Stargirl – S1 Ep5 – Hourman & Dr. Mid-Nite Review

Courtney’s JSA gains two new members in this powerful origin story episode!

Once again, DC’s Stargirl delivers a charming and compelling hour of television. In “Hourman & Dr. Midnite,” not only does Courtney gain two more allies; she (and her friends) gain more insight into the previous JSA! Cameron Gellman and Anjelika Washington shine in this episode which delves into the backstory of their characters: Rick Tyler and Beth Chapel respectively. Let’s recap!

Nine years ago, Rex Tyler (who is revealed to have survived the attack on the JSA Headquarters) and his wife Wendy rush to leave Blue Valley so as to get away from the ISA. They leave their young son Rick in the care of Wendy’s reluctant brother Matt Harris. Rex entrusts his 1966 Mustang to Rick claiming it is special. On their way, they are attacked and killed by the hulking Solomon Grundy, making it look to be a car accident.

In the present day, Rick is working on his father’s Mustang, but discovers his new carburetor is missing (aka sold by his uncle). His relationship with his uncle is volatile. Matt blames him for his difficult life.

Meanwhile, Courtney’s mother almost discovers the JSA costumes, but Courtney covers. On her way out to school she is stopped by Pat, who reveals his suspicions concerning the ISA. He believes the late William Zarick was the ISA member The Wizard and that he was murdered by his allies along with his wife. Courtney tells him about Principal Bowin being in Brainwave’s room and the violin. She is convinced that Bowin is the Fiddler. Pat shoots it down as the Fiddler was an Irishman.

At school, Courtney and Yolanda meet up and discuss JSA recruitment. Artemis Crock (guest star Stella Smith) was a possibility, but they deem her too competitive. Beth overhears them and sneakily follows them around.

Elsewhere, a man delivers satellite blueprints to Sharpe aka the Gambler, who gives him money and an imported chocolate coin.

On the way back from school, Pat’s car breaks down. Rick, who was passing through, lends a hand. While Pat and the young man talk, Courtney discovers Hourman’s hourglass lighting up. She follows him, but when Rick confronts her, the hourglass stops glowing. He tells her to get lost.

Meanwhile, after tracking Courtney, Beth visits her home. Barbara greets her at the door and let’s her in after the young girl claims to be a friend of Courtney’s. After talking Mrs. Whitmore’s (who is preparing for the evening Halloween festivities) ear off, Beth waits in the living room for Courtney to return. She sees the dog chewing on something which turns out to be Dr. Mid-Nite’s goggles. Beth sneaks into Courtney’s room and puts the goggles on. Much to her amazement, Beth discovers that the goggles have a built in AI modeled after the late Dr. Charles McNider aka the JSA hero Dr. Mid-Nite. The AI (whom she calls “Chuck”) is able to access information on everything the wearer sees. Beth is flooded with information on the JSA, Courtney, and more. Speaking of Courtney, she comes home to find Beth talking with “Chuck” and asks what she is doing here. Beth reveals that she knows about their hero identities. Courtney asks her never to reveal this to anyone. During their conversation, they discover that Rick Harris is actually Rick Tyler, the son of Rex Tyler aka the original Hourman!

Pat visits the Harris home and drops off a carburetor for Rick. Dugan discovers that Matt, Rick’s “father” is not exactly the best guy. Meanwhile, Rick sells a keg for some pills.

Later that night, Courtney, Yolanda, and Beth attend Cindy Burman’s Halloween party after “Chuck” tracked Rick there. Yolanda refuses to go inside as she sees Henry there. Speaking of Henry, he is struggling with the loudness of the party for which Cindy berates. His powers are starting to kick in which leads him to accidentally read Yolanda’s mind.

Courtney and crew find Rick and fill him in on the JSA and the hourglass. Rick tests it out and decides to “do his own thing” with his newfound hour-a-day strength despite their pleas for caution. He then finds his drunken slob of an uncle in the local diner and destroys his truck with his bare hands!

Beth, sidelined by the others, opens up to “Chuck” about her family and how they want her to start doing things on her own. She empathizes with Rick saying she knows what it’s like being alone. When Beth mentions the accident that took Rick’s parents, “Chuck” reveals the truth.

Stargirl and Wildcat set out to confront Rick. They find him near the tree where his parents crashed. He vents his frustrations to them saying he doesn’t want to feel angry all of the time. Courtney pleads with him to take up his father’s legacy and be a hero. He refuses to join the team and to give up the hourglass. Courtney tells him that he is too dangerous to have it. Before the two come to blows, Beth arrives and reveals that Rick’ parents were murdered by something called Solomon Grundy. The goggles project the actual events of that night which show the hulking creature causing the crash. Rick is shocked and changes his mind about joining the team. He agrees, but not for justice, he wants revenge.

In the final moments of the episode, the junkyard owner drops off Matt’s damaged truck at Pat’s garage. Pat begins to suspect Rick’s true identity. He later discovers the JSA artifacts in Courtney’s room realizing that she has been recruiting behind his back.

Elsewhere, the ISA stops a shipment. Principal Bowin shows up and using her violin, places one of the truckers under mind control. The other is murdered by the Gambler, who also had the messenger (from earlier in the episode) poisoned.

This was yet another stellar episode of DC’s Stargirl! The origin stories of both Rick Tyler and Beth Chapel were brilliantly told in my opinion. Cameron Gellman does an incredible job portraying the troubled Rick, who has already proved to be an interesting addition to the team. It will be fascinating to see how he works with Courtney and crew given his reason for joining. Beth on the other hand is such a charming and loveable character. Anjelika Washington brings such a joy to the character that is simply infectious. I loved her interactions with “Chuck” (voiced by the great Henry Thomas!) as well as the others. In addition, this episode also presented more interesting developments on the villain front. This episode gave us another glimpse of Grundy as well as showing the abilities of the Gambler and Bowin (who is almost certainly Virtuoso or the new Fiddler).

Looking forward to the next episode!

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