Monday, 1 June 2020

Stargirl - Icicle

It is fair to say that this episode of Stargirl surprised me. Sure, it was another setup episode. We got a look at the main villain Icicle, his motivations, and more of the high school life. However, three deaths hold a unique impact on the series going forward. Every hero's journey has a loss. I'm just surprised that it happened in the present this early.

When the episode begins, we are given an eight years earlier flashback. We see Icicle/ Jordan Mahkent lose his wife to an unknown disease. It was somewhat reminiscent of the first scene in Guardians Of The Galaxy, though we see little of his son Cameron. As she dies, she asks her husband to complete his plan(Aw), and to kill anyone who gets in his way(Aw... wait, what?!). I liked that we understand his motivations, though his Project: America plan is still unknown at this point. We know that it concerns the future of his son, and the other Injustice Society Of America(ISA)'s children, but that's it. I hope the plan is somewhat complex. Other superhero shows have had a slow burn into the villain's master plan, and for the most part, they have been pretty simple. I hope that is not the case here, but I will reserve my judgment on that later.

In the present, Icicle pays William Zarick/The Wizard a visit since Brainwave is in a coma, and he isn't happy that William didn't notify him personally that someone new was using the Cosmic staff. We also meet William's son Joey, a sweet kid who aspires to learn magic tricks, which makes his father happy. Joey also happens to be one of the first kids who are nice to Courtney.

His death was certainly a surprise. Like Brainwave's kid, I thought Joey would be set up as a potential future villain. The school had a talent show that occurred offscreen in which Joey was preparing his act. I assumed that he would endure some humiliation that would cause his desire for revenge, but I was wrong. I certainly didn't expect Icicle to be the one to do it.

Icicle sets a trap for Stargirl and STRIPE to fight him in the forest. As Icicle is the one who killed Starman, Courtney is eager to catch him, but Pat is still reluctant. The battle wasn't even close. While it was brief, it is clear that he is a very formidable threat. I have to say, the visuals with the bus rescue was choppy. Some of the movements felt unnatural and took me out of it. It didn't have many visuals compared to the first two episodes.

Courtney dealing with a loss that early in her superhero career is certainly a wake-up call that this life is dangerous. Pat wants the duo to take a break, but Courtney is still steadfast in her path. Only this time, she goes to recruit new members for her team. Later on, The Wizard is furious to discover that his son is dead, and goes to confront Icicle at his house. Icicle calmly speaks to him, and suddenly kills him. This is an interesting development. Icicle is so steadfast in his plan that even if you are on his team, he will kill you. Unfortunately, The Wizard dies as a one-note character. While the moment is great for Icicle's development, if we had gotten to know The Wizard more, the impact would be to full effect.

Speaking of knowing people better, Mike, who is Pat's son is still fairly one-note. The rest of the family is more complex. Honestly, he is on the same footing as the family dog. I'm not sure what storyline he would have, but he needs one.

This somber tone after Joey's death carries on for a while but the episode ends on a hopeful note with Courtney sneaking into the Justice Society Of America's hideout, and taking a few items for the potential recruits. Finally, we will know more about Courtney's classmates. As side characters, they have been very interesting.

Icicle moves the story along, and sets up the stakes well enough, though weak characters and choppy effects do take you out of it.

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