12th May2021

‘Batwoman 2×13: I’ll Give You A Clue’ Review

by Jason Brigger

Stars: Javicia Leslie, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott | Created by Caroline Dries

Batwoman introduces us to a new villain this week, Cluemaster, and while he is nothing more than a knockoff version of Batman’s nemesis, the Riddler, he does help get the series back on track after a rough episode last week. I’m guessing Batwoman didn’t have the rights to show the Riddler character (he is mentioned though!), so they made the best with what they could. The positive is that another fan-favorite from the comics is introduced this week, which opens the possibility for another hero joining Team Batwoman in the future.

Update from last week: After several episodes of not calling the villain by his name of Black Mask and even calling him False Face, it seems the series is back to calling him Black Mask. I give up.

What Happened This Week?

Girls Night

Ryan, after a night on patrol as Batwoman which was interrupted by the Crows, arrives back home to see her roommate Mary drinking tequila with her not-so-favorite person, Sophie. It appears that Sophie’s co-workers sent her an expensive bottle of tequila for her five-year anniversary with the Crows (can I work there?) but once they get to the bottom of the bottle, they realize it was actually sent by the villain, Cluemaster (Rick Miller). A little backstory on Sophie and Cluemaster’s relationship: One of Sophie’s first cases with the Crows was solving Cluemaster’s riddles and putting him in jail, and now five years later, he has escaped and looking for revenge.
The impromptu girl’s night results in Mary, Sophie and Ryan teaming up to solve the clue left with the bottle of tequila, as Cluemaster states he poisoned someone, and they have till midnight to solve find the person. The clue leads our fearsome three to a gun range with a woman trapped in a clear cage with oxygen running out. The crew solves the riddle and Sophie shoots the targets, using her marksmanship skills from the military, in the correct order, releasing the woman from her trap. After taking a moment to regain her breath and take the antidote to cure the poisoning, she introduces herself at Stephanie Brown (Morgan Kohan), aka Cluemaster’s daughter!

Cluemaster’s intent for revenge against Sophie is incorrect though as it was actually his own daughter that solved his game five years ago and not Sophie. Stephanie didn’t want her father to know his own daughter turned on him and phoned the Crows’ tip line and thus giving Sophie the credit for capturing him five years ago. In present time, Cluemaster tried to recruit his genius daughter to help him with his new plan but when she declined, Cluemaster scribbled cryptograms on her, poisoned her, and put her in a box. Father-of-the-Year he is not.

As the cryptograms are difficult to decipher after one drinks a bottle of tequila, they call in Luke to help Stephanie decipher the cryptograms and determine Cluemaster’s next move. The chemistry between Luke and Stephanie is organic and their flirting over the cryptograms makes me want to see more of Stephanie on the series. Here’s hoping that Team Batwoman adds one more to their group as Stephanie could challenge Luke’s role as the “genius” of the team as well as bring some levity to the series.

While Luke and Stephanie try to figure out the cryptograms, Mary, Ryan and Sophie figure out another clue is waiting for them at an old trivia game show studio, Quick Bowl, which may lead them to Cluemaster. Mary and Ryan arrive at the studio and have no choice but to play Cluemaster’s game as they are on a pressurized floor plate that will explode if they don’t answer a series of trivia questions. The trivia game relates to Gotham’s favorite villains and the scene is the highlight of the episode as Cluemaster references all of Batman’s villains, including calling the Riddler a cheap knock-off!

After guessing all the answers right, Mary and Ryan are still left wondering how to get off the floor plate without being blown into tiny bits. The answer? Sophie comes clean and tells Ryan she knows she is Batwoman and needs to use her Batwoman toys to escape. Ryan reluctantly admits to being Batwoman and uses a bat-gadget rope gun to escape before the studio explodes.

After hours of trying to figure out the cryptograms, Stephanie is able to decipher the code and attempts to confront her father. Luke protests this but is quickly knocked out by Stephanie as she goes off to stop her father from conducting more destruction. Stephanie finds her father at their old home and Stephanie finally admits it was her that solved Cluemaster’s clues from five years ago and turning him into the police, and not Sophie. How does he react to this? By trapping Stephanie in a car with him and attempting to kill both of them as a deadly gas fills the car. All looks lost until Luke shows up at just the right time, smashing the car window and saving both Stephanie and Cluemaster.

Stephanie thanks Luke for saving her by kissing him on the lips and saying goodbye for now. Here’s hoping Stephanie returns in the future for a more prominent role in Team Batwoman as she has the chops to hang with the rest of the crew.

Alice’s New Job

Alice, as the series has shown for the last two seasons, will do anything to survive and that is apparent again in this episode as she attempts to negotiate her release from Black Mask and Circe. Unfortunately, our villains rather torture Alice for information on the new Batwoman than strike a deal.

After having one of her fingernails removed (ewww!), Alice is able to escape from the chair she is tied to and knocks out Circe. Instead of killing her though, Alice phones her dad and asks him to call the Crows to track her phone and help her escape. It’s one of the few moments that Alice has shown vulnerability in the series, but it goes for naught as Jacob is too high on the Snakebite drug to assist his daughter. He hangs the phone up, causing Alice to lose hope for a rescue and in a matter of minutes, she’s again tied up to the chair.

Black Mask again threatens to kill Alice, but she reveals she can be of assistance in giving his “new” daughter a face again. Thanks to Mouse, she knows how to create a new mask and Black Mask agrees to work with her in exchange for Circe’s new face. Black Mask leaves again just as Alice puts the face on the fake Circe and in that moment, Alice realizes who Circe’s real identity is. Circe may believe she’s Roman’s daughter, but Alice knows that is not true, as she actually saw Circe die at the Arkham riot and this new version of Circe is none other than Alice’s own sister, Kate Kane. Well, the secret is out of the bag now.

Easter Egg

  • Stephanie Brown. Cluemaster’s daughter is named Stephanie Brown, a character in the comic books that suited up as the teenage superhero Spoiler, Batwoman and even briefly took over the role of Robin. Stephanie Brown is a newer character as she premiered in 1992 and while she is not prominently featured in the Batman universe, her character has a small but loyal fanbase. Here’s hoping she has a bigger role in the Batwoman universe.

Quote of the Week

  • Stephanie to Luke, after they kiss: “I’d give you my number, but I have a feeling you’re smart enough to figure it out.”

Episode Grade: C+ (Above Average)

This week’s episode was light on action but the emphasis on the detective work by Team Batwoman was a welcomed change. After last week’s lackluster episode, we are back to a more solid episode that relied on the characters building friendships/relationships while allowing them to show their real self to each other.

The return of the “villain of the week” was a nice change as that trope has been far and few between this season and took the edge off the series after a few “heavy” episodes. Overall, the episode was fun and still advanced the storylines as we head for the few remaining episodes left this season. At this time, I still have no idea where the storylines will go but I’m interested to see if Jacob, and a few others, will make it out of this season alive.

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here.

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