Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Batwoman Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 13 - I'll Give You A Clue

 For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.

Plot

When Sophie is forced to face an old enemy from her rookie days with The Crows, Ryan, Mary and Luke are also drawn into the sinister game of the man known as Cluemaster. Meanwhile, the tables are turned on Black Mask after he takes Alice captive, as Jacob grows more addicted to Snakebite.


Influences

The Batman comics of Chuck Dixon (use of Cluemaster and Stephanie Brown)


Goofs

Sophie refuses to call the Crows since Cluemaster would consider that cheating. Yet she thinks nothing about taking help from Ryan, Mary and Stephanie or calling Luke in to assist. 


Performances


Morgan Kohan has a fantastic first turn as Stephanie Brown. Hopefully it will not be her last appearance on the show and she'll be given more to do than act as Luke's love interest.


Bat Trivia

The Cluemaster (aka Arthur Brown) first appeared in Detective Comics #351 in May 1966 and was created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino. A failed quiz show host, Brown turned to crime and adopted the gimmick of leaving clues to his crimes before he committed them, differentiating himself from the similarly-themed Riddler in that he didn't bother to phrase his clues in the form of riddles.
Despite joining with several other villains to form the Injustice League, Cluemaster was largely forgotten until a  Dark Age of Comics revamp spearheaded by writer Chuck Dixon, which introduced his daughter, Stephanie.

The Arrowverse version of Cluemaster is cut from the same cloth as the original, being a failed game show host named Arthur Brown who turned to crime.  

Stephanie Brown first appeared in Detective Comics #647 (August, 1992) and was created by Chuck Dixon and Tom Lyle. The estranged teenage daughter of Cluemaster, Stephanie adopted the masked identity of The Spoiler and began leaving clues for the police and Batman to warn them of her father's crimes without risking her mother being endangered. Stephanie would later enter into a romantic relationship with the Tim Drake Robin and assumed the mantles of both Robin and Batgirl later in her career. 

The Arrowverse version of Stephanie Brown adopts a similar role, having been responsible for turning in her father and allowing Sophie Brown to take the credit for figuring out his hints to his identity. This version of Stephanie Brown was much closer to her father, who took a hand in training her in ciphers and cryptography as a child and used her as a sounding board for the questions on his quiz show.


Technobabble

The puss caterpillar is the larval form of the Southern Flannel Moth. It is of the genus Megalopyge.

Ceasar and Playfair are two popular ciphers.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Batwoman is interrogating a False Face Society member.)
Batwoman:
 Where's Black Mask? Let me guess. You're more scared of him than you are of me.
False Face Member: You have a code. He doesn't. Do the math.
Batwoman: I love math. Here's some. There are three bones in your ankle. If I break two, how many are left?

Ryan: So you woke up to discover you were covered in some coded message?
Stephanie: You say that like your dad doesn't write cryptograms on you while you're unconscious. 

Black Mask: Ohh. The once-powerful queenpin of Gotham now protecting the city's hero. It's pathetic. I've had enough of this. Give me Batwoman's name, or end up all over my Malbec.
Alice: What's in a name? Circe, Black Mask... Roman Sionis.
Black Mask: What did you do?
Alice: Circe told me her father rescued her from the Arkham breakout, so I got to thinking how would dear, old dad feel about his precious daughter hanging out with a guy who wears a kinky skullcap? Unless dear, old dad is the guy in the kinky skullcap.
Black Mask: You just gave me three reasons to kill you.
Alice: Relax. This is a good thing. You happened to kidnap Gotham's most illustrious skin seamstress. I... I make faces, human faces. If you want your daughter to stop hiding behind that cheeseboard, then let me help you. I can give you your beautiful daughter back.
Black Mask: Tell me how.
Alice: Oh, I'll do one better. I'll show you.


Continuity

5 years ago, Sophie Brown was responsible for busting a would-be supervillain who called himself the Cluemaster on her first day with Crow's Security. This case went on to make her career. 

The Cluemaster, aka Arthur Brown, was sentenced to 13 life sentences for his crimes. 

The Cluemaster escaped on the 5th anniversary of the day of his arrest.

