her predecessor Kathy Webb Kane, who was introduced to quell talk of Batman being a big ol’ gay. Ah, irony. The first to bear the mantle Batwoman, Kathy Kane wasn’t related to Bruce (except for being his aunt by marriage…) and she first appeared in Detective Comics, #233 in 1956. While there are plenty of homages to Kathy in Kate’s comics (and even this show!) they are entirely separate characters with different personalities, physical appearances, careers, religions, sexual identities…you get the picture.
The episode opens with Kate Kane in some other part of the world training. In Batwoman’s self-titled run, Kate’s father Jake sends her around the world to train with his various friends he’s accrued through military service. He did so because he had figured out she was Batwomaning and was worried about her safety. By the end of her three years of training abroad (roughly the same length of time as in the show), Kate realized her father was hoping her training would convince her not to be Batwoman. Jake and Kate have a slightly different relationship here, but it seems like her international bootcamp still applies.
– The armored car belongs to the Crows, a private security firm run by Jake Kane and (possibly funded by?) his wife Catherine. In the comics, Jake gathers his old military buddies to help on a mission and refers to them as the Murder of Crows (the correct coollective noun) and each has a number or code name, much like here. He’s Old Crow, his niece is Rook, there’s Crow 1, Crow 2, etc.
– While Jim Gordon appears to be long gone, the Gotham City Police Commissioner is named “Forbes.” Could this be Jack Forbes, the former Internal Affairs Lieutenant who became interim commissioner during Paul Jenkins and David Finch’s time on the Batman: The Dark Knight comic during the New 52 era? We’ll probably find out soon!
– “Mayor Akins” is very likely Michael Akins, another former Gotham Police Commissioner, this one having served during the No Man’s Land story arc, and the current mayor of Gotham City in the comics.
– Kate’s stepsister Mary seems to be standing in for her cousin Bette from the comics – they’re similar in age and enthusiasm. Bette eventually became a hero in her own right, Flamebird and later Hawkfire. In the 1960s version of Kathy Kane (the one that wasn’t cousins with Batman but instead made out with him), Betty with a y was her niece and the OG Bat-girl with a hyphen, back when they also had characters like Bat-Mite and Ace the Bat-Hound.
– Agent Sophie Moore comes straight from the comics, where I feel obliged to tell you her nickname was Sophie “Gimme” Moore and Kate “Candy” Kane. It seems like in addition to Kate’s West Point girlfriend, the CW show is adding elements of Detective Renee Montoya from the comics to Sophie’s character. Renee’s a quasi-law enforcement person who doesn’t know Kate’s Batwoman identity, so it seems like they’ll come into professional and dramatic tension on screen. Plus, there’s the closetted aspect that caused Kate to breakup with Renee.
– Luke Fox is the son of Wayne Enterprises business manager (and beloved Batman armorer) Lucius Fox. In the comics, Luke adopts a superheroic identity of his own, in the guise of Batwing.
– Mary’s low-key clinic means they’ve added comics character Dr. Mallory Kimball to her mix. Mallory treated various criminals on the low to put herself through medical school and also processed evidence for Batwoman. Putting Mary in med school at Gotham University is in keeping with Bette Kane’s backstory, but also ages her up from undergrad, keeps her more in the mix, and as Kate says, belies more depth.
– Kate waking up in the clinic clueless to how she got there is also a reference to when she did the same in Mallory’s clinic after being stabbed in the heart and nearly dying. But with Mallory it was way more awkward because they used to sleep together.
– Jake and Kate Kane’s relationship on the show is a major departure from the comics, where he immediately accepted her for being gay, without any angst, and even saw her refusing to compromise or lie and instead getting kicked out for who she is as the honorable thing, given terrible choices. Kate makes a point of saying Jake wasn’t distant and didn’t drink after Beth and her mother died – they’re incredibly similar. He helped her be Batwoman, even stealing military equipment for her.
– In the comics, the loss of Beth and their mother is more complicated. Kane parents Jake and Gabriella are both special forces and Beth and Kate are kidnapped and held by a terrorist cell. Their parents come to rescue them and Beth and Gabriella are killed in the crossfire, and Batman has nothing to do with any of it. This seems like a good way to keep their television universe tighter, at least for now.
Who is the Batwoman Villain: Alice?
