DC’s Stargirl is stepping out of the darkness and into the light of brighter plots to come. “Summer School: Chapter Thirteen” was a thrilling conclusion that closed the book on the Eclipso story. The Justice Society of America (and their allies) conquered their biggest villain yet while also pushing the momentum in a positive direction. This finale was a bright spot for the series as a whole; all the dark tones and bleak plots have made the JSA stronger, and it set them up for more superhero shenanigans in the future. It warms your heart to have everyone band together against an evil force.
The climactic battle against Eclipso was worth the months of building up the JSA members. Instead of one long contained fight, the battle extended into multiple sections where each JSA member and ally got their opportunity to take on the dark supervillain. This structure worked because it gave each character their moment and the fight wasn’t a straight pace–there were levels to how well or bad the heroes performed. And it proved the season’s underlining theme of needing team unity; the heroes weren’t strong enough on their own, but they won by banding together to fight as a team. Fighting Eclipso didn’t overthrow the JSA’s thrilling final battle against the Injustice Society of America on Stargirl season one, but this conclusion ranks in the Top 5.
Eclipso wanting Courtney’s light made a lot of sense in hindsight. Moving through Stargirl Season 2, there had to have been a reason why the shadowy supervillain stayed in Blue Valley and tormented the JSA members specifically. He made sure that Courtney’s friends abandoned her and that her inner darkness would form. For a light-based hero like Stargirl, it opened new possibilities for her character to explore. I liked how Eclipso went to extreme lengths to turn Courtney, like her earlier trip to the Shadowlands, because it wasn’t going to be easy to make perpetually optimistic Courtney embrace her darkness. Kudos to Brec Bassinger for channeling that darkness once her character got corrupted. You could feel the anger when she screamed out “I hate you!” I wish we had more time of her being the corrupted entity; we could’ve seen more of the potential a villainous Stargirl could be.
Her team-up with the original Starman was a fun generational moment to see both versions of the character come together. The Cosmic Staff still acknowledged him as a hero, even after all these years away. Still, it poses the question: why did he give up the title of Starman in the first place? Everyone thought he was dead and he abandoned his friends to go off into the unknown–Pat even made sure to check that he died after the last fight. I have a feeling this could be tied to the Helix Institute and Mister Bones since the plotline of Stargirl Season 3 was teased at the end of the episode. Maybe he was brought back to life by scientific means?
For the other JSA members, it’s great to have Yolanda back in the group. We’ve discussed in past reviews the uncertainty of her character returning, especially with her not facing her inner darkness. Her fight against the original Wildcat was the push she needed to conquer her demons and decide what type of hero she wanted to be. Even though the original Wildcat was Eclipso’s manipulation, the scene created a great moment for Yolanda to face her former idol and embrace her mantle as the superhero. Beth had her friendship with the original Doctor Mid-Nite, and Rick had a connection to his dad and Solomon Grundy, so, perfectly, she got her connection too.
Beth’s friendship with Charles McNider still is the understated friendship we needed in our lives. The pair just understand each other like no one else. His becoming a friend and mentor to her will help her transform into a bigger and better version of Doctor Mid-Nite. He may be leaving Blue Valley (and most likely the show) to be with his wife, but we’ll most likely have him as a voice role for the goggles when needed. Let’s cross our fingers that Beth’s parents don’t hinder her superhero journey too much; they were too excited and looked like controlling helicopter parents. Granted, they were right about Doctor Mid-Nite needing upgraded equipment and weapons for her fights, and a costume change might help to embrace the role, but they need to give her some leeway to grow. The last thing we need is for her to be prevented from fighting crime.
Hopefully, Rick will find a way to repair the hourglass. He got very close to regaining his powers, but he hasn’t quite nailed the scientific element of the hourglass yet. Still, his joining the fight with Solomon Grundy completed their story on a high note; they finally found peace together and became friends. It’s a shame that Grundy died in the fight against Eclipso–he got a visible “No!” from me when he got zapped. If The Shade’s teasing comes true, we may have this CGI villain popping back in Blue Valley sometime soon. At least we’ve kept all the campy supervillains in the mix, like The Shade, Sportsmaster, Tigress, Artemis, and Cindy (aka. Shiv). It wouldn’t be Stargirl without the villains blurring the lines between being friends and doing something nefarious.
Should the JSA let Cindy join their group? She has done a lot in their past to prove she’s untrustworthy, like her creating Injustice Unlimited to fight them. However, this is the prime opportunity to turn her over to the good side and become a hero. Cindy fought alongside the JSA and worked to repair the damage she caused, like with Eclipso and hurting Courtney’s friendships. In a season about darkness and light, Courtney and her friends should take a chance on Cindy’s light to see if that grows over time. They could end up creating a new hero or it could blow up in their faces, but they won’t know if they don’t give her the benefit of the doubt.
The JSA learned to trust Jennie (aka. Jade) after their initial fight during the season premiere, and Hakeem Thunderbolt will no doubt become a junior member of the group with Mike. Plus, there’s a strong chance Sportsmaster, Tigress, and Artemis will work with the group now that they’re on good terms with Pat, Barbara, and the rest of the JSA. The group has become a much larger organization that blurs the line over what it means to be a hero. Cindy should get a spot too. Stargirl Season 3 will be interesting to see how the group handles working alongside more allies and how they play into the mix.
Cameron is still the wildcard force on Stargirl. He didn’t know about his dad’s supervillain side or the truth about Courtney/the JSA, so he always stayed on the outside plots. However, his grandparents telling him the truth about his powers and how his dad died could push him in any direction. Will he still try to date Courtney? Will he become the JSA’s newest enemy? Cameron is a big mystery.
“Summer School: Chapter Thirteen” concluded a darker and depressing season on a high note. The season finale was an action-packed hour that banded heroes and villains alike to stop their greatest enemy yet. And, each character was set up to tackle the next stage in their storylines for episodes to come. It’s a fun end to a roller coaster arc.
DC’s Stargirl airs new episodes Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW and streams Wednesdays on cwtv.com.