Continuing with the motif from last week, Stargirl’s episode 5 saw Courtney and Yolanda’s efforts in gathering members for their superhero team expand, this time with school delinquent, Rick Harris, and social outcast, Beth Chapel, joining the ranks.
The episode kicks off nine years in the past where we see Rick’s parents frantically packing their belongings before leaving their son Rick with his Uncle Matt. We learn that Rex Tyler and his wife Wendi changed their son’s surname to that of his uncle’s and left $50,000 in a suitcase under the bed before saying their goodbyes and taking off down the road, promising to return. However, they did not make it very far before Solomon Grundy appears, crashing their car and ultimately killing the couple.
When we return to the present day, we see Rick working on a model car similar to that of his late father’s. Uncle Matt enters the scene and lets us know as viewers that his relationship with his ‘son’ is estranged to say the least. Meanwhile, Courtney wakes up late for school, grabs the gym bag with the various super items in it, and rushes off shooing her mom out of her room in the process.
When Courtney arrives at school, Yolanda assists her in shoving the gym bag in her locker while discussing what they know about the Injustice Society. Unbeknownst to the duo, Beth Chapel happens to be listening in on their whole conversation after spying on them at the hospital during last episode.
Later after school, Pat, who picks Courtney up, are stuck in the middle of the road with obvious car trouble when Rick shows up. After a brief conversation about cars, Pat gets a nagging suspicion that Rick might be related to a Justice Society member, especially after hearing that Rick is working on a yellow ’66 Mustang. Courtney arrives at the same conclusion once the hourglass she took from the JSA Headquarters starts to glow.
Wanting to talk with Courtney about being a superhero, Beth shows up at her house. After being left alone by Mike and Courtney’s mom, Beth stumbles into Courtney’s bedroom where she discovers a pair of high tech googles once belonging to Doctor Charles Mid-Niter, or as Beth affectionately dubs, Chuck.
When Courtney eventually returns home after failing to recruit Rick, she and Beth discuss the superhero world that Beth accidentally got mixed up in. It is here that both girls discover, thanks to the AI of Dr. Mid-Niter, that Rick is in fact the son of deceased Justice Society member, Hourman.
Later that evening, Yolanda is not happy to discover that Beth is now a part of their team and chooses not to crash a Halloween party being hosted by Cindy Burman that Rick also happens to be attending. At the party, the trio confront Rick about his past, gifting him the hourglass that belonged to his father. Rick learns that the hourglass will give him one hour of super strength a day. Upon hearing this, Rick keeps the hourglass and totally rejects the idea of joining forces with the girls.
Eventually, Courtney, Yolanda and Beth manage to get across to Rick when they reveal that his parents were in fact murdered and did not die from an accident like initially reported. After learning the truth, Rick agrees to join the group — not for justice, but for revenge.
The episode ends as we see Principal Bowin playing the violin with Mr. Sharpe (from The American Dream) controlling the minds of truck drivers while Pat discovers the bag of super artifacts in Courtney’s room.
I would argue that this episode is the weakest one to date. The last several episodes of the series spent an appropriate amount of time building up the background stories to such characters like Wildcat and Icicle. The fact this episode combines two characters into one feels a little rushed to me. Rick’s story arc could have easily been its own episode and we definitely could have used a little more flushing out of Beth’s character up to this point.
While Beth has been my favorite character so far, this episode didn’t really do her any justice. It feels like she is missing the over-the-top quirkiness that I enjoy and she turns into a full-fledged nuisance. On the other hand, Rick is a character that we haven’t seen a whole lot of and is made an essential focus point of this episode. I would have just liked to see both characters getting their place to shine.
With the confirmation of Principal Bowin being a member of the Injustice Society, we now know that there are least six members of the ISA (seven If you count the deceased Wizard) in prominent community roles in Blue Valley. It is becoming more and more interesting to see how these villains are interacting with Courtney, her friends, and her family without knowing who one another are. I’m expecting a major blow off to this as the season draws closer to the end, especially now that Pat knows what Courtney is doing.
As we move forward into next week’s episode, there are a couple of things that I am looking forward to being explored. The first is how Rick’s motivation in joining up with Courtney will influence the actions of the group as a whole and most importantly his personal interactions with Courtney moving forward. I am also hoping to see some of the pieces of Project: New America coming together. This is the second episode in a row that we have seen minimal development to that storyline and people are going to start losing interest if this doesn’t get going and soon.
Want to watch Stargirl? You can catch it on DC Universe on Mondays and the CW on Tuesdays.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!