Stargirl pulls none of its punches and delivers an episode on par with a season finale with 2×06 “Summer School: Chapter Six.” The explosive and technical choreography in an epic showdown between the ISA and the JSA is only the beginning of a fantastic episode in an already great season.
This episode carries its momentum until the very last second, never missing a beat. The extravagant action sequence doesn’t take away from the character development present in “Summer School: Chapter Six.” Those grounded moments don’t work adjacent to the choreography but through it. It’s incredible to watch.
Not So Different After All
“Summer School: Chapter Six” draws stark parallels between members of the JSA and the ISA to remind us that they are simply kids. Seeing how this is incorporated in the choreography, specifically with Artemis Crock, is so fascinating. It’s already cool to see her sport her dad’s costume.
It’s even funnier to see the way she falls back on age-old classics as any teenager would. She literally dunks Rick’s head in a toilet at one point. Artemis still has more empathy than her parents (that isn’t reserved for their daughter) since she spares Pat out of the kindness of her heart. She does do it in consideration of her parents, but at least some things are consistent. The Crocks are ride or die for each other.
For that reason, it’s thrilling to see Stargirl pair up Beth and Artemis, and hopefully, this isn’t the last time the two share the screen. Until then, there is plenty to unpack with the budding friendship between Beth and Rick. The JSA started as a group of misfit coworkers. They’re only starting to work together as a team. The found family vibes are beginning to emerge, as well.
The dynamic between Rick and Beth is one to watch during “Summer School: Chapter Six.” Rick is the first person she calls after her dad blows her off. Then, Rick steps in front of her to save her life. Stargirl is building something between these two, and even if it is just a strong, stable friendship, I am here for it.
Even the potential for a different dynamic between Courtney and Cindy is so promising after this episode. They start on opposite sides of that fight, but by the end, Courtney doesn’t even hesitate to try to save Cindy. Cindy is angry and vengeful, but that’s a lot more than other people in her life ever do for her. It’s hard to think that one gesture will let those two have a clean slate, but it could be a step in the right direction.
Because let’s be honest, Cindy Burman is not dead.
Rooting for The Shade
Eclipso makes it so that The Shade is never the worst villain in the room, but Jonathan Cake‘s performance makes it so that The Shade is one of the most intriguing characters in every room. It’s also interesting how The Shade remains between the two groups until Eclipso throws him towards the JSA. There is so much nuance to The Shade. He is obviously self-serving, but he’s also someone with a moral code.
This is expertly portrayed by the look in The Shade’s eyes when Eclipso uses Cindy to come out of the black diamond. He looks scared for Cindy and for what’s to come. Stargirl even sprinkles in some exposition when Eclipso says The Shade gets his abilities from Eclipso’s home. There’s a history there that we don’t know about, that maybe even Pat doesn’t know about.
This means there is still plenty of time for Stargirl to throw us a curveball and make The Shade as sinister and unforgivable as Eclipso, but that doesn’t seem like The Shade’s look. There are too many black and white heroes and villains on DCTV shows. The likes of Cindy Burman and now The Shade make the stories more interesting because they keep everyone on their toes.
The Shade didn’t consume Isaac Bowin’s soul. So when it comes down to Eclipso and The Shade, for now, I am rooting for the latter.
The Whitmore-Dugan Family
The involvement of Mike in “Summer School: Chapter Six” evolves from him being the bait to him realizing he wants to step up for himself in such an organic way. It never feels rushed. Mike being bait never feels like a plot device to bring the ISA and the JSA together because of the groundwork Season 2 has laid for this moment of truth.
Mike isn’t wrong to want to protect himself from people like Cindy in the future, especially after nearly being killed a handful of times during this episode alone. It’s even more refreshing that he doesn’t wish for powers by the episode’s end, he wants something that can shield him and help others, just like Pat. Stargirl does a fantastic job of not trivializing Pat’s role in the JSA. It never looks down on S.T.R.I.P.E. That’s driven home by Mike wanting his own robot as a viable way for him to stand alongside heroes.
Plus, Mike admitting he’s scared at his father’s bedside after they’ve both been attacked by angry teenagers is a harrowing image that reinforces how young Mike is. He’s just a kid who wants to look out for himself and his family, and he also wants his dad to hold his hand and tell him that everything is going to be okay. Even though Pat is concussed, Luke Wilson shows up for Trae Romano in that scene. The vulnerability is there.
Similarly, Brec Bassinger and Amy Smart‘s heart-to-hearts in that hospital room are some of the most emotionally charged scenes of the episode and the season thus far. It’s rare that Courtney allows her optimism to waver, but it’s great to know she is comfortable letting her guard down around Barbara. It’s also satisfying to see Barb give Courtney a pep talk when she needs it the most.
Even heroes need people in their corner. That’s why it’s satisfying to think of a time when Pat and Mike can fight alongside each other. It’s even nice to think of a time, down the line, when Pat spends more time offering advice from The Pit Stop. In that future, Mike would be in the robot out with the JSA. Courtney and Mike’s scenes in this episode are so perfect that there have to be more in Stargirl‘s future.
The future is bright for this group and this series, despite Eclipso stealing the light from the staff. Leave it to Stargirl to bring people the light in a fight for their souls.
Other Spark-tacular Moments:
- The way the camera plays with depth to amp up those horror vibes by bringing the photo of Jordan closer and closer to Beth is well done.
- Pat and Courtney being on the same page so muich that they say “Meet you at The Pit Stop” in unison is my favorite thing.
- Beth has a color-coded guide to save her parents’ marriage, because of course she does.
- Mike finding and using the toaster that Yolanda tried out her Wildcat nails is a fantastic callback.
- Shout out to Stargirl for addressing Mike’s growth spurt between seasons.
- Yolanda briefly running on all fours reminded me of when the werewolves used to do that on Teen Wolf.
- Why are the doors to this high school never locked?
- Cindy’s outfits never miss.
- It’s so cool to see more of Beth’s powers.
- Can someone give Cameron Mahkent a hug? Poor guy.
- The staff getting as excited as Courtney to see Mike is precious.
What did you think of Stargirl 2×06 “Summer School: Chapter Six”? Let us know in the comments below!
Stargirl airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.