Mike joining the Justice Society of America wouldn’t have been a bad thing on Stargirl. I very much disagreed with Pat’s stance because he could’ve trained Mike to be ready for anything that came up; instead, he made his son doubt enough to eventually lose his abilities. And, this instance could further push him deeper into a pit of despair to fall for Cindy Burman’s plan. “Summer School: Chapter Three” set the foundation for how lonely Mike felt and the cracks that could lead him down either the path of hero or villain. This was another foundation episode that will play a bigger part during Stargirl season 2.
Did anyone else feel happy for Mike when he was chosen as Johnny Thunder’s replacement? Ever since he discovered the JSA, he wanted to join the group and help Pat/Courtney with their missions. And, let’s not forget that Mike’s actions led to the original Icicle being defeated once and for all. I loved his interactions with Thunderbolt because he wasn’t prepared in the slightest for the power of the magical alien pen. He and Thunderbolt balanced well together since they’re both mouthy, and since he felt “chosen” for the JSA, you could feel a noticeable shift in his confidence. Mike actually felt happy for once instead of being the discarded or forgotten sibling.
Pat’s attitude toward Mike was frustrating and a tad hypocritical. Sure, Mike is Pat’s son; no one would want their child to jump into the dangerous career of being a superhero, especially after seeing the past JSA die. However, Pat recognized the importance of the superhero “calling” and understood when the powers selected someone. The Cosmic Staff chose Courtney, the hourglass only worked for Rick, the goggles were a close friend of Beth, Jenny was the daughter of Green Lantern, and Yolanda felt tied to Wildcat’s legacy. Pat expressed all his frustrations with the teens becoming heroes, but he eventually relented. Even he and the original Starman fought crime together as little kids before they joined the JSA. It would’ve been safer to teach Mike and get him involved in the group instead of chipping away at Mike’s confidence.
“Summer School: Chapter Three” explained Thunderbolt’s powers best when they used the whiteboard montage. This scene might be one of the funniest moments that Stargirl has done yet. The group went in-depth on that board to ensure the magical wish was accurate, specific, and had no loopholes for the wish to go wrong. Stargirl did a great job showing how important it was to get the wishes right; not just from all the falling stop signs into the town. If Pat had agreed to teach Mike how to use Thunderbolt to the benefit of the group, that decision could’ve changed everything for the JSA and his relationship with his son.
It’s a shame that Mike lost the Thunderbolt due to a stupid technicality. He wasn’t literal by wishing the pen to someone else, but the semantics went against him and his words mattered. I place blame on this on Pat; his negative reinforcement on Mike caused his son to doubt himself and question if he was even worthy to be a superhero. Mike was chosen (point, blank, period) and could’ve used his powers for good, but now he’ll have another reason why he’s excluded from being in the JSA. And once he finds out that his best friend Jakeem (aka. Jakeem Thunder) became the next recipient of the pen, that could push him further into the spiral. Watching his best friend do everything he wanted to do with the JSA wouldn’t be a happy sight for anyone.
Should the JSA trust the words of The Shade? The Shade is a sketchy villain and neutral character, so his allegiance could go anywhere depending on his hidden agenda. Though, his searching for Eclipso wasn’t a good sign. He could be trying to destroy the crystal or he could be plotting to wield the power for himself. Either way, Eclipso is not the type of power you want around due to its corrupting factors. Richard Swift’s storylines could either be an indicator that he’s the villain they’re looking for or it’s a red herring before the true villain arrives. All the creepy shadows and shadow cuts heightened his spooky quality. Plus, the fight in Wizard’s abandoned house showed that The Shade was too strong of a villain to face.
“Summer School: Chapter Three” introduced another future member of the JSA, but it hindered another character to do so. Mike’s path on Stargirl could go towards the light or this could be how he joins Cindy’s evil team. The Shade revealed his reason for coming to Blue Valley, but even then his motives seemed a tad … shady. More pieces of the plot were added to the puzzle, and once the action starts kicking off, we can look back to this episode as a big indicator of the warning signs.
DC’s Stargirl airs new episodes Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW and streams Wednesdays on cwtv.com.