Stargirl 3×06, “Frenemies – Chapter Six: The Betrayal,” is one of the strongest episodes of the season so far due to how it uses its superhero drama to accentuate the characters’ mundane connections. The latter usually falls away to make more room for the former. Finally, this episode finds the balance all of Season 3 yearns to achieve, creating more hope for the remainder of the season — just like Stargirl would want.
“Frenemies – Chapter Six: The Betrayal” still struggles to narrowly define or circle back to the individual arcs for an overwhelming amount of its ensemble. There’s no follow-up on Yolanda’s family’s financial situation and the pressure it puts on her. Stargirl still has no word on Rick’s quest with Grundy, let alone his housing situation. Additionally, Mike and Jakeem can’t shake the confines of being supporting characters.
Nevertheless, Stargirl‘s entire cast delivers dialed-in, moving performances in this whirlwind episode. For example, Meg DeLacy‘s control of Cindy’s vulnerability is impressive, and that final scene with Brec Bassinger and Joel McHale is a standout in the season so far. The cast’s talent, the intentional choices in the writing, and Lea Thompson‘s direction cohesively create one of Stargirl‘s best ventures yet.
Pat and Barbara’s team-up is such a breath of fresh air for Stargirl because it has been ages since the married couple shared a scene. Their walk and talk to the Mahkents’ house — plus all the awkward and fun energy they bring to the table with Cameron’s grandparents — shows that Luke Wilson and Amy Smart are still one of the most underrated duos.
The show often uses Pat and Barbara as stabilizing forces, which they still are in “Frenemies – Chapter Six: The Betrayal,” but this recon mission allows Wilson and Smart to lean back on their comedic chops. It cuts the scene’s tension in half, despite Cameron’s grandmother’s best efforts, and makes Stargirl feel like a family dramedy in the best ways.
Regarding guidance and leadership, Pat and Barbara are Stargirl‘s north stars. This episode finds entertaining ways to weave that into other stories, much like Barbara and Sylvester’s discussion in the prior episode. Pat standing outside Courtney’s door during their conversation just in case he needs to rein Sylvester in is a supreme example.
In a way only Wilson can, his performance elevates the weight of the script’s direction that Pat walks away. Sylvester and Courtney don’t need Pat at that moment. The latter’s crushing realization hits when Courtney tells Pat that she doesn’t know where she’d be without Sylvester, knowing Sylvester and Courtney wouldn’t be anywhere without Pat.
That scene between Pat and Courtney is one of many examples that “Frenemies – Chapter Six: The Betrayal” uses angst as a narrative tool. Angst is typical on most shows, especially those featuring this many teenagers. Stargirl knows when it’s best to utilize it, like in Courtney and Cameron’s scenes. Their star-crossed lovers’ storyline caters to angst.
Courtney’s kind words guiding Cameron through his powers only for an ice sculpture of Jonathan Mahkent to stand between them is intentionally angsty. It’s also dramatic and messy in the image of most teen relationships and gains an extra sharpness through Icicle. Hence, their scenes are some of the best balance of YA and superhero drama.
“Frenemies – Chapter Six: The Betrayal” finds another slightly less effective example in the only one-on-one Beth and Yolanda scene this season. In it, Stargirl provides practical details that fill in blanks in the JSA’s friendships — Yolanda climbing through their bedroom windows. More importantly, it grants depth to Beth and Yolanda’s dynamic.
Their dynamic seriously lacks consistency on the show, but this scene is a step in the right direction. It gives them a beat to check in with each other genuinely. Stargirl Season 3 gifts fans a short and sweet Hournite scene that builds on others like it that deepen Beth and Rick’s dynamic, but Beth and Yolanda don’t get the same treatment — until now.
Stargirl must strengthen the pairings between the Justice Society members so the fallout of this episode’s betrayal (and any that follow) is effective. Unfortunately, “Frenemies – Chapter Six: The Betrayal” loses momentum with Rick and Beth’s disappointment in Courtney. Those connections are weaker than Courtney and Yolanda’s.
Though not much this season, the series authentically builds Courtney and Yolanda’s friendship. Bassinger and Yvette Monreal carry the characters through their highs and lows together and separately. Courtney’s secrets from Yolanda cut deep because of the time Stargirl spends with them leading up to this argument.
Similarly, the show does wonders for Courtney and Cindy’s complicated trust in each other after the Shadowlands. DeLacy’s line delivery of “And I hope he wins” somehow encapsulates the characters’ history and uses the line to shift into a new era where Cindy stops trying to prove herself. It’s heartbreaking because Cindy just wants acceptance.
Hence why, Cindy wants to explain herself, not fight. That fight sequence between Monreal and DeLacy is some of Stargirl‘s best work, as it speaks as dialogue would. It bleeds into Cindy’s refusal to use her blades until Yolanda cuts deeper with the comment that Cindy is like her father. It’s the perfect collision of teen drama and superhero woes.
The final conversation between Courtney and Sylvester is a long time coming for both of them. Everything about this scene is exquisite. The motivation for framing specific figures in a certain way is spectacular: Pat outside the door and Sylvester sitting while Courtney stands. This scene has so many moving parts, and all of them work, which is no small feat.
Stargirl is unabashedly good at executing fight sequences, and this scene proves (again) that it can be great at grounded, heavier scenes, too. Sylvester hasn’t always been the best player this season, let alone a team player, but this scene puts his newly turned leaf into action. Everything about Bassinger and McHale’s performance shines.
Their physicality, their breathing, their line delivery — it’s all superb. Also, the content of Sylvester and Courtney’s discussion comes at such a necessary time for them, which intentionally arrives about halfway through the season. Sylvester needs to open up more to grant him a more sympathetic perspective, and Courtney needs a different perspective.
“Frenemies – Chapter Six: The Betrayal” strikes an emotional chord with this Courtney and Sylvester scene. After the one with Cindy, it’s like an extra gut punch. This episode improves some of Season 3’s shortcomings with characters and dynamics, boding well that Stargirl will fire on all cylinders in the two-part Infinity Inc. event and beyond.
Other Sparktacular Moments:
- Mister Bones completing a puzzle of himself is iconic.
- Barbara trying to read the card on the flowers Cameron sent Courtney
- Mike and Jakeem bringing chocolates and flowers to Cindy
- Mike juicing
- Every comedic choice Anjelika Washington makes in that final scene
- The Crocks being present even when they’re not physically present
- Rick throwing a van because he’s 24-Hourman now
What did you think of Stargirl 3×06, “Frenemies – Chapter Six: The Betrayal?” Let us know in the comments below!
Stargirl airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.