Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Warning: Major SPOILERS Ahead
DC Universe’s series Stargirl tantalised the young girl in me all over again. This series has got heart, suspense, conflict, and nostalgia all rolled into one neat, fun, and epic star-spangled package.
The series is set ten years after the Justice Society of America (JSA) is annihilated by the Injustice Society of America (ISA). Teen Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger), her mother Barbara Whitmore (Amy Smart), stepdad Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson) and stepbrother Mike (Trae Romano) move to Blue Valley, Nebraska. Courtney soon discovers the Cosmic Staff that was entrusted to her stepfather Pat. Pat aka Stripsey was once the sidekick of Starman, one of the members of the JSA, now deceased. They soon encounter members of the ISA living and working in Blue Valley and it is not just pure co-incidence. The villains are cooking up something and Courtney is determined to form a new JSA in order to defeat them.
Courtney is extremely relatable as she battles her own insecurities, feelings, and teenage drama while selflessly putting herself in constant danger to protect Blue Valley from the ISA. Bassinger and Wilson’s flawless father/daughter chemistry will manage to touch an emotional chord on the toughest of hearts. And let’s not forget the awesome mutli-dimensional supporting characters that are guaranteed to either have you loving, hating, and cheering for them at certain junctures of the series.
So now that I’ve hopefully gotten you interested let’s get into my favourite Stargirl moments:
#5 Stargirl’s first star-spangled appearance, Episode 2: S.T.R.I.P.E.
Courtney steals Starman’s costume from Pat’s trunk and carries it to school. She goes to the sewing room class and alters it making it her own costume. However, Dr King aka Brainwave becomes more determined than ever to discover the identity of the mysterious girl who tried to fight him and blew up his son’s car. When he finds evidence that the girl attends Blue Valley High School he shows up at a parents/teacher open night with the sole purpose of using his powers to figure out the identity of the mystery girl. He locates Courtney and threatens her that he will make her mother’s death extremely painful if she doesn’t bring him the Cosmic Staff.
Pat decides to step in using his robot protype S.T.R.I.P.E. to confront Brainwave without giving up the Cosmic Staff or his family. Just when it looks like Pat is about to lose the fight, Courtney shows up in her newly altered star-spangled costume and using the Cosmic Staff almost like a skateboard. Eventually, Brainwave manages to pin Stargirl and begins to use his mind to inflict terrible pain for attacking his son.
However, Pat shines a light from his prototype Robot directly at Brainwave momentarily distracting him and giving Courtney a chance to grab the Cosmic Staff. She proceeds to basically short circuit Brainwave’s brain by touching his face with the staff and it causes him to lapse into an instant coma. This episode is what I would say represented the beginning of a bond with a common purpose between Courtney and Pat.
Alice’s Cosmic Score: 7 out of 10
#4 Henry King’s ultimate sacrifice, Episode 10: Brainwave Jr.
Now you may be asking yourselves why I would choose such a tragic moment as one of my favourites. Well let me explain. Because Henry’s father is a key member of the ISA and he has inherited his father’s powers, you may tend to think that his fate is sealed. He loves his father and in craving his father’s attention, well you put two and two together and he’s going to end up with the ISA. However, it was surprising to see that not only does he deeply regret how Yolanda aka Wildcat was treated but he seems to be torn between doing the right thing and yet not hurting his father.
This particular moment in the episode is what I would call the most emotional of the entire series. Henry realises that his father is beyond redemption and Dr King reveals a painful truth about the past to his son. It becomes a standoff between father and son making Henry realise that he must sacrifice himself for the greater good. In order for the new JSA to survive he needs to make to ultimate sacrifice for his friends so that they can live to fight in the final battle. His death marks a turning point for the new JSA and makes the team bond closer than ever before not only from mutual grief but in helping them face the harsh reality—they are the town’s last defence.
Alice’s Cosmic Score: 8 out of 10
#3 Courtney Questions Her Legacy & Pat’s Punch-out, Episode 11: Shining Knight
Courtney’s biological father Sam Kurtis (Geoff Stults) who disappeared ten years ago finally shows up in Blue Valley under the guise of reconnecting with his daughter. To Courtney’s horror it just confirms the fact that she definitely isn’t Sylvester Pemberton aka Starman’s daughter. Needless to say, it crushes her confidence and spirit, ultimately causing the Cosmic Staff to reject her.
