REVIEW: Stargirl Season 2 Episode 2

Stargirl Season 2 Episode 2 introduces a classic DC hero to the series, as well as teasing multiple threats that may overrun the JSA’s resources.

The newest episode of Stargirl picks up in the aftermath of Courtney’s fight with Jade, the young woman who claims to be the daughter of Alan Scott aka The Green Lantern. While Courtney doesn’t trust her, Pat is willing to believe it and the family offers her a place to stay for the night while they sort everything out.

It is still odd that this is Jade’s first appearance in any medium outside comics. She has never appeared in a cartoon, a direct-to-video animated film, or anything. She is a popular character among DC Comics fans and has a great character design. It seems odd it took this long. Introduced in All-Star Squadron #25 in September 1983, Jade was created by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway as the daughter of Alan Scott and Rose Canton, who was a supervillain named Thorn. Jade and her brother Todd were given up for adoption due to Rose thinking she would hurt her kids, and the two were separated in the foster care system. Todd grows up to become the superhero Obsidian (who was played by Aliens star Lance Henricksen in the Arrowverse series Legends of Tomorrow, which featured a pre- Crisis on Infinite Earth incarnation of Stargirl and the JSA). The series appears to keep Jade’s early origin with some minor tweaks that actually work better for the adaptation.

Here, Jade (going by her civilian name Jenny) is a kid who grows out of the foster care system that just put her out on her own. This contrasts quite well with Courtney. She is envious of Jade in the fact that she is the daughter of a JSA member, which is exactly what Courtney wanted to be. But Courtney had a loving family in the form of her mother, her step-father Pat, and her step-brother Mike, which is all Jade ever wanted. Jade didn’t get a family; she was forced to grow up in the system and she appears to be aware that she was separated from her brother, a pain she carries with her. She doesn’t want power; all she is looking for is her brother so she won’t feel alone. This is a sad reality far too many kids have to live with, and a cruel system that kicks them out when they turn 18. While legally an adult, she is essentially still a child who is cast out into a cold unforgiving world and is looking for a place to call home.

The fact that Jade left at the end of the episode is odd given how much of the marketing was focused on “I’m Green Lantern’s Daughter” being the big end of the trailer line. Obviously, she will be back before the end of the season, but how soon and in what capacity is unknown. The current JSA members are very Blue Valley Centric; could Jade return to stick around in town or could she expand the reach of the JSA to be a more nationwide organization? Could open the door for later seasons to expand the scope of the team with more members like Jade’s brother Obisidan or even JSA members like Cyclone, Atom-Smasher, and Judomaster. It just felt like Jade could have been truly happy living at the Whitmore’s house, but understandably she needs to find her brother first. Now that she can fly, thanks to her absorbing the green energy from the lantern, she can cover more ground and be back soon.

Courtney’s jealousy is getting the better of her, and it makes her lash out in cruel ways to Jade. Her friends rightfully call it out as not cool. Since becoming Stargirl, Courtney is operating on full alert mode, paranoid there are villains around every corner and this distrust makes her hurt Jenny. Courtney realizes her mistake and decides she is ready to focus on school and only bring Stargirl out when it is necessary…and right as she tells this to Pat he reveals an old Injustice Society villain has come to town. Courtney immediately cheers to go grab her cosmic staff.

Yes, the new (old) villain in town is Richard Swift aka The Shade. A classic Flash villain introduced in 1942 from creators Gardner Fox and Harold Wilson Sharp, The Shade was teased at the end of season 1 and now has fully been revealed played by Jonathan Cake, who in his two scenes delivers every line with a delicious class and evil disdain. He is going to be a real pleasure to watch this season and I cannot wait to see more of him. Interestingly he approaches Barbara at her office, claiming he is an antique collector looking to purchase ‘stage magic’ props from William Zarick’s (the Wizard from Season 1) collection. While not said in the episode, the item he is most likely looking for is The Eclipso diamond.

