It couldn’t be more evident that we’re heading into a season finale that’ll be on to remember. The “Previously On…” opener is rarely used throughout the season, but it carries a lot of weight before this episode. Of course, that means everything is fair game, and hopefully, no stone will be left unturned. Stargirl 2×12, “Summer School: Chapter Twelve,” provides a lot of hope for that to be true.
This episode is reminiscent of the first season’s penultimate in that it gives everyone a beat to catch their breath and reunite. Still, there is a lot less joy in the air than there was last season. Eclipso looms over the JSA and characters adjacent to it, causing them to make bold moves they’ll all have to reckon with when all is said and done.
Though this episode would have paired nicely with next week’s as a two-hour season finale, “Summer School: Chapter Twelve” avoids being deemed “a filler episode.” It does this through its dedication to finding the emotional tethers of these characters and pulling them to their breaking points. This technique lands better for some characters than others due to the amount of focus given characters had this season.
This Season Needs More Yolanda
Yolanda’s role in this episode is one of its most realistic parts. It’s commendable that this episode orbits around Courtney and Yolanda’s friendship. Without it, there is no chance for Courtney to be her best self in any fight. That sentiment is evident through what the show tells us, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t show it enough this season.
We see Courtney mourn her friendship and having Wildcat at her side. However, that arc could be even more powerful if Stargirl spent more time with Yolanda during this season, no matter how short the scenes may be. There is no time to make up for this lost ground. That’s why this show is lucky to have Yvette Monreal and Brec Bassinger to try and make up for it.
Courtney and Yolanda’s final scene is especially great since it comes off the heels of Yolanda’s unexpected confrontation with Cindy. We know that Yolanda is there to protect Courtney from Cindy, but Courtney only sees the big picture. We see Yolanda’s smile as she looks at the Wildcat cowl; Courtney doesn’t. This level of introspection is what Yolanda deserved all season long, even if it appeared sporadically.
It’s frustrating we’re only getting it now, so long after she gave up Wildcat, in scenes adjacent to Courtney. That feeling only heightens because of how fantastic Yvette Monreal is in that scene with Meg DeLacy‘s Cindy. That scene twists what Yolanda thought on its head, from the story about her photos getting out to Cindy’s perception of her. The beauty of a scene like this is that we’ll never know if Cindy tells the truth or says what she knows will push Yolanda.
Cindy Burman Is the Secret Weapon
DeLacy is delicious in this role, and Stargirl knows that Cindy Burman is a secret weapon too great not to utilize. Her inherent untrustworthiness makes her endlessly fascinating, even if she’s in the background of a scene. Furthermore, DeLacy plays the character with such nuance that it’s impossible not to read into the slightest change in her facial expressions.
Moments like Cindy eating a meal at the Whitmore-Dugan dining table could be sweet or sinister depending on the subtlest of actions and words. At the end of the episode, her phone call can be read as a sign for help for the larger cause or a selfish endeavor to preserve herself. There is no denying Cindy Burman is a survivor, and it’s compelling to watch her find ways to do that throughout the episodes.
This character is exponentially layered, and we see that the most when Cindy is alone during “Summer School: Chapter Twelve.” Namely, DeLacy exemplifies this beautifully as Cindy watches Courtney and Yolanda’s conversation. We can read it a handful of ways, and that makes Stargirl so exciting. Things dull out when characters’ actions become entirely predictable, and Cindy Burman will never be predictable.
Pat Dugan is on the other end of that unpredictable coin in this episode. It’s bizarre to write about Pat compared to Cindy, but Stargirl elegantly draws the comparison of Cindy, who makes decisions because they have to survive with Pat, who does so to help others survive. They’re both willing to go to great lengths and do unspeakable things to get what they think is necessary.
Luke Wilson‘s control of Pat’s tone and physicality makes that scene with Rick’s uncle even more unnerving. Nevertheless, it’s a scene that genuinely leans into the audience’s discomfort by peeling back the layer of a character we thought we knew.
Jakeem Is a Necessary Ray of Sunshine
“Summer School: Chapter Twelve” is another dark episode in a season that keeps wading deeper into those waters. Stargirl brilliantly introduces Jakeem Williams at the same time that it threatens to steal the light from Stargirl herself. Alkoya Brunson‘s Jakeem is a necessary addition to the season in that sense. He’s also the brightest ray of sunshine that will thrive when the dark clouds pass.
Trae Romano and Brunson bounce off each other in a way that now feels nostalgic to the way the JSA used to be last season. That optimism bodes well for the future of the JSA if Eclipso’s plan succeeds. If it doesn’t, Jakeem will fit in just fine alongside the rest of the heroes. His presence also inspires so much hope for Mike’s storyline because he gets to teach the lessons and pass the symbolic torch.
Plus, The Thunderbolt fulfills an even greater wish by bringing the two boys together. Finally, they’re less alone than they’ve been for a while. As the JSA temporarily patches itself back together, it’s moving to watch the beginnings of a new, epic friendship. The score and lighting of Jakeem and Mike’s scenes directly contrast to the cooler tones of the rest of the scenes, which has to be a sign of their future on Stargirl.
After all, friends who wash dishes together save the world together.
Other Spark-tacular Moments:
- The opening focusing on the true star of the show Buddy the dog is the BEST.
- The Shade isn’t dead!
- Barbara trying to parent Cindy
- Barbara bringing Jennie comfort foods
- Every single second of Charles McNider and Beth Chapel
What did you think of Stargirl 2×12, “Summer School: Chapter Twelve”? Let us know in the comments below!
Stargirl airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.