‘Stargirl’ 1×12 Review: “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One”

Stargirl Season 1 Episode 12, “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One,” is the calm before the storm, oddly enough. The penultimate episode of the season, while stress-inducing, gives each team an opportunity to regroup before next week’s showdown. “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One” continues Stargirl’s excellent work with breathtaking fight sequences, quiet character-building moments, and even more twists to classic tropes. 

The ISA’s Greatest Weakness

Success is extremely I want to reiterate how unlikely a success is for the ISA. We learn during “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One” that their mind control will only affect millions of fully developed minds. There’s no way this can happen without eradicating the free will of millions of humans and killing the ones who fight back. Where does that leave Blue Valley for next season, let alone the entire United States. So many things are brought into questions when discussing the longevity of this scheme that it becomes more difficult to truly comprehend. It is possible that Season 2 of Stargirl could address these questions, but I don’t know if this is a worthwhile evil plan to carry over.

That’s why it’s a good thing that Stargirl started the process during  “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One,” because the major fallout can happen next week. Speeding up the plan did catch me off guard, because I was sure the mind control wouldn’t begin until the end of the finale. That way there are millions of lives hanging in the balance between seasons. I’m extremely nervous to see what the true cliffhanger will be since it doesn’t look like my original theory will take place.

The ISA’s fear of legacies will be their downfall, I’m predicting it now. Not even Jordan’s half-baked feelings for Barbara can disguise this team’s disdain for the younger generation. The ISA doesn’t involve their children until their powers are useful; their pawns in a larger game. The ISA likes to use their children as excuses for doing terrible things, like Tigress and Sportsmaster killing Anaya Bowin because she called them bad parents. Another example is Henry Sr. blaming Cindy for Henry Jr. ‘s death. 

DC\’s Stargirl — “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One” — Image Number: STG112a_0173r.jpg — Pictured: Neil Joy Osmanski as Tigress — Photo: Jace Downs/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

They build their children up to the ISA’s advantage, only to belittle the capabilities of their children to their face. This is the only explanation as to why they are so adamant about excluding their children from the fight. Why else has Cindy been locked up for so many episodes? She’s a threat to their reign, because she is likely better than them at their evil game. 

That’s what makes the JSA’s direct parallel so beautiful. It gives the ending of “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One” extra weight too. The adults in the JSA believed in these kids before they believed in themselves. Pat’s hesitance in creating a new JSA pales in comparison to his full support of them when he realizes there’s no way around it. He does everything he can to ensure they safely succeed instead of locking them in a cell. 


That’s what makes Pat’s inability to fight alongside the JSA so heartbreaking. He likely knows they can do it on their own, but he wants to be there to watch their backs and see them win. Pat Dugan is the JSA’s biggest cheerleader. Always has been, always will be. 

Now the JSA has to be on their own in a fight to save millions. Pat’s belief in them can’t be enough to carry them through, they have to believe in themselves. That’s a scary leap of faith, but the JSA has Courtney Whitmore on their side. She is such a strong force for good that it should radiate throughout the team with zero trouble. Though Pat’s absence may make Courtney falter a bit, I have no reason to believe this won’t drive her to rally the team and save the United States of America. Because guess what? Teenagers are more than capable of saving the world, and it’s about time the ISA learns that. 

DC\’s Stargirl — “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E Part One” — Image Number: STG112a_0030r.jpg — Pictured: Amy Smart as Barbara Whitmore — Photo: Jace Downs/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

What about that Superhero Family?

I am basically the biggest fan of the Whitmore-Dugan family becoming a badass, superhero family. My wishes are well on their way to becoming a reality now that Mike is in the loop. Stargirl makes a smart move in filling Mike in on the superhero life off camera. It would have been a waste of time to watch Pat fill Mike in on information we already know and have seen explained multiple times.

Mike’s disappointment in not being chosen by the staff is another clever way to understand Mike’s yearning to be close to his father. The biggest takeaway from his scene with Courtney is that Mike knows Pat is a hero despite not being chosen like Courtney. Mike could follow in his father’s footsteps one day. Trae Romano has done a really great job all season, but especially during this scene. It’s a testament to his talent that we don’t need a scene between Mike and Pat to know how Mike took the information. And I don’t think it is a mistake that Mike is left at home with the dog. It has to be so Mike can make the pup a cape, right? 

Pat and Barbara have a lot of work to do on their relationship, and a lot of that will likely happen next season. However, Barbara is fitting into Team JSA seamlessly, just like I knew she would. Everything about Barbara in this episode is so perfect. Well, not the part where she’s brainwashed by a guy who has a crush on her and his team of terrible people. Barbara fights back against Tigress! The staff protects her! She joins in on the big plan! Barbara roasts Pat for not wanting her to be involved when he’s allowing kids to be involved! How proud she is of Courtney! It’s all so good. 

Other Sparkling Moments:

  • Mike and Rick’s fist bump!
  • I really like the Whitmore-Dugan family cabin.
  • Why is Rick so nice and patient with Justin but not his friends?
  • Beth not knowing who New Kids on the Block are is priceless!
  • Of course the ISA has a manifesto.

What did you think of this week’s episode of Stargirl? Let us know in the comments below!

Stargirl is new Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

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