Blue Valley is a hotbed of problems.
Stargirl‘s third episode feels more like a proper first episode as it truly expands into the world of the series and sets up any number of stakes. For one thing, the winning dynamic of Courtney (Brec Bassinger) and Pat (Luke Wilson) gets tested again as her headstrong attitude butts up against his years of experience and caution. Even as it causes conflict between them, it still feels true to the characters as presented here — like those moments where Court’s enthusiasm grates.
Of course, her newfound sense of justice is not derived just from her belief that she is Starman’s daughter. Blue Valley High is a surprising source of tensions — from the way the talent competition plays out to the continued slut-shaming of Yolanda (Yvette Monreal). We also appreciate the show making the effort to reveal to Courtney that her attempts to help may not actually be helpful. Then again, since we know what Yolanda is about to become, perhaps that attempt to frame Courtney’s can-do spirit in a different light will, ultimately, fail as she gets what she wants anyway.
To a certain extent, that seems to be the whole point of the episode. Despite the tragedy which occurs toward the end, Courtney believes it is on her to reform the Justice Society of America. That she reaches this conclusion so quickly is sort of shock considering how much Joey Zarick’s (Wil Deusner) death effected her. But even after Pat tried to show her how the combined efforts of powerhouses like Green Lantern, Johnny Thunder, and Starman could not stop Icicle (Neil Jackson) or the rest of the Injustice Society, she pressed on with her plan.
Oh, and what of the ISA’s plan for a New America? Considering James Dale Robinson is a producer on the show, we expect a very pointed reference to The Golden Age will emerge quite quickly. It’s just a shame Courtney’s mother, Barbara (Amy Smart), will like find herself swept up in Icicle’s long-game scheme. Maybe Pat’s son, Mike (Trae Romano), will as well considering how the father-and-son relationship seems to be disintegrating. And even if not, we hope the show spends some time on Mike feeling a little abandoned as Pat’s bond with Courtney strengthens.
And on any other week, Joey’s death might not have hit as hard as it did this week. Nor would it have made Courtney’s final choice seem so out of place. But we get it, hope needs to come from somewhere and there’s something to be said for grabbing the JSA’s tools. In fact, we find it interesting that the Green Lantern, Doctor Midnite’s owl and gear, Hourman’s costume, Wildcat’s helmet, and the Thunderbolt were the tools she chose to take. Many of them are quite powerful, but they also fit well into the show’s high school dynamic. It will be interesting to see these identities parsed out as the show continues.
In fact, we wonder if Icicle’s son, Cameron (Hunter Sansone), will end up in one of the costumes. Will it be a fight against his father, simple teenage rebellion, or will he be a spy in their midst? As Stargirl continues to be a pleasant distraction, we look forward to the answer.
Stargirl streams Mondays on DC Universe and airs Tuesdays on The CW.