***MINOR SPOILER REVIEW***
What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about DC’s Stargirl “Shiv Part One”! The true battle for the future of this town and the world officially begins now. They’ve had their first supervillain encounter, and they also live to tell the tale! That makes them legitimate superheroes, right? If only that were the case, but this was only step one of a number of steps this new JSA will have to take in order to handle themselves properly in the field.
Things got interesting with Courtney this week. Then big question after the events of last week’s episode was how they proceeded from failing to stop the ISA. One would think that this was the moment where Courtney began to understand that there was a danger to any one of them doing something on their own. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Apparently, there is still a lot for her to learn during this rookie phase. It was funny because I think we all expected it to be Rick who turned out to be the problem team member. I know I certainly did. He’s angry and just looks for the next thing to hit. That the problem actually turned out to be Courtney was a clever twist. Well, clever depending on who you ask about this development.It would also be fair to look at this and say she was acting out of character as someone who was not too long ago preaching about being prepared before jumping into battle.
Now as far as characters go who we get to know a little better each week, this time around it was Cindy’s turn. This one right here turned out to be more terrifying than you fear. It was one thing to understand that she was already being groomed for this, but it was another thing to understand how lost she was to it too. I mean, I think when we looked at Cindy initially, it was easy to write her off as just being that girl who thinks she runs the school. That part was still true to an extent, but it did not prepare you for the genuine darkness which lied within her heart. Especially when it came to the things she was willing to do to prove that she was more than this role she was playing as a teen/student. At the same time, getting to know Cindy allowed us a bit of understanding of the Dragon King as well. It wasn’t too hard to see how she turned out the way she did, or how she could eventually end up turning into more of a monster than her father.
If there was one thing we did have to look forward to, it was another big action scene. Initially you would have thought this would be Courtney taking on the Dragon King, but it did feel more fitting that it would be Cindy who she took on. There was no better time than now to show how dangerous a younger generation of groomed villains could be. Cindy was the combination of unchecked personality, power without responsibility, and knowing just what the other villains get themselves into. Obviously this is a recipe for disaster, yet at the same time the perfect formula for creating another exhilarating fight. While none of what played out fit anything resembling the teamwork Courtney was supposed to be working on, I will give credit where it is due that they put someone in front of her who once more challenged the work they put into the fight choreography. I was blown away by how smooth it all played out from start to finish. The hand-to-hand was great, the use of staff weapons was great, even the blasting of cosmic beams and fire was great. Even if you knew how this was going to end for Courtney, the fight itself had you at the edge of your seat till it was done.
It surprised me that they had so much time to get around to so many character dynamics, but it was worth it that they were able to make some room to dig deeper into the ISA and some of their kids. This was the first time where you really saw how important it was for them to do what they do for their kids. Some of them eventually plan on their kids being brought into the fold, while some others feel better keeping them at arm’s length from their dealings with the ISA.
With that said, I’m sure there are some out there who don’t character about what Mike or Barbara do. I get it, depending on why you watch these shows, their involvement might not be as crucial enough for you to find investment in them. However, this is partly a family show too. It mattered that we were finally seeing what happens when Barbara starts noticing things that she isn’t a part of. It mattered a bit more that we were seeing some character depth from Mike who up to this point has never shown any true feelings towards all the changes he has gone through. It was always going to be a matter of time before he expressed the problems that come with losing his dad to Courtney.
There was a lot of other things going on in this episode too. Small things which turned into big things, or just small wheels turning that you know down the road will matter much more. While some of these things were worth giving attention too, I do hope that they do not ignore the value of episodes where there was much more focus to what was unraveling.
Overall, if you though that last week’s episode of Stargirl was meant to represent what can go wrong when they spring into action unprepared, “Shiv Part One” was where the true consequences lied. What can go wrong when you try to do everything yourself, and what can go wrong when the darkness consumes you enough that you have nothing but a purpose to keep you sane. Courtney and Cindy come from different worlds, but boy do they suffer from the same flaws.