‘Stargirl’ 3×03 review: “Frenemies – Chapter Three: The Blackmail” starts an overdue battle in Blue Valley

DC's Stargirl Sylvester fights Sportsmaster and Tigress

The CW

Sylvester has a lot of baggage to get through on DC’s Stargirl. “Frenemies – Chapter Three: The Blackmail” exposed his short fuse toward the former members of the Injustice Society of America and how problematic he could be for the team’s success. Sylvester may have recently come back from the dead, but his mindset was too stuck in the days of the original Justice Society of America. Regardless of being a “hero,” he couldn’t look beyond the sins of the past. As a result, we were treated to plenty of action and a complex side to the original Starman.

For the last few weeks, Sylvester had dropped a few one-liners about his hesitation with the ISA members. He lashed out at The Shade over suspicions of being the killer and he looked down on the Crockers/Cindy for wanting to be reformed. He couldn’t imagine a world where the villains would want to be good and work with the JSA. And when those elements were mixed in with the slow and quaint lifestyles of Blue Valley, Sylvester just couldn’t take it anymore. “Frenemies – Chapter Three: The Blackmail” was an enjoyable climax to the Sylvester exploding paranoia plotline. Every little side-eye, comment, and prickly attitude led to that final battle within the convenience store with Crusher and Paula (aka., Sportsmaster and Tigress).

One thing that Stargirl does incredibly well (especially compared to other DC superhero tv shows) is the fight scenes. The action here was top-notch thanks to its stellar fight choreography, editing, and visual effects. The battle within the convenience store easily landed in the Top 5 best fight scenes of the series, and possibly all of DCEU TV. You could feel the building hatred within Sylvester/Starman as he wielded the Cosmic Staff and went for killing blows. We as viewers got a great look into the fights that the JSA and ISA members used to have; Crusher and Paula didn’t hold back when they realized Sylvester was coming in for the kill. I loved how gritty the action became; they didn’t care at all about the damage done to the store. And ending with the shooting star move and S.T.R.I.P.E. arriving to stop the fight was simply perfection.

The CW

Sylvester said he learned his lesson, but will he have the true growth to make the change? He’s got a lot of baggage to get over, and he was willing to destroy an entire store to defeat Crusher and Paula. And he dismissed Cindy (who is a teenager) with one of the cruelest conversations yet. A lot of these issues were adding up that made it seem impossible he’ll truly learn from this. Plus, now that the mysterious villain has kidnapped him, he won’t be able to face the former ISA members, let alone know if he’ll survive the attack.

But the growth of the former ISA members was a great update. Paula embracing the quaint lifestyle of Blue Valley and her friendship with Barbara was a huge step in the right direction. Barbara and Paula’s friendship is one of the glowing connections of Stargirl because they balance each other quite nicely; Barbara is warm-yet-cautious while Paula is stoic-yet-confident. Both have something that the other is missing and they seem to have each other’s backs, even when they were at odds during their villain phase.

And finding out that the Crockers didn’t kill The Gambler helped to eliminate two possible suspects. It made sense that The Gambler would’ve been blackmailing them for their past ISA crimes; those types of nefarious schemes were right up his alley. Crusher not getting his revenge on The Gambler showcased his growth and proof that he (along with Paula) wants to be good. As a result, this storyline also proved that The Gambler wanted to be reformed too. “Frenemies – Chapter Three: The Blackmail” did a good job filling in the gaps and providing some redemption to their reformed villains.

Cindy’s storyline still leaves plenty of questions up in the air. She has The Gambler’s laptop, and we know she’s trying to break into the files about the Dragon King (i.e., her father). But was her sharing the files with Beth her way of still being a hero? And did she really mean what she said about wanting to get Sylvester’s approval? If so, I feel for Cindy because she’s trying so hard to get the trust and validation from the JSA members, but she needs to understand that it won’t be so simple. She should tell Courtney about the laptop now; she’s already on thin ice and if they find out by accident, they’ll kick her out of the group. Trust goes both ways; the group will understand if the files are for something serious.

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Cameron is in a similar boat to Cindy. He’s got a lot of baggage built up over his father’s death, and his anger could turn him into a villain, especially with his grandparents pushing him in that direction. He needs to lower his guard and start trusting Courtney again. They’re clearly into each other and it’s not Courtney’s fault that his father died. If he can’t look past that, he’ll be consumed and defeated by that anger. The last thing we need is for Cameron and Courtney’s romance to end before it ever actually began.


“Frenemies – Chapter Three: The Blackmail” was another chapter that explored the many layers of the ISA and JSA members. The villains got their redemption while Sylvester was faced with his own villainous moment. Plenty of action pulled us in while the emotional threads hit it out of the park. This chapter was a great companion piece to the two episodes that came before it.

DC’s Stargirl airs new episodes Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW and streams Thursdays on cwtv.com.


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