Last week we all witnessed a slow, yet rewarding, sophomore premiere built upon character progression (on all levels) and jaw-dropping reveals. It was refreshing to see Stargirl bounce back with a light-hearted confession of life.
It’s clear that the series thrives and finds direction because it lets the story lead the way and allows the viewer to put the product down and come back and still understand what’s occurring.
Every scene is vital to the story, and nothing is forced upon the viewer. The subtle exposition of world-building is still the main foundation of making the series stand out in a landscape saturated with comic-book mediums. I cherish the script for taking risks while embracing the coming of age narrative reinforced by a strong cast supported by the bold serialized narrative. The heart and growth are a perfect balance to keep the darkness of sins and fear at bay.
One thing that I noticed during this episode was the unfolding parallels from the on-screen chemistry containing the call-backs of what made season one special. I know the characters are growing and maturing with each episode that will pass, but it’s clear the pain stored and chained to the arcs of each core protag can be felt.
Courtney (Brec Bessinger) still can’t let go of the pain that she wasn’t a pure-blooded Justice Society of America (JSA) member as she descends into the fear of her tragic connections plaguing her. The good-hearted nature of her family, and the presence of Pat Dugan as a pseudo-Jon Kent in her life (Luke Wilson), being the moral compass is utterly human.
The small tender moments when the scene unfolds on the couch, or at home, are reminders that these young heroes are still growing and don’t know what the world truly bears. The minor interactions with the father-daughter duo are significant because it allows the series to feel a sense of weight and connection to those closest in our lives.
Rick (Cameron Gellman) improved quite a bit this week by continuing to check up on his prime obstacle in the presence of Grundy by picking up after the beast daily. However, I feel Rick is still distant from everyone and quite afraid to put back on the Hourman costume. It’s an onerous burden knowing your parents can never truly rest in peace until they are avenged, but Grundy is also a sacrificial animal who is not in control of his actions.
The other members of the new JSA, and silent protectors of Blue Valley, didn’t struggle with the adversity impending. Instead, they were stuck by Jade (Ysa Penarejo), the latest second-generation hero in need of training, being weighed down by the inheritance of the JSA. It was interesting to see the emergence of a new character because it gave Courtney a sense of identity crisis, a wave of reassurance, and confidence to understand what living a double life entails.
I applaud the story for allowing the story to zone in on the thought of Courtney feeling she’s not worthy of carrying the Star-Man legacy, regardless of blood relations. Even though she came to terms with the reveal last season, this episode felt that Pat and Courtney came full circle, and both benefitted.
The episode continued to lay the foundation of what’s to come later down the line from the small introduction of a primary antagonist, and the uptick in horror tropes. Regarding the budding horror elements, a “Shining” esque scene of psychological seduction played out in the outskirts of the script, and it illustrated to the audience the consequences of fear and the choke-hold it can hold on us.
“Stargirl” continues to play things slowly, and the show works because it allows the simplicity to grow and develop into something grand. Especially with the bombshells showcased during the premiere. It’s just a matter of time before the dominos fall, but the next question is what will be the first pin to drop.
DC’s “Stargirl” releases every Tuesday at 8 pm EST on The CW. Season 1 is currently streaming on HBO Max.