Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl is played by Brec Bassinger. Photo courtesy The CW

Stargirl: Fiction or reality?

An editorial deep dive into episodes two through five.

4 mins read

Stargirl is a great show that’s creative in the concept of execution and innovative with their world building.

Not to mention the progression of character arcs which have been successfully fleshed out over the course of the season so far.

I mean it can feel cheesy and rushed at certain moments, but it feels organic. The characters feel relatable; their actions have consequences. The concern of flaw is evident in the mindset of the plot. 

I honestly enjoy and welcome this choice from the writers because, in a day and age of such negativity, it feels good to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I always felt comic-books were meant to be an escape from the somber of the society we resided in. However, with the debut of Stargirl, it feels that the line between fiction and reality is slowly fading — assimilating before our eyes. 

For example, the main protagonist, Courtney Whitmore, is a “normal” high-school teen, but she’s also a superhero. This young teen will now have to face the consequences and grapple with the choice she making, just as any super does.

Courtney feels she was meant for bigger and better things. The reasoning behind this mindset is because the Cosmic Staff, or Story Macguffin, has picked her as the successor of the Star-Spangled legacy. 

Furthermore, it feels like the narrative is riddled with a case of juxtaposition. Courtney keeps holding onto a faux sense of reality because she feels that Star-Man was her father. Whereas Pat Dugan, her step dad, keeps telling her it’s not possible.

In all honesty, will the reveal of Star-Man being her dad come true or is it a red herring or a breadcrumb set up by the writers to throw us off the track and keep us guessing?

There could be some truth behind that inference with the simplistic trend of the residents of Blue Valley having powers travel from parent to child. The plot device of genetics is what binds the show together, in addition to the element of heart being personified by the ideal of relationships. 

Stargirl also plays with the dynamic of perspective, and the construct of time. A major example of this discovery is the fleshed out development of Pat Dugan as a character. Dugan was once Stripesey, he was a sidekick of the Justice Society of America (JSA); best friend to Starman. You name it, he did it.

Photo courtesy The CW

Dugan is left burdened with responsibility of avenging the death of his JSA comrades. Of course life takes many tolls and works in mysterious ways. He settles down, has a kid, finds love, gets a new wife and step-daughter, etc. Pat feels like a weight was just lifted off his shoulders and the days of lore with the JSA can be officially put to bed. 

Then, of course, the plot starts to unfold on the screen and we realize that the fine line of being a hero and having semblance isn’t quite possible. The struggle of protecting his newfound family is Pat’s arc because he already knows what it’s like to lose one family.

Juxtaposed to Courtney feeling like the legacy of the JSA is now her responsibility.  Which invites the brilliance of making the character a teen and not knowing the extent of the danger which lies ahead. 

On the other hand we see more world-building go into effect. For example, the Injustice Society of America (ISA) are just normal people with tribulations of keeping their kids safe, Brainwave is a neglectful father who is a big-time surgeon and his son Henry resents him for it.

The hatred is so evident that Henry stole money from his dad even though they are financially stable. Fellow member of The ISA, the Wizard, is just a councilman who is trying to put his life to bed.

Icicle is a guy that lost his wife to cancer who, on her deathbed, told him to make those condemning her to death suffer. However, he’s also a father looking after the guidance of his son. He’s a bad guy but one driven by pain and demise brought on by a story device evident in our world. The show is telling us that these are real people living in a fabricated world.

In addition to the antagonists, The JSA is officially recruiting. First up is Wildcat. Yolanda Montez (Yvette Monreal) is a teen who had everything going for her. That is until the spotlight started to shrink from a real world problem of bullying by other students and the element of peer pressure took affect.

Photo courtesy The CW

Her arc is one that’s riddled with heartbreak and despair but the premise of each character is how to overcome an emotion or obstacles present in the teens life. Yolanda represents being an outcast and the struggle of regaining an identity.  

Hourman/Rick Tyler (Cameron Gellman), the son of Rex Tyler,  is plagued by the departure of his parents in this universe. The fear of not having proper attention and tender attachment is evident in the character from the first exposure in episode one. Rick’s arc is one of redemption and revenge, even though those two ideals can be seen as a premise of duality. 

One role still needs to be filled and that is Doctor Midnite. Beth Chapel (Anjelika Washington) is the lucky recipient of the position. She does an overall good job with the character.

In all honesty I don’t really know too much about the lore of Stargirl and the new JSA. I do know that Beth’s struggle present on the show is how she feels alone and she longs for a connection with her parents or even friends. 

The beauty of these arcs, and subplots, is they are real and people can actually relate to the tension present on screen. Another element vital to the property is the teen drama.

For example when the resurrection of the Justice Society Of America was confirmed, Courtney, in the most teen way possible, was literally looking at a yearbook to see who was worthy of the precious Macguffin’s and the titles they bear. 

Photo courtesy The CW

Honestly, there are so many scenes to break down and examine the similarities of other properties that came before Stargirl.

One thing I will say is that the town of Blue Valley feels simple yet layered and that’s not a bad thing going forward. The first five episodes have been a blast to watch, and the pacing and story direction is only heating up from here on out.

Brendan Rooney

Brendan Rooney has always been full of creativity and enthusiasm toward the world of widespread media. He is also a passionate comic book fan along with a die-hard sports pedigree. Brendan has written various articles covering all topics and dreams of forging a long-lasting legacy by bringing respect to the Rooney name as either a teacher, journalist, or whatever else the future holds. His work has been featured on Google, Quoted by Marvel Games, Reshared by Movie Trades, Broken exclusives, Spoke and presented at syndicated academic conferences as well.

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