03rd Jul2020

‘Stargirl 1×07: Shiv – Part One’ 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

With only a few more episodes left in season one, the Justice Society and the Injustice Society are headed towards a massive collision. The Injustice Society is now on the prowl for the person that is trying to expose them, while the Justice Society is in full-on montage mode with Pat’s training.

Mike, fresh from his paper route job, catches Pat and Courtney arguing over their training methods, which Pat quickly covers up as “driving” lessons. Courtney wants a more hands-on approach to the training while Pat wants to establish rules for training. It’s a funny scene as obviously Mike and Barbara have no clue that their loved ones are superheroes and Pat isn’t really teaching Courtney how to drive.

Cindy, the true mean girl of Blue Valley High, visits Henry at the hospital and begins her plan of becoming closer to him by offering her support as Henry’s father is still in a coma. She agrees to stay with Henry for a bit to comfort him but with Cindy, nothing is clear-cut, especially with Henry realizing he may have inherited powers of reading minds from his father. Later, we learn from Courtney’s friends that Cindy used to be a nice person but after her mother died, her father got remarried twice, and she became mean. There is no other explanation for Cindy’s transformation into a “mean girl”, but her status is reinforced when the school janitor, Justin (Mark Ashworth), accidently bumps into her. She berates the janitor and knocks his mop out of his hand but Courtney, being nice, apologizes to the janitor and helps pick up his mop. It’s little things in the series like this that continues to show Courtney is just a good person without it being beaten over the audience’s head.

Courtney, after being teamed up with Cindy in chemistry class, finds out that Cindy’s father is a chemist and Cindy herself, is quite knowledgeable in mixing chemicals without blowing herself up. Later at home, Cindy is shown as the master of the house as she dictates rules to her stepmother, including ordering her stepmom to serve her wine and cheese and overall, just treating her horribly. In a little twist, the Injustice Society’s underground bunker is actually under Cindy’s house and we learn her father is actually Dragon King! Cindy interrupts the Injustice Society meeting and makes a point that she no longer wants to be treated like a teenager but an actual useful member of the Injustice Society. She puts an exclamation on this by actually stabbing and killing one of her father’s own henchmen, who are drones created by Dragon King! Dragon King is still not impressed and despite Cindy arguing that she runs the high school (not the Principal), Dragon King is not ready to give his daughter the keys to the kingdom.

The parallels between Dragon King/Cindy and Pat/Courtney is exceptional in this episode as both parents want the best for their kids but are not ready to let them take the mantle of superheroes/villains. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jordan gives his son Cameron some advice on asking out a girl at school. Who knew that Jordan wouldn’t be the worst parent in this series?

Like his son, Jordan also has his eyes on someone too. Barbara is moving up in the American Dream corporate world as Jordan offers her an opportunity to accompany him on a business trip to a sewing factory. It seems American Dreams is interested in buying the factory and Jordan is impressed with Barbara’s work lately. At the Homecoming football game, Cameron takes the advice of his father and asks Courtney to the Homecoming Dance and after a little debate, agrees to go. But first, Courtney has to spy on Principal Bowin in order to get evidence that she is the Fiddler.

Courtney, now disguised as Stargirl, follows Bowin into the school, and sneaks into her office, finding a hidden door to a secret lair. Unfortunately for Stargirl, Cindy decides to earn her spot at the Injustice Society’s table by suiting up as her alter-ego, Shiv, and attacks Stargirl. Shiv is impressive as she has two knives that can jet out from her hands and has obviously been trained as she beats Stargirl. Just as Shiv is about stab her, Justin the Janitor arrives and takes Shiv down with a mystical sword. What is going on in this school?!

Pat arrives to see Stargirl knocked out on the gymnasium floor and the Cosmic Staff floating above her. The episode ends with the janitor mumbling in the background, “Stripes.”

Easter Eggs:

  • Janitor Justin. The school janitor isn’t in this episode just to show how terrible Cindy is. No, it seems this janitor has a mystical sword hidden in the janitor’s closet! In the comics he uses this sword to become the Shining Knight but whether we see this medieval hero suit up this season is still up in the air.

One Good Thing:

  • Cindy. As noted above, it would have been easy for the series to make her a typical “mean girl” just for the sake of being mean but the writers, especially in this episode, expands her background. As expected, her father being a super-villain is not a surprise but does explain why Cindy chose the path she went down in life. The episode makes you feel that Cindy could be redeemed, until she killed Dragon King’s henchman, and that there is a lot more to Cindy than a typical bully in a television show.

Grade: B- (Good)

Episode seven packs a lot of information into 43 minutes of an episode but is one of the stronger of the series. Seeing Stargirl take on Shiv was a good action scene, and continues to confirm Pat’s suspicions that Courtney needs more training. Cindy proving herself to her father and being pure evil is a nice twist and the introduction of a new character, Justin the Janitor, is a nice addition. Overall, this was a fun episode that revealed a lot of secrets and sets up for the last third of the season.

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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