This episode of Stargirl never stops. From the best opener of the season to one of the most dramatic and emotional cliffhanger endings to date, episode ten is 41 minutes of non-stop emotions.
This episode is all about character acting as we see three characters really get their chance to shine in their own special way. Barbara Whitmore instantly became interesting at the end of last week’s episode when she caught Pat and Courtney with the Cosmic Staff and she delivers anger and confusion in this week’s episode perfectly, kicking Pat out of the house.
The hurt and confusion later turn into legit cunning when Barbara secretly records a conversation in Norwegian between Jordan and his parents while in her office; the translation later revealing to Pat and herself that once the ‘machine’ is up and running, Barbara would not be able to ignore Jordan’s advances any longer. I’m so excited to see Amy Smart finally getting some serious screen time as we enter the final episodes of this season.
If you have been reading these reviews since episode one, you’ve seen me tear that Mike character apart since he seemed so out of place. I am here now to correct my initial feelings. For the past three or so weeks, Mike has begun to grow on me as he has shown more and more emotion and this episode is no different. After Pat and Barbara’s fight, Mike reluctantly asks Pat if they are getting a divorced.
We have seen that Barbara and Mike have great on-screen chemistry and you could feel your heartstrings pulled apart as this poor kid asks a question he really didn’t want an answer to. Combine this with his conversation with Courtney where he no longer feels like close siblings and you have one of the top performances of the episode. I’m not totally certain if Pat and Barbara will stay together, but for Mike’s sake, I sure hope they do.
Just like most of the other characters of the series, we finally get an episode devoted to flushing out Henry or “Brainwave” Jr. No longer the a-----e that sent out his girlfriend’s nudes to the entire school, Jr. turns out to be a really good guy. Jr. feels that his father is truly good on the inside since the death of his mother and yearns to turn his father back to the good side, a challenge he can’t accomplish alone.
Because of this, Jr. agrees to team up with Courtney and the JSA even though Yolanda and Rick want to kill Brainwave Sr. to protect their identities. This is a struggle that plagues Jr. all the way to the end of the episode where he sacrifices himself in order to allow the other JSA members to escape. In less than 41 minutes, Henry Jr. does a complete 180 and goes out a true hero… or so we think.
One question of doubt that I’ve had as a viewer since the beginning of the series is what really is the true identity of Courtney’s father. With the blaring admission that Courtney herself is convinced that Starman is her father has felt so forced and contrived that you almost know it to be untrue. It looks like next week we (might) will finally get that piece of background story as Barbara emails Courtney’s father who responds in one of the many cliffhangers of this episode.
Now that we are coming up to the end of the season, there are some apparent commonalities that continue to be noteworthy. One such element is the choreography of the fight scenes that we have been treated to. The opening scene of episode one where we saw the ISA defeat JSA set the bar high for all the fights to follow and yet, nine episodes later, I have not been disappointed.
Here, we see another excellent fight scene where Courtney, Jr., and Yolanda take on the Dragon King and his zombie minions. Every hero gets their chance to really show off their skills here and we even receive a glimpse of what the Dragon King looks like under his mask! We also get another peak at Solomon Grundy this week. The inevitable square off between Rick and Grundy is another aspect that I am really itching to see.
Once again, the soundtrack of the episode plays a pivotal role in setting up the mood of different scenes in the episode. The placement of Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” easily helps develop the instant chemistry between Pat and Barbara as they meet in a diner for the first time whereas the same can be said about the opposite effect that Calum Scott’s “Dancing On My Own” has as we see Henry Jr. being covered by rubble at the end.
The reality of death is something that the JSA has come in contact with a few times over the course of the season, but not nearly as close as in these last moments. Their classmate and new teammate is murdered right in front of them by his own father. Give this scene a watch and see how perfectly Scott’s song enhances the pure emotion of this moment. I had goosebumps.
I’ve been wracking my brain to try and find a negative to this episode and I can’t seem to come up with one. This episode has action, emotion, humor, story-telling, cliff hangers, and just overall excellent acting. If this is what we’re getting for the last three episodes of the season, I cannot wait.
Interested in watching Stargirl? You can catch in Mondays on DC Universe and Tuesdays on The CW.