‘Stargirl’ season two premiere review: “Summer School: Chapter One” introduces the new enemies of the JSA

Courtney and Yolanda in the cafeteria on Stargirl

Bob Mahoney/The CW

The post-battle reality in Blue Valley isn’t exactly what Courtney Whitmore envisioned on DC’s Stargirl. “Summer School: Chapter One” captured the restless feeling of the Justice Society of America members (and their families) dealing with their lives after season one ended. The JSA isn’t in a bustling city like on The Flash or Supergirl, so the number of powerful villains and metahumans around are few and far between. The true foe of Stargirl’s season two premiere stemmed from the reality that the members had put off for so long, and the consequences of their actions from saving the world.

Courtney, in particular, dealt with the withdrawals of less active superhero work more than the rest of her friends. She loves being Stargirl and doing her hero work, but without an enemy to fight, she’s left in limbo without a direction. It’s a bit of a superhero cliché for the storyline to be about the hero balancing their real-life challenges with their secret identity work, but the plot line felt believable based on Courtney’s development until now. She would be that person who prioritized their work as Stargirl first, which caused everything else to struggle. And, her parents were right about everything: Courtney can’t let her grades and her life outside of Stargirl suffer because she likes the feeling of being a hero. Her real-life is just as important as the Cosmic Staff.

The rest of the JSA members spent their time on “Summer School: Chapter One” setting up their arcs and personal developments. For example, Yolanda dealing with her actions of killing Brainwave will be an interesting storyline to develop. Most superhero TV shows don’t tackle the inner conflict that comes from the heroes killing the villains—they usually justify it as being “for the greater good.” But, Yolanda is a teenager, and it’s her first big attack as Wildcat. Hopefully, she works through the guilt because her action saved a lot of lives, herself included. Brainwave would’ve killed her in the tunnel, just like how he killed his son Henry (i.e., Brainwave Jr.). Yvette Monreal did a great job showcasing Yolanda’s conflict; you could feel her sadness in the church.

Though, does anyone else think Yolanda’s consistent guilt is coming from a villain? The shadowy flash once she left the confession box, as well as her talking about hearing Brainwave’s voice, could be a sign of manipulation against her. Like, The Shade or Eclipso could be messing with her mind to make the darkness inside of her grow. If the villains can’t fight her, messing with her from within would be a powerful move to defeat Wildcat.

Bob Mahoney/The CW

Beth discovering that her parents were getting a divorce reinforced the theme of her loneliness from the first season. Her parents barely remembered or paid attention to her, so either they’re very busy and lapse-minded people, or their priorities weren’t aligned. And with Chuck somewhat still broken, she’s not achieving her peak happy Doctor Mid-Nite mode currently. The JSA needs to fix the goggles to bring Chuck back once and for all; not just because Beth needs her BFF back, but if the flashback to Rebecca McNider’s death proved anything, it’s that Chuck has the knowledge to share about Eclipso. The opening was extremely creepy and resembled a horror movie—the group needs all their strength to take down this corrupting villain.

In Rick’s case, he was unfairly judged for his work during the final. No one would be that stupid to cheat AND get a perfect score on the exam—he clearly put the work in to get the mark. He should’ve completed the test to rub the score in the teacher’s face. Rick just needs to get his anger and frustration in check because that could be his Achilles heel—he’s way too hot-headed at times when push comes to shove. And if he’s trying to find Solomon Grundy in the woods (which seemed like it from leaving the chicken/finding the muddy footprint), he should decide beforehand what he does when he reunites with the villain. The last thing he needs to do is fight another battle by himself to get revenge.

Should Pat let Mike join the JSA? “Summer School: Chapter One” teased the split path that Mike could be going on in his ambition of being a superhero. Pat might now have his own sidekick in Zeek, which would help him greatly. Sure, Zeek’s willingness to keep boundaries need some work, but if he has the skill to upgrade S.T.R.I.P.E., Pat could take the help. Mike, on the other hand, showed his passion to learn more and he’s a budding inventor in the mix. Pat should train him because keeping him separate from the activities could drive a further wedge in the family (Mike already aired his frustration over Pat and Courtney teaming up together). If Pat forces Mike to stop, this could be how Cindy Burman manipulates him into joining Injustice Unlimited.

Bob Mahoney/The CW

Speaking of Injustice Unlimited, this plot was the most exciting addition! The storyline was teased during Stargirl season 1 when the villainous parents talked about bringing their kids into the fold—many scenes were included showing the kids having powers or similar traits like their parents. With the ISA defeated and most parents either arrested/missing/dead, Cindy needs a new group of villains to lead. Having Injustice Unlimited feels fresh because it gives Courtney and the JSA members new villains to fight who are also dealing with the same issues (i.e., balancing teen/school life with their identity). Once Cameron Mahkent (Icicle), Artemis Crock (Tigress), and Isaac Bowin (The Fiddler) find out the JSA’s connection to what happened to their parents, they most likely will sign-up to get their revenge too.


Plus, with the appearance of Green Lantern’s daughter Jade, the JSA will need every new team member they can get. Stargirl’s fight with Jade in the kitchen might be one of the best fight scenes of the series yet. The camera angles were clever as they strategically kept us intrigued with what we could and couldn’t see during the fight, and Jade packed quite a punch for a new hero on the block. Let’s see how she’ll fit within the team.

“Summer School: Chapter One” started ‘Stargirl’ season two on a quieter note, focusing on the characters dealing with the fallout of the previous season. This episode was a building block premiere that will mean more as the weeks go on, which is essential in the grand scheme. When the action did kick into gear, Stargirl shined as the series we all know and love. Stargirl has a lot of promise, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

DC’s Stargirl airs new episodes Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW and streams Wednesdays on cwtv.com.



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