– Most of Alice’s dialogue consists of Lewis Carrol quotes – “Hello said Alice, do we believe the crows will protect us?” works out nicely here. “Well I believe six impossible things before breakfast” is a popular one. Alice is Batwoman’s big bad from the comics. But as Batwoman points out in the comics, Alice isn’t the only Carroll-inspired baddie in Gotham City, joining the Mad Hatter and Deever & Dumfrey Tweed AKA Tweedledee & Tweedledum.
– The Wonderland Gang comes from the pages of Detective Comics, which is where Kathy Kane, Batwoman of yesteryear, originated as well. However, the gang was led by the Mad Hatter while Batwoman’s iconic villain Alice commanded 12 of the 13 covens of the Religion of Crime, a group that involves magical beings including werewolves and gets way more complicated from there.
The fact that instead the writers are borrowing the similarly themed, Batwoman-adjacent Wonderland Gang seems like an indication that this series will not be based on the supernatural, at least not so heavily so early on as the Religion of Crime would mandate. Plus, the Wonderland Gang is a cool as hell name and more thematic to all things Lewis Carroll rather than going off on a tangent to other folklore and myths, which they could possibly hold for potential future seasons.
– Speaking of Lewis Carroll, the Crow who is working for Alice is indeed named “Chuck Dodgson.” Lewis Carroll’s real name was “Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. (thanks to Elijah in the comments for catching that for us!)
– How about that Alice/Beth reveal? So about what we wrote before about Beth dying in the crossfire during the rescue mission…she def didn’t. She was never found, a la Beth’s body not being found in the drowning scenario on-screen, however in the comic book incarnation there was the added wrinkle that Jake Kane knew and lied about it. It’s the central theme of the Batwoman: Elegy story, the outcome of which messes up Kate Kane on a pretty permanent level. Who knows how closely the writers will follow it, so spoilers maybe?
– The Gotham skyline at the beginning of the episode has a W building for Wayne Enterprises and the Bat signal – do eagle-eyed viewers spot anything anything else of note? It’s impressive how much Gotham DOESN’T look like Vancouver or the amalgamated skylines they’ve created for other Arrowverse shows. Instead of a mix of Vancouver, Boston, Singapore, Philadelphia, Tokyo and Frankfurt, or the usual NYC interpretation (oh hey there Joker) the skyline seems to have elements of Chicago, a la the Christopher Nolan flicks.
– Mary takes a selfie with a cute little kid referencing the real-world Batkid!
– The movie showing in the park is the 1920 silent version of The Mark of Zorro with Douglas Fairbanks Sr, in the lead role. Zorro is a recurring theme in bat-mythology (rich guy dresses up in dark clothing and a mask to fight crime and corruption and all that), and since at least 1985’s The Dark Knight Returns, it has generally been accepted that the Waynes were out to see a screening of the 1940 version of the film (which starred Tyrone Power) the night they met their end. There’s even a kid dressed like Zorro in the park!
– We see two newspapers in the episode. I’m not familiar with the Gotham Inquisitor but the Gotham Gazette is one of the major newspapers of the DC Universe, at one time owned by the same media conglomerate that publishes the Daily Planet over in Metropolis. I’m surprised that the Gotham Globe (most famous, perhaps, for employing Alexander Knox in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie) hasn’t made an appearance yet considering all the other little ways this show has paid tribute to obscure bits of bat-ephemera.
– In this telling, Kate learns that Bruce is Batman in the first episode. That’s much faster than it happened in the comics, where she was in the dark for quite some time. He did, however, play a role in her becoming Batwoman. While Kate explicitly declines to pick a specific incident that caused her to become Batwoman, the inciting incident, from a chronological perspective, involves the concept of Batman. Kate was getting drunk after she and Renee Montoya broke up (Kate accused Renee of being closeted, which is true but also an unfair read of the situation). Kate was trying to call Renee while walking home when she was attacked by a mugger, and fought back. After she succeeded, she looked up at the Bat signal and felt like anyone could be Batman, anyone could help. Hilariously, on the flip side, when Batman returned, there’s a whole issue in the style of Batman’s diary entries while he trails Batwoman, appraises her skills, and tries to confirm his hypothesis that Batwoman is Kate Kane.
– The “Welcome to Gotham” sign has been defaced as “Hellcomes to Gotham” which feels like a very slight nod to Batman Returns, when Selina Kyle smashes her “Hello There” neon sign to reveal the words “Hell Here.” You can also spot a suspiciously Joker-y looking face in the graffiti around it, too.