The Crows are still more interested in capturing Batwoman than Black Mask.

Jacob goes to the park which was Beth and Kate's favorite place and hallucinates them on the swings, after taking a dose of Snakebite.

Black Mask threatens to cut off Alice's fingers, one at a time, until she tells him who the new Batwoman is.

Ryan returns home to find Sophie hanging out with Mary.

Sophie was given a bottle of tequila for her five year anniversary with Crows' Security.

Sophie affirms that she's a lesbian rather than biexual.

Sophie, Ryan and Mary wind up playing Never Have I Ever - a drinking game where a person drinks a shot for every outrageous thing they've done.

Mary once had sex on an airplane but she is quick to note it was a private plane.

Ryan is revealed to have accidentally sexted Mary while messaging someone named Imani. This is the woman Ryan met at the community center fundraiser in 210.

Ryan makes Sophie do a shot by saying "Never have I ever compromised my values to support a white supremacist organization."

Sophie does a shot for "has kissed Batwoman."

All three women do a shot for "has been saved by Batwoman."

Kate saving Ryan as Batwoman occurred in the flashback of 202.

Mary discovers an insect in the tequila bottle that at first she thinks is the traditional worm.

The worm is identified as a puss caterpillar, which is the most venomous caterpillar in North America and one of the deadliest in the world. However, a single one is not deadly to adult humans. 

After this, Ryan reads the card that came with the bottle and finds out that it came from Cluemaster rather than Sophie's coworkers.

The note from Cluemaster reads ""A girl's been poisoned. (Not you. That's no fun.) Can you save her before midnight? I'll give you a clue, hot shot: Probably not. Love... Cluemaster".

Arthur Brown was the host of Quiz Bowl - a game show local to Gotham that was a rip-off of Jeopardy. After being fired, he went on a killing spree, leaving clues to his crimes for the police to find.

Sophie says they can't call the other Crows or the police, as Cluemaster will see that as cheating.

Based on the words "hot shot," Ryan heats the bottle, revealing a strange symbol. Sophie recognizes it as the logo for a shooting range she frequented as a cadet.

Alice rips out one of her own finger nails to escape Black Mask's trap and frees her hand.

Alice tries calling Jacob Kane to beg for help. Unfortunately, he's stoned and, confused as to why Beth is calling him when he sees her in front of him, tells Alice she has the wrong number.

Cluemaster was finally caught after he sent a letter to the newspaper regarding his plans to bomb a party celebrating the top-winners of Quiz Bowl. Someone else solved the puzzle and called in the tip that Arthur Brown was the Cluemaster to the Crow's Tip Line while Sophie was answering the phones.

Mary finds a bottle of antihistamin and a note reading "Just a nip should do the trick" before a woman in a glass box is revealed.

The woman is Stephanie Brown, Cluemaster's daughter.

The puzzle to free Stephanie involves four colored targets and four boxes - each a different color, with a different animal on it. The boxes were chained together, which Ryan determines is a reference to the food chain. The targets have to be shot from the top down: bobcat, bird, spider, fly

Sophie's training as a sharpshooter was first revealed in 107.

Stephanie Brown, once freed of the glass box, is revealed to have a cryptogram written on her upper torso that is apparently the next clue.

While threatening Alice, the fake Circe Sionis tells Alice that the last person who tried to one-up her had their eyes gouged out.

Alice recalls meeting Circe Sionis while in Arkham and how she was committed after poking out the eyes of some corporate bigwig. This leads to her figuring out that Black Mask must be her father, Roman Sionis. 

Alice asks Circe about being trampled to death during a riot at Arkham, but she denies dying.

Sophie reveals that Stephanie Brown was the one who solved the Cluemaster's puzzles and called in to the Crow's Tip Line, asking her to take credit for it.

Stephanie says her father used her as a barometer for his puzzles, so she's an expert at cryptograms and ciphers.

