I admire a well-thought-out and implemented theme, and Batwoman Season 2 Episode 13 impresses with not one, not two, but THREE father storylines that, ironically, aired on Mother’s Day.
The other theme is that of unmasking and revelation. We get Sophie and Ryan coming clean with each other, Jacob’s secret being thrust into the light, and Alice’s sudden realization that “Circe” is Kate.
And yet, with all the developments in terms of long-term plots and character relationships, the highlight of the whole hour for me was Luke and Stephanie’s sweet little kiss.
The kicker is that, with only five episodes left in the season, I can’t imagine we’ll be seeing Stephanie Brown again soon.
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.
There’s just too much on the table for Luke and the Batwoman Team to contend with for a burgeoning romance to be anything but a backburner plot element for Mr. Fox.
Sophie: What is happening?
Mary: No idea.
Ryan: I think it’s how nerds flirt.
But damn, it was cute. And what an awesome first meeting story. Girl saved from poisoning but wearing the cryptogram that holds the key to stopping her insane father. Boy brought in to help solve it. Girl solves it first, punches out Boy to protect him. Boy saves Girl from father’s murder-suicide plan.
Why wouldn’t ship these two?
Plus, there’s the M.I.T. connection. Amazing.
Do you know why it’s called beginner’s luck? I’ll give you a clue. It’s because it’s unexpected and because it doesn’t last.
Despite all the tangled Coryana webs and False Face shenanigans this season, I’ve been missing the regular Villain of the Week (VotW) trope.
Zsasz was awesome — and yay! for his mention in the Quiz Bowl ordeal — but besides him, we’ve only really had Wolf Spider and Kilovolt who weren’t directly involved with Safiyah or Black Mask.
So, welcome, Cluemaster! Joker’s crazy with Riddler’s wordplay and some Two-Face sentimentality. I’ll take it.
Cluemaster’s real purpose here was as a part of the rebranding of Sophie Moore. His fixation on her as the genius who figured out his puzzle initially hints that she’s far more clever than she’s let on so far.
Cluemaster: How did you solve Cluemaster’s riddle?
Sophie: I know it’s just my first day but a little advice. Don’t advertise the crime you’re about to commit if you don’t want to get caught.
Cluemaster: That’s how I showcase the sheer stupidity of mankind. I provide the authorities with all the clues and then watch as they screw it all up anyway.
Sophie: I’m sorry your view of mankind is so bleak.
However, the twist is that her role in his capture was one of trustworthiness (and luck) rather than intelligence.It echoes her finding the recording of Ryan and Luke talking on Batwoman Season 2 Episode 11.
While the intel fell into her lap, she was surprisingly restrained about following up on it. That she’s kept Stephanie’s secret for five years, taking the brunt of Cluemaster’s insane obsession in doing so is a good indicator of her fidelity.
The actor portraying Cluemaster, Rick Miller, is better known for his amazing range of vocal mimicry. We get a little taste of that in his game show recording, but nowhere near a true example of his talents.
Check out the video below for a mind-blowing and hilarious performance.
As the VotW, Cluemaster gets the cursory backstory and a pretty sketchy motivation explanation.
How his plan involved Stephanie’s childhood home still mystifies me. If he expected Sophie to look for him at the Quiz Bowl studio, why even bother with the cryptogram? Or was that just for the benefit of trapping Stephanie?
Also, as smart as he is, it seems a little blind for him not to deduce that Stephanie had a hand in his capture five years ago. But fathers are frequently blind to their daughters’ actions.
Case in point: Jacob Kane.
So this is what rock bottom looks like.
If I were to pick a single instance of brilliant writing here, it would be the moment Alice reaches out to Jacob only to have him choose his drug-induced hallucination of the past over a real-life daughter’s peril.
It’s also concerning that he’s gone from carefully injecting Snakebite into the veins in his arm to just jabbing it into his thigh like an Epipen.
If he recovers, the Kane family reunion is going to be one for the books, for sure.
I feel like Alice’s captivity doesn’t go exactly the way Roman Sionis expected it to go.
Alice’s level of chaos is a powerful foil to Black Mask’s need for control.
All that therapy’s also making her far more chatty in the face of danger.
Circe/Kate: Just tell Black Mask who Batwoman is and you’ll be drinking [a martini] soon.
Alice: Here’s the thing. I could but then I wouldn’t have the satisfaction of killing her myself. It’s personal but I’ve had limited success with my vengeance schemes as of late and, quite frankly, it’s left me feeling rather… unfulfilled.
That she’s able to suss out Circe’s supposed identity through her conversational clues and then follow that breadcrumb trail back to Daddy Roman isn’t surprising.
Arkham’s not a big place after all.
Her moment of realization about Circe being Kate is a lovely throwback to Batwoman Season 1 Episode 2 when Alice and Kate lock eyes in the river.
If this plays out that way I think, Alice’s path for the rest of the season will borrow heavily from the Red Alice plot from the comic source material.
Only, instead of Nocturna hypnotizing Kate into thinking she’s a vampire(!), Alice will have to break through Enigma’s hypnotic conditioning.
Circe/Kate: Word of advice. The last person who tried to one-up me ended up with his eyes gouged out. Like two olives on a toothpick.
Alice: Now, that makes me want a martini.
Now, this would be a real start to Alice’s life as an anti-hero if her new raison d’etre were to be the restoration of Kate’s memories.
But, to what end?
Does she revert back to wanting Jacob and Kate to kill one another?
Does she use Kate to take out Ryan for betraying her?
Does she take Kate with her to Coryana to overthrow Safiyah and live happily ever after?
Despite the fact Batwoman 2.0 has launched with great success, the fact remains that we spend an awful lot of time considering Alice.
And now we’ve got a Luke romance-y storyline to ponder as well.
After you watch Batwoman online, hit our comments with your thoughts on dads and daughters, riddles and resurrections.
What comes next? Let me give you a clue: it’ll be unexpected.
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.
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