Although Courtney is very wary of Sam at first, he manages to wiggle his way back into her heart. But in true deadbeat dad fashion, Kurtis manages to crush any aspirations that were beginning to take form by asking Courtney for her locket (which is literally the only gift that he ever gave her) because his mother told him that it was made by a famous jewelry designer to the stars and worth a lot of money. He wanted to sell it in order to put a deposit down on a new place that was bigger so that she could come and visit him in California. After realising that his intentions were not genuine, Courtney gives him the locket. When Kurtis leaves, a heartbroken Courtney throws herself into Pat’s arms for comfort.
The scene just cements the bond between stepfather and stepdaughter when Pat hugs her without hesitation. Pat soon catches up with Courtney’s father before he leaves town and chastises him for his behavior. Pat warns him to never return and Kurtis remarks that he wasn’t planning to. However, he decides to take one last passing verbal shot at Pat by making an extremely derogatory comment about Courtney’s mother Barbara. Pat decks him, triumphantly and satisfyingly sending Kurtis crashing to the ground.
Brainwave reveals to Courtney during a school assembly memorial for his son Henry that he knows that she is Stargirl and threatens her family. A desperate Courtney returns home to try to get the Cosmic Staff to work for her again. After several unsuccessful attempts, Courtney asks for both her mother and Pat to accompany her to the basement and stand at her side. She needed to feel them close while she attempted one last time to activate the Cosmic Staff. It miraculously works and the staff burns brighter than ever before, representing the rebirth of Stargirl as Courtney Whitmore, but not as the daughter of Starman.
Alice’s Cosmic Score : 8.5 out of 10
#2 “I’m Your Daughter”, Episode 13: Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. Part 2
One of the main strengths of the series is the foundation created by the gradual building of the father/daughter relationship between Pat and Courtney. There is a powerful scene at the beginning of this episode where the mind control device begins to take control over the adults in the town including Courtney’s mother and Pat. However, Pat is inside his robot S.T.R.I.P.E. when he is taken over, so he tries to attack Courtney. Not wanting to hurt Pat with any Cosmic blasts she tries to get through to him, and in a moment of raw emotion she says that she is his daughter. Pat hesitates and begins to struggle against the mind control, but it is slowly killing him the more that he fights it.
After Courtney destroys the satellites that Brainwave was using to magnify his powers, Pat admits to her that he heard every word that she said, and a silent but mutual look of understanding is passed between them. This establishes that their relationship has finally turned a corner. And they both grew so much during the series and learned a lot from each other.
Alice’s Cosmic Score: 9 out of 10
#1 Rescuing Barbara, Episode 13: Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. Part 2
Still reeling from the failure of Project: New America, Jordan Mankent (Neil Jackson) aka Icicle kidnaps Courtney’s mother and tries to convince her to side with him. Pat and Stargirl show up just in time to save her. Icicle tries to attack Pat’s confidence by teasing him about being a sidekick and not having any special powers. But it doesn’t shake Pat’s resolve and he says very proudly that his daughter aka Stargirl will save Barbara.
After Icicle falls off a tower and damages his ice armour, Pat’s son Mike finishes him off by plowing through him with a pick-up truck. There is an emotional exhilaration in the series finale that I haven’t experienced in quite a long time. The newly formed JSA managed to thwart their first threat and formed irreplaceable friendships. Courtney’s growth has come full circle and she completes her closure about her father’s absence by giving Pat the gift that she was safekeeping for her father since she was four years old—a world’s best dad coffee cup that is the matching cup to her mother’s. Courtney has successfully managed to move on from her insecurities about her biological father by finding a more than suitable replacement in Pat Dugan.
Alice’s Cosmic Score: 9 out of 10
Conclusion: I thoroughly enjoyed this series and admired the fact that they kept the characters as grounded as possible despite the fact some having special powers. Stargirl has been officially renewed for a Season 2 and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook where you’ll get my reviews hot off the press. You can also find me on Instagram as alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For my extended bio you can click here.