– Batman abandoned Gotham three years ago, which is analogous to the “missing year” from the 52 comics series, in which Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all disappeared and other heroes had to step up in their place. That’s when Kate Kane first put on her cowl in the comics world, too.
– There are a bunch of different versions of the Bat symbol – the five-pointed one is specific to Batwoman, per the drawings from J.H. Williams III (an artist and writer who was with her from almost the beginning through her best stories) at the end of the Batwoman: Elegy trade.
– Just like Luke and Kate say, Bruce Wayne doesn’t have a commonly accepted middle name (although some have speculated it’s Thomas, after his father). It’s not a Clark Kent situation where he’s absolutely “Clark Joseph Kent.” Batwoman marks the first time the question of Bruce’s middle name has been aired so publicly, so this is likely to become official canon once and for all. And yes, his birthday is indeed Feb. 19, as established by DC’s Bob Rozakis for the DC Super Calendar in 1976.
– Of course the password is Alfred. You…you don’t need us to explain this one, do you?
– Kate’s step-mom is the only person who calls her Katie, just like in the comics. And just like in the comics, Kate hates it.
– Burnside Orphanage is located in, of course, Burnside, the Brooklyn-esque Gotham City neighborhood that Barbara Gordon called home for a little while during her Batgirl adventures.
– You can spot some graffiti in the orphanage that says “Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat.” This is almost certainly a reference to Batman Forever, where Jim Carrey, in his most insufferable performance in a career positively full of insufferable performances, played the Riddler, spouting nonsense like “twinkle twinkle little bat, how I wonder where you’re at.” Batman Forever is very bad, folks.
While we’re talking about Alice’s hideout, there’s also an umbrella hanging from the ceiling. If only there were a Batman villain who liked umbrellas…
– Kate’s wealth comes up a bit in this episode – while people (both irl and in the comics) mistakenly assume she has access to Bruce Wayne/Batman’s money, depending on how they know her, but she’s not a Wayne at all – Bruce’s mom Martha was born a Kane. She and Jake Kane were siblings who grew up without wealth, and Kate Kane is only rich because of her stepmom, Catherine Hamilton Kane.
In the comics it’s said that the Hamiltons own everything in Gotham that the Waynes don’t. Jake and Kate aren’t into wealth and Kate spent much of her formative years without it, since her dad doesn’t marry Catherine until she’s college-aged. Still, once she’s booted from the military academy, plenty of people give Kate a hard time for swanning around on someone else’s dime, which she can’t refute without going all, “I am Batwoman.”
– So about those tattoos…they’re from the comics, too! Not the specific designs, necessarily, since actor Ruby Rose has plenty of her own, they seem to be just rolling with them. It remains to be seen whether they’ll add in Kate’s red and black star on her back or the special forces symbol on her bicep. This episode seems to be keeping the same timeline for her tattoos, placing them after Kate gets kicked out of military school, during her lost years when she drinks a lot, stays out late, and gets the idea to become Batwoman.
– The “generic military college” flashback here plays out almost exactly like it did in the comics. The exceptions are that in the comics, they were explicit in calling it West Point, Lt. Dan Choi who advised on the issue was included in a nice hat tip/cameo, and for whatever reason Kate’s girlfriend was never accused (and the reasoning behind that never explored), so it wasn’t a double betrayal. That said, this definitely makes for better television writing.
– Those are indeed Martha Wayne’s pearls on display at Wayne Enterprises. The pearls have long been significant and symbolic in depictions of Batman’s origin story, none more so than in Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley’s The Dark Knight Returns and in Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Batman: Year One. Using them as a kind of “key” to the Batcave is new, though.
– Incidentally, is this “THE” Batcave, which is normally depicted as being directly under Wayne Manor, or is it a kind of auxiliary urban Batcave? In the comics, Kate has her own Batcave (not that she would ever refer to it as such), courtesy of her father, who also created her suit.
– Those black ridge things on Batwoman’s forearms are lifted directly from her original comics design. The first costume we see on her in the episode is a bit of a rough draft, which makes sense thematically. It doesn’t have any of her iconic red yet, like her wig, boots, forearm cuffs, or even the Bat insignia, which her father gives her in the comics, “so they’ll know whose side you’re on.”
Delia Harrington a freelance writer and photographer focusing on social justice and pop culture through a feminist lens. She loves post-apocalyptic sci-fi, historical fiction, and feminist comic books. You can follow Delia @deliamary.