Batwoman just namedropped the Riddler, confirming the Prince of Puzzles is active in the Arrowverse. The early episodes of Batwoman have been centered on Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) gradually accepting the mission of replacing Batman as Gotham City's nocturnal defender. Kate discovered her missing cousin Bruce Wayne is Batman and, thanks to Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson), she has commandeered the Batcave beneath Wayne Tower and the Dark Knight's costume and weaponry. While Batwoman's main adversary is her sister Beth (Rachel Skarsten), who leads the Wonderland Gang as the crime lord Alice, Batman's infamous adversaries have begun to pop up on the show.
Meanwhile, the Riddler has been experiencing a renaissance across various forms of media. Last portrayed on the big screen by Jim Carrey in 1995's Batman Forever, it was announced just last week that Paul Dano will portray the Riddler in Matt Reeves' upcoming reboot, The Batman, opposite Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight. On television, the Riddler (Corey Michael Smith) was one of the most popular villains on FOX's Gotham. And, over in DC Comics, Tom King's acclaimed Batman run has reestablished Edward Nygma as one of the Dark Knight's most important villains - and his smartest - when King pit Riddler against the Joker in "The War of Jokes and Riddles". With Riddler's return to the forefront, it only makes sense that his presence is felt on Batwoman and in the Arrowverse as well.
This week's episode of Batwoman, "Down Down Down", introduced another major Bat-villain, Tommy Elliot (Gabriel Mann). Elliot is Bruce Wayne's best friend from childhood but he hates the absent billionaire CEO of Wayne Enterprises with a passion and he stole a dangerous piece of Wayne Tech: a railgun that can penetrate Batman (and Batwoman's) bulletproof suit. When Tommy visited Wayne Tower to gloat that he purchased the adjacent taller skyscraper, he ran into Kate Kane and Elliot revealed that he knows Bruce Wayne is Batman. Tommy boasted that he came upon Wayne's secret by paying a man to "riddle me" Bruce's identity - and that can only be an overt shoutout to Edward Nygma, the Riddler.
Last year's Elseworlds crossover also name-dropped Edward Nygma by showing his cell in Arkham Asylum when Batwoman, The Flash (Grant Gustin), Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) visited Gotham. Nygma's cell is number 344 in the fearsome institution and there's a riddle scratched on the wall next to the door: "What is blue and grey and red all over?" However, Batwoman has now referenced Nygma's more infamous moniker.
Curiously, Elseworlds actually takes place in Batwoman's future; Kate is already fully Batwoman when the other superheroes met her but the first few episodes of Batwoman so far have been a prequel origin story depicting how Kate gradually took on the role and changed Batman's colors and costumes, including donning her iconic red wig. This means that either Tommy visited Nygma in Arkham and paid him for Batman's secret identity or Nygma was loose in Gotham and then somehow was captured and imprisoned in the asylum before Elseworlds began (possibly by Batwoman herself). Either way, the Riddler was thrown back in his cell by the Flash when the riot was quelled in Elseworlds.
The Tommy Elliot/Riddler connection is also a proper callback to the classic Hush storyline in the Batman comics when Nygma revealed Batman's secret identity to Elliot, who became the supervillain Hush. Together, Hush and Riddler teamed up in an elaborate plot to take down the Dark Knight. However, since Riddler is earmarked for movie stardom once more, it's doubtful a competing version of the master criminal will appear in Batwoman, but stranger things have happened.
Batwoman airs Sundays @ 8pm on The CW.