It was only a matter of time before Stargirl offered us a supervillain origin.
The series, if nothing else, is consistent. And even as it attempts to build out its overarching plot, it wants to focus in on the people in a format Legion of Superheroes fans may recall as the “spotlight issue.” This time, though, the spotlight is not on the new Green Lantern or the as-yet unseen Jakeem, but on the first of the Injustice Society’s children to graduate to villainy: Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy).
We’ll hand it to the episode; despite presenting her as nothing but the meanest of girls, her run-in with the mysterious janitor (Mark Ashworth) — who recognized Pat (Luke Wilson) as Stripsey and whose sword suggests he might be the Shining Knight — and Courtney’s (Brec Bassinger) genuine curiosity about her gave Cindy an opportunity to become sympathetic. Like so many other children, she lacks for any warmth in her home and desperately craves it. Unfortunately, as she is the daughter of Dr. Ito (Nelson Lee), the slightest obstacle to finding acceptance sends her back into those mean girl behaviors. But as we see here, with the added desire to become a member of the ISA.
Her wish, oddly enough, also has its roots in a very common function of adolescence: the want to grow up quickly. It would probably read better if Cindy was played by someone just a handful of years younger than DeLacy; although, we suspect some element of rapid aging is a side-effect of whatever Dr. Ito did to giver her those powers. Either way, though, her story here makes Cindy the most accessible villain on the show.
Although, the show certainly tries to give Icicle some of that layering with the way he parents his son Cameron (Hunter Sansone). His encouragement when Cameron tells him about wanting to ask Courtney out is positively warm — complete with stating that he was put on this Earth to find love. It is such a surprising sentiment from someone who’s dedicated his life to injustice. It’s the sort of positivity you’d love to see in a television father who is also not plotting the downfall of Blue Valley and the country.
But then, it seems parenting will matter to the season story as we also finally see Mike (Trae Romano) acknowledge the time Pat and Courtney are spending together. The emerging rivalry feels spot on even it seems an episode or two too late. And as we’ve said before, we expect Icicle to use this tension once he learns Stargirl’s identity.
And it seems like we’re on schedule for that — provided, of course, Cindy actually heard Pat calling for Courtney. Then again, she may have already connected the dots since she followed Courtney into the school to begin with.
All that said, the episode was an improvement over last week, even if it came at the expense of the other JSAers. Courtney’s ability to work with others and display some basic patience will no doubt form a key thread in the remaining episodes. Perhaps we’ll even see some of that next week. And, if we’re lucky, we’ll also see the JSA operate as more of a unit.
Stargirl streams Mondays on DC Universe and airs Tuesdays on The CW.