11th Oct2021

‘Stargirl 2×09: Summer School – Chapter Nine’ 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

There’s a storm rolling in this week to Blue Valley and the residents, including Courtney’s family, are not only stocking up on supplies for the storm but for the upcoming battle with Eclipso. Stargirl brought the creepiness this week as the episode was more of a supernatural suspense episode than a superhero episode and while there were several issues, the episode was still a solid addition to the season.

Eclipso Comes for Courtney

An actual thunderstorm is hitting Blue Valley, courtesy of Eclipso, and everyone in town is getting their emergency supplies ready but Courtney’s family needs more than that. Eclipso’s goal this week is to pull Courtney, Pat, Mike, and Barbara away from each other by causing conflict with each other. It eventually works but first each character gets visited by Eclipso in a different form.

Eclipso starts playing mind games with our favorite family as Pat is visited by Dr. Mid-Niter’s daughter crawling out of her coffin, Barbara’s car stalls out on her way home and her former boss, Jordan Mahkent shows up in her backseat and Mike is visited by Jordan’s son, Cameron, who threatens to kill Pat so Mike can know the pain of death. Each scenario reflects each character’s story arc this season while also allowing Eclipso to further divide the family.

Luckily for all three, there are guardian angels looking out for them. For Barbara, the Shade has taken a liking to her and shows up, in smoke form, to unfreeze the car she was in and stop Eclipso before she freezes to death. Pat, after the creepy coffin scene, sees a vision of Gordon coming back from the dead to kill him but Courtney shows up in time with her staff to stop the vision. The same happens for Mike as the vision of Cameron is about to kill him but Courtney swoops in to save the day.

The issue this week with Eclipso’s visions to the Courtney’s family is that outside of Pat’s, the scenarios didn’t further they storylines for Barbara and Mike. The threat of Cameron attempting to kill Mike does push Mike further into the JSA and Barbara’s vision further cements the bond between her and the Shade, but overall, it was underwhelming. Plus, outside of Courtney saving the day at the end, she was hardly in the episode.

The Original JSA

After teasing the original team for over a season, we finally get to see all the members of the original team and how they initially stopped Eclipso. The team, made up of Hourman, Starman, Wildcat, and shown for the first time, Jay Garrick aka the Flash! Yes, John Wesley Shipp who plays the original Flash in well, The Flash, guest stars this week! He may have only been in a few scenes but he brought the moral compass that the JSA needed to face Eclipso.

Many decades ago, Eclipso was trapped inside the black diamond on a deserted island and only after being discovered by the explorer Bruce Gordon (any relation to Commissioner Gordon?), Eclipso was able to escape. In payment for freeing him, Eclipso gave Gordon fame and prestige but Gordon wanted something more, a woman named Nora. Eclipso promises to grant his desire but first Gordon must become the human host for Eclipso and after he does, Gordon reluctantly agrees to murder Nora’s husband. That escalated quickly.

Later at the funeral for Dr. Mid-Niter’s daughter (remember Eclipso killed her in episode one of this season), the JSA meet to discuss how to stop Eclipso. This is the first time we see the whole JSA together and the surprise appearance of Jay Garrick is enough to propel the episode to greatness. The JSA learns from the Shade that the only way to stop Eclipso is to kill the human host, in this case, Bruce Gordon. The JSA has a strict “no kill” policy but after Eclipso murders Mid-niter’s daughter, all options are available.

While the JSA may not want to kill anyone, they have to keep their options open when they learn Eclipso has already beaten the Green Lanterns and the Hawkmen (nice name drops!). Eventually the JSA members take a vote on whether to kill Gordon, which sees Hourman and Wildcat in agreement. Jay Garrick tells the rest that Pat, despite being just a sidekick, gets to vote and in doing so, votes with Jay against killing Gordon. The vote comes down to Starman and while he is against violence, he sides with Hourman and Wildcat as he cannot let anything more happen to family members of the JSA.

Though we don’t see the actual battle/killing of Bruce Gordon, we do see the aftermath of the decision. Starman is visibly shaken and the killing of Gordon has caused a rift in the JSA, which is exactly what Eclipso wanted to do. Pat and Starman are not as close as they were prior to the decision and the rest of the JSA just “stepped away” from each other.

In present day, after saving Pat (see above), Courtney is told the above-mentioned story and as a result, she feels she can no longer trust Pat as he hid the truth about stopping Eclipso from her. The situation is made worse when Courtney realizes her mom knew the truth and held it from her. The episode ends with Pat, Barbara, Mike and Courtney at odds with each other while Eclipso, in creepy little boy disguise, is outside their house laughing manically. That will give you nightmares.

Easter Eggs:

  • Bruce Gordon. The explorer that is responsible for not only finding Eclipso but then bringing him back to the United States is shown as a recluse wanting someone’s else’s wife. In the comics, he is the leading scientist in solar energy (remember light defeats Eclipso’s darkness) until Eclipso took over his body and basically made him do his bidding. It’s unknown if Gordon will appear in future episodes but since Eclipso has mainly taken over the body of a young boy, it’s highly unlikely.

Grade: C+ (Above Average)

Stargirl had potential this week with a supernatural episode but overall, the episode fell short. Whether it was the lack of impact Barbara and Mike’s storylines had or the lack of Courtney this week, the episode felt like a step back after several tremendous episodes. Eclipso’s visions to Courtney’s family had a good build-up but the resolution of each one was sub-par and seemed like a lazy way to stop the visions. It was a nice surprise to see Jay Garrick show up as the final member of the JSA and while I appreciate a good John Wesley Shipp cameo, it wasn’t enough to save the episode. Season 2 of Stargirl continues to be better than season 1 but overall, this was one of the weaker episodes of the year.
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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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