Stargirl 1×04, “Wildcat,” serves as a moving origin story for the Justice Society of America’s new Wildcat, Yolanda Montez. This powerful episode handles topics like slut-shaming and bullying, among others, with the severity they deserve, without losing the levity of Stargirl’s family-friendly appeal.
“Wildcat” brings Yolanda to the spotlight, making her more than a device to prove that Courtney Whitmore is a good person audiences should cheer on. Yolanda becomes an individual in Stargirl’s best episode yet.
Welcome to the New JSA
Yolanda finds herself ostracized from her family, her boyfriend, and a student body who once championed her in one fell swoop because some photos that were meant to remain private did not stay that way.
Stargirl’s 3-months-prior montage using Hailee Steinfeld’s “Love Myself” as its anthem isn’t an accident. It fits perfectly into the life Yolanda lived, one where she loved every bit of herself. She should not be shamed for sending the photos or their release.
It’s her body, her choice. That powerful stance that emboldens women to be autonomous is used against her when Cindy sends Yolanda’s photos to the entire school.
It also doesn’t seem like an accident that the catsuit hugs Yolanda’s body as a perfect fit. Yolanda beams when this happens. Her happiness is palpable in this moment. As unfortunate as it sounds, this may be the first time she’s loved her body since that horrible incident.
Yolanda makes the very mature decision that she can’t be Wildcat until she’s okay with just being herself, but the end of this episode proves that being Wildcat may be exactly what she needs to love herself again.
It’s easy to assume that putting on a cowl and breaking into a hospital after learning about her superpowers on Wikipedia (Such an adorable scene, by the way!) is a way for Yolanda to hide behind a false identity, but I like to believe the opposite.
I like to believe Yolanda can realize that she isn’t a disgrace or a slut through being Wildcat. She can learn to listen to herself, believe in herself, and love herself again by being Wildcat. Yolanda suiting up again by the episode’s end leads me to believe some part of Yolanda feels the same way.
Sisterhood of Superheroes
Not to mention, Yolanda has Courtney on her side now. Well, she always did but now they’re superhero sisters. Courtney’s steadfast belief in Yolanda despite the rumors is a strong foundation for their friendship. Yolanda quickly feels comfortable to be herself around Courtney, and there’s nothing quite like that feeling.
The two teenagers are nothing but kind to each other when they show off their super suits, and Courtney is nothing but encouraging as Yolanda learns about the superhero life. It is such a joy to watch because it is still so rare to see women support each other so openly on TV. It makes me think of Amy and Molly’s friendship from the amazing film Booksmart.
Courtney never asks Yolanda for any details, because she trusts Yolanda’s word. She even commends Yolanda’s bravery for coming to school. When Yolanda doubts her trust in herself for even taking the photos in the first place, Courtney quickly counters with, “He never should have shared them.”
That’s so important! Yolanda needs to know that what happened isn’t her fault and someone believes her. I’m glad Yolanda has Courtney in her corner.
Yolanda’s vow not to apologize anymore for what she deems her mistake is such a great start. I think Courtney’s confidence in Yolanda as both a person and a superhero played a part in this. Many women are conditioned to believe they have to apologize for everything, sometimes even just taking up space, so it’s really impactful to see Yolanda refuse to apologize any longer.
Basically what I’m trying to say is more of women supporting women on TV, please and thank you! I think I may be in luck, because the preview for next week’s episode finds Beth joining the team as the new Dr. Mid-Nite.
Like Father, Like Son?
“Wildcat” also does a really good job at not drawing a line on Henry. He’s the only one visiting his father, according to the logs, but that doesn’t redeem him from being a jerk. Sure, it’s unfortunate that his dad is a supervillain and in a coma, but that doesn’t mean that Henry is excused for never taking up for Yolanda and needlessly bullying kids.
It’s not an accident that Stargirl shows Cindy sending Yolanda’s photos to the school and Yolanda believing Henry was the one who did it. I don’t know if this is a way to make viewers feel more empathetic towards Henry, but it isn’t working for me.
Henry, by no means, should be blamed for his father’s actions, but he should be held accountable for his. He seems like a guy who is set in his ways, so it’s going to take more than Yolanda retracting her claws, which is a good idea because that could have only led to bad things, for me to root for Henry Jr.
Other Sparkling Moments:
- Courtney is always wearing red, white, and/or blue.
- All of the stars in Courtney’s room!
- Courtney’s drawings on her letter to Yolanda!
- I hope Mike’s affair with Pop Tarts lasts the entire series.
- Pat made Barb a super cute, to-go breakfast. Can we see more of their relationship?
- BETH DESERVES ALL THE LOVE.
- The Marvel fan in me heard Yolanda call Courtney “Ms. America” and immediately thought of Captain America.
- Could Dragon King be any creepier?
Stargirl is new Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.