There’s murder afoot in Blue Valley and only the Justice Society of America can figure it out. DC’s Stargirl returned to its serene small-town charm for “Frenemies – Chapter One: The Murder,” bringing back the picturesque vibe that hooked us the first season. Even with the newly reformed villains as allies (or frenemies), everything seemed to go back to normal. Life wasn’t all gloomy or death, like when Eclipso was around. But this is a superhero show after all, so it was only a matter of time before the real action kicked into gear. Still, the Season 3 premiere focused more on character building and setting us up for the mystery to come.
The biggest cliffhanger coming out of the final Eclipso fight was the return of the original Starman. How did Sylvester come back to life? He was dead. Like, dead dead, complete with a full coffin, 6-feet-under. I liked how the premiere tried to give us some answers to our looming questions; a return like Starman couldn’t be avoided for too long. However, it didn’t seem believable that Sylvester and Courtney would have that conversation now once she and her family returned from their trip to Yellowstone. The entire JSA would be talking and asking him questions the minute all the fights ended. Possibly they did have those conversations, but the way the scene was framed made it seem like it was their first conversation, which wouldn’t make sense. Stargirl needed to push the clock forward to support the plot, but a post-battle scene would’ve helped here.
I’m on the fence if Courtney and the JSA should trust Sylvester. He seemed sincere, but he might be hiding more than he’s letting on. Resurrections aren’t typically something that can’t be done in the DC Universe without a Lazarus Pit or a hero/villain pulling the strings. Even Solomon Grundy hasn’t returned from the dead, much to Rick’s many tries. And I have a feeling that the deal Courtney made to share the Cosmic Staff will come back to haunt her. Sylvester made it clear that he originally intended to get the staff back, and from the clips we saw of him in the past, he loved being Starman. He loved the thrill, the fight, the acclaim, and the ego that came with it. No doubt he’ll train Courtney and get her ready to be the best Stargirl she can be. However, there may be a moment in the future where he tries to take the staff back or reclaim his place as the one and only Starman. Time will tell if Courtney’s trust in him will pay off.
The suspicion of Sylvester perfectly tied into one of the themes that DC’s Stargirl is setting up for the third season. Specifically, can people change and grow if you give them the trust to do so? We’ve got Sylvester’s return as Starman, Cindy joining the JSA, Artemis wanting to join the JSA, the Crockers trying to be good neighbors/friends, and The Gambler turning over a new leaf. A few of those have some warranted skepticism, like Starman (see above) and The Gambler’s return. We hadn’t heard from The Gambler in a while since his last attack, so his change of heart seemed too out of the blue (we’ll get into this later on). However, the other areas needed more leeway from the JSA members.
Cindy is always going to be Cindy. She’s brash and rude, and she has a villainous side to her. However, at the end of the day, she sided with the JSA to defeat Eclipso and proved she wanted to be good. Cindy wants to be loved and trusted by a family. If Yolanda and Rick keep doubting her, it’ll only push her away to revert back to her villainous habits. The JSA has a real chance to redeem Cindy and be the people she needs in her life. They have to show her trust. Granted, Yolanda has a lot of baggage due to Cindy’s past crimes, but they need to work it out.
The Crockers and Artemis are in the same boat. Sure, they were villains, but they always seemed like frenemies to the Dugans and Whitmores. Sportsmaster and Tigress were basically best friends with Pat and Barbara, and Artemis was a thrill seeker who would get involved when it benefited her. If the JSA shows them trust, it could repair many bridges that were starting to be rebuilt in the second season. The group is on the path to fixing this issue. Though Pat and Lawrence were right, the family should always lock their front door!
Now, speaking about The Gambler, part of his redemption could’ve just been a front until he reunited with his daughter. He could want the same redemption as the rest of the villains, but it was still too early to trust him. The Gambler hadn’t shown the same level of growth as the others. Had he not died, it would’ve been interesting to see if his relationship with Becky (“Hazard” in the comics) could’ve changed him. We’ll no doubt meet Becky in the future; Stargirl wouldn’t have teased a comic book character unless there’s a plan to feature her.
Who killed The Gambler? Cindy is obviously the red herring and is just a ploy to test the group. Plus, the size of the hole from The Gambler’s trailer was too big to be caused by a fight with Cindy. Logic should easily clear Cindy of suspicion; however, there’s probably more tension on the horizon for them. Could this have something to do with Mister Bones and the villains teased last season? Or could it be someone we haven’t met yet, like Becky? We need more clues and evidence here to make a decision, but there had to be a reason why The Gambler was targeted after returning to Blue Valley.
“Frenemies – Chapter One: The Murder” was a calm slow start to the season, setting up the drama for the story to come. Character development is essential for an ensemble show like Stargirl, and there were some big changes that needed to be discussed before the group was to move forward. It’s not the most exciting premiere, but it was an essential one we needed to ease back into the action.
DC’s Stargirl airs new episodes Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW and streams Thursdays on cwtv.com.