Batman is one of those characters whose casting has a tendency to unleash a certain passion in folks. With every casting there’s criticism. Michael Keaton was too funny to play Batman. Christian Bale was too skinny. Ben Affleck was too Ben Affleck, and Robert Pattinson is apparently too sparkly because over 10 years later people still can’t divorce him from his first big paycheck character.
On television, Batman’s casting seems a little less dire. Sure, people fumed when Ian Somerhalder showed up on Smallville as a grocery store brand Batman, and I bet someone out there is still mad David Mazouz didn’t morph into a fully grown Bat-man in the five seasons Gotham got. But when the CW cast one of TV’s longest-tenured and best Batmen as the Batman last year, it was met with joy—even if Kevin Conroy is known more for being the voice of the Bat than the physical embodiment of the character.
There’s just something about this character in particular that brings out our inner casting directors. Everyone has some element of Batman that they passionately feel must be expressed in the very first moment he appears. He must be clever. Or possess gravitas. Or maybe just be able to quickly flit between ditzy playboy and preternaturally smart detective. For others, it’s about physique. He must be lithe like a swimmer—because he spends so much time soaring through the air on grappling hooks—or he has to be built like a brick house or capable of crushing spines with his bare hands.
The jaw has to look perfect in a mask. Or maybe just the lips.
The stakes seem higher on film—where millions will be spent in an effort to create billion-dollar movie franchises. People seem to care more because the cinematic versions of characters typically command the cultural zeitgeist. Maybe that’s why TV superhero casting—especially when the characters aren’t the titular heroes—gets more of a pass from fans. I (thankfully) heard a lot fewer complaints about Teen Wolf’s Tyler Hoechlin playing the Man of Steel than about Snyder Cut conspiracies. But Batwoman has quietly, and quite shockingly, cast a new actor to play Bruce Wayne in the post-Crisis Arrowverse. So those less ardent feelings for television Batmen might change.
Even though such a momentous thing occurred, Batwoman’s finale, “O, Mouse” wasn’t focused on Batman or Bruce Wayne. Instead, Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) struggled to work with her father (Dougray Scott) to hunt an escaped Arkham inmate and Daddy Kane unearthed the most obvious and underused Bat weakness in the book—an enormous and well lit open space—to try and capture Batwoman. Meanwhile, her team back in the cave spent all their time trying to figure out how to destroy kryptonite because they’re convinced that its ability to penetrate the Batsuit makes it the Achilles heel of the Bat.
Never mind the fact that Batwoman can still be suffocated, poisoned, blown up, broken, wrecked, and/or burned. She is, you know, still a human in a really fancy suit and not an immortal sun god like some other people with a weakness to kryptonite. It’s wild that so much of the episode is spent on trying to destroy the green rock when, by the end of the episode, Kate has reminded everyone she actually has to hold on to some forever in case she ever has to put down Supergirl. (Who wants to tell her Supergirl’s finale was all about creating a suit that makes the Maiden of Might immune to kryptonite?)
But while everyone else was focused on finding and exploiting Batwoman’s weaknesses, her sister Alice (Rachel Skarsten) was busy saying goodbye to her brother Mouse (Sam Littlefield) and quietly coming up with her own plan to acquire kryptonite and kill her sister.
Which. Again. I’m sorry. Alice knows that her sister is Batwoman. She knows where her sister lives. She has interacted with her sister multiple times on this show while Kate is in normal people clothes. It seems to me that it would be incredibly easy to just, I don’t know, shoot her in the head when she’s out buying groceries? Or poison a drink she’s getting with one of her exes? Or gas her and everyone she cares about at her club? This is not hard Alice! You do not need the most valuable mineral in the Arrowverse to kill your sister because you know your sister is Batwoman and consequently have very easy access to her when she is not in her suit.
Regardless, after Mouse tells her he’s done and wants to run away, she murders him with poison. Showing that she does, in fact, know how to kill people without relying on shiny green plot MacGuffins stolen from Supergirl!
Then she goes to the currently faceless Hush (Gabriel Mann), the positively least terrifying villain this show has seen…and gives him a new face. Bruce Wayne’s face, to be exact.
Bruce Wayne is played here by Alphas’ Warren Christie (or, to be more technical, Christie is playing Tommy who is playing Bruce). Where did Alice get this face, considering the real Bruce has been missing for years? Presumably, she made this one from scratch (a bit of a stretch!) or this show will have a wild Face/Off adaptation down the road.
So…new Bruce? What are your thoughts? Sound off with your screams in the comments.