Stargirl Season 1 Episode 13, “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two,” is a worthy finale to a remarkable season. It contains so many elements that make superhero TV shows so great. Beyond that, an appropriate number of loose ends are tied up just in time for the introduction of new mysteries. The desire to know the answers to those mysteries should be enough to hold fans over until 2021. That’s when Stargirl returns exclusively to The CW for its second season. Until then, there is plenty to discuss about that jam-packed season finale!
We Are Family
It would be a mistake not to rave about Courtney calling herself Pat’s daughter. It’s such a powerful, well-earned moment. Pat returns the gesture on top of the tower, and it’s just as moving. It’s the first step to Courtney calling Pat “Dad,” and I couldn’t be more here for it. To make the moment even more special, it’s Courtney’s love for Pat that pulls him out of Brainwave’s mind control. This goes hand and hand with Stargirl’s overall themes of optimism and love. It doesn’t feel like a cheap shot to get sentimental, because Stargirl’s heart is its strength.
That’s why it’s so great to see the JSA join the Whitmore-Dugan family for Christmas festivities. They’re a part of the family now, and that’s only going to make them stronger during their next fight. Although, Pat’s mind might be split next time around if the Sylvester Pemberton (Joel McHale) we see at the very end of “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two” is the same Starman Pat knew. If Sylvester isn’t a dangerous doppelganger or mind-controlled minion, it’s safe to bet Pat will need some time to process the news that his best friend is back from the (assumed) dead.
This may lead to the JSA looking a bit different next season. The JSA didn’t have to fight that long without Pat in the corner during “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two,” but it’s unrealistic to believe that will always happen. Plus, it would be really cool to see how the JSA works without Pat now that they’re more familiar with moving as a unit.
A Dark Side
My optimism for where the JSA is headed next season is already complicated by the developments made for Rick and Yolanda during this episode. Just a few scenes after warning against killing anyone, Yolanda kills Brainwave when he presents himself as Henry Jr. I did not see any of this coming, which makes me believe Stargirl didn’t spend enough time with Yolanda throughout her grieving process. Yolanda is capable of wielding great fury and strength, but killing someone crosses a lot of lines. That darkness isn’t easily shakable, and that is seen by Yolanda’s physical distance from the rest of the team during the scene on the bleachers.
It is rewarding to see Yolanda avenge Henry Jr. I just wish it went another way for her, because Stargirl didn’t give enough of a look at Yolanda to believe she wanted to avenge Henry this way. Stargirl could be relying on the shock value for that scene, since it is such a seismic shift for the character. This is directly paralleled with Rick’s decision to spare Grundy, rather than violently kill him like Rick’s vowed to do basically all season. (Side note: Does this mean Grundy freely roams the Earth now?)
Where Yolanda’s change moves her to a darker place, Rick’s brings him closer to the light. This is also unfortunate because Stargirl shows a new side of Rick when it’s almost too late. Sparing Grundy is definitely a heroic move, but Rick isn’t the first one to be heroic out of the JSA. Rick’s treatment of his friends and team members isn’t great. It’s only after he realizes that taking Grundy’s life won’t change anything that he starts to be kinder. It’s unfortunate that Rick must be pushed to the brink of murder in order to extend some kindness to his friends and himself.
Season 1 of Stargirl is mostly Courtney and Pat’s origin story, so I can rationalize the way the show prioritizes certain stories. Although, it would have only benefited Stargirl to include a few more scenes with Yolanda and Rick to help these massive shifts land a little better.
The New ISA
Stargirl introduces a new band of super villains during “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two.” This time Cindy aka Shiv leads the way. This is one of the smartest moves Stargirl makes during this finale. It’s disappointing that Justin doesn’t get to take out Dragon King, but Cindy’s revenge is just as great. After all, Dr. Ito is definitely not Father of the Year. (Obviously, that award goes to Pat Dugan every year.)
Mike’s perfect timing in shattering Icicle into a thousand pieces is proof enough that Mike needs to be inducted as a permanent member of the JSA. Stargirl doesn’t give any definitive answers about Sportsmaster and Tigress, which can’t be a mistake. Cameron’s absence from the finale is odd considering Stargirl follows through with Isaac Bowin and his tuba. Maybe Stargirl wants to keep fans guessing about which side Cameron will join when he inevitably finds out about his father’s double life.
I am sad to see Christopher James Baker (Brainwave) and Neil Jackson (Icicle) go, because they’re extremely talented. Jackson’s work as Jordan Mahkent in this episode is heartbreaking and unnerving all at once. It’s a captivating scene.
However, it’s time for the JSA to face off against people their own age. I’ve expressed my discomfort with grown adults, specifically men, targeting children since Stargirl Season 1 Episode 2, “S.T.R.I.P.E.” It’s avoidable because there is a perfectly compelling and deserving super villain in Shiv. Hopefully Stargirl Season 2 utilizes that like “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two” suggests it will.
Teasing Eclipso and Shade is enough to keep viewers on their toes. It casts enough of a shadow over Blue Valley to know the JSA will need to suit up again…soon. I have faith that the JSA can handle what’s next. “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two” is all the proof I need to know that hope and heart always prevail.
Other Shining Moments:
- Did anyone else freak out about Lexi Rabe aka Morgan Stark from the MCU being on Stargirl? I know I did!
- Yolanda calling Justin the Silent Knight is so perfect.
- I cheered when Courtney said, “I don’t have time for this,” and blasted Cindy with the staff.
- I’m going to need some answers about Chuck as soon as possible.
- There’s not enough good things to say about the ways Yolanda and Courtney save each other over the course of the season.
- Stargirl is going to check up on Justin’s mission to find the other Seven Soldiers of Victory, right?
What did you think of this week’s episode of Stargirl? Let us know in the comments below!
Stream every episode of Stargirl Season 1 for free only on The CW.