Batwoman dons her true identity in Batwoman Season 1 Episode 3: Down, Down, Down. Here’s why Gotham needs her, and not Batman.
Batwoman season one, episode three, ‘Down, Down, Down’ sees protagonist Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) struggling with her superhero identity until she finally hits upon her true purpose.
In the first two episodes, Kate all but resurrected Batman and brought hope back to the people of Gotham. But she isn’t Batman, nor does she want to be. What she needs to be—what Gotham needs her to be—is something better.
But what is that? And why does Gotham need a hero who isn’t Batman? We break it down below. Spoilers ahead!
The Need for a Hero
Batwoman: Down, Down, Down opens with Alice (Rachel Skarsten) shining the bat-signal to get Kate’s attention. She even feigns disappointment when Batman doesn’t show up, even though she knows that Kate is Batman now.
She teases Kate about her heroic turn—and that it’s been over ten days since the last sighting of Batman and now Gotham seems interested in nothing else, not even its latest villain.
Gotham is clearly clamouring and desperate for its masked hero. The newspapers report on sightings of Batman and bemoan his absence everyday. Vesper Fairchild’s (Rachel Maddow) daily radio show has her asking Gothamites to share their thoughts about Batman’s return.
And all this is because of Kate. She donned the suit, albeit to protect herself against Alice’s goons but now she’s become inextricably tied to the mythos.
But can she keep living a lie by bringing Batman back to Gotham? And how can she keep Gotham’s hopes up if she takes Batman away?
What makes Gotham’s obsession with Batman’s appearance in Batwoman: Down, Down, Down so interesting is its realism. You can’t help but see it as an indictment of celebrity culture—and the hero worship of Batman certainly reflects the rise of influencers in the real world.
It’s particularly interesting because there’s nary a hint that Batman is actually back—Gothamites have only a pixelated image as confirmation. But that is enough for them. Their city is beleaguered and the people will believe anything as long as it gives them hope.
On social media right now, celebrities and citizens alikeare eager to jump on any bandwagon, and often find themselves at the wrong end of the stick (see the Avengers cast defending a boy who complained about being bullied, even inviting him the premiere of Avengers: Infinity War, only to find out that it was because the boy’s mother was deeply racist).
Fortunately for the citizens of Gotham, they haven’t put their faith in the wrong person—by the end of the episode, Batwoman has revealed herself to be the city’s new saviour.
One can say that, for Gotham, not having Batman around is a blessing in disguise in some ways. Batman’s Rogues Gallery is a mile long and they continue to torment the city despite being repeatedly locked up in Arkham.
As mentioned in Batman Begins, Batman’s very presence in the city causes an escalation of violence—though this is hardly an excuse for anyone to indulge in criminal behaviour.
By dint of Batman being around, the criminally-minded are given more incentive to be louder, more flamboyant, and more dangerous. Though Batman evolves to deal with the threats, he manages to maintain his no-killing rule.
Batwoman is clearly taking a leaf out of the same book. Kate begins the episode by asking Alice to spend 24 hours without killing anyone–in return, Kate will return Alice’s partner in reasonable condition.
Of course, that doesn’t play out as well as Kate had hoped—Alice is a Gotham villain and we can hardly be surprised that she doesn’t play by the rules.
But Alice is a symptom of a larger Gotham problem—the heroes have rules they must abide by but the villains never do.
Even when they are as close to the hero as Alice is—Kate’s twin sister, no less—they can’t be trusted to do the right thing.
And this has always been the problem with Batman. It’s why Red Hood even exists in the DC Comics—Batman never got revenge on Joker for killing his second Robin, something Red Hood never forgave his mentor/father for.
So, is Batman really the best option for Gotham? How useful is a hero whose villains are constantly breaking free and terrorising the city?
As we see in Batwoman: Down, Down, Down, despite Batman no longer being around, his villains are still after Gotham.
Tommy Elliot (Gabriel Mann), once Bruce Wayne’s best friend, now his rival and wealthy social-climber, reveals himself to be one of the most dangerous villains we can know–a narcissistic one-percenter with no moral values, who holds a grudge against Batman because the caped crusader foiled Elliot’s plans to kill his parents.
Honestly, with villains like this, it’s amazing Gotham has survived this long!
With Batman no longer around to fight baddies like Elliot, or the Riddler, who shared Batman’s identity with Elliot (ala the popular Batman story ‘Hush’), somebody else needs to stand up for Gotham.
It’s up to Batwoman to right the wrongs and save her city from yet another self-obsessed criminal mastermind.
But even Batwoman can’t do everything and it is thanks to Alice’s timely intervention that Elliot is taken down and sent off to Arkham.
Hopefully, when Elliot inevitably breaks out, Kate will find a way to fortify Arkham better than her predecessor or Batman’s baggage will become Kate’s living nightmare.
Clear and Present Danger
There’s one particular reason why Gotham needs Batwoman more than anything else—and it’s something Kate realises when Elliot gives her an ultimatum for a showdown with Batman.
Kate can’t be Batman—she isn’t Bruce and she doesn’t have the same mission in her heart—but she can be something better.
Kate can be there for Gotham when it needs her, and that’s why, right now, she’s better than anything Gotham has had–a hero who is unapologetically there for her city and for her people. Not because of revenge and not because of a vendetta or an agenda.
Instead because Kate is in Gotham, the city is in peril, and she has the resources, thanks to Wayne Enterprises and Luke Fox’s (Camrus Johnson) efforts to keep the Batcave safe.
Batman’s vendetta and his own moral high ground often made it difficult for him to do what’s right for Gotham. Some of those rules are likely to hold Batwoman back as well.
But at the end of the day, she has more light in her heart and a purer reason for fighting for Gotham. Despite the people she has lost—and the person she may have found—Kate is still looking for the light and positivity in her city, something Batman has never tried to do.
He always saw Gotham as a place that needed to be fixed—Batwoman seems to be looking at Gotham as a city that needs to be protected.
With Batwoman having donned her famous wig and red symbol, the city of Gotham can rest assured that their new hero will protect it, more out of the goodness of her own heart than for revenge.
Batwoman may not be the hero they were expecting and she probably wouldn’t have chosen this path had Batman been around. But for now, Batwoman is Gotham’s best hope, it’s Red Knight in shining armour.
And for Gothamites and Bat-fans, Batwoman is all the hero we need.