Monday, 29 June 2020

Stargirl - Shiv Part 1

Well, if you have been watching Stargirl for the past seven weeks, the moment we have all been eagerly anticipating has finally arrived: Courtney gets an ass-whooping. Sure, she lost to Sportmaster and Tigress last week, but she wasn't knocked out. Both she and her classmate Cindy deal with the thing that can ruin how people perceive you: ego.

After last week, the new JSA have a confident walk through the halls of the school. They are all in on this awesome secret, which is a nice moment before they crash into mean girl Cindy Burman. Cindy's demeanor isolates herself from her friends and her boyfriend Henry this week. Then, unexpectedly, she and Courtney find at least, some common ground to connect during class. They even make plans to hang out, though Courtney blows it by choosing instead to go to the dance with Icicle's son Cameron, who hasn't really been in the series so much that I actually care about this definitely doomed romance.

Courtney later ruins the JSA training session, taking charge and forgetting that she is on a team, making them annoyed with her. The group has turned around on Pat, but Courtney's ego makes her think that the rest of the group needs training, while she should be in the field, particularly looking into the school's principal, who she suspects to be The Fiddler. At the same time, Cindy demands that her father let her into the Injustice Society, claiming she is ready. The clever editing draws parallels between the two of them.

Meg Delacy is a fun villain to watch, especially when you consider that she is the first teenage villain. She has some sympathetic qualities in her performance, and yet, it doesn't undermine the fact that she is evil, and kills one of her father's minions without remorse. As this is a two-parter, I am happy the mean girl is being given depth. She slut-shamed Yolanda so she could date Henry not by choice, but because she was ordered to get close to him by her father. As she is the only child of the Injustice Society that is aware of their parent's secrets, her isolation from sharing the truth should make for good drama. The other Injustice kids, Cameron, Artemis, and Henry will be involved in the final conflict somehow. Whether or not they become villains is another story.

The parent/child relationships are clearly a priority for this series. For both the heroes and the villains. Cindy hints that when she was a child, she accidentally killed her mother with her powers, and her father has since raised her with the purpose of asserting control. What he does exactly with his daughter, minions, and wives is a question for another day. Mike, who has that paper route I weirdly remembered hints that he and Pat had live rougher than they let on to Courtney in a moment of jealously as she and Pat have been spending a lot of together "driving". What Barbara will be doing with Jordan on this work trip is curious. Her, along with the big bad is worrying. Well, at least Brainwave is still in a coma. Whatever the master plan is, it can't work without him, or at least if Henry has his powers too, there is a chance.

Speaking of Henry, his powers are becoming more dormant. He uses them to do what any kid would do with mind-reading powers: cheats on a math test. It seems that Henry's story is critically important as to whether or not the villains succeed, so I appreciate that Henry has been developed as such from the beginning.

Now, onto the battle. Cindy and Courtney come to blows in the school while Courtney looks for the principal. As Cindy doesn't wear a mask, this information will be used next week in a way that should be promising. The two girls fighting leads to an impressive one-shot sequence. Of course, as Cindy has been preparing for this, she wins. Before she strikes the killing blow, the janitor comes in for the save. With a sword. Hell yeah! Comic book readers know that this guy is Shining Knight. And he knows that Pat was Stripesy.

It now feels like the world building portion of the season is mostly over, and we can get right into the conflict of the season. I am eager to see the other villains show off their abilities. Still, this show needs to work on its dialogue. I mean, yikes. Jordan talking to his son about finding love is cringe. I hope Geoff Johns is writing again.

Shiv Part 1 provides depth to a character that was at risk at becoming one-note and continues to successfully ramp up the stakes.

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