Did CW's Batman Murder the Joker?

A brooding Bat-person and their loyal Pennyworth.
A brooding Bat-person and their loyal Pennyworth.
Image: The CW

Batwoman returned from a month-long hiatus to finally solve the mystery of who killed Lucius Fox years earlier. But while the episode was largely about Fox’s murder, a mysterious mad bomber, and Alice’s efforts to escape Arkham, there was a critical resolution to one of Kate Kane’s most traumatic emotional arcs this season.

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Though we’ve been on a mini-Arrowverse hiatus, “A Narrow Escape” picks up not long after the events of last month’s absolutely explosive “Off With Her Head” which saw Kate Kane seem to do something Batman never would.

Illustration for article titled Did CWs Batman Murder the Joker?
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Namely, murder her enemy.

In the show, Batwoman’s disappeared because Kate (Ruby Rose) feels too guilty to wear the mask after she murdered the guy who tortured and drove her sister mad and decapitated her mother, aka Cartwright (John Emmet Tracy). A number of pretenders have donned flimsy black bodysuits and red wigs in an effort to imitate Batwoman, but Kate is too busy borrowing from her cousin’s playbook and brooding up a storm at home to care.

When Fox’s son, Luke (Camrus Johnson), corners his father’s murderer and prepares to kill him, Kate attempts to talk him out of it—finally confessing to the murder she committed. That’s enough to give Luke pause. But at the end of the episode he asks her why she kept the murder from him and she confesses she feels awful about violating Batman’s code of “NO MURDER.” You know the thing that separates him from other ordinary dudes who run around rooftops in masks. (Remember: Oliver Queen was a serial killer! And described as such for most of the first season of Arrow!)

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But Luke asks her if she ever wonders why no one’s heard from the Joker in five years and coolly says “He isn’t in Arkham.” Then, just in case you were wondering whether Batman broke his own code or if the CW’s Batverse has a Red Robin Hood or Azrael rather than the original, Luke goes on to say, “Both you and Bruce stared into the abyss.”

Kevin Conroy’s version of Bruce from Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Kevin Conroy’s version of Bruce from Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Photo: The CW
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Presumably, the abyss is a synonym for “the darkness that consumes a Bat person when they commit a little vigilante murder.”

But it’s just up in the air enough that it could mean something else. We’ve seen no other Bat people in Kate’s Gotham which is now the Gotham. No Batgirls or Robins or Nightwings. CW’s Arrowverse Batfamily is theoretically smaller and decidedly sadder. Considering Kate barely blinked when she met the confirmed serial murderer Batman of an alternate universe in the big Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, it is not inconceivable that her universe’s Batman is also prone to a little murder.

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As I already noted...this universe is a dark one! The Green Arrow was a straight-up killer, both the Flash and Supergirl have committed a little “justified” homicide, and the Legends’ captain has repeatedly described herself as an assassin. Despite the cheery costumes and regular combat with giant ice sculptures and blue plushies [Editor’s Note: All glory to Beebo! -Jill P.], CW’s universe of superheroes is frequently both grim and dark.

So it makes sense that in a universe where Kate Kane’s mom is DECAPITATED and her DECAPITATED HEAD IS STORED IN A FREEZER FOR A DECADE that Batman would also get fed up with a jokey serial killer and off him. What do you think?

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Senior Consumer Tech Editor. Trained her dog to do fist bumps. Once wrote for Lifetime. Tips encouraged via Secure Drop, Proton Mail, or DM for Signal.

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DISCUSSION

smittywerbenjagermanjensen22
Evil Lincoln

Cartwright did not decapitate Kate & Beth’s mom. In an earlier episode Beth/ Alice when describing the car accident noted that she saw her mother’s head float past her afterward as she was struggling not to drown.

He still had it coming to be strangled by Kate though (as he and Alice both knew, since both intentionally baited her into doing it)