Monday, 27 July 2020

Stargirl - Shining Knight

I'm thinking of retitling all of Stargirl's episodes. I would call this one "Rude Awakening". The moment many of us have been waiting for has come. It has been painfully clear that whoever Courtney's dad was, it was not Starman, and the truth would be a lot less magical. Halfway through this season's run, I went on to read the original comic and found that this episode was a direct adaptation of the final story arc in the Stars and stripes comic, which shouldn't be a surprise as Geoff Johns wrote it.

I am going to begin talking about our titular character. The janitor, Justin seeks to find Pat who he remembers as Stripesy. Unfortunately, his memories are severely damaged. When he arrives at Pat's auto shop, he mistakes him as The Dragon King at first, who is responsible for his mental state. He was made a janitor to shame him. Pat realizes that the ISA is planning a brainwashing. Beth and Rick are present with him in the auto shop, a duo that hasn't been developed at all. Their dynamic is set up to be an important relationship, but it isn't fleshed out any more than it has been this entire season,

On the villain side, Brainwave wastes no time in revealing Stargirl and STRIPE's true identities to Jordan. Jordan is reluctant as he has feelings for Barbara for some reason. Honestly, the two of them hasn't spent a lot of time together this season, this plot point is worthless, especially as Jordan throws it away and orders Brainwave to kill the entire family, even poor in the dark Mike, just to make sure no legacies are running around.

Now, I focus on this episode's strength: the emotional component. After discussing Harry Osborn's... oh sorry, Henry's death with Pat and Barbara, who is now fully in the loop, Courtney has a visitor: her real dad, Sam. At first, she refuses to believe it, but reality is often disappointing. She is crushed as she feels she got Henry killed for a childish mistake. She and Sam spend the day together getting to know each other, and by the end, she realizes that Sam is a jerk. The only reason he came to see her isn't to get to know her, but to get her locket that she wears all the time so he can sell it as a set with his. As he quickly goes out the door, she and Pat embrace as she knows that Pat is more of a father that Sam is. Brec delivered in this episode. The audience is given a little bit of catharsis when Pat knocks Sam down to the ground.

The whole ordeal leads to a lesson in self strength and not letting your parents define you. Courtney's self-doubt leads to the cosmic staff not working for her. By the end, she learns to believe in herself again, and the staff lights up again brighter than ever.

Once again, the massive ensemble continues to be a weakness here. After last week's shocking ending, Yolanda's response was something I was looking forward to, but save for a brief appearance in the cafeteria and student hall meeting, she is largely absent. Brainwave has proven himself to be a ruthless enemy, yet he tips off Courtney that he remembers who she is and that he is coming for her. A villain tipping off the hero isn't very smart, though one could argue that ego got the better of him. Justin's story is certainly interesting, and I'd love to watch his character in a fight to see his style.

Slowing down to focus on its dramatic heft, this week' Stargirl allows the core cast to stretch their acting skills, but once again fails to use its massive ensemble.

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