Directed by Ani Armaganian
Written by James Dale Robinson
The truth is out! As Barbara deals with this new revelation,Courtney and the new JSA experience another major tragedy!
Last week, we dove deep into the mind of Brainwave (aka Henry King Sr.). In this week’s powerful episode, Jake Austin Walker gets the spotlight as Henry Jr. is faced with a difficult choice. Jr.’s bully-turned-hero arc continues here and to great effect. Walker’s performance and the incredible writing truly make this arc one of the best. Amy Smart’s Barbara also gets some time to shine as she deals with Pat and Courtney’s lies and begins her own investigation into Jordan Mahkent. This epic and emotional episode marks a turning point in the series as we quickly approach a climactic battle between the JSA and the ISA! Let’s recap!
“Brainwave Jr.” opens with a flashback to two years ago whe Pat and Barbara first met in Blue Valley. The two quickly hit it off and share a banana split.
We cut to where the previous episode left off. Pat and Courtney stumble over their words as they tell Barbara everything. Barbara is furious and kicks Pat out.
Meanwhile, Henry Jr discovers that his father has lost ten years of his memories upon waking up from his coma (and as a result is much nicer). The last thing Sr. remembers is Jr’s sixth birthday. King Sr. realizes that his son has his powers and offers to train him. He also learns that his wife/Jr’s mother is dead which devastates him. The two begin to bond as they embrace for the first time in years.
Back at the Whitmore/Dugan home, Courtney contemplates opening the Christmas gift left for her by her father. Meanwhile, Mike talks with his father about Barbara. Pat tells him that he hopes they can repair the damage done, but isn’t sure. Mike decides to go with him to the garage.
At the hospital, Jr. uses his abilities to hear his father dream about Merry and realizes that Jordan had something to do with her death. He rushes home and finds a video tape with more information. In the video, King Sr. explains that he met Merry aka the Girl with 1,000 Gimmicks while he was robbing a bank. She not only caught him, but she also captured his heart. His relationship with her started to change him, making him doubt Jordan’s plans. An angry Jordan then orchestrated the demise of the JSA and killed Merry’s brother: Sylvester Pemberton aka Starman! Sr. also implies that Jordan had Merry killed as well.
Later that night, The Cosmic Staff wakes Courtney up and tries to get her to go out. She refuses as she is already in major trouble with her mom. The staff decides to go after Icicle alone after remembering the latter’s identity.
At the hospital, Jordan visits Henry Sr. and informs him that Project New America is ready to launch. As they prepare to leave, the Cosmic Staff attacks them, but is no match for both Brainwave and Icicle, who capture it.
The next morning, Courtney frantically searches for the staff. Barbara tells her to stop looking. Still angry, she tells Courtney to pack as they are leaving Blue Valley as soon as possible. After Barbara heads to work to get her things, Courtney rushes to Pat’s garage. She tells Pat that the staff is missing and about leaving. A saddened Pat tells her to listen to her mother. He wants them both to be safe and their hero days are over now. Pat rushes off to make sure Barbara is safe at work. Mike expresses his disappointment to Courtney after she still won’t tell him what’s going on.
On her way to school, Courtney runs into Henry Jr., who tells her everything he has discovered concerning his father and the ISA. She embraces him, thinking him to be her cousin. Jr. offers to help her take down the ISA and save his father, whom he believes is changing.
Meanwhile, Barbara emails Sam Kurtis (aka Courtney’s father) at work. She then looks up information on Starman. Pat arrives and checks on her. He tells her to go far away from this town as all he wants is for them to be safe. Jordan and parents show up and give her some baked goods as a thank you for dinner. Mahkent’s parents speak their native Norwegian and then leave. Barbara smartly recorded them!
Back at school, the new JSA (except Beth) is still not a fan of Jr. joining them. Rick and Henry argue with the latter sneakily using his abilities to toss lunch at him. Yolanda eventually agrees to let Henry help, but tells Courtney that they are no longer friends.
Later, the new JSA and Henry Jr. journey to the tunnels where they split up to search for the staff and Henry Sr. Courtney, Yolanda, and Jr. find Brainwave hooked up to a machine surrounded by Dragon King and his goons. Cindy, who is still locked up, alerts her father to their presence and a massive fight ensues. Meanwhile, Rick and Beth discover the cell holding Solomon Grundy. Rick immediately wants to kill the brute as revenge for killing his parents. Beth is able to prevent him from following through. Eventually the JSA is reunited while fending off Ito’s drones. Amidst the chaos, Courtney finds herself facing off against Ito himself, who proves to be a powerful adversary. She is however, able to blast him after Yolanda retrieves the staff.
Henry Jr. goes to get his father, but Sr. refuses to go with him. Jr. realizes that his father’s memories have been restored and is now back to his old self. The new JSA then attempts to escape, but is cornered by Brainwave. Henry Jr. stands up to him and protects the others. Jr tries one last time to get through to his father, but is unsuccessful. Sr. begs him to join him and further develop his powers or die. He also reveals that he killed Merry much to Jr’s horror. Jr. triumphantly refuses saying he will never be like him. He then turns to Courtney and the others and apologizes. He tells them to never lose hope. With that, Sr. causes the ceiling to collapse on Jr seemingly killing him.
This episode is easily one of the best of the series so far in my humble opinion. “Brainwave Jr.” is definitely a turning point for the season, which has been consistently stellar. It delivers on every level: compelling character development, incredible action, and a truly heartbreaking climax. This thrilling episode also reinstates Brainwave as one of the most menacing villains on the show and shakes up Courtney’s family dynamic. The cast and crew continue to outdo themselves with every episode.
I cannot wait for the next episode.
Stay tuned for more recaps and reviews for DC’s Stargirl here on Earth-9!