22nd Jun2020

‘Stargirl 1×05: Hourman and Dr. Midnite’ Review

by Jason Brigger

Stars: Brec Bassinger, Luke Wilson, Amy Smart, Yvette Monreal, Anjelika Washington, Trae Romano, Christopher Baker, Neil Jackson | Created by Geoff Johns

Nine years ago in Blue Valley, a young boy named Rick (Cameron Gellman) is woken up in the middle of the night by his parents, Rex and Wendi, and told they have to leave and Rick’s uncle, Matt (Adam Aalderks), will be watching him for the foreseeable future. We aren’t told what the emergency is that is causing Rick’s parents to suddenly leave, but it’s severe enough that Rex sends a special package, including his private journal, to Pat Dugan.

Upon arrival, Wendi’s brother Matt isn’t happy that he has to take over as the parent to Rick but Wendi, tells him that he is there only choice and they need him. I guess the $50,000 that Rex and Wendi leaves Matt helps as well. With that, Rex gives his son a new last name and a 1966 yellow Mustang car and says goodbye to Rick. Rex and Wendi drive off, but they don’t get too far as Solomon Grundy arrives and SMASHS CAR! After impact, the car goes off the road, striking a tree and killing Rick’s parents.

Fast forward to present day and Matt is not the parent that Rex and Wendi wanted for their son. He barely holds a job, drinks a lot, and it’s implied that he beats Rick. To hammer home the point that Matt isn’t a good guy, Rick is in the process of fixing up his father’s Mustang but can’t finish the repairs because Matt continues to sell, without Rick’s permission, parts that would make the Mustang run again.

After Matt sells another car part, Rick gets frustrated, grabs his backpack and takes off down the road. Rick doesn’t get far before he finds Courtney and Pat stuck as Pat’s classic car has broken down. Rick offers to help Pat fix the car, I sense a job offer at Pat’s garage is coming soon, but while he is helping, the hourglass in Courtney’s backpack begins to glow. Courtney becomes suspicious as Hourman’s hourglass has never “woken up” before and she is curious why it would start now when Rick is close.

Rick’s not the only future superhero this week as Beth Chapel, after seeing Courtney and Yolanda scaling the walls of the hospital in their superhero costumes, does her own snooping in order to see if what she saw is really true. Beth arrives at Courtney’s house while Courtney is out and after convincing (and annoying) Courtney’s mother that she is a friend of Courtney’s, she sneaks up into Courtney’s room and finds Doctor Mid-Nite’s googles.

Upon trying on the googles, Doctor Mid-Nite’s alter ego, Doctor Charles is the googles’ AI system, providing useful information about anything the user asks of him. Think Iron Man’s version of Jarvis. Dr. Charles, or Chuck according to Beth, does a quick rundown of the history of superheroes until Courtney arrives home and ends the history lesson. Beth wants to join Courtney’s new team, but Courtney dismisses her until Beth reveals that Rick’s father was actually the original Hourman.

With this new bit of information, Courtney feels it’s Rick’s destiny to take up the mantle of Hourman and she sets off, with Beth and Yolanda, to the high school Halloween dance. At school, Rick has the reputation of being an outcast with anger issues so I’m not sure why he would be at the school dance, but the plot says he is, so he is.

The trio finds Rick and reveal their alter-egos to him (at this rate, everyone will know who they are) but he rejects what Courtney feels is his destiny. To be honest, I probably would reject the call to be Hourman as well as the person only gains the power for one hour of the day…yes one hour! The other 23 hours, he is a normal person. What happens when we change the time in Spring and Autumn? Does he get an extra hour, or does he have a day that he has no power? The rules seem to be as confusing as rules in Gremlins.

Rick, ever the bad boy, leaves the party and the trio, but not before grabbing his father’s magical hourglass. Rick walks aimlessly through town and using his new super strength, punches, and destroying, Matt’s truck that is parked outside a bar. Eventually Rick ends up at the tree where his parents died at during their car “accident”.
With Beth’s help, Courtney and Yolanda find Rick at the tree and Rick admits to having so much anger at his parents accident and no way to release it. Beth, using her new AI friend, is able to show Rick, and the others, what really happened to his parents as the car wreck wasn’t really an accident but the result of Solomon Grundy and the Injustice Society. Rick realizes that to avenge his parents’ murder, he must take up the mantle of Hourman and join Stargirl, Wildcat and now the new Doctor Mid-Nite!

This week is light on the supervillains, which makes the episode suffer a bit. Steven Sharpe, aka the Gambler, pays, and then murders, an unknown employee of Empire Enterprises for plans to a government satellite dish. This is part of their mysterious American Dream plan that we still don’t know anything about. We don’t see the villains again till the end of the episode when a trucker stops his semi-truck for a broken down school bus in the middle of the road. Unfortunately for the trucker, the principal walks out of the bus, playing her violin (the Fiddler lives!), and hypnotizes him into joining their new army.

Rick destroying his uncle’s truck has repercussions as a tow truck driver hauls the truck to Pat’s auto shop. Upon looking at the damage, it appears to Pat that something didn’t run into it but rather, someone with superhuman strength punched it. The episode ends with Pat snooping around Courtney’s room and finding all the weapons that she stole from the Justice Society’s secret base, including Green Lantern’s light source! Pat now knows Courtney didn’t take his advice and is working to build a superhero team.

Easter Eggs:

  • Doctor Mid-Nite’s Googles! When Beth first puts on the googles, the AI of Dr. Charles reveals several interesting references to the comics, including Doctor Mid-Nite going to college in Keystone City (Flash’s city), the introduction of Red Bee who is a superhero that trained bees to fight the Nazis, and that Dr. Mid-Nite was born in 1914, which means the Justice Society learned how to slow their aging process. The aging issue hasn’t been addressed in Stargirl, but one would assume it has to come up sooner than later.

One Good Thing:

  • Background. While this is one of the weaker episodes of the series, it did provide more background on Courtney’s new team. The series is taking its time and is not hurrying stories along, which is appreciated, but it does cause the issue of feeling like nothing happened this week. I do appreciate the backstories of the original Justice Society and how it ties into Courtney’s new team and even the supervillains are more than the typical one-dimensional villains. At this point, I am hoping for a spin-off of the original Justice Society based on just how good their backstories have been this season.

Grade: C (Average)

Despite the lack of superhero action this week, Stargirl was able to deliver a solid but unspectacular episode focused on building and recruiting two new members of the Justice Society of America. The supporting cast didn’t get much to do this week as the primary focus was on Courtney, Rick, Yolanda and Beth, which isn’t a bad thing, but it did cause the episode to feel like it was missing something. Overall, the world-building in the first season in Stargirl is top-notch and we are slowly building till the epic showdown between the new Justice Society and the Injustice Society.

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here.

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