Stargirl 2×05, “Summer School: Chapter Five,” lets us inside the characters’ heads in a whole new way, showing us their greatest fears. This presents us with the sad truth that whether any given teenager is on the new ISA, the new JSA, or neither, they’re all lonely. They’re all looking for a sense of community and control where they didn’t have it before.
Stargirl expertly tells this tale by having Eclipso use Blue Valley’s colorful, resident history teacher as his vessel. While Eclipso explains away his behavior through the guise of a muse, the real issue of autonomy continues to rear its head on a series that should be applauded for the depth in which it approaches even its secondary characters.
Cindy and Making It Personal
Stargirl continues to set up a line between bad and evil, and Eclipso lives on the far end of that spectrum. He uses Cindy’s wishes for basic autonomy against her for his own gain, just like her father did. This continues to paint a sympathetic image of Cindy. It also sets up a fight in which the ISA and JSA fight together against Eclipso.
If that happens, that would be a season finale thing. But the best thing about Stargirl’s villains is how unpredictable they are. Within one episode, Cindy gives up on Cameron joining the ISA. That’s definitely not a fight I pictured Cindy Burman stepping away from so soon, but there’s likely another card up her sleeve.
But there is one factor that she couldn’t predict: Cameron Mahkent. After everything Cindy’s endured, it’s rare to see someone shake her up. But Cameron does during “Summer School: Chapter Five.” In their first scene of the season, Cameron is able to push Cindy so much that Cindy doesn’t even reach for the black diamond.
Instead, Cindy goes with the blades implanted in her wrists. She goes with the weapon on her physical form because what Cameron says is personal. She tries to appeal to what she believes to be the inherent darkness in him (being a legacy and all) and fails. Yet, Cameron is able to appeal to that in her. He flips that loneliness she’s trying to pull out of him back onto her.
That’s the clearest sign that this isn’t the end between Cindy and Cameron. This scene was too good for it to be their last “showdown.” If he can make Cindy more vulnerable, then Cindy will see him as a threat rather than a potential partner. This is only the beginning for them. After the performance that Meg DeLacy and Hunter Sansone give in just that one scene, I can’t wait to see what they bring to Stargirl next.
Cameron and the Power of Art
As a One Tree Hill fanatic, it’s difficult for me not to draw some parallels between Cameron/Courtney and Peyton/Lucas. Hopefully, the former’s relationship is healthier than the latter, but Courtney has yet to tell Cameron. the truth about his father. So I may be asking for too much too soon.
Regardless, Courtney telling Cameron that it would be selfish for him to keep his art to himself and Cameron telling her, “You always leave” is very Leyton. It’s so close to “You art matters” and “People always leave.” Because of those comparisons, I can’t help but believe there is still a chance for a happy ending for these two.
It’s still so early in both of their journies, so I don’t want to get too ahead of the story Stargirl is telling. For now, it’s compelling to watch the ways in which Cameron’s art allows him to be vulnerable. Just like every other kid in Blue Valley it seems, he has experienced so much loss. It would’ve been understandable for that to harden Cameron.
Instead, it makes him more inclined to share his feelings rather than bottle them up. Despite all the bad things Icicle did, Stargirl does a great job of making us feel for Cameron’s loss of his father, Jordan Mahkent. That person is someone entirely different from the man we saw last season. To Cameron, he was a man who did what he could for his family and his town.
It’s through Cameron’s art that we get to see that man. We see a man who could be beautifully rendered through vibrant colors on the side of a building, a man worthy of that kind of memory. Similarly, Cameron’s sketches of Courtney represent her in a certain way. Cameron’s art is pure and true to the vision of the people he thinks he knows.
The irony is not lost in Courtney being Cameron’s muse. For once, he opens up to someone he so visibly cares about, and waiting for that other shoe to drop is excruciating. He’s already pretty alone in Blue Valley, and it’s heartbreaking to think how that could escalate when the truth reveals itself.
Hopefully, Stargirl utilizes Cameron as someone who can exist between the JSA and the ISA for a little while longer. His ability to reach members of both groups is unique and could prove interesting dynamics moving forward. Plus, this show is great at examining the grey areas in these characters. Cameron could be that between the ISA and JSA.
For now, in “Summer School: Chapter Five,” it’s wonderful to watch Cameron bring colorful art and personal expression to Blue Valley in the face of Eclispo (and The Shade) trying to stomp that out of existence with literal darkness.
The JSA and Their Fears
Eclipso rears his nasty head in some of the best visual effects I’ve seen on the DCTV shows on The CW in a long time. He’s the epitome of creepy, but he’s also the epitome of terrifying. Those are different things and somehow Eclipso has the unique ability to excel at both. The scenes in which he makes the JSA see their worst nightmares are so well done.
Brec Bassinger, Yvette Monreal, Anjelika Washington, and Cameron Gellman bring so much to those scenes that it’s easy to feel suffocated and overwhelmed alongside their characters. The lasting trauma Yolanda lives with after killing Brainwave to avenge Henry is especially difficult to watch at the lockers with Brainwave’s face are one thing.
Eclipso takes a deeper cut by having Henry’s face on some of them, too. It’s a reminder that even if Yolanda’s physical headaches are better or gone, she will always live with what she did. She always lives with that loss. The same can be said for Rick but from a slightly different perspective now that more appears to be being revealed about Grundy.
There’s a brief moment in the flashback about Rick’s parents’ death when it appears as though Grundy is as shocked to see them as they are to see him. This could mean that Grundy accidentally killed his parents. Regardless, there is a guilt that comes with helping Grundy. That debate in Rick’s mind is so intriguing that hopefully, the show will explore it more explicitly in the upcoming episodes.
Poor Beth is doing everything she can to hold everything together. It’s so hard to watch her give so much of herself to her parents when they can’t even spare a few seconds to explain to her what is going on. Beth deserves better than she’s getting. Beth’s loneliness is hers, but it would be nice to see if this path leads her to a heart-to-heart with Mike, as Yolanda had with him.
It is arguable that Courtney doesn’t experience the effects of Eclipso’s visions because of the stuff. Personally, I believe she does experience a personal nightmare in seeing her friends face theirs and not being able to help right away. Courtney carries a lot of weight on her shoulders, and she has to know she can’t save everyone. After Henry, she has to know that.
Nevertheless, that won’t stop Courtney from doing everything she can to protect her friends from the pain they experienced because of Eclipso. It’s scary to imagine the ways in which Eclipso will use Courtney’s love for her friends and family as a means to break her spirit and steal her light. Thankfully, the JSA is growing closer and closer with each episode, and they are stronger together.
Other Spark-tacular Moments:
- Pat sitting in the corner of Courtney’s room made me laugh because you just know he sat there for so long.
- Cameron’s grandparents freak me out, which makes me like them even more.
- Rick backing Beth up is something so personal to me.
- All of the stop signs at the junkyard was such a great touch.
- Dr. Ito remains one of the creepiest villains ever to appear son this show.
- Did anyone else cry when Mike realized that Barbara was in his corner?
What did you think of Stargirl 2×05 “Summer School: Chapter Five”? Let us know in the comments below!
Stargirl airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.