Directed by Jennifer Phang
Written by Geoff Johns
“Heroes can come from anywhere.”- Pat Dugan
Following the death of Henry King Jr., Courtney is put through the ringer yet again when someone from her past unexpectedly shows up at her doorstep.
DC’s Stargirl delivers yet another incredible episode! “Shining Knight” is a beautifully emotional piece about family and discovering/rediscovering your identity and self worth. This incredible episode delivers an important message that anyone can make a difference for good. A hero can come from anywhere. While this is not a new idea in comic books and adaptations, it is done masterfully here. Brec Bassinger and Luke Wilson deliver heart-wrenchingly brilliant performances in this episode. Pat and Courtney’s father-daughter relationship is the beautiful heart of this show. This episode reminds us of this as it introduces Sam Kurtis, Courtney’s biological father, whose arrival shatters her confidence. In addition, “Shining Knight” officially confirms what many have suspected: Janitor Justin is the Shining Knight himself! Justin’s journey in this episode is incredibly heartbreaking. Let’s recap!
The episode opens with Justin (guest star Mark Ashworth), the Blue Valley High janitor, visiting a local ranch. He, admiring the horses, politely asks the ranch for a “gallant white stead with fire in its eyes and victory in its heart.” The rancher angrily chases him away. A distraught Justin then sees the American Flag which triggers his memory of Stripesy. He then begins to seek him out for help restoring his mind.
Meanwhile, Sam Kurtis (guest star Geoff Stults) arrives at the Whitmore/Dugan home much to the shock of Barbara and the rest of the family. Kurtis got Barbara’s email and decided to come to Blue Valley to get to know his daughter. Courtney is shocked and devastated upon seeing her father. Noticing Sam’s locket, she realizes that he is in fact her real father. She runs upstairs and Pat follows her. In a tense conversation, Courtney tells him that if she isn’t Starman’s daughter, she is responsible for the deaths of Joey Zarick and Henry King Jr. and her whole hero identity is pointless. Pat tells her their deaths were not her fault. Mike interrupts their conversation trying to figure out what’s going on and once again gets shut out. Pat snaps at him and tells him to leave. He immediately realizes that he has been treating him poorly by keeping secrets from him.
Meanwhile, Sam tells Barbara that he is here to get to know his daughter before it is too late. Courtney comes downstairs and agrees to talk with him.
Back at BVH, Justin struggles to remember his past. He hallucinates and sees himself as a Dragon King drone. He snaps out of it and then sees an advertisement for Pat’s garage.
Meanwhile, Sam apologizes to Courtney over breakfast. He admits that he is a bit of a screw up, but wants another chance to make it up to her. He invites her to come visit him in Los Angeles so they can get to know each other.
Pat meets with Rick and Beth at the Pit Stop. Their meeting is interrupted by a distraught Justin, who with sword in tow. The troubled former hero hallucinates once more and sees Pat and crew as Dragon King and his minions. Justin attacks them, but Pat is able to talk him down. Justin breaks down and asks Stripesy for help. Pat explains to the kids that Justin is the Shining Knight, the leader of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. Justin is from the days of knights and dragons. He reveals that he was a stable hand for the King Arthur and Knights of the Roundtable. On his deathbed, King Arthur bequeathed the legendary Excalibur to Justin. Justin begins to remember that he followed the Dragon King to Blue Valley and was captured. Pat offers to help him and brings him to his home. Pat later tells Barbara that he believes the ISA is planning a massive brainwashing.
Back at the American Dream, Jordan meets with Henry Sr., who remembers everything and is eager to kill Courtney and Pat. Jordan hesitates due to his feelings for Barbara. Henry reveals that upon his son’s death his own powers have increased. He promises that Project New America will reach half of the country instead of only six states. Brainwave tells Jordan to make up his mind or he will do it for him.
Back at the Whitmore/Dugan home, Sam and Courtney talk on the porch. He tells her that their lockets are valuable. If he sells them, he can get a nice place in LA so that she can come visit him. Courtney tearfully gives him the locket and buys what he’s selling. With the locket in hand, he bids her farewell and leaves. Courtney comes inside and finds Pat. Pat offers himself as a target for her anger, but gets something else. In an emotionally charged moment, she breaks down and embraces him. All she needs from him is unconditional love and support.
Pat finds Sam walking down the street and confronts him. When Sam makes a crude remark about both Courtney and Barbara, Pat punches him.
Back at the house, Barbara finds Courtney in the basement with the staff, which seems to no longer work for her. Courtney is heartbroken. She tearfully tells her mother that the staff is not meant for her anymore and she is ready to leave Blue Valley.
Meanwhile, Jordan has Sharpe unlock Barbara’s work computer. He then discovers that Barbara is investigating him.
At school, Courtney tells her friends that she can no longer be Stargirl as the staff has disowned her. She apologizes saying she can’t let anyones else get hurt because of her silly delusion. They then attend a memorial service for Henry Jr in the auditorium. Sr. delivers a speech during which he telepathically threatens the JSA and dares them to go after him.
In a panic, Courtney rushes home and tries to activate the staff once more. It still does not work. Pat gives her a moving pep talk. He reminds her that heroes can come from anywhere. She then realizes that she has two parents who love her and has their full support. She asks them to join her and with their support the staff shines even brighter than before.
Elsewhere, Jordan orders Brainwave to murder the entire Whitmore-Dugan clan even young Mike. “We don’t want a legacy running around do we?” Mahkent remarks. Twelve hours remain until Project New America launches!
The stage is set for what is sure to be an epic two-part season finale! As I mentioned earlier, this episode was a truly beautiful piece about family and believing in yourself. It showcases the strengths of the series: top notch acting, compelling characters and masterful writing. Truly one of the best episodes of the series so far.
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