Photo courtesy of The CW and DC Comics

‘Stargirl’ 2×01 reminds us that duality is crucial for growing up

A hornet’s nest of calamity is about to hit Blue Valley

4 mins read

After a lengthy hiatus and a well-thought-out cliffhanger that left fans with more questions than answers, it feels incredible to say “Stargirl” Season 2 has officially returned to our lives to entrance us with a new well-written mystery.

DC’s Stargirl — “Summer School: Chapter 1” — Image Number: STG201a_0021r.jpg — Pictured: Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore and Yvette Monreal as Yolanda Montez — Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The story feels reflective of horror slashers such as “IT,” and for the writers to take a fresh approach, let the story’s humanity take center stage, and pave the season for the future and beyond is genius. 

I feel the reason I enjoy Cape and Superhero adaptations is due to the creativity of the product. The human objections to understanding that the fictional characters immortalized as beacons of perseverance reside in a world reflective of ours, hence why the best stories are the ones that showcase a sense of connection and humanity, personifying realistic emotions that provide a sense of clarity and deeper understanding. 

Needless to say, the first episode of season 2 for the hit  CW show “Stargirl” decides to follow the path of undergoing a genuine character study, and not only the series benefits from it. The beauty of showing our heroes are utterly human like us is brilliant. The age-old question to either fit in or let their superhero personas emerge from the confines of the mind invokes the presence of mortality, leaving the thought dawning on the audience, who truly is the mask and the face. 

DC’s Stargirl — “Summer School: Chapter 1” — Image Number: STG201fg_0012r.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore and Trae Romano as Mike Dugan– Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

It’s a question of pondering where they draw the line of finding justifiable balance and following the destiny, we create ourselves, or does the essence of justice flow through their veins.  

Now, without diving into spoilers, in my opinion, I felt the premiere was a good setup episode that reestablished the status quo of our heroes while continuing to deal with the fallout of season 1. It felt refreshing to see the young heroes back on patrol and slowly taking the mantles of the iconic legacy bestowed from the Freshman season. Still, it’s clear to see the tribulations of the battle took a toll on the team mentally and socially. 

The slow pace present throughout the premiere was a change of direction that at times is dormant from other superhero shows. I was scared the premiere would have included a villain of the week type of pattern, but I was shocked to see a character-centric chapter of growth unfold before my eyes for a solid run time of 42 minutes.

DC’s Stargirl — “Summer School: Chapter 1” — Image Number: STG201fg_0051r.jpg — Pictured: Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

I felt Rick (Cameron Gellman) dealing with the fear of letting Grundy go, but he also gave off an impression of guilt with fear by keeping tabs on him. Yolanda (Yvette Monreal) is plagued with the trauma of taking a life and letting someone close to her perish because of her choices. One strength of this series is how the screenplay reiterates that the impending threat of choice can either be devastating or rewarding in this fictional universe. Beth (Anjelika Washington) is dealing with the hollow feeling that her escape from reality in the form of “Chuck” has officially perished. Only to be dealt with the blow of discovering her parents are getting a divorce.

Another character moment I enjoyed was Rick trying to turn over a new leaf after his cold past of being an outsider from his tenure and the demons of Blue Valley. Though it seems some people, including one of his teachers, are not willing to give him a chance. Even though he saved her and everyone else’s lives (unbeknownst to them), the principle of being a hero and questioning credit does begin to dawn on his subconscious. It begs whether the flaw of being imperfect and trying to achieve unity will be a theme present through his arc later down the road. 

One eye-opening scene was the sequence of Yolanda going to church in which Yvette Montreal did an excellent job acting-wise in the confessional. The season dealing with the conflict of inner darkness and letting go of the sins stained on our hands will be tight-knit throughout every arc. 

DC’s Stargirl — “Summer School: Chapter 1” — Image Number: STG201fg_0080r.jpg — Pictured: Hunter Sansone as Cameron Mahkent — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

It’s clear that the scars of being a hero are taking a toll on the young team, but Courtney (Brec Bessinger) is also taking a toll from suiting up as a defender of Justice. The conflict of trying to balance duality and humanity and the episode gave a similar tone to how Spider-Man was during his tenure as a Teenager in high school, which can be found in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) most noticeably in the “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” It’s a fresh reminder that these heroes still see a path to a future being written in front of them from every action they enact, but dangers are looming around every corner.

For the most part, the action was top-notch, and the choreography showed improvement from season 1—the subtle breadcrumb trail of horror similarities undertoning a high-school summer drama. Along with familiar faces invoking the clause of all cape material, “friends close, and enemies closer” is put to the test.

The opening prologue giving off “IT” (Pennywise) vibes is fascinating, especially with quite a few bombshells being dropped but slowly brushed to the side, which means the seeds are planted for the devastation of gigantic proportions later throughout the season. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.
DC’s Stargirl — “Summer School: Chapter 1” — Image Number: STG201fg_0079r.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Yvette Monreal as Yolanda Montez/Wildcat and Cameron Gellman as Rick Tyler/Hourman — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

DC’s “Stargirl” releases every Tuesday at 8 pm EST on The CW. Season 1 is currently streaming on HBO Max.  

Brendan Rooney

Brendan Rooney has always been full of creativity and enthusiasm towards 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. Brendan plans to graduate from Westfield State University in the spring of 2022 with a degree in English and a minor in Journalism.

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