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‘Stargirl’ S01E06: ‘The Justice Society’ & S01E07: ‘Shiv Part 1’ (review)

S01E06 — After Pat confronts Courtney about the potential consequences of recruiting new JSA members, Courtney makes a difficult decision and the JSA prepare for their first mission.

As Sir Mix-a-Lot would say, we’re gonna double up (double up, UH UH!) this week.

Episode 6 is, in a word, revelatory. As the midway mark for the season, you want there to be some exposition, some inkling of where the season is going and how they’ll get there. Plenty of treats to be had, as this is the first time the entire team is suited up…even Pat. We have a concept of how the ISA are going to enact their master plan, but we have no idea if the heroes have a way to avoid the original JSA’s ultimate fate. That’s the status quo as we get into the episode…

The episode opens with Artemis Crock, whom viewers will recognize from YOUNG JUSTICE as…uh…Artemis and then later, Tigress, but not how you would think; at first we hear a football play being called, and you don’t realize it’s a girl calling the play. When the scene opens after the DC tag, we see the quarterback, Artemis, running a play. Her parents, Larry and Paula, are in the stands, proud of their daughter, but angry at the coach for benching her (she punched a teammate in the face).

They…let’s say they handle the situation permanently. This earns them a stern warning from Icicle, and for the first time since the Wizard and his family were killed, we can begin to see what will be the ISA’s undoing; ego. I mean, it’s supervillain 101. At some point, the common goal falls away and each villain starts to go for their own selfish needs. In Larry and Paula’s case, nothing matters except Artemis.

Meanwhile, over at the Dugan/Whitmore house, Pat confronts Courtney about the secret in her closet (the JSA gear). He confiscates all of it and tells her to get the things she already gave away. Here’s the kicker…they kids don’t want to give up being heroes (or, in Rick’s case, a giant pain in the ass with super strength for one hour). After trying to decipher Rex Tyler’s notes, they get word (from McNider’s AI) that the Gambler is trying to hack into a satellite and jump into action.

Let me spoil it a bit; Gambler is successful and the kids are handed an asswhoopin’ courtesy of Sportsmaster (Larry) and…actually, they never say if Paula is Huntress or Tigress (I’m leaning toward the latter since Huntress was on ARROW and there’s an odd growling going on during her fight with Wildcat).

The team is only saved once Pat arrives in the S.T.R.I.P.E. armor. After taking them to his garage, he decides to train them. Yay! Icicle, however, is about to make their lives harder as he is focused on finding out who these kids are.

Three things I want to bring up before we move to the next episode. One, I’ve given this show a lot of credit in how they built the team and how earnest the show, as a whole, is but they do something else; they humanize their villains. It’s not just Paula and Larry, as we see Jordan (Icicle) and his son, Cameron, celebrate the birthday of his late wife. Yes, we know that Jordan’s big plan is to remake the country in his image, but you can’t help but feel for him when the waitress brings over a slice of cake with a candle in it.

Second, Barbara and Mike. Seeing them moving into a very healthy step-mother/step-son relationship is a treat, because it is easy, SO EASY, to forget that they are both integral to Courtney and Pat’s lives and their father/daughter dynamic.

Lastly, it bothers me no end that these kids are all dependent on costume and tech to be heroes, but I guess it makes sense since my kids are both dependent on their tablets. Yep, now it bothers me even more.

Let’s move on before I reveal other shortcomings as a parent…

 

S01E07 — As Pat teaches Courtney, Yolanda, Beth and Rick the importance of teamwork, the ISA converge to figure out who is trying to take them down.

As we can tell from the title, we know the next two episodes will feature the debut of Shiv, and holy shit, Cindy is a diiiiiiiick. And, apparently, it’s for a good reason. See, the kids of the Injustice Society don’t know of their parents’ alter egos. That is, except one; Cindy. As bad as she is in school, she is worse at home and that’s because she’s been trained by her father, the Dragon King. She kills without a second thought. She eavesdrops on the ISA meeting. She’s not just a jerk; she’s actually evil.

There’s a point where that isn’t enough, however. After being blown off by her “friend” (I think she may be incapable of having friends) and her boyfriend (aka, Brainwave Jr., who’s starting to manifest powers akin to his father), Cindy is forced to accept Courtney as a lab partner…and they kind of get along. Cindy invites her to her house since both aren’t attending the homecoming dance, and Courtney agrees.

(Ok, real talk…I’m pausing the show now at 14:39 to say that I think Courtney is going to try to recruit Cindy. I just want to put it here because I’m interested in seeing if I’m right.)

Pat’s training isn’t going so well, but it’s not for a lack of trying. Courtney is just stealing his thunder in front of her friends, and she’s oblivious to how this affects her team. Additionally, she and Pat are both oblivious to Mike’s growing resentment of their relationship in a really well written scene.

When Courtney is asked to the dance by Cameron, who apparently has real feelings for her, she asks Cindy if they can postpone their hangout, and Cindy rescinds her invitation, forever. But Cindy has been rejected for the last time. Eager to lash out, and to prove her readiness to join the Injustice Society, she suits up as Shiv and has her sights set on Stargirl. Surprise, surprise, Stargirl cannot compete.

This goes back to what I was saying about how it bugs me that these heroes rely too much on their gimmicks to win the day; when faced with a superior fighter who doesn’t need to rely on a weapon (although she has one), Stargirl is embarrassingly out of her league. At the very last minute, the janitor saves her from possible death.

Oh, I keep forgetting about the janitor, Justin. AKA, the SHINING frickin’ KNIGHT!

This show just keeps getting better.

****

Vito Delsante is a comic book writer, graphic novelist, editor, letterer, and the co-creator/writer of STRAY with Sean Izaakse, and THE PURPLE HEART with Dean Haspiel and artist, Ricardo Venâncio. He’s written for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, AdHouse Books, and Simon & Schuster, among others, and his stories have been reprinted in other countries. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, Michelle, his daughter, Sadie, his son, James, and his pitbull, Kirby.  You can find him online at incogvito.com and you can follow him on Twitter @incogvito

 

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