Eclipso’s power isn’t one to underestimate. “Summer School: Chapter Five” gave a closer look into how dangerous the crystal could be when he’s amassed untold influence. DC’s Stargirl hasn’t shied away from Eclipso’s evil side; I liked how the storyline made a clear distinction of the villains who were “bad” and how Eclipso was in the “evil” category completely. Eclipso has no morality or conscience; this supervillain is pure evil, whereas villains like Sportsmaster or The Shade draw the line somewhere and have the ability to do good. This might be the most dangerous villain the Justice Society of America has ever faced since Eclipso could do anything to win.
Case in point: Eclipso corrupting the art teacher, Mr. Deisinger. This transformation introduced a Stargirl villain into the fold from the comics in a way that both worked with the plot and benefited the character. “Paintball” looked terrifying and could’ve posed a threat against the JSA had he gone full villain. “Summer School: Chapter Five” made him more of a tortured character and puppet of Eclipso, which worked with the narrative that the crystal became stronger the longer it stayed active. Much of Stargirl Season 2 seems to be focusing on building Eclipso’s power until the eventual climax where the JSA fights against the supervillain. Before that happens, more characters need to be corrupted and the JSA members tormented by the dark thoughts.
Mr. Deisinger aka. Paintball could be one of many citizens of Blue Valley who fall under Eclipso’s spell and have their villainous counterpart emerge in the series. Stargirl Season 1 succeeded in part because it had a large group of villains for the JSA to fight against in the hopes of saving the world. Since most of those villains are either dead or arrested, Stargirl Season 2 is starting from scratch to build a new team or introduce lagging members of the Injustice Society of America. Sometimes it’s nice to have one-off villains for the heroes to face; these foes help to push the plot forward and shake things up for the team. It doesn’t need to be every week, but Stargirl could pepper in the random comic book foe to fight, like on The Flash or Supergirl. We only got a taste of a “Villain of the Week” storyline, so hopefully, there are more enemies popping up to fight against the JSA.
Regarding this encounter, the battle within Blue Valley High highlighted Eclipso’s mind control and mental corruption powers. The crystal didn’t even need to be there to leave a lasting mark on all the members of the JSA. The creepy artwork added an extra touch of mystery–it felt like a scene inspired by a horror movie with all the eyes and diamond-shaped images. Also, the paintings showcased the internal struggles that each of the members are having currently, like Yolanda dealing with killing Brainwave, Rick and his revenge on Solomon Grundy, and Beth’s parents getting divorced. “Summer School: Chapter Five” did a great job playing with visual cues and pushing the plots forward; if you had not been watching Stargirl before this, “Summer School: Chapter Five” would be a great way to catch up fast.
Did anyone else wish that Courtney and Cameron would finally kiss? One thing or another always seemed to split them apart, from Yolanda’s pushing to the endless text chats. It’s clear that these two have had chemistry since the first season, and they should give their relationship a try since they have feelings for one another. The Stargirl alter-ego could be one of the reasons that throw a wrench into this potential couple. Though, I have a feeling it will be the truth of Icicle’s death that will push Cameron more to the villainous side. He pushed Cindy away in her attempt, but now that his ice powers are emerging and his grandparents are keeping a watchful eye, Cameron might use a newfound rage to get revenge.
Pat and Barbara tried to appease Mike with a bit more JSA work, but he seemed more of the obvious next member of Injustice Unlimited. Could he be the next holder of Eclipso? Cindy is already a powerful assassin with her knives, Isaac has his musical instruments, and Artemis has skills developed from her training. Mike, on the other hand, has some tech knowledge, but Cindy may need something more powerful to tempt him over to the dark side beyond him just being excluded by the group. Eclipso could be that entry point.
Cindy’s flashbacks painted a picture of a much more sympathetic character. If the Dragon King had not taken her, we could’ve had a very different Cindy Burman by her teen years. I enjoyed her flashback because it showed a deeper layer to the character that wasn’t all about murder, power, or wanting to join the ISA. Cindy could potentially be talked into helping the JSA; she wasn’t always a villain, so if she can remember her mother and the life post-Dragon King experiments, there could be redemption in her storyline.
The Shade should just open up to the JSA about why he wants to get rid of Eclipso. He’s a creepy villain, and all of his warnings and idle threats only make him look more untrustworthy to the heroes. If he were more forthcoming with Courtney, he could accomplish a lot in his plan. Why wouldn’t he want to work with the JSA if their missions were the same? It’s clear that Richard Swift gets along with Pat, Barbara, and Courtney. And, he’s gone out of his way to not hurt the new members of the JSA during his search of Blue Valley; for all intents and purposes, The Shade has stayed neutral and calm. It doesn’t make sense why he’s cut everyone out of the fold when Eclipso is too dangerous to keep around.
“Summer School: Chapter Five” battled the forces of the JSA against Eclipso and his first minion. In turn, the episode was an action-packed hour that both moved the plots forward and showcased how deadly the supervillain could be. Plus, many of the emerging characters, like Cameron and Injustice Unlimited, got their time to shine and grow. This chapter was a fun time and benefited the overall story as a whole.
DC’s Stargirl airs new episodes Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW and streams Wednesdays on cwtv.com.