Stargirl – S1 Ep2 – S.T.R.I.P.E. Review

Rematch with Brainwave! Pat gets the spotlight in this action packed episode as he reluctantly teams up with Courtney in her quest to get justice for the fallen JSA!

The Golden Age is here to stay! DC’s Stargirl delivers yet another compelling hour of superhero storytelling. Geoff John’s and crew have, in my humble opinion, masterfully brought the Golden Age heroes and villains into the modern day. Characters like the Wizard and Brainwave shouldn’t work in live action, but these classic villains work well here. Speaking of Brainwave, Christopher James Baker is positively chilling as the ISA baddie. However, the heart of this episode and the series in the budding partnership between Courtney and Pat. This exciting episode continues the development on that front in stellar fashion! Let’s recap!

The appropriately titled “S.T.R.I.P.E.” picks up where the premiere left off. Pat confronts a frightened Courtney, who is hesitant to go with him. After convincing her the “robot” is safe, he takes her back to his garage. Once there, an angry Courtney demands answers: “Why is Brainwave in Blue Valley?!” Pat tries to console her, but to no avail. He does eventually reveal the truth about the move to Blue Valley and the Injustice Society. Pat explains that Rex Tyler aka Hourman survived the attack ten years ago and tracked the ISA to Blue Valley. However, before Rex and his wife could do anything more, they both died in an accident. Prior to his death, Tyler gave his research to Pat, who took up his quest which led him to Blue Valley, where he met Barbara. Pat realizes that the ISA must have stayed in town which prompts him to bench the eager young heroine. Dugan is determined to protect her. Much to his dismay, Courtney’s only take away from the conversation is to make a mask and costume to conceal her identity and protect her family.

Meanwhile, Councilman William Zarrick (aka The Wizard) (guest star Joe Znezevich) is awoken in the middle of the night by Henry King aka Brainwave. King informs him that someone has Starman’s staff and used it to attack his son. He warns him that their plans could be disrupted by this possible new hero. It is revealed that Blue Valley is a testing ground for the ISA’s grand plan called “Project New America.” King tells him to inform the others while he investigates this possible threat.

On a lighter note, Pat, determined to go after the ISA alone, “trains” with his mech suit (built using old car parts after Sylvester’s death). In a classic montage, we see this doesn’t go very well.

At breakfast, Pat and Courtney blame the basement steps for their injuries when asked by Barbara. Once her mother leaves, Courtney heads to the basement and grabs Starmans suit.

Elsewhere, Henry King Sr. once again questions his son about the attack at the drive-in. Junior tells him that there is nothing more to that night. In a quite chilling manner, King Sr. probes his mind with his abilities and quickly determines that the assailant was a girl. He then tests his son (unbeknownst to the boy) for powers asking him to read his mind.

At school, Courtney sneaks into the Home Economics classroom and sews herself a suit. She then joins Beth and Yolanda at lunch. An excited Beth is “having lunch” with her mother via facetime. Beth introduces Courtney to her mother (guest star Kron Moore) and father, who joins the call as well. In addition, Courtney is introduced to Dr. Chapel’s colleague at the hospital: Dr. Henry King Sr.!

Later that evening, the students and their families attend Open House at the high school. After an address by Principal Bowin (guest star Hina Khan), everyone enjoys refreshments and socializes. King Sr. searches the crowd for the mystery girl, whom he figures out is Courtney. Brainwave confronts her in the hallway. “You’re going to bring me the Cosmic Staff. You’re going to come back here with it at midnight. Your mother, Barbara? I will kill your mother if you don’t bring me the staff,” he exclaims. “Do you understand? I’ll make it look like she had a stroke. I will make sure that her death is extremely painful.” Uneasy, Courtney rushes to Pat, who immediately gathers the family to leave.

Once home, Pat warns Courtney that this situation is much more dangerous now. He refuses to let her get involved any further. Before she can argue, Pat tells her once again to stay home and protect her mother. He instead will go alone. In a truly heartfelt moment, Dugan tells her: “If I’m not back in the morning, you get your mom and Mike and you leave Blue Valley. You leave and you never, ever look back. Do you understand what I’m saying? Stop, and protect your mom. You get her out of here. Tell her I love her.”

Pat then goes to confront Brainwave, but is quickly outmatched. As King goes for the finishing blow, Courtney arrives and saves him! In her new suit, she introduces herself as Stargirl and claims the robot is her sidekick. After a brief but brutal battle, Brainwave bests the young hero and prepares to kill her. However, thanks to a perfectly timed distraction from Pat, Stargirl is able to regain control. The staff unleashes a massive amount of energy which severely injures the villain leaving him comatose.

In the aftermath of the battle, King lies comatose in Blue Valley Hospital as Dr. Chapel informs young Henry Jr. of the situation.

Elsewhere, Courtney encourages a reluctant Pat to officially team up from this point forward. She tells him that the staff chose her and she chooses him.Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E together fighting for justice!

Meanwhile, Jordan Mahkent (Neil Jackson), an astute businessman and secret leader of the ISA, returns to Blue Valley and checks in with Solomon Grundy (who dwells in a cell deep beneath the American Dream building) and Sharpe aka ISA member The Gambler! Gambler informs the icy Mahkent of the recent attack and Brainwave’s condition. The villainous Icicle simply replies: “I killed one Starman. I can kill another.”

This was yet another incredible episode of DC’s Stargirl! “S.T.R.I.P.E.” successfully follows up on the promising premiere with more stellar action and a compelling story. John’s and crew have done an incredible job of adapting his classic comic as well as honoring the Golden Age heroes and villains. I loved the name drops and JSA references in this episode including: Ted Knight (the OG Starman), Johnny Thunder, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl. Also of note is the son of Principal Bowin, Isaac, is clearly being set up to be the Fiddler! After only two episodes, the show has gripped me with its intriguing mystery, humor, and heart. Brec Bassinger and Luke Wilson shine together. Their banter throughout the episode was fantastic. Overall, this show is a hit so far!

I cannot wait for the next episode!

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