Oftentimes in weekly episodic series, the episodes following standout TV rarely live up to the expectations that viewers want. This is not the case here as episode eight of Stargirl continues to prove that Stargirl is the best “superhero” on television.
This episode is full of revelations that will definitely help carry the season forward. One of the first important developments that comes out this week is that Cindy Burman does in fact know that Courtney is Stargirl. I cannot give the writers enough credit for how this scene worked. This revelation is arguably the most tension induced moment of the entire episode and it is done perfectly.
Cindy arrives at Courtney’s house with a Forrest Gump inspired box of chocolates to talk about the car accident and to apologize for overreacting at the news that Courtney would like to go to the Homecoming Dance with Cameron. I can’t be the only viewer out there that was hoping that Cindy didn’t actually know Courtney’s secret. Not only does Cindy reveal that she knows who Courtney is, but she also threatens to kill all her friends in the process.
There’s one line that Cindy says in that scene that I appreciate as a viewer and it goes something along the lines of “you think after all this time that we’ve spent together that I wouldn’t recognize you through that stupid mask?”. This shows me that the writers and producers of Stargirl somewhat care about their viewers intelligence and that we won’t be treated to the stereotypical “Clark Kent/Superman” trope that has been done thousands of times.
Something as subtle as acknowledging how Courtney’s costume doesn’t do much to hide her true identity brought the writing for this series up another notch in my book. This also makes me wonder if Cindy also knows the identities of the other JSA members as well.
The on-screen chemistry between cast members has been and continues to be another highlight of the series. We already know that Courtney and Pat work well off one another and this episode is no different. Mike and Courtney show a moment of brilliance as siblings in a cute conversation that was neither cheesy nor overly complicated.
Not only has Courtney shown great moments with Pat and Mike (along with her JSA teammates), but we’ve also seen some strong chemistry between her and Cindy these last couple of weeks. This is essential as I am sure we will continue to see the two rivals share plenty more screen time as the season progresses. Their verbal and physical quarrels are must-see.
Speaking of the season progressing, one thing that we definitely need to see more of is Luke Wilson’s Pat. Slowly but surely, he is working his way back into being a prominently featured character and invaluable team member of the new JSA. Wilson steals nearly every scene he is a part of in this week’s episode with each scene showing a little more of his character’s motivations. Sure, Pat wants to combat the Injustice Society threat, but he wants to protect his family and JSA teammates more. He goes as far as wrecking his beloved Buick in order to give his step-daughter an alibi for her injuries.
He endures sexual passes by Cindy’s mother to give Beth enough time to snoop around the Burman household for clues. (side note: The Beth/Pat dynamic is comedic gold here. I hope the writers know just how genuinely hilarious this paring is.) What really shines this hour is Pat’s heart-to-heart with the Cosmic Staff where he all but begs the staff to lead Courtney away from danger verses towards it, a sentiment the staff seems willing to oblige.
Jordan (“Icicle) continues to shine in his role of big bad of the season in this episode. While murder is never a good choice, you almost cannot fault his reasoning for doing such. It looks like Jordan is targeting and killing those who are directly and indirectly responsible for his wife’s death due to illegal waste disposal practices. Not only does the murder of a chemical company higher-up add another level of depth to Project: New America, but it also gives viewers another example of a villain with a just cause. I for one am extremely impressed with the Icicle character and wish he was on screen more, especially to help add some substance to his relationship with Courtney’s mother, Barbara.
Elsewhere in the episode, we see Beth taking on more of a leadership role where she and the rest of the JSA members work together (without Courtney) to infiltrate Cindy’s home. There’s an interesting Easter Egg in this scene, see if you can identify it. We also see Henry King (Brainwave) Jr. gaining more and more control of his powers and his discovery of Stargirl’s secret identity.
I might be nitpicking here, but one of the negatives of this episode and the series as a whole is how important characters or developments from previous episodes are not mentioned in other episodes. Last week, we were treated to the pleasant revelation/cliffhanger that Janitor Justin is obviously something or someone more than a normal janitor, yet, we didn’t see him in this week’s episode. The dude isn’t even mentioned!
This is also the second episode in a row that Project: New America wasn’t mentioned either. I do understand the importance of pacing and laying out key events over the course of a season or series, but I do think that some characters/storylines need to be revisited more often than they are. This is a minor criticism, but a criticism nonetheless.
Interested in watching Stargirl? You can catch it Mondays on DC Universe and Tuesdays on The CW.