Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One
Stargirl returns for the penultimate episode to this first season and boy, does it deliver! Between some frantic action set pieces and some surprisingly good drama, Stargirl looks to bow out its 13 episode run on a high.
Episode 12 of Stargirl confirms one thing – the final fight is finally here. The clock is ticking and time is running out. Sportsmaster and Tigress are on the hunt and Dragon King is preparing his machine for broadcast.
When they switch the machine on, The Gambler will cause a blackout across the nation. Brainwave will then reprogram their minds and make them all see their vision for the future.
Given the whole family know about their superhero secret, Pat takes Mike down to the garage to admit the truth. Only, when Mike fingers a screwdriver he becomes frustrated and shouts at his son. As Mike walks away, Crusher suddenly arrives in the garage and confronts him.
Upstairs, Tigress attacks Barbara and chases her around the house. However, Courtney arrives with the staff and attacks her. A big brawl ensues and as the camera cuts back and forth between the basement and upstairs, both fights crescendo with Mike saving Pat and Barbara helping Courtney.
With the family safe for now, Pat gathers the troops and heads up to the cabin, along with the other JSA members. Shining Knight also shows up too with food, along with Pat’s remote-controlled robot, which is parked outside.
Back in Dragon King’s lair, Henry speaks to Cindy about her worthlessness. It’s a bitter hammer blow for her and despite pleas to join their group, Henry shuts the latch in her face after telling her he feels the same way her Father does.
In the wake of this, he joins Dragon King in a large circular room. With pads attached to his temple, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is an upgraded version of Professor X’s Cerebro. Lightning crackles and amplifies Henry’s powers. This allows him to hear the thoughts of millions but also confirms one thing – their experiment is going to work.
Even more alarmingly, it turns out Henry Jr.’s death caused his Father to absorb those powers and make him stronger.
With 8 hours left until the end of the world, this feels like a deep breath before the final fight. Mike and Courtney have a touching heart to heart outside and discuss being a superhero. Inside, Barbara asks Pat about why he kept this a secret and they too share some touching moments.
Not long after, Pat helps Rick decipher the code and learns the truth about what Brainwave has planned. This unlocks a map of what the ISA have concocted, which includes the aforementioned broadcast. In order to stop them, they need to infiltrate the facility, split up and destroy the equipment before it’s too late.
After their loss, Bowen arrives at Courtney’s House and confronts Sportsmaster and Tigress. She tells them they need to take a different tact going forward. When she mentions how unfit they are as parents, Tigress hears enough and shoots an arrow through the Principal’s face.
With 35 minutes left to go, Beth heads into Barbara’s office and hacks into the manifesto regarding the master plan. With universal healthcare and a plan to combat discrimination, the group question whether they’re on the wrong side or not.
Thankfully they don’t have long to wait as Beth finds what she’s looking for. Given a good percentage of people will reject the mind control, this will consequently cause those resistant (25 million people) to die as a result of this.
As they talk, The Gambler suddenly hacks into Beth’s glasses. It turns out the 30 minute mark isn’t when the broadcast starts… it’s when it stops. As adults freeze on the spot, Brainwave takes control. That includes Pat too, who clenches his fist inside the robot and looks set to punch Courtney square in the jaw.
The Episode Review
With that cliffhanger, things are left wide open for next week’s finale. Will Courtney and the others manage to stop Brainwave before it’s too late? Or will we be receiving an agonizing cliffhanger ready for season 2?
Before we get there though, this episode kicks things off with a signal of intent, wasting little time getting right to the action. Seeing Sportsmaster and Tigress ambushing the house so early in the episode is a great touch and really well-shot too.
The idea of Mike and Barbara – the ones without powers – saving the day is also a nice nod too. The deep breath before the big fight works beautifully and the various little heart to hearts that take place here help give the episode some depth.
Although Brainwave’s machine is suspiciously similar to cerebro, there’s enough here to like with this plan nonetheless. With big questions hanging over this one, Stargirl’s finale is shaping up to be an unmissable episode.