29th Sep2021

‘Stargirl 2×07: Summer School – Chapter Seven’ Review

by Jason Brigger

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

What Happened This Week

After two action-packed episodes of Stargirl, we reset this week with a dive in to the psyche of Yolanda/Wildcat and the torment she has been living with since killing Brainwave. The episode may lack the intense action from the prior episodes but that doesn’t mean it was any less of a rollercoaster of an episode!

A Broken Yolanda

One of my few complaints this season is the lack of stories for the secondary characters Yolanda, Beth and Rick as the main focus has been pushed to Courtney and her family as they become more like the Fantastic Four each week. Yolanda’s guilt finally encompasses her this week as she confesses to her priest that she did “something very bad”. It’s the first step for Yolanda in acknowledging the mental turmoil being a superhero has on a person and being a teenage superhero makes it that much more difficult.

Throughout the episode, Yolanda reaches out for help; first to her priest and then to Courtney and the JSA but only Yolanda herself can accept her choices and forgive herself for what she did. Brainwave begins to pop up with his son, Henry, wherever Yolanda is, including at her job at the diner, in school, or even in the church. The illusion of Henry even plays on Yolanda’s religious beliefs, telling her that he is burning in Hell for eternity.

Are the visions of Brainwave and Henry the result of Brainwave of Eclipso or is it something else? The episode never answers the question, but every time Yolanda is having a mental break, the creepy kid that represents Eclipso is not far away. The writers do a good job of presenting just enough doubt to make the audience believe that maybe Brainwave’s psyche survived and is slowly taking over Yolanda’s body but given that Eclipso preys on the mental state of people, my bet is on Eclipso pulling the strings.

Later in the episode, the priest recruits Yolanda’s mother to help Yolanda work through whatever is happening to her but the lack of support from Yolanda’s mother only causes her daughter to fall into a bigger mental collapse. The guilt is also affecting Yolanda at school as visions of Brainwave and Henry continue to overtake her consciousness, resulting in Courtney attempting to help her friend. Unfortunately, Courtney feels lost when talking to Yolanda as she never had to make a life and death decision, but she suggests Rick and Beth might be able to help Yolanda.

The JSA, minus Pat, meet and Yolanda admits to Beth and Rick that she killed Brainwave and it wasn’t an accident. Rick attempts to make Yolanda feel better by stating he would have done the same thing, but Yolanda doesn’t believe him and suggests she is the only one on the team that is strong enough to kill someone for the greater good. At this point, outside of professional help, there is no one in Yolanda’s circle of friends or family that can help her forgive herself as she thinks God will judge her as a killer and she’ll spend eternity with Henry. I’ll give the writers credit; when they want to bring the intensity, they do.

Eventually Yolanda returns to her church and confesses to the priest that she murdered someone. As she is confessing, a vision of Brainwave appears, mocking Yolanda for killing him and causing Henry to go to Hell. Yolanda does her best to fight Brainwave but it’s all for naught as Brainwave states he transferred his psyche into Yolanda, and she can never escape him. Stargirl finally shows up to help her friend, who is now transformed into Wildcat, but it’s not enough as Brainwave is able to defeat Stargirl. The only way for Brainwave to be stopped is by Wildcat slicing his neck with her claws (again?!). Yeah, Yolanda definitely needs to talk to a professional after all this occurring.

The episode ends with Yolanda blaming Courtney for pushing her to join the JSA and that due to Courtney, she is never going to be able to forgive herself. Yolanda states she is quitting the JSA and will never be Wildcat again as she refuses to hurt someone again. The good news is that actress Yvette Monreal did a tremendous job acting this week, but the bad news is that Ms. Monreal may not be coming back to the series either as she is not listed as appearing in the next few episodes. It’s a horrible loss for Stargirl as Yolanda had the most potential of any of the characters but here’s hoping her quitting is only temporary.

Quick Notes:

  • Mike is finally accepted into the JSA program as Pat teaches him how to fix and upgrade S.T.R.I.P.E. It may not be much to begin with but at least he is part of the team now.
  • The Shade is attempting to escape from wherever he is at, even to go as far as appearing, well as a black cloud, to Barbara. She’s not sure if it’s the Shade and it quickly disappears but it seems like our favorite British character is not dead yet.
  • This episode shows Eclipso is unlike any other villain in the Arrowverse as he isn’t interested in fame or riches. Eclipso is only interested in evil and causing as much pain as possible. It’s a unique take on a villain as how do you defeat someone that is only motivated by evil? And can evil truly be defeated?

Grade: B (Good)

Stargirl this week focused mainly on Yolanda’s storyline and as a result, it allowed the episode to fully devote the attention it needed to mental illness and the pain people go through when confronted with a life-changing event. I’ve been wanting Yolanda to get more screen time and as much as I enjoyed this episode, it saddens me that her character may no longer be on the series. Overall, the episode was a strong episode but still a few notches below the last two near-perfect episodes. It also was good to see the writers putting Yolanda through this and realizing that mental illness isn’t cured overnight and her stepping away from the JSA was the right thing to do for herself. Nice job Stargirl.
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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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