24th Aug2021

‘Stargirl 2×01: Summer School – Chapter One’ Review

by Jason Brigger

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

Stargirl has been away for almost a whole year and while it’s great to have this family-friendly series back, the first episode was more a “table setting” episode than anything else. There was very limited action, but it does setup and provide a good tease for what the rest of the season will look like while also introducing a few new characters to an already strong cast.

What Happened This Week

The Calm Before the Storm

Much to Courtney’s chagrin, there isn’t much going on in Blue Valley now that the Justice Society of America (JSA) saved the day and stopped the Injustice Society (ISA) in the season finale. Despite having the JSA conduct a sweep of the town every night, there just isn’t any villains or crime in the sweet town of Blue Valley. Stargirl’s teammates are getting tired of living the superhero life each night and request a few nights off to get back to their normal lives, something Courtney doesn’t seem to want anymore.

Courtney is so desperate to seek out injustice that she starts thinking every situation, even her mundane every-day activities, is filled with danger. This is apparent when a fellow student, Artemis Crock, appears to be attacking Courtney with a hockey stick but after Courtney takes her to the ground with a leg sweep, Artemis admits she was only giving a hockey stick back to a fellow student. Whoops. This act sends Courtney to the principal’s office for a meeting with not only the principal but her parents.
Courtney is so obsessed with being Stargirl and saving the world that her grades started to suffer and as a result, she must retake several classes during the summer. Summer school for Courtney doesn’t just mean her summer is ruined, it means her family cannot take a two-week vacation to the cabin, much to her mother’s and Pat’s disappointment. I mean, just look at Pat’s disapproving look in the picture!

Courtney isn’t the only one struggling after saving the world as Beth feels all alone since the AI in her goggles, Chuck, was destroyed in the battle with the ISA. She is able to program a new AI in the goggles but it’s not the same as it’s a more robotic voice with no personality. To top that off, her parents are getting a divorce and never give any attention to their only daughter. She even went out of her way to make a five-course meal for her and her mother only for her mother to cancel. Heck it’s your only child, do better parents! Beth’s turn from her fun-loving self to a person that is struggling due to losing her best friend AI/Chuck and now her parents deserting her (more or less), has the potential to add more depth to a character that was mostly a one-note comedic character last season.

Courtney’s patience for stopping trouble finally pays off as she confronts an intruder in her house trying to steal Green Lantern’s, well, lantern. The fight scene between Courtney and the intruder and, wait a minute, a Green Lantern ring (!) is the only action scene we have this week but it’s a good one as the two superheroes use all their powers to make as much damage as possible in Pat and Barbara’s kitchen. The scene is even better when Courtney asks who the intruder is, and she reveals she is Green Lantern’s daughter! Yes, they are bringing, eventually, a Green Lantern into the JSA in the form of Jennie (Jade in the comic books), and adding a cosmic superhero makes sense as the main villain this season is a cosmic demon in the form of Eclipso.

New Boss in Town

While Courtney has become obsessed with the past and being a hero, our favorite teenage villain, Cindy Burman is looking to the future with starting a new Injustice Society. Cindy has the help of Eclipso, a powerful demonic entity that is currently trapped in a gem, but while he isn’t physically in the room, he can still be a mentor and assist his young protégé. It appears Cindy has done her research and is recruiting the children of the original ISA’s members with one exception: Pat’s son Mike is on her list. Could Mike actually turn bad this season and betray his family? Now that would be a fun twist.

Regarding Eclipso, it seems his power is more of persuasion than actual strength. Eclipso brings out the deepest desires in people and causes them to act on them. He also has limited mind-controlled powers as well, but the series has not fully explained all of his powers…yet. No matter what his powers are, he is going to be a strong teammate with Cindy and her newly formed society.

Other Storylines this Week:

  • Starman, aka Sylvester Pemberton, as played by the always great Joel McHale, is searching for Pat and even includes the help of Pat’s ex-wife to find him. We don’t know what Starman needs with his former sidekick, but I don’t trust this former hero and neither should Pat’s family.
  • Rick, aka Hourman, is also struggling with his identity, which could be why he is taking buckets of fried chicken to Solomon Grundy in the woods. The connection between Rick and Grundy is not clear yet but it’s obvious that Rick has taken pity on our lovable villain. I’m all for Solomon Grundy playing a bigger role this season and maybe Rick can convince Grundy that he’s not necessarily evil and can reform by joining the JSA.

Easter Eggs

  • Artemis Crock. The student Courtney mistakenly takes down in the cafeteria is actually Tigress in the comic books. Artemis has been both a super-villain and a superhero in the comics and even was in Arrow, but played by a different actress. It seems logical that the writers of Stargirl wouldn’t just name-drop “Artemis Crock” and not follow-up on her superhero ways so expect Tigress to show up later in the season.

Quote of the Week

Courtney: Who are you?
 Jennie: I’m Green Lantern’s daughter.

Grade: C+ (Above Average)

The season premiere of Stargirl was not earth-shattering and in all honesty, not much happened but it was good to have the series back. There is something about the Stargirl series that just makes it fun to watch. Maybe because it revolves around a teenage superhero that isn’t jaded by the world yet, or the quirkiness of “lesser known” superheroes/supervillains that usually don’t get the spotlight, or maybe it’s just because the cast is fantastic but whatever it is, the series is a delight to watch. While this week’s episode was light on action, it did “set the table” for the upcoming season with the introduction of new villains and heroes as well as adding depth and exploring what happens to people after they save the world and are not needed anymore. Welcome back Stargirl, we’ve missed you.

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.

Comments are closed.