DC’s Stargirl “S.T.R.I.P.E.” Review

***SPOILER REVIEW***

What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about DC’s Stargirl “S.T.R.I.P.E.”! Most will say that this is probably the strongest start we have had to a DC series, and they would be right. Though even with such a strong start, what comes after is just as important. What I looked forward to from Stargirl this week was seeing them hit the ground running. Taking advantage of the kind of momentum they built up can make all the difference in creating investment in everything to follow.

The transition into the next episode was excellent. Right now Stargirl is the first series in a while that is focusing on the rise of a young hero. That means she needs to get the new hero treatment. Meaning that when you take on your first villain, and it is that much of a close call? You are going to assume that there are some things to shake off after. Courtney went through the motions, and she started asking the right questions about what she has now gotten herself into. I think they nailed what this experience was supposed to light in her. Especially since the takeaway was a proper explanation of what the situation with the has been since the destruction of the JSA.

DC’s Stargirl — “S.T.R.I.P.E.” — Image Number: STG102d_0009b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore and Luke Wilson as Pat Dungan — Photo: Steve Dietl/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

When it comes to Courtney, I would have expected that they would play it safe with her. Though that is not at all what they had in store for her in this episode. Couldn’t argue with their writing for her when in all honesty you would want to make a character like her favorable pretty quick. There’s no doubt that there are some viewers out there who fear that she might be too whiny, too dramatic, or full of too much angst. However, this episode was full of everything you want to see from someone who has been captivated by the world of heroes. She has had a taste for the power, the feeling of purpose, and the determination from the thought that Starman has to be her father. This made her ripe for the kind of experience where she was going to get bold and reckless. The kind of behavior that inevitably leads to trouble. Though this was also the time to show that she has it in her to be the kind of hero who rebounds from those mistakes.

That aside, I think what I liked most was seeing that they wouldn’t get too caught up with the whole step-father/step-child cliche. Yeah, in most cases there is tension, but that’s not something you want to get lost in with a show like this either. So the moments they shared this week were better for the common ground they were able to find.

I gotta say, I did not expect to love Pat as much as they made me in this second episode. When I read that this one was titled “S.T.R.I.P.E.”, it was easy to assume that this was going to be the week where they really jumped into what’s really going on with this guy. His story is one to appreciate because too often when you are written as the sidekick, you are pretty much stuck in a corner creatively. They wasted little time to assure us that this was not going to be Pat. The days of just being the sidekick were behind him, but they still made him question a lot of his decisions. They also made him question his own worth as someone who could possibly stand up to the

DC’s Stargirl — “S.T.R.I.P.E.” — Image Number: STG102d_0195b.jpg — Pictured: Luke Wilson as Pat Dungan — Photo: Steve Dietl/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Aside from that, his characterization was humorous as well. They did not fail to make him entertaining as someone who knows what’s coming and struggles getting himself ready. Between fixing up the suit, getting himself mentally in the game, and physically, a lot of things are going to be easier said than done.

Now of course we should talk about Brainwave. As the first member of the that they have focused on, Brainwave set a good tone for what we should expect from the rest of them. The writing for Brainwave was chilling because there is nothing more dangerous than a villain who is able to read your mind. That is the kind of villain who keeps you on your toes when no one is truly ever prepared to have to go mind over matter. The best thing about the writing for him was that he so far seems like the only villain in the town who is the most attached to his persona. Of course it is problematic to have villains deeply seeded in a community, but it is just as bad when the villain has no problem letting their darkness seep into their civilian identity. This made Brainwave the most eager to hunt down Courtney and do something to get her out of the way.

DC’s Stargirl — “S.T.R.I.P.E.” — Image Number: STG102c_0043b.jpg — Pictured: Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore — Photo: Jace Downs/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Somehow I even enjoyed how they went through the process of Courtney trying to make this costume her own. Her costume seems pretty simple on the surface, but even then it never hurts to show that material does matter with these things. With as much effort that was likely put into creating Starman’s suit, you could bet that the same kind of effort would have to go into changing it.

With that said, still the effects and CGI were stunning. As I said before, one of the best things this series has going for it is the fact that this is a series that airs on The CW, but at the core it is treated like any other in the DC Universe. I don’t know what the budget for this one is, but they are making it between the costumes and effects. I wasn’t expecting to see Pat’s suit as much as we did, but not once did they disappoint in they way it blended into each scene. If this was something like The Flash, his suit would have looked awkward or stuck out like a sore thumb, but fortunately that was not the case here. At the same time, they did very well handling a villain like Brainwave who has telekinesis. That is also a power which can be challenging if you do not go the distance to make everything picked up and tossed too computer generated. Him in action was again thrilling because thought was put into everything his mind touched, including when it was actually someone else’s mind.

DC’s Stargirl — “S.T.R.I.P.E.” — Image Number: STG102a_0330b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Cynthia Evans as Denise Zarick, Joe Knezevich as William Zarick, Amy Smart as Barbara Whitmore and Hina Khan as Principle Bowin — Photo: Quantrell Colbert/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Beyond this, I did find interest in Barbara’s story. Obviously she is going to be clueless about everything going on behind the scenes for a while, but that isn’t going to stop someone like her from finding her way into the middle of it. The same way that Courtney and Pat are making an impression on the , you could say the same for Barbara trying to make the best of this move. It also went a long way that they made sure this isn’t easy for anyone, aside from the boy. Her perspective on fitting in is refreshing since for her it comes down to simply being good at her job, making the friends, not to mention making the right friends. Being a good mom is just something you’re always going to expect from her, and as a mom she is endearing for the moments she has shared with Courtney in just these two episodes.

Overall I found myself very impressed with how this episode turned out. DC’s Stargirl has all the makings of something great that we aren’t seeing from the other comic book shows out there. This one has the heart, the sense of wonder, and the light-heartedness you expect from a hero that is on the rise. “S.T.R.I.P.E.” made sure we were ready for that, and the hero they are ready to tap into with Pat.

Jideobi Odunze Author

Editor for Geeked Out Nation/Beyond The Panel. Everything is permitted. #TeamCyke l #Reclaimer l #LARPer l Fantasy Geek Follow me on Twitter @Jideobi0. Email at siphen_x@yahoo.com