10th Jul2020

‘Stargirl 1×08: Shiv – Part Two’ 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

Last week introduced it to more heroes and villains in the form of Shiv (alter-ego of “mean girl” Cindy) and Sir Rick, the high school janitor with a magical sword. This week, we learn more about Shiv and Courtney realizes that her recklessness as a superhero has repercussions.

After their business trip, Jordan gets chummy with Barbara over dinner and it’s obvious that he has feelings for her. He leaves before dessert as he to meet with an unknown party and just as Jordan leaves for the night, Barbara gets a phone call from Pat. In order to cover up Courtney getting beaten up and knocked unconscious, Pat wrecks his prized car into a telephone pole and provides the story that Courtney and he were in a car accident. Pat gives the hard truth to Courtney that he cannot just keep making up excuses for whenever she loses a superhero fight and they must tell her mother, Barbara, the truth. Courtney resists this, but let’s be honest here Court…you have lost the last three fights you have been in…maybe you need a need to listen to Pat?

On the other side of the coin, a cocky Shiv attempts to brag to her father about beating Stargirl but is cut short by her father’s disappointment that she did not kill her. Dragon King knows Stargirl is alive because he sent his drones to recover the body, but someone from the Justice Society already took her. Dragon King makes Shiv promise not to go out on her own again and feels Shiv made the situation even worse than if she never fought Stargirl. Dragon King threatens her with removing his mask and I’m left to wonder what the heck is under it! It’s got to be snakes right? It’s always snakes.

The repercussions of Courtney’s beating resonate with her teammates as Rick wants to suit up and find Cindy/Shiv and get revenge on her. Beth, ever the logical one, has a different plan though as she worries Cindy’s father might be someone they don’t want to mess with, and they need more information. Beth, and Pat who just happens to catch her in the middle of the plan, meets Cindy’s stepmother when they arrive at Cindy’s house in the guise of Cindy teaching Beth some cheerleader moves. Cindy isn’t home but Cindy’s stepmom is a gracious host and invites them into her house. We learn that Cindy’s stepmom used to do “other things” but once she got married, she became a mother and gave up everything else….those are her words folks.

Beth puts on her googles but Chuck can’t decipher what Cindy’s stepmom is and is noted as “unknown origin.” Beth asks to use the restroom and takes the time to snoop around the house, which results in finding the Injustice Society’s secret lair. Beth is fine snooping around until she finds Solomon Grundy’s cell, leading her to run out of the lair. Beth’s recon is helpful as they find out that Cindy has a photograph of Dr. Shiro Ito, a Japanese army scientist in the 1930s and 40s and creator of biological weapons. He was famous for developing bombs that would spread plagues throughout enemy countries, but Ito was eventually executed for his war crimes, which we know is not true as he has become Dragon King.

Jordan is waiting in a hotel room for Ed Reilly (Matt Borlenghi), a corporate stooge who failed to blow the whistle on his chemical company’s dirty ways. As a result of the shady ways, his company was responsible for the poisoning of many people, including Jordan’s wife, which leads to Jordan seeking revenge by freezing him to death. Obviously, Jordan is not a good person but like all good villains, the reason for his actions are understandable. The means to the ends is not acceptable but I don’t fully blame him either for taking revenge on the ones responsible.

In the best scene of the episode, Cindy stops by Courtney’s house to “check in” on her after the accident. Cindy apologizes for her overreaction to Courtney at the football game when Courtney had to cancel an outing with her. The meeting is cordial and feels like friends checking in on each other, heck Cindy even tells Courtney she needs a friend. All is well until Cindy is ready to leave to go home and drops the bombshell that she really liked Courtney’s staff! Cindy tells her that her secret is safe as she doesn’t want to get in trouble with her dad, but she’ll be back after she kills all of Courtney’s friends.

Later on, Stargirl decides to take the fight to Cindy by attacking her at her own home. Stargirl does much better this episode, even knocking Cindy out the bedroom window onto the street below in front of a passing car driven by Henry. He is fresh off realizing his father is Brainwave and begins reading the thoughts of Cindy and Stargirl. Since Henry is new to his superpowers, it is too much for him and he has a meltdown, resulting in Cindy and Stargirl being pushed apart by his brainwaves. Dragon King’s drones rise up from the sewers dragging Cindy away while Henry runs away, trying to figure out what the heck happened!

Easter Eggs:

  • Ed Reilly. Despite Reilly being killed in the first five minutes of his introduction, things were different for him in the comics. Reilly was actually Rod Reilly, a millionaire that became the crime-fighting superhero, Firebrand. The superhero didn’t have much of a shelf life in the comics, but he did appear in several Justice League of America comic books.

One Good Thing:

  • Mike. Mike, Pat’s son, doesn’t get much screen time but the scenes he does have, he makes the most of it. This episode, Mike takes a step back from his comedy relief role and has a heart to heart talk with a bed-ridden Courtney and apologizes to her for the rude comment he made about her before she was in an “accident”. Mike even offers the last of the Pizza Rolls to Courtney! He mentions that he was just jealous of all the time Courtney and his father are sharing and he took it out on her. Mike admits that with all the changes in their lives recently, he feels he gained a sister and is happy their families found each other. It’s a nice moment in the series and here’s hoping the second season can expand on the role of Mike and his relationship with Courtney.

Grade: B- (Good)

After the strongest episode last week, Stargirl comes back with another solid episode. The series is stronger for not prolonging the trope of “Does Stargirl’s arch-enemy know her secret or not”, which is a welcomed surprise and is another reason the series is different from other superhero shows on television. Overall, the world building of the show in the first season has been fun and has not bogged down the series like most inaugural seasons of shows. The series continues to get progressively stronger as the season goes on and with five episodes left, the series is setting up nicely for the showdown between good and evil.

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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