Could this be the end of Yolanda’s time as Wildcat on DC’s Stargirl? “Summer School: Chapter Seven” saw the conflicted hero quit the role after facing her guilt head-on, but there’s no clear sign if this will be a temporary quit or if it’s a permanent move. Yolanda has had a hard time dealing with the grief of her killing Brainwave during Stargirl Season 1’s finale; she’s tortured herself over stopping the supervillain and also not apologizing to Henry before his death. It’s a lot for her to face, and with Stargirl Season 2 dealing with the themes of darkness and Eclipso, her struggle paired well with the storyline. This was an emotional chapter that will hopefully have a happy ending (we can’t lose Yolanda!).
Yolanda’s journey to quitting the alter-ego started right from the season premiere. Stargirl made the right call by showcasing the many stages of her dealing with the internal turmoil of her actions, how she tried to justify it, and her trying to work through her pain. It felt like a believable journey for her to debate over her actions instead of breezing by it like other TV superheroes. Granted, Brainwave was a murderous supervillain who would’ve easily killed her had she not gotten the upper hand moments before, but she was still a teenager who had to live with her actions. I liked that Stargirl stuck to their guns to make this a big character development for Yolanda and didn’t quickly brush past it. This was the first big intentional death caused by the new Justice Society of America; Mike’s killing of Icicle served more as an accident no matter what way anyone could explain it.
Though, I still have a feeling that Eclipso is involved in the severity of her grief. Eclipso in his child form appearing at the diner couldn’t have been just a coincidence; he was feeding off her darkness and toyed with her mind to make her feel the pain even more. Plus, “Summer School: Chapter Seven” continued with the visual and sound cues that have been connected to the supervillain: the noises, the physical head pain, the shadowy lighting, and the sudden feeling of dread. Yolanda’s pain has been a mix of all, and once Eclipso is stopped, she’ll most likely feel a sense of relief to not have the supervillain manipulating her mind in her life.
When Yolanda came clean to Courtney, they should’ve involved Pat and Barbara in the discussion. Pat had plenty of experience with the original JSA and their members either dying or causing death. And, Barbara is an adult who could give Yolanda the motherly support and outsider reasoning of the situation. Rick, Beth, and Courtney, while coming with good intentions, were clouded by their own feelings and biases. Yolanda needed the support to speak her mind and work through her baggage; she made a quick decision that saved her life and the lives of thousands to millions of people. Beth, Rick, and Courtney didn’t give her the support she needed or see it from her point of view—there needed to be a better support system in place during and after that conversation.
Hopefully, Yolanda hasn’t fully quit the JSA. Her character is one of the strongest members of the team, and her narrative has featured one of the best character developments in a superhero TV series in a short amount of time. Yvette Monreal has done an amazing job channeling the pain and grief for this serious topic and she has great chemistry with the cast, especially with Brec Bassinger. Crossing my fingers that she still stays on the show.
Side-note: the cameo appearances of Brainwave and Henry were such fun surprises for “Summer School: Chapter Seven.” Their characters dominated much of the first season, so their presence has been missed. We could’ve had a world where Brainwave Jr. (Henry) was a member of the JSA and fighting on the side of good. Unfortunately, Brainwave and his murderous attitude changed everything. Still, it’s great that the characters do randomly pop up to toy with the JSA; it’s another benefit for having Eclipso around this season.
Is anyone else happy that Mike started his superhero training? There was a loud “Finally!” shouted out to the screen. As mentioned during his time with Thunderbolt, Pat needed to get Mike involved because it was the obvious next step for his son’s future. Mike would’ve spiraled further into a depression if he was kept out of the superhero group … or if Cindy Burman had decided to have Mike join her team instead of being bait. Eclipso’s broken crystals may have messed with his head, but he’ll most likely be strong enough to fight that off and stick with the technology side of things. Maybe he’ll build his own suit or take on another superhero moniker for the team?
“Summer School: Chapter Seven” highlighted a big turning point in Wildcat’s/Yolanda’s character development and the future of the JSA. It’s a huge loss for the group to see a strong member depart due to their internal struggle. Could the other members of the team equally handle the trauma if they made the same choice? I’m not sure, but it’s an interesting twist if they’re faced with the necessity. Hopefully, this isn’t the end of Wildcat and Yolanda–her storyline can’t end like this. We need the core four back together!
DC’s Stargirl airs new episodes Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW and streams Wednesdays on cwtv.com.