TV Review: ‘Stargirl’ Season 2, Part 2

by Frank Martin

 

STG_S2_8x12_300dpi.jpg Pictured (L-R):Trae Romano as Mike Dugan, Meg DeLacy as Cindy Burman, Yvette Monreal as Yolanda Montez/Wildcat, Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl, Anjelika Washington as Beth Chapel/ Dr. Mid - Nite, Cameron Gellman as Rick Tyler/Hourman, Luke Wilson as Pat Dugan, Amy Smart as Barbara Whitmore and Hunter Sansone as Cameron Mahkent -- Photo: Matt Sayles/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The first season of Stargirl set a high bar for its second year. There were so many characters — both heroes and villains — that to follow it up with an equal amount would have been catastrophic. Fortunately, the threat turned inward. Rather than having Stargirl (Brec Bassinger) and her friends face a whole team of villains, the season focused on a singular, powerful villain instead. This was a wise maneuver for both storytelling and practical reasons that allowed the second half of the season to move its main characters forward in a much needed way.

If Season 1 was all about the heroes coming into their own and assuming their mantels, then Season 2 was about facing the fears that come with the job. Eclipso (Nick E. Tarabay) is the perfect villain to challenge the newly reformed Justice Society of America in this way. He feeds on fear and negativity, and as teenagers, the heroes have this in abundance. The great part about Eclipso’s strategy is that the one he goes after the least is the title character. But she is, perhaps, affected the most by the damage he’s caused. She questions and doubts her ability as a leader while watching her fellow teammates fall to their own paranoia.

That isn’t to say the season isn’t without its flaws. With a villain as powerful as Eclipso, the story can sometimes paint itself into a corner. There wasn’t truly a pivotal moment in which he was defeated. Yes, in the end, Stargirl had her moment to beat Eclipso on a moral ground. But there were plenty of deus ex machina moments, too. Characters showed up at the last minute to gang-up on the bad guy, who faced overwhelming odds in the end. But hiccups aside, the story is a fresh look at legacy characters and how they can come into their own.

Stargirl is streaming now on HBOMax.

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