Courtney recruits some new friends, as we learn of the tragedy that befell Hourman and his family.
Loss is a difficult topic to talk about. How do we deal with it and move on? How do we productively be better and get better, becoming more than the damage we used to be? This episode very much opens on that loss: with the death of Rick Tyler’s parents.
It’s a story of loss that we’ve seen time-and-time again, though for some reason, works really well for this series. I’d even argue it makes for a solid individual pilot episode. It feels heartfelt and looks gorgeous to watch, especially at the Halloween party.
Probably the biggest takeaway from this episode was Rick Tyler and his entire origins story, which I deem worthy of a spinoff or new pilot. It has a similar feel to it as a Batman or Superman origins: parents fleeing and leaving their child in the hands of an inevitable surrogate parent, in this case, Rick’s uncle, Matt.
It’s a sad story that sees Rick grow up as a delinquent, given his reluctant parenting, as his uncle dislikes him for ruining his life. Rick’s obviously, in a PG-13 way that sees him sell alcohol instead of something like drugs, a troubled kid. He is also, much like Courtney (or so she thinks), the child of a JSA member. He is someone who, when given Hourman’s hourglass, gains his abilities of super strength for one hour (not unlike Courtney’s staff and how it reacted/glowed to her presence).
Rick Tyler, whom we learn is really Rick Harris, is the son of Hourman. His tragic origins story: a murder we see (and already know given the bits of ISA history with the league) unfold at the hands of Solomon Grundy, thanks to some help from some JSA technology. Rick is this show’s relatable bad boy and likely love interest. He’s got a thing for cars not unlike Courtney’s stepfather Pat (also the child of a superhero killed by the ISA), is a “reformable bad boy,” and just so happens to be the only male members in Courtney’s team.
Pretty much every sign that he is going to be her romantic interest.
Heroes and Villains
I can’t stress enough this episode is all about assembling the team in a fun way. With Halloween upon them, it is the time for costumes and heroes. Courtney is very much your “Jane Everywoman,” leading the way to assemble and recruit Rick with the help of Yolanda, and, surprisingly, Beth.
Beth, using her wits and following the blatantly obvious trail Courtney leaves behind, finds the truth out about everything. She also stumbles upon goggles: effectively making her the next Doctor Mid-Nite (we all saw this happening for episodes now).
Her story is lacking, as she’s little more than an introverted super genius that seems to annoy everyone in her life away from her. What’s fascinating was that the original Doctor Mid-Nite, Chuck McNider, was blind. To compensate, he created goggles that let him see and know almost everything around him
Beth Chapel inherits these super genius goggles, including the advanced AI that comes with them (aptly also named Chuck). And, though it’s sad no one wants to be Beth’s friend outright, it’s implied that maybe Chuck the AI can help, given how lonely of a character she is.
There is also a villain side story that Pat follows via his leads, though it doesn’t really develop much except that he once again, is one step closer to finding out who the ISA really is. Sadly, we don’t really care as there’s little at stake for him, and we already know/see what they’re doing: bad guy things. Like killing witnesses. And committing evil.
It is generic and moves the plot forward, though it doesn’t feel all that weighted. Likewise, Pat is conveniently finding these clues in this small town by repeatedly investigating things related to car accidents and totaled cars: his profession, which conveniently, keeps setting him on the path to discovering the ISA situation. He also figures out Courtney is still involved in rebuilding the JSA, making Pat really just a tool to eventually unite the JSA/ISA storylines at some point via his involvement.
This episode does a really excellent job with the Hourman backstory history. It’s tragic, high school melodramatic, and noble in a revenge-for-dad kind of fashion. There’s really just a lot to like in this episode, and I think the series really steers the ship well. I also love how this team is mostly a group of superheroines.
The cinematography really steps it up in this one compared to last week too. We get scenic shots, several locations: including a school, farm, and party, and even digital recreations of a tragic moment.
Still, the episode is not without flaws. All this car talk is pretty boring to me (as is Pat’s story on the whole) as is the history behind Blue Valley, which just seems like a regular normal town that’s coincidentally populated by villains.
I like Mike Dugan not doing much. Any scenes where he shuts up and does nothing is excellent at this rate. Meanwhile, Amy Smart is still severely underutilized. Though, I hear both are featured in next week’s B story.