There’s no better time to round up the rest of the Justice Society of America than on Halloween night, when no one will question a glowing hourglass or a cognitive, cosmic staph. Stargirl Season 1 Episode 5, “Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite,” is a really great and unexpectedly emotional hour dedicated to Beth Chapel (Anjelika Washington) and Rick Tyler (Cameron Gellman) who take on the mantle of the said heroes, respectively.
More Than a Hero
While Stargirl misses the opportunity to add depth to Barbara beyond her meetings and Cindy beyond her total mean girl persona, it leans into the complexities of Beth and Rick with such empathy and honesty that it’s almost impossible not to root for them. They’re relatable and compelling before they even possess their superhero accessories.
Stargirl does a great job of showing viewers who Beth and Rick are before asking them to believe they can be heroes. Just like Stargirl’s calculated explanation of Jordan Mahkent’s past makes Icicle’s actions all the more menacing, the show’s dedication to making Beth and Rick more than classic, high school stereotypes makes them all the more personable.
It is disheartening to see Yolanda and Courtney be so flippant to Beth’s eagerness to join the JSA, especially when they were so supportive of each other just last week on Stargirl Season 1 Episode 4, “Wildcat.” Just because Beth actively sought out the superhero life doesn’t make her any less worthy to be the new Dr. Mid-Nite. Courtney’s optimism could definitely use Beth’s clarity, with or without the help of her mask.
I especially expected more from Courtney, especially because she’s been so willing to guide Yolanda and Rick. Her hesitance with Beth is really superficial. Hopefully, Yolanda and Courtney come around to Beth joining the team sooner rather than later, because there’s already enough mean girl to go around with Cindy.
Seriously, does Cindy have to be so awful? First, Cindy tells her supposed best friend that she’s too ugly and fat to wear the same costume as Cindy, and then she tells Henry that he’s much too sensitive for her liking. I’m not the biggest Henry fan, but I would never shame a guy for feeling things — especially when said feelings are connected to his comatose father. Cindy is insensitive and rude, and I don’t like her at all.
Anyway, Beth’s introduction to the superhero world is different than anyone else on Stargirl so far. Pat has a history with heroes. Courtney believes she’s a legacy since the staff chooses her, Rick is an actual legacy and chooses to be a hero. Yolanda is chosen by Courtney and accepts the superhero life. Beth, on the other hand, takes it upon herself to learn more and be a hero because she simply wants to join in on the fun.
Beth’s superpower is her mind, and Dr. Mid-Nite’s tech only amplifies that fact. She also already has such a strong moral compass that being a superhero will only challenge her character. Basically, Beth Chapel is too pure for this world and deserves all of our love.
I do like Rick way more than I anticipated. There wasn’t a lot to go on with Rick until “Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite.” Not only do Rick’s connections to the original JSA become clear in this episode, Rick also steps out of the shadows and into the light. He’s no longer the grumpy, unnamed, silent guy at the lunch table. He’s Rick Tyler, the immensely complicated and rightfully angry teenage boy who has too many chips on his shoulders.
I may be projecting, but Rick gives me major Tim Riggins vibes. He’s a reluctant teenager with some rage issues who probably drinks too much and fixes cars in his spare time. If anything, this just makes me love Rick more.
There’s plenty to unpack about Rick’s rage and how it’ll affect his life as a superhero. It’s 2020 and it would be really nice to see Stargirl take Rick on a route that channels his anger into actions and change that challenge rather than uphold toxic masculinity. This is likely something viewer’s won’t see as soon as next week’s episode, but it would be an intriguing journey to watch unfold over the course of the season.
Rick’s also pretty great for giving Matt’s truck the beating it deserves after Matt sexually harasses the waitress at the diner. Drunk or not, Matt’s in the wrong and deserves more than a damaged truck, but it’s a start. Thanks, Rick!
He’s also the perfect character to juxtapose with Courtney. Courtney’s belief that Starman is her father drives her to become a hero in the name of justice, while Rick’s father actually being Rex Tyler aka Hourman drives him to become a hero in the name of revenge. This sets up an excellent opportunity for tension in the upcoming episodes, which is a smart move on Stargirl’s behalf.
The MVP Pat Dugan
Rick being Rex’s son also ties Pat to Rick, making room for Pat to become the official parental voice of reason for the JSA, sorta like Alaric Saltzman on Legacies. You should have seen that TVD Universe reference coming.
That being said, Pat’s disappointment when he discovers some of the original JSA’s belongings in Courtney’s room holds more weight in the episode than whatever is brewing with the ISA during this episode. The ISA isn’t the focus of “Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite,” and that’s purposeful. However, I’m not that intrigued in what they’re up to at the moment. Hopefully that’ll turn around soon since it’s still a little early in the series.
Other Sparkling Moments:
- I cackled a bit when Courtney said, “I think the Green Lantern is stuck.”
- “That is a common rookie mistake.” – Beth Chapel
- Charles McNider’s AI is super witty and I love it.
- Pat took the car part to Rick and I teared up. Can they bond over cars some more?
- Yolanda keeps trying to fit a Captain into the superhero names, and that means a lot to me.
Stargirl is new Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.