brainwave
DC's Stargirl -- "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One" -- Image Number: STG112a_0r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): -- Photo: Mark Hill/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

‘Stargirl’ Episode 12 Review: “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One”

The ISA execute their plans for a better America. Now on the run, the team has one last assembly where Rick makes a breakthrough. The final showdown begins.

Stargirl is a show that’s seen a lot of solid character journeys and surprises. Though, to be honest, the actual plot has never really been its strongest suit. Something which becomes evident here in its penultimate episode. The biggest and brightest takeaway of this episode is that everyone is finally doing stuff! And I’m talking about both the heroes and the villains. Sportsmaster, Tigress, Barbara, and even Mike, all finally have tasks to complete!

The problem with this episode lies in the big bad guys’ great and evil plot: world domination. All in a manner, we’ve seen overused in superhero tropes so many times before. Though, there is a pleasant surprise with the list of demands. We also get yet another surprising death, which I think the show does a fantastic job in terms of keeping its audience on our toes.

Spoilers below.

 

Amy Smart as Barbara Whitmore
DC’s Stargirl “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One’ Amy Smart as Barbara Whitmore – Photo: Jace Downs/The CW

Family Butt-kicking

One of the oddly convenient things about this series is how just about every hero and villain has a child that’s more-or-less their inevitable groomed replacement, which creates a lot of superhero/supervillain families you’d think would have more battles together. I’m talking Ito and Shiv, Sportsmaster/Tigress/Artemis, and, of course, Brainwave and… Um… never mind.

But that’s okay because where the villains falter in utilizing these pairings, the heroes do a pretty awesome job within this one. As Mike and Pat kick some seriously close but eventually effective, Sportsmaster butt using the power of drills. And Courtney and Barbara kick Tigress’ butt. Her mother now sees the value Courtney has in being Stargirl.

This all happens very early, but, to be honest, it’s not only some of the best fights yet again, but it’s also solid moments of character.

 

Bad Guys

It’s strange, but the further we get along with Stargirl, the more evident it becomes that the badguys tend to be rather… self-destructive. An odd habit, given that they’d cooperated for years after defeating the JSA.

As Cindy is reprimanded by Brainwave, who doesn’t trust her and blames Henry’s death on her (because had they known he had powers they could’ve turned him early… even though Brainwave is the one who killed his own son). He also mentions Cindy is not loved by her own dad and how everyone sees her as the girl, who’s a failed experiment.

Oh and Sportsmaster and Tigress are called bad parents to Artemis by Anaya Bowin (the principal/the Fiddler) who is then murdered by the pair. Again, bad guys keep imploding. It’s also pretty evident that Icicle really wanted to make Barbara his new wife so he seems distant though overall: accepting of needing to get the job done. I do have a feeling he’s going to spare Stargirl and have a bit of redemption towards the end though, mostly, because Season 2 needs some of the villain’s parents to survive.

Again, I iterate, lots of supervillain parents with soon-to-be-hopeful supervillain children, as I’m sure we’ll discover with the Fiddler’s son, who’s now an orphan.

Anyway, the great big bad plan: turns out is actually, a pretty good plan. A new constitution battling global warming, embracing solar power, bequeathing universal healthcare, and getting rid of discrimination. It also only affects adults and will kill the expected 25% of the population who’ll resist.

 

The Kinda-Ridiculous

Even though I mostly like all these things listed so far, there’s still quite a lot of poor plotting in my opinion. For one, the means to the end for the big bads is just an amplification machine that’s like Cerebro from X-Men. With it, Brainwave could hear all the evil voices of people at once and mind control/kill them., in what’s just a blatant rip-off of Brian Singer’s X-Men 2.

This is not the first time Stargirl has done this. We also had a ‘look who’s coming to dinner’ moment that was a somewhat ripoff of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man when Norman came to visit and he notices the gash on Peter’s wrist, revealing he’s Spider-Man (Same concept in Stargirl except in reverse, the not-so-burning hands revealing Icicle).

Atop of this, we see the cost of this not-Cerebro device: a melted pre-frontal cortex and a spinal cord turned to slush,if it for some reason, fails. Now, it’s known Dr. Ito leaves almost all of his test subjects messed up, including his own daughter. Why does Brainwave agrees to this?

I don’t know, just to move the plot forward really. It’s also incredibly silly to me that for someone so adamant in seeing through Icicle’s dreams of a better tomorrow, it’s so obvious his leader’s going to hesitate. And that small glimmer of reluctance, for a psychic who believes all humanity is shitty, should be enough of a red flag to maybe not risk death and paralysis to use this device just yet…

But again, none of that matters. He agrees, and then we go.

Also, even though Mike saved the day with his drill, I’ll openly still say: he still sucks on this show. A whining brat with no development.

 

Joy Osmanski as Tigress
DC’s Stargirl “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One’ Joy Osmanski as Tigress – Photo: Jace Downs/The CW

Final Thoughts

The twist about the villains having noble goals is nice, even if it may sacrifice 25 million people. I like how the team all contributes in this episode. I don’t like how convenient it all seems to be wrapping. Finally, I’ll admit that the “Watchmen” approach with: I executed my plan 30 minutes ago was appealing, but, yet again, another plot device stolen from another superhero movie.

Still, I am interested in seeing how this all ends. Tune in next week to find out.

 

 

 

About Christian Angeles

Christian Angeles is a screenwriter who likes sharing stories and getting to meet people. He also listens to words on the page via audible and tries to write in ways that make people feel things. All on a laptop. Sometimes from an app on his phone.

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