Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for The CW’s Batwoman, they actually got worse. In the second season of the superhero series, ratings started badly, only to see them continue to get worse, actually hit a new rock bottom this week.The last Batwoman episode, titled I’ll Give You A Clue, represents a season of lows for the beleaguered series as it was only able to rustle up 399k viewers, which followed the previous week’s series low of 426K.
Batwoman’s first season centered around Kate Kane (played by Ruby Rose), who turned into Gotham City’s vigilante as Batman’s absence was felt around the city with crime and crazy villains growing at a fast rate. The pilot episode of Batwoman was, by far, the series most-watched but the nose-dive started the very next week.
Fans just could not get on board with Batwoman led by Ruby Rose and the numbers showed. The highly criticized actress finally did the proper thing by bowing out of the series immediately following the end of the first season. The reason for her departure, though, was kept quiet until the star finally came out to Entertainment Weekly addressing the issue.
“Being the lead of a superhero show is tough. Being the lead in anything is tough. But I think, in that particular instance, it was a lot more difficult because I was still recovering from my surgery,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “I had my surgery and then 10 days later I went to work, which maybe wasn’t the best idea. Most people take about a month or three off before they return to work, so it was definitely made more difficult by that. But as far as being a lead of a show or a film — regardless if it’s action or if it’s emotional — in whichever ways it’s taxing.”
The surgery for which Rose spoke about was necessary when a Batwoman stunt scene she was involved in caused two herniated discs to nearly sever her spinal cord. But Rose insists it wasn’t only the surgery but the effects on the COVID lockdown that played a huge part in her decision.
“It wasn’t so much [the injury], especially because after we wrapped up we didn’t get to finish the real finale because of COVID.” The lockdown was sort of a blessing in disguise for Rose as it allowed her time to reassess the things she felt she wanted out of her career and her life. “You know, you have time in quarantine and sort of isolation to just think about a lot of different things and what you want to achieve in life and what you want to do.”
Her departure from Batwoman left CW in a bit of a quandary. They wanted to continue the series, but without Rose, who would they turn to? That question was answered in quick order as Javicia Leslie (God Friended Me) was chosen to be the very first black Batwoman. While the actress was, rightfully so, extremely excited to be the first, what little fans remained continued to dwindle.
Javicia Leslie didn’t take on Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane. Batwoman creator Caroline Dries brought Leslie on as Ryan Wilder, a totally new character who never appeared in a DC comic, series, or movie. Wilder, as compared to Kane, comes from completely different worlds. Kane is the cousin to Bruce Wayne and has money to spare while Wilder grew up on the criminal-infested streets of Gotham.
Leslie can’t be blamed for the ratings fall of Batwoman. She easily holds her own on the small screen, as she did previously on God Friended Me. But the series is lacking in so many other ways. Viewers often complain that the storylines are too “woke.” Diversity and inclusion also seem to be a negative takeaway as many (who probably haven’t even watched the show) say the apparently forced nature is their turn-off.
Whatever the case may be, the numbers bear the fact that viewers just can’t get into Batwoman. This leads to the surprise announcement that Batwoman has been renewed by The CW for a season 3. Of course, Leslie was extremely thrilled for at least one more season.
Will this have any effect on Batwoman’s numbers? With just one more episode, the season finale, set, it is the great unknown that Batwoman faces. Maybe with one full season under her belt, Leslie will be able to draw more viewers to her series. Regardless, with a third season already set to roll, some sort of retooling is in order. What that much-needed shakeup would look like is anyone’s guess.
The fact of the matter is, by looking at the numbers Batwoman draws currently, as well as their downward trajectory, there may not be any fans left by the time the season two finale airs. That will be a shame for Leslie, she deserves much better than what she is being given, but it also could simply be a case of putting one out of their misery.