Stephanie taunts Luke with a puzzle based around her name, naming clues involving strong women - "I'm smarter than my king, my technology protects Wakanda.... You think it'd be as easy as kissing a frog. I woke a monster by reading from The Book of The Dead... I helped lay an iron giant to rest.  As smart as I am mighty, the chosen one still gets all the credit." These are references to Shuri from Black Panther, Tiana from The Princess and The Frog, Evie from The Mummy, Pepper Potts from Iron Man and Hermione Granger from Harry Potter - S-T-E-P-H.

Luke sees the phrase "You're Stumped" written on Stephanie's back. They decide this must be the basis of a substitution cipher based around the catchphrase from Quiz Bowl.

Sophie, Ryan and Mary decide to check out the old Quiz Bowl set while Luke and Stephanie work on the code, since Cluemaster said he wanted to "finish what he started."

Ryan and Mary are caught in a deathtrap as a recording of Cluemaster offers them more time if they answer some trivia questions about Gotham's criminals.

The first question involves "a poor man's version of Cluemaster." The answer is The Riddler.

Stephanie graduated from MIT in the class of 2016, having skipped several grades.

Luke makes reference to having been accepted to MIT, but never going, due to the trauma of his father's death.

Stephanie knocks Luke out after figuring out the cipher.

Ryan figures out that a question about a "frosty foe" who gave The Dark Knight "a run for his money" is about The Penguin rather than Mr. Freeze.

Angelique used to work in the backroom casino at The Iceberg Lounge.

The final question is about the new Batwoman fighting a certain tally-taking hitman.

Ryan's fight with Zsasz as Batwoman occurred in 203.

Sophie suggests calling Batwoman for help, but Ryan tries to dismiss the idea.

Mary tries calling Luke for help, but he's still unconcious.

Alice offers to make Circe Sionis a flesh mask to hide her burn scars. 

Sophie finally says that she knows Ryan is Batwoman.

Ryan tells Sophie how to enter the Batcave and what tool to bring her.

Ryan thinks Sophie only went to Mary hoping to liquor her up and get her to confirm that Ryan was Batwoman.

Mary points out that Sophie hasn't acted on the information that Ryan is Batwoman or turned her in.

Mary tells Ryan about what Sophie told her about Jacob using Snakebite and how she's starting tot hink that might explain his odd behavior.

Sophie brings the baton that lets Ryan and Mary get off the pressure plate safely.

The clue in the cipher pointed to Stephanie Brown's childhood home.

Cluemaster asks Stephanie to join him. She declines and tells him that she was the one who turned him in five years ago after solving his puzzle.

Cluemater seals himself and Stephanie in his car and releases a toxic gas.

Luke shows up in time to save Stephanie, having solved the cipher on his own after waking up.

Stephanie kisses Luke and tells him to call her but doesn't given him her number, guessing he can find it on his own.

Cluemaster is taken to the hospital and then back to jail.

A few homeless men bring a strung out man into Mary's clinic. It is revealed to be Jacob, who still has a Snakebite injector jammed in his leg.

Sophie tells Ryan how she figured out she was Batwoman by finding the tech in Mary's car in 211.

Sophie also tells Ryan about how she erased her record with the crows to keep them from identifying her based on a blood sample she left behind as Batwoman in 212.

Circe Sionis is confirmed to have died in the fire at Arkham Asylum in 119. Alice recalls stepping over her body as she made her escape.

As she is fitting "Circe" for her mask, Alice recognizes her as Kate Kane, as she has their father's eyes.


Location

Gotham City - 2015


The Fridge Factor

Sophie Moore is revealed to have built her entire career on a lie and taking credit for what a teenage prodigy did. Then again, given that she's also portrayed as being stupid enough to drink strange liquor without reading the card saying who it is from, this isn't exactly a huge shock.


The Bottom Line

The biggest problem with this episode is that it left me wanting a show focused on this version of Stephanie Brown. I'd love to see  a show based around a super-genius vigilante rebelling against the legacy of her criminal family rather than the continued adventures of Sophie Moore: Bad Detective. Thankfully, everything else is engaging, even if the main plotline is a bit unsatisfying and serves no purpose beyond dragging most of the characters secrets into the open. Maybe I stand alone in being more interested in Alice messing with Black Mask or Stephanie Brown being brilliant than the main characters... but I doubt it.

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