This week’s episode of Stargirl will undoubtedly bring mixed reactions from fans. Despite the announcement that this superhero drama has been renewed for a second season (which is great news) it also comes at the expense of the show moving from DC Universe across to The CW. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that, it does bring a very real possibility that the budget and visual effects will take a hit next season. Not to mention being bundled up with the CW Universe and losing its distinct identity as a result.
Hopefully this isn’t the case though and so far this first season has done pretty well to establish a consistent tone and pace while introducing a whole group of diverse and interesting characters to the fray. Whether this conflict with the ISA will be resolved this year remains to be seen but for now, there’s enough to whet the appetite and keep coming back for more.
Episode 9 of Stargirl begins decades ago as we see a brief but important origin story for Brainwave. Working as a scientist and experimenting on mice, his powers manifest through fear as he stops an armed guard from robbing him in brutal fashion.
Back in the present, Brainwave’s son finds his Father’s costume and a series of tapes hidden in the closet. Grabbing the stack of videos, he listens to his father talking about his powers and starts to understand what’s happening. What begins as an optimistic, joyous series of experiments soon turns dark and twisted as Henry talks about using his powers to hurt people.
As Henry Sr. communicates telepathically with his son, Henry Jr. heads to the hospital and begins hearing the thoughts of everyone around him.
Meanwhile Courtney talks to Pat and fills him in on what happened with Henry’s powers manifesting in the street. While Pat warns that the ISA are planning something big, Courtney mulls over whether to convince Henry Jr. to fight on their team. This idea doesn’t go down well with Yolanda and Rick though, reminding her what he did and walking away.
Cindy finds herself imprisoned underground and warns Dragon King that if he doesn’t let her free, she’ll kill him. Instead, he gasses the room and focuses on his new machine which includes using Henry Jr. for Project: New America. He confirms as much with the rest of the ISA during a meeting and they ready themselves for the next stage of the plan.
Pat calls Beth and Rick into the garage and puts them to work trying to work out if tunnels connect all of Blue Valley underground. As they sit together, Beth uses Rick’s journal to learn more about the history of their town.
Courtney makes her decision and heads to hospital with the intention of getting through to Henry Jr. Despite telling him love conquers hatred, he rejects her and forces Stargirl to leave. In her absence, Yolanda shows up and confronts Henry, telling him to leave them all alone. Only, as he reads her thoughts she lets slip that she loved him and he betrayed her in the past.
Back home, Pat decides to come clean to Barbara about their superhero business. Before he can however, Jordan shows up with his family for dinner. Despite the steaming hot bowl burning Courtney’s hands, Jordan picks it up with ease as she suddenly realizes that he’s Icicle.
As the evening draws to a close, Jordan and his family leave just as Barbara notices Courtney’s staff whizzing about. Meanwhile Henry Jr. uses his powers against a lawyer in the hospital. As he falls to the ground, writhing in pain and blood oozing from his nose, Henry Sr. awakens and asks him what he’s doing.
The Review Write-Up
Stargirl returns this week with a distinct lack of action but a lot of drama to chew over. With Henry now starting to understand his powers, the twisted and distorted perception he holds may be the key to what happens later in the season. Could we see Brainwave and his son go toe to toe over the fate of the world? After all, it may make sense that the only person capable of truly stopping a telepath is another telepath.
Alongside that are various wildcards in this show that could make a big difference including Cindy, who clearly isn’t going to stay locked up for very long. How is Barbara going to react to finding out her daughter is Stargirl as well?
There’s lots of unanswered questions here and all of this looks like it’ll crescendo into quite the dramatic finale. For now though, Stargirl continues to deliver a decent slice of superhero drama.