30th Jul2020

‘Stargirl 1×11: Shining Knight’ 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

Stargirl starts with Justin finally getting some screen time! He is looking for a horse, but the local farmer kicks him off his farm and tells him he is a weirdo. Not the best response for Justin but this man has obviously been throughout a lot. When looking at a nearby windmill, Justin begins to remember his former life and holding the Cosmic Staff, which makes him think that Stripesy can help him regain his former glory.

Pat and Courtney are now allowing full disclosure to Barbara, including Henry Jr.’s death, which worries her that the original plan to leave Blue Valley is halted as she fears the ISA will look for them and kill them if they leave town abruptly. Their discussion is cut short though when Sam Kurtis (Geoff Stults) arrives on their doorstep and introduces himself to Pat as Courtney’s father! Courtney doesn’t believe Sam is her biological father and though it’s been awhile, Sam states he came back because Barbara e-mailed him and asked for help. Even when Sam shows Courtney the second half of a locket (Courtney has the first half), Courtney still doesn’t believe him and asks to speak to Pat.

Pat tries to convince Courtney that just because the Cosmic Staff chose her, it doesn’t mean that Starman is her father. They are interrupted by Mike asking who Sam is and if Pat and Barbara are going to break up. Pat snaps and yells at Mike to not worry about it, which only makes Mike more worried that his family is breaking apart. Pat apologizes for his outburst and tells Mike everything will be fine, but Mike doesn’t believe him. Poor Mike…this kid gets pushed to the side due to Courtney’s superhero ways and it’s only a matter of time till he lets loose and does something foolish for attention. Barbara tries to find out the real reason Sam showed up after being gone for over a decade and Sam comes clean and states he wants to get to know his daughter before it’s too late. Courtney convinces her mother to let her go on a walk with Sam to get some answers.

While on the walk, Sam reminisces about the Christmas Eve he left Courtney and Barbara and apologizes profusely for walking out on them. Courtney still doesn’t forgive him but does allow him to buy breakfast for her. Something about Sam doesn’t sit right with me and if he ends up being a villain, I’m not going to be very happy. Sam explains that he left Barbara and Courtney due to searching for business opportunities that never materialized. He extends an olive branch to Courtney by asking her to visit him in California and she agrees. Ten minutes ago, she didn’t want anything to do with him but now she agrees to visit him in California?

Pat visits with Rick and Beth at the garage as Yolanda is at church to pray for Henry Jr. after what has transpired. Before Pat can discuss Sam coming back into Courtney’s life, Justin shows up, wielding the magical sword. Justin is having visions and believes Pat is a knight and must be disposed of but luckily Pat remembers Justin from his superhero days and is able to talk some sense into him. Justin falls to the floor crying, admitting he is not well and needs help. It’s an emotional scene and makes the audience feel for Justin as Pat explains he used to be one of the strongest and toughest men he has ever known. Pat explains to Rick and Beth that Justin was the leader of the Seven Soldiers of Victory prior to Stripesy joining Starman. Pat is able to jog Justin’s memories and Rick and Beth learn the sword is actually the famed Excalibur sword and Justin is as old as the King Arthur tales. It’s implied that Brainwave erased Justin’s memory and that is why he couldn’t remember his superhero past.

Back at Courtney’s house, Sam explains the story of their lockets that were given to him by his mother/Courtney’s grandmother and created by a “fancy” designer to Hollywood stars. Sam asks if Courtney can give her locket to him so he can sell them and put a deposit down on a new home so she can come visit. It’s obvious at this point that Sam, who spent the whole visit talking about himself and not asking about Courtney, only arrived in Blue Valley to get the locket back from his daughter in order to sell it. Courtney realizes this and the audience can feel the disappointment Courtney has as she realizes Sam didn’t come to visit her. As soon as she gives him the locket, he says his goodbye and starts walking to catch a bus out of town. Poor Courtney.

Pat sees what happened on the front porch and like a true father would, offers to be Courtney’s sounding board and she can yell at him if it makes her feel better. She instead cries in his arms. Pat catches up to Sam walking down the street and explains that Courtney loves that locket and it’s not right that Sam is going to sell it. Sam offers to make it up to Courtney somehow, but Pat realizes that Sam is no good for her and tells him to never come back, which Sam states he never planned on anyway. Pat begins to walk away until Sam makes a comment about Barbara’s age and how she was more attractive when he was with her, which results in Pat punching Sam, knocking him to the ground. It’s moments like this that I appreciate Pat’s “speak softly and carry a big stick” approach to issues.

Barbara apologizes to Courtney for bringing Sam back into their life, but she was hoping he changed for the better. Courtney, though disappointed, is happy she got to meet him as she now understands who he really is, and they are better off without him. Barbara breaks down and tells Courtney as a mother, it’s her job to protect Courtney, but she understands that Courtney must become Stargirl again to protect the families of Blue Valley. Courtney, in a surprise twist, states the Cosmic Staff is no longer for her and wants to leave Blue Valley.

Henry Sr. visits Jordan and tells him that he knows the identity of Stargirl and is off to kill them. Jordan demands he doesn’t kill them, and Henry realizes the reason Jordan doesn’t want Courtney dead is because he likes Barbara. Henry offers to wipe Barbara’s mind clear of Pat and Courtney, but Jordan threatens Henry to stay out of her mind too. Henry reveals that the American Dream plan won’t just affect six states but rather the whole country as his power has grown and he finally has the power to control everyone. Henry leaves Jordan’s office by advising Jordan that he has to choose between Barbara or the American Dream.

While speaking at a memorial at the high school for his son, Henry telepathically sends a warning to Courtney as she sits in the crowd. Back at home, she tells Pat that she cannot help anyone anymore as the Cosmic Staff knows she is a fraud and it chose the wrong person. Pat gives a pep talk to her and says the Staff knew Courtney’s father wasn’t Starman, but it believed in the goodness of Courtney and what she can do with it. Seriously, Luke Wilson is amazing as Pat in this series.

Eventually Courtney heeds Pat’s advice and asks Barbara and Pat to join her in trying out the Cosmic Staff again. At first it doesn’t work but with Pat and Barbara putting their hands on her, and giving their full blessing, the Cosmic Staff begins to glow again and chooses Courtney to be Stargirl! Even Justin see the event and proclaims, “The queen has risen.” It’s an uplifting and powerful moment that is made even stronger by having Barbara finally know Courtney’s secret and still giving her blessing.

One Good Thing:

  • Justin. Stargirl adding another experienced superhero to the new JSA is a smart move as it will help even the odds against the more experienced ISA. Let’s be honest, Courtney, Rick, Yolanda, and Beth have no shot of defeating the more seasoned ISA but by adding Pat and Justin, and their experience with villains, it makes it more believable that the JSA has a chance. Justin’s backstory is unique, and I liked how the writers brought a little more edge to him than I originally thought they would. Overall, I’m excited to see more of Justin and his superhero alter-ego in the series and learn more about the character.

Grade: B (Good)

Stargirl continues to the be most consistently solid superhero series on television and this is due to building one of the better supporting cast in a series. Every character, no matter how small of a role they have, plays an integral part to the story and the audience feels there is a long-term plan in place for everything. While this episode did not have an emotional death, it still was just as emotional as last week’s episode as the plotline of Courtney meeting her father was well crafted. The writers continue to let the story reveal itself organically and the series continues to be stronger for that decision.

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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