Prepare yourself for another round of Eclipso’s manipulation, DC’s Stargirl fans. “Summer School: Chapter Nine” saw the dastardly villain turn his attention to Pat, Barbara, and Mike by using their own fears against them. It’s an eerie chapter that highlighted how dangerous Eclipso could be, and how close the supervillain was getting to the closest people in Courtney’s life. Granted, the reveal of Eclipso’s backstory shed a lot of light on some lingering questions, but this was another round of Eclipso’s torment. After many episodes of this same plot thread, it’s time for Stargirl to move on and close the book on this horror story.
Eclipso’s ploy against Barbara could’ve worked had The Shade not intervened. Barbara, unlike the other members and allies of the JSA, tends to stay out of the superhero action. She’s carried a lot of guilt about the people who have died, like her friendship with Icicle. I didn’t believe for a second that Jordan returned from the dead to enact his vengeance against her; regardless of being hit by a car, Jordan still didn’t hate Barbara during the entire JSA vs. ISA plot line. It’s great to have him back as a cameo, and Neil Jackson is always welcome to return for future appearances as Icicle. His appearance was a shocking surprise, but was quick to realize what Eclipso was doing.
Mike’s nightmare, on the other hand, was where Eclipso kept me at the edge of my seat. Cameron having ice powers and coming to get his revenge against Mike wouldn’t be out of the question, especially since he’s developing the ice ability. Between the ice blast against the dog and the choking, Stargirl didn’t hold back from creating tension and fear. Courtney being around to save Mike was a lucky turn, but what will happen once Cameron finds out the truth? He might be just as angry for being kept in the dark all this time.
“Summer School: Chapter Nine” spent a lot of time exploring backstories and the theme of secrets. Many layers were pulled back to give characters depth or explore a plot that wasn’t known before. These developments were very welcomed because they gave the season more depth. For example, Mike’s reveal of feeling abandoned by his birth mother created a lot of sympathy for his character. Most of his plots focused on wanting to join the JSA and being the geeky brother, but this layer further proved his feelings of being alone. Mike wants this family to work. Looking back, Stargirl teased a greater mother/son relationship between Barbara and Mike that we might not have paid attention to before. It’s these small beats that make the plots so worthwhile when they happen.
Pat’s backstory with the previous Justice Society of America gave a very clear sign of how elitist that group was. Seriously, why couldn’t they let him in the group? He may have been a sidekick, but he could’ve grown into his own full-fledged alter-ego had they shown him any support. Starman and Wildcat especially were the two most frustrating characters; Pat would’ve had every right to walk away and leave the group from their condescending attitudes. It doesn’t matter how long Pat may have known him, Starman wasn’t a good friend. Hourman and The Flash were much more welcoming characters; hopefully, they return for more cameos in the future.
The one thing that didn’t make clear sense was Pat’s guilt over the JSA killing the original Eclipso host. Pat purposely voted for the group to not kill someone—they out-voted and chose to ignore him. He possibly could’ve felt bad that he didn’t push them harder to not murder and how it affected the group afterward. But, he did his part to fight for his position and try to keep them from not killing. Pat has always had a moral center, so his feelings of being responsible went too much in the opposite direction when he wasn’t the cause.
Courtney’s overreaction to Pat and Barbara not telling her about the story was too melodramatic. They didn’t lie to her about the truth—Pat just didn’t tell her the story of the death and the encounter. It’s his story to tell, and it wasn’t a grand secret that she needed to know about. Pat had a life before she became Stargirl, and he’s faced a lot more in the superhero vs. supervillain landscapes; sometimes he has a reason to act the way he does. Courtney needs to take a step back and assess the whole situation before reacting and making her next move.
“Summer School: Chapter Nine” continued with the arc of Elipso’s torment. Instead of following the same path, the backstories helped fill in the gaps and bring momentum higher. Hopefully, the JSA’s next fight with Eclipso will come soon. The supervillain has affected everyone in Courtney’s life, so Stargirl can’t keep spinning its wheel until the battle. It’s time to fight or plan the next move.
DC’s Stargirl airs new episodes Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW and streams Wednesdays on cwtv.com.