Sunday, May 9, 2021

REVIEW: 'Batwoman' - Solving Clues Motivates Sophie, Ryan and Alice in Their Various Dilemmas in 'I'll Give You a Clue'

The CW's Batwoman - Episode 2.13 "I'll Give You a Clue"

When Sophie must face a foe from her rookie days with the Crows, Ryan, Mary and Luke are also pulled into the villain's game. The tables turn on Alice when she finds herself in dire circumstances. Jacob continues to revisit the past.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Batwoman.

"I'll Give You a Clue" was written by Caroline Dries & Natalie Abrams and directed by Marshall Virtue

Batwoman's secret identity must be protected at all costs. That has long been a consistent theme of this story. No one can ever suspect Ryan of being behind the mask. It shouldn't be easily solved either. Someone shouldn't be able to put a picture of Ryan and Batwoman next to each other and figure it out. Of course, Sophie did that after she stumbled upon the truth. She has already saved Ryan's life as well. She wants to present as a trustworthy figure. Ryan can't extend that to her though. Anyone who works for the Crows is completely supportive of an institution that upholds a white supremacist ideology. She operates with that clarity. Sophie offers a different perspective. One that must forcefully make Ryan confront the truth. It's easier for Ryan to hide her identity than admit when she needs help. Sophie is the only person who can retrieve the piece of technology from the lair that can save Ryan and Mary in time. Of course, it all plays into the overall theme of secret identities and pompous attitudes that dominate this episode. Ryan and Cluemaster think it's unfathomable that anyone could figure out their secret identity and massive puzzle, respectively. They certainly don't believe Sophie is capable of doing so. She only has to embrace common sense and a willingness to look where others don't think anyone is paying attention. It's not because she figured out the answer to the game these people have been playing. Instead, it's partly her just being lucky because these people have slipped up. She takes the credit but she must also handle the responsibility of carrying this burden. Sophie didn't solve Cluemaster's puzzle five years ago on her first day with the Crows. She was the beneficiary of Stephanie Brown's genius. She wanted her identity to be secret. Her father needed to accept that his condescending attitude towards humanity cannot be rewarded. He couldn't be allowed to kill simply because others didn't have the temerity of recognizing his genius, which he believed placed him on an elevated level. Instead, he became obsessed with Sophie. It all seems like random information. All of this could be used to showcase just how badass and skilled she is. The big conclusion still requires technology that isn't readily available to Sophie. The Bat team could use her support. It's better to confront systemic institutions prone to abuse from both pressure on the inside and outside. Sophie has been devoted to the Crows. She proves her loyalty to Batwoman here. Part of that comes from her connection with Kate. It's also defined by the evolving dynamic she has with Ryan. It's rewarding for her to learn the truth. Ryan is also stubborn on her part. That makes her a more complicated character. She can get in her own way sometimes. That's the big reveal of this episode. It's in bringing these people together after a long period of tension. Of course, that also means the climax with Cluemaster is a big let down that doesn't really have any meaning. It suggests a possible future between Luke and Stephanie. But it's all built around a connection between two characters who have never been seen before. As such, the audience simply isn't moved by their motivations and story. They are just an episodic concern that place some lives in danger before it mostly resolves itself. Meanwhile, Alice's discovery that the new Circe is actually her sister is the only genuine moment of brilliance that rewards figuring out clues that are right in front of everyone. Alice brings her own personal experience to the situation. She knows that the real Circe is already dead. Moreover, she can see the change in eye color. As such, she gains leverage over Roman because she becomes aware of what's going on in his world. She doesn't need Jacob to come save her. In that moment, she was desperate. She made that call. She would have been so reluctant to do that before. He isn't in a place to help her. Nor can he actively make the choice not to. That dismissal will still sting and probably motivate Alice. However, she clearly sees Kate when putting on Circe's new face. It's not a perfect match. It's Wallis Day after all. The similarities are still striking. The transformation of this character is almost complete. Alice will question it. That will force its own unraveling of identity. That journey should be compelling to watch. It should have personal stakes for everyone involved. It also comes across as the show being proud of how it connects these various themes instead of allowing them to occur more naturally. That element is forced. The progress being made is still very welcomed though.