This brings us to the Eclipso storyline. The episode actually begins with Bobbie Burnam, Cindy’s stepmom and the Dragon King’s literal trophy wife and kidnap victim celebrating her freedom by dancing around the house smashing the plates of the old life she has escaped. But before she knows it, Cindy arrives with the Eclipso diamond to make Bobbie once again serve Cindy’s every whim. While Bobbie is being forced to clean, she hears Eclipso whispering in her ear telling her the only way to be free is to kill Cindy. When she finally tries to, while Cindy disarms her shockingly it appears she doesn’t want to kill her stepmother. While it was implied she killed a few other ‘moms’ in the past, the implication appears to be those were accidents of a child not knowing how to control her powers.

However, Eclipso uses the opportunity to activate and take over Cindy’s body and absorb the essence of Bobbie into the diamond. Cindy snaps out of it and tells Eclipso she is in charge, and the real long game for Eclipso is starting to come to light. Cindy is playing around with a power she doesn’t quite understand, and the stronger Eclipso gets the less in control Cindy will be. Like Bane told Daggert in The Dark Knight Rises: ‘Do you feel in charge?

Interestingly now there are three major villain factions at play. The Shade appears to be after the Eclipso diamond, but it isn’t clear exactly what he wants it for or if he plans to do anything with it. Cindy has plans to build her own villainous team. Now we have Eclipso, who is playing along with Cindy until the time comes. These three villainous factions will most likely cross paths and intersect at times, but part of it appears that Eclipso will pit Cindy and the Shade in opposition with each other till he comes out on top. The JSA may have multiple threats to fight off, which may lead to them becoming reluctant allies to some of their enemies.

NOTES

  • In the comics, The Shade actually becomes a mentor figure to Jack Knight who was the son of the original Golden Age Starman Ted Knight. They could merge that storyline with Stargirl and make The Shade a villain-turned-ally in the series. Television is full of plenty of villains who become part of the hero’s inner circle (Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, half the cast of Once Upon a Time). Really it feels like it would be a waste to not use Jonathan Cake more.
  • Names they could have called this episode: ‘In Brightest Day…”, “Green With Envy”, “Jade”, “When A Stranger Knocks”.
  • How good are these pancakes? Like don’t get me wrong I like pancakes but these were some much-hyped pancakes. Patt says they are restaurant quality, which like, how different can you make a pancake? Now a waffle, that is another story.
  • The sheer shock Pat and Courtney have when Jenny says Pat is a legend was great delivery by Luke Wilson and Brec Bassinger.
  • Isaac Bowen is in summer school. Expect we will get greater insight into him as Courtney and Yolanda have to share class with him.
  • Just breaks my heart that Yolanda, despite her straight A’s, is still enrolled in summer school by her parents so she will ‘stay out of trouble’. Robbing this poor girl of her summer is just a crime.
  • They say they want to bring the Lantern to a place with fewer people so if it blows up it won’t hurt people. Okay, solid plan…THEN WHY BRING IT TO THE CENTER OF TOWN?! There was a giant green explosion that a lot of people must have seen.
  • Jade covered in green flames is a nice visual for her traditional comic look, and also like how the show kept with the Golden Age Green Lantern being more flame-inspired.
  • Pat teaching Jade how to use the Green Lantern ring somehow did a better explanation of how a Green Lantern ring works than the 2011 film which yes, I’m still annoyed at.
  • Both this episode and The Dark Knight Rises touch on the sad unfortunate truth about kids who age out of the foster care system. There are sadly not enough systems in place to help foster kids who turn 18 and are left on their own. Hopefully more episodes explore Jade’s history, and touch on this topic more and raise more awareness of the situation.
  • Next week it appears Mike tries to use the Thunderbolt pen. Given that his friend Jakeem (played by Alkoya Brunson) is set to join the cast I wonder how this will turn out for Mike, and if this will start him down a villainous path.