Coming off last episode’s introduction to the Injustice Society’s headquarters, Stargirl’s third episode starts with a flashback to eight years ago where Jordan Mahken (Icicle), his young son, Cameron, and Jordan’s parents are all saying goodbye to Jordan’s wife who is on her deathbed. Just before her death, Jordan promises to make the world pay for what it did to his wife. Instead, she tells him to “fix this country. Make it safe for our boy. If anyone tries to stop you, destroy them.”
Fast-forward to present day, Courtney confronts Pat about wanting to continue her search of the Injustice Society instead of attending school, a decision that step-father Pat quickly shoots down. Pat finally manages to convince Courtney to go to school while he continues the search to see if in fact other Injustice Society members are in town.
We briefly see Jordan outside the window of Brainwave’s hospital room before we are quickly reintroduced to Councilman William Zarick and his magic practicing son Joey. At school, Joey introduces himself to Courtney and practices his card trick on her. Courtney lies that Joey ‘picked her card’ to which Joey happily gives her the card for good luck.
At the hospital, Pat talks with Dr. Chapel (Beth’s mom) outside of Brainwave’s room, learning that Brainwave was found outside the emergency room in his lab coat and not his super villain costume, all but confirming to Pat that there are other members of the Injustice Society in Blue Valley.
William (who happens to be the super villain The Wizard) returns home and is surprised to see Icicle sitting on his front porch. Icicle questions William about Brainwave’s attackers and accuses him about not being ambitious enough for their ultimate goal. Icicle verbally lays into William about how true power isn’t about being seen, relaying that he has traveled the country killing everyone who had a part in his wife’s death. Icicle then states that Project: New America is his destiny to make the world safe for his son, something that William agreed with because his son is also the most important thing to him.
Later, Icicle returns to The American Dream, introducing himself to new employees, like Barbara, who might not know who he is. He lays out the American Dream’s plan to rebuild America “one factory and one town at a time” to which he is impressed by Barbara’s suggesting to build a community theater on Main Street as a part of their local community expansion. Icicle later invites Barbara to attend a task force meeting for the new community theater project, an offer that Barbara reluctantly declined in order to attend a scheduled family dinner at home.
At school, Courtney defends Yolanda from being “slut-shamed” by head cheerleader Cindy. In math class later on, Courtney discovers that the boy in front of her, Cameron, is an artist who also happens to be the one who painted over the word “SLUT” on Yolanda’s locker.
She later finds an ice-shaped star in the field and rushes home and manages to convince Pat to check it out with her. By the time they return, the star had melted. All of a sudden, STRIPE’s leg begins to freeze-up as well as all his controls. Courtney’s cosmic staff impulsively deflects an icicle shot and she is about to be taken out by Icicle before Pat manages to shoot STRIPE’s fist at him, knocking him an impressive distance onto a bridge.
Icicle ices the bridge just as a school bus carrying Courtney’s classmates, including Joey and Beth, drives over the it causing the bus to crash. Pat is able to fly over and save the bus from falling into the water. As Pat and Courtney fly home, Icicle causes a truck coming down the bridge to hit Joey (William’s son), killing him.
At home, Pat comforts Courtney over Joey’s death. Pat listens as Courtney talks about how Joey was the first kid at school to really be nice to her since the move. She vows to eliminate Icicle before Pat tells her to come with him. He takes Courtney to the Justice Society of America’s headquarters and allows her to look around. Around the hall are all sorts of photographs of the original JSA and artifacts that they used in their fights against crime. Pat tells Courtney that Icicle and other members of the Injustice Society killed them all and that the two of them do not stand a chance against Icicle. He continues to say that an innocent kid was killed today and it is far too dangerous to continue. Courtney argues the exact opposite — that the death of an innocent kid is all the reason to go after Icicle.
Councilman Zarick arrives at Icicle’s home ready to confront the man responsible for his son’s death. Icicle quickly grabs William’s wand and freezes him to death, telling him what he did was for the benefit of his son. Icicle’s parents come into the room and tell Icicle that they will clean up the mess. Later that evening, Cameron, the young artist in Courtney’s math class, comes home after Joey’s memorial service, unaware that his father was the one responsible for his classmate’s death. Icicle’s grandparents reassure him that Project: New America will keep their grandchild safe.
The episode ends as Courtney heads back to the JSA headquarters where we see her grabbing the various items of the original JSA and tells the Cosmic Staff, “we have some recruiting to do.”
Just like in the previous two episodes, “Icicle” did a fair job of balancing teen drama with a superhero series. It has been entertaining to see Courtney balance heroic acts both as a Stargirl and as the new girl at high school and the fact that the writers and producers of the show are taking the time to show us this is a positive in my book. This helps to show the target audience that being a hero is more than wearing a super suit. This is evident when Courtney pushes back against Cindy (head cheerleader) for slut-shaming another student making a kindhearted choice to protect.
This episode also had some legitimate twists that I didn’t really see coming. Sure, the icy star-shaped message sent by Icicle was surprising (and a bit early in my opinion), but not any less surprising than the realization that Cameron, the boy of Courtney’s attention, is in fact the son of the man trying to kill her.
I am also really enjoying the direction that the show is going with the main villain Icicle. He is as complex of a character as he is calculating, threatening and vicious. Something that other villains like Brainwave and The Wizard have proven not to be. The sudden and unexpected death of Joey establishes that this teen series is a show with some real grit to it. Something that I was not expecting as a viewer, but am increasingly interested in seeing continue throughout the series. Just because this is a teen focused drama does not mean that Courtney and her friends/family are untouchable.
I generally appreciate the slow burn approach to storylines and character developments, but there is one character, Michael, Courtney’s younger step-brother that does nothing for me at the moment. He is the most annoying and out of place character that just feels like a last minute decision by the network to include to help drive the ‘teen drama’ trope further. Maybe he will add something meaningful to the overall direction of the show down the line, but for now any minute he is not on my screen is a positive minute in my book.
While the CGI and special effects in this episode might be a downgrade from the last two weeks, it did not detract from the overall appeal of the show. The Arrowverse and other DC Comic properties tend to lean too much on grit, but so far Stargirl seems to buck the stereotype well while also being compelling enough to keep adult audiences interested.
It will be fun to see how the writers have Courtney go about recruiting other members in the episode(s) coming up. Bring on episode 4 — I’m ready!
You can watch Stargirl Mondays on DCU and Tuesdays on The CW.