Batwoman: Kate Kane's Exit, Explained

It's been a number of months since Batwoman wrapped up its first season, and the DC Comics-inspired series has gone through a lot of major changes in that stretch of time. The biggest arrived shortly after the show's Season 1 finale, when it was announced that Ruby Rose would be stepping down from her role as Kate Kane/Batwoman. Instead of recasting the role or introducing another character from the comics, the series' decided to focus on an entirely new character named Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie). Of course, there was still the question of exactly how the series was going to write Kate Kane out of the show -- and tonight, we got our answer. Spoilers for the Season 2 premiere of Batwoman, "What Happened to Kate Kane?", below! Only look if you want to know!

The episode opens with Ryan sleeping in her van by Gotham's harbor, which is suddenly interrupted by a plane crashing in front of her. As Ryan surveys the wreckage, she finds a few dying passengers of the plane -- and a bag containing Kate Kane's Batsuit. This is juxtaposed with Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson) and Mary Hamilton (Nicole Kang) realizing that Kate's plane back from National City - where she had gone to ask Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) about the shard of Kryptonite in her possession - had been delayed due to bad weather. After putting two-and-two together, they realize that Kate was on the plane that crashed, and that she's now nowhere to be found.

Word of Kate's plane crash quickly goes public, complete with a front-page newspaper article proclaiming "What Happened to Kate Kane?", and arguing that she has now gone missing due to the plane crash. The characters that were in Kate's orbit begin to have very different reactions to this news -- Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) tries to use his resources with The Crows to find Kate dead or alive, but resigns himself to the fact that she might be dead, especially after having something similar happen with Elizabeth Kane/Alice (Rachel Skarsten) years ago. Luke also assumes that Kate didn't survive the crash, and blames himself for it, since he set off the chain of events that led her to National City with the Kryptonite. Mary, meanwhile, tries to have a more hopeful outlook, believing that Kate could have potentially survived even without wearing the Batsuit.

As the episode goes along, some of the theories surrounding Kate's fate begin to potentially hold water - particularly Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy) believing that the plane was targeted by Safiyah Sohail (Shivani Ghai) because of Kate's romantic history with Julia Pennyworth (Christina Wolfe). Towards the episode's end, Sophie's theory does get a major bombshell, when she receives a letter addressed to her from Kate's safe, which proclaims that she was Batwoman and that she still loved her.

Meanwhile, Alice is also distraught about Kate's apparent death -- because she didn't get to be the person to make her disappear, and she is unsure of exactly who did. In the episode's final scene, she seems to get her answer, with an ominous note from Safiyah proclaiming "Now we're even."

So, is Kate Kane dead? The episode doesn't definitively say, especially after Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries confirmed last year that they wouldn't kill Kate off, especially for the sake of not falling into the problematic "Bury Your Gays" trope. Nevertheless, some fans might wonder exactly how Kate could have survived such a brutal plane crash, even though there definitely is comic precedent for superheroes surviving unspeakable events even without their superhero suits. Of course, that raises the question of exactly what her status will be, and how the different theories surrounding that will impact Batwoman's supporting cast.

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"What happened to Kate? Is she alive? Did she die? Is she missing? Is she on the run? Is she held captive? Is she lost?" Dries said during the DC FanDome virtual convention last year. "These are all huge mysteries that push us in deep into the season, and all of our characters are going to have different perspectives on that. Different conspiracy theories, different points of view, and it will create a lot of drama, tension, mystery, and intrigue. It will be shocking and awesome and amazing."

What do you think happened to Kate Kane in the Season 2 premiere of Batwoman? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!