Stargirl 3×10, “Frenemies – Chapter Ten: The Killer,” feels the chilling effects of this superhero drama barreling towards its series finale. After an explosive fight, the show needs a balanced episode, granting the characters time and space to climb out from the rubble. Instead, just shy of its eleventh hour, Stargirl formerly introduces a villain that gets overshadowed by the episode’s finale reveal: Jordan Mahkent is alive.
“Frenemies – Chapter Ten: The Killer” has some great character beats that build on series-long arcs, like the evolution of Pat and Sylvester’s friendship and partnership. Unfortunately, the majority land as well as Mike and Jakeem after Cindy cuts them free from the net trap. The characters and their relationships often get lost in the episode’s pacing and the narratives it chooses to prioritize, like Cameron’s grandparents.
Cameny’s Frozen Sparks
Cameron’s grandparents’ profound grief affects how they raise Cameron and what they choose to share with Cameron about his abilities and his father. That context is essential to understanding Cameron, but, more often than not, Stargirl prioritizes Sofus and Lily’s perspectives more than it does Cameron’s point of view. That disjointed approach undercuts the confrontation and break-up between Courtney and Cameron.
After two seasons of build-up, Stargirl Season 3 finally brings Courtney and Cameron together, but the show doesn’t slow down long enough to let them be together. The past seasons inform their dynamic in that there will always be a forbidden factor in their relationship and underlying tension as long as the truth stays hidden about Jordan’s death. “Frenemies – Chapter Ten: The Killer” confirms that strain will only evolve.
However, Stargirl loses the effectiveness of that fundamental strain because of its insufficient follow-through with Cameron and Courtney’s relationship before the breakup. Hunter Sansone, specifically, brings a lot of emotion — frustration, grief, pain — to the scene when Courtney lies again (to protect Mike) about Jordan’s killer. Still, that strong performance doesn’t retroactively grant Camney more consistency or depth.
Stargirl‘s third and now final season never gives Courtney and Cameron the space to exist in their relationship. There’s a brief moment of bliss after their first kiss, but then the show quickly intensifies the underlying issues of their dynamic to fracture the Justice Society of America — again. There’s little time left for Stargirl to repair this relationship; if it does, it’s unclear what Camney will look like when it does or if it’s worth it.
Similarly, Stargirl hits a snag with Beth and Rick’s dynamic in “Frenemies – Chapter Ten: The Killer.” Of course, the expectations for Hournite are high, considering their comic-book counterparts. However, regardless of that external interpretation, the lack of consistent, on-screen presence of independent narratives for Rick and Beth undercuts that anticipation. Although, the brevity of their storylines could be circumstantial.
Presumably, Stargirl didn’t intend for this season to be the last, so maybe the narratives unfold at a different rate than the show initially intended. Without that consideration, it’s strange for the season to place so much emphasis on Sylvester Pemberton that his arc is more clearly defined than Beth and Yolanda’s journeys. Rick’s has more definition because of the deteriorating hourglass, which reaches a fever pitch in this episode.
The implications of Beth bringing Rick to her house and him agreeing to an examination by her mother work in favor of Hournite’s dynamic. It subtextually informs Rick’s unique trust in Beth, but a scene of this intensity coming so late in Stargirl‘s run emphasizes the need for more of them. Beth’s searches for Dragon King’s labs are off-screen; there’s still no word on where Rick lives, though Stargirl reveals as much for Yolanda.
Rick’s increasingly worrying behavior deserves more than it gets. He’s a core member of the JSA that the show builds itself around, and this narrative deserves more weight in the overall series. Beth cares about what’s happening with Rick, but Stargirl needs to show that it cares, too. Ultimately, whether or not the show commits to Hournite, the hourglass is a metaphor for Rick’s mental health, and that story deserves more time.
The Ultra-Humanite Reveal
Stargirl‘s final run would have more time to divide among its core characters if it didn’t introduce Ultra-Humanite with three episodes left in its run. This reveal may be fun to some fans who know DC comics well and could theorize that Ultra-Humanite would appear. However, Stargirl Season 3 presents itself as a murder mystery, and part of what makes a murder mystery fun is deducing who is behind all of it.
While “Frenemies – Chapter Ten: The Killer” doesn’t explicitly confirm that Ultra-Humanite murdered The Gambler, it does name the character as “one of the most powerful” opponents the JSA ever faced in an episode called, in part, “The Killer.” That contextual evidence implies that if the Ultra-Humanite isn’t the killer, the character plays a vital role in the murder mystery, and there’s something a bit cheap in that reveal.
Stargirl viewers without prior knowledge of Ultra-Humanite would never guess that the character would be a part of a Blue Valley murder mystery. That disconnect becomes even stronger with the reveal that Jordan Mahkent is alive because that reveal, though eerie and shocking in its execution, is more surmisable and rewarding than Ultra-Humanite. Plus, Icicle is easily one of Stargirl‘s best villains — if not the best.
The Crocks’ Chilling Ending
The unfortunate — and deadly — side effect of Icicle’s return is that it comes at the demise of Larry and Paula. Surprisingly, “Frenemies – Chapter Ten: The Killer” doesn’t play it coy about their deaths from the jump. The episode’s opening establishes a false sense of normalcy at the Crocks’ house (where every detail is perfectly in character) and might as well be a flashing sign of the couple’s impending doom.
Every beat of their story in “Frenemies – Chapter Ten: The Killer” seals the deal — from trying to appeal to the Mahkents’ good side to Artemis’ news about being college football’s first female quarterback. However, their deaths fly in the face of Season 3’s central theme of helping bad guys break good, which might be the point. Their deaths don’t erase the good Larry and Paula accomplish, yet it undercuts the false certainty of a better future.
Larry Crock and Paula Brooks are two of the ISA members that Stargirl closely follows throughout the ebbs and flows of their attempts to become better citizens since Season 1. Brainwave, Icicle, and The Gambler died, but Larry and Paula stayed. The series shows them putting in the work. So in that sense, Stargirl knows their death will burn because of the connection they’ve built with the other characters and the viewers.
Their deaths succeed in that regard; Jordan’s icicle to Larry and Paula’s chests feels like a twist to the viewers’ collective gut. It’s a devastating blow in the episode’s final minutes, proving Stargirl will not slow down, even when it should. It raises questions about Jordan’s return, concerns bout how the last episodes will handle Paula and Larry’s deaths, and whether there are, once again, too many villains in Blue Valley.
Despite all those questions, a few things are certain. Joy Osmanski and Neil Hopkins are two of Stargirl‘s greatest gifts. Until that last heartbreaking moment of Paula and Larry dying side by side, those two are a dynamic duo that never disappoints. They went out swinging, which is entirely expected and makes saying goodbye all the more challenging.
Other Sparktacular Moments:
- The unexpected Imagine Dragons song
- “Because home is where the heart is” coming from The Thunderbolt
- The Thunderbolt casually confirming that Batman exists in this universe
- Courtney having Jakeem’s phone number
- Every time Sylvester is actually a good friend to Pat
- Pat hugging Mike, and Mike calling Pat “dad”
- “It sounds like a UFO.”
What did you think of Stargirl 3×10, “Frenemies – Chapter Ten: The Killer?” Let us know in the comments below!
Stargirl airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
Icicle is dead. Ultra Humanite is possessing his body and Sylvester’s.