What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about DC’s Stargirl “Brainwave”! Well, we know who they are going to focus on next! By the end of last week’s episode we all came to learn that Henry Jr. did in fact inherit his father’s powerful psionic abilities. Though surprise surprise that Courtney of all people will jump at the opportunity to add brainboy to the JSA ranks. Could you imagine a better way to create tension with her own team? Aside from running into another fight on her own again… which I do hope they are going to address that again, because I think we’re beginning to see a pattern.
Wow, this one was a lot to take in. Before I get into anything else, let’s first of all talk about Henry Jr., the reason why this episode is titled “Brainwave”. Now I’m not going to lie, I had my concerns about a character like this. There is a track record with comic book shows, and where they tend to drop the ball is when it comes to characters who both read minds and move objects with their minds. There had to be something about the story they were ready to tell that would break from the mold. And break from the mold they did from start to finish. I was impressed by their approach to both giving a backstory to Brainwave, and allowing this to easy Henry Jr. into an understanding of what changes he is now going through. There was only so many times they could show us that room with the tapes before we actually go to see them for ourselves. It was a chilling progression because it takes quite an experience for someone like Henry Sr. to become the villain he is now. Through the tapes we came to understand what motivates him to participate in what the plans of the ISA, and what drives him to do the things he does as a villain. It made a huge difference that his powers played such a crucial role in this too. You don’t view the world the way he does without first experiencing on such an intimate level. Though some might also call it invasive…
In turn, this helped to shape Henry Jr. who honestly has been lacking in anything that was truly making him stand out. His dad was in the hospital, but there had to be more than that going for him at a point. They did something with telepathy that I wish most writers dared to do. That is mold the person around the very things they hear. Often the person simply gets overwhelmed by the voices and worries about the pain. Though here’s Henry Jr. focused on the actual things these people think both directly and indirectly. That can do something to just about anyone who isn’t ready for their reality of the world to be shaken up to that extent.
Now as I said above, there was some difficulty in accepting that Courtney would really be the kind of person to suggest bringing Henry Jr. into the fold. You would think she couldn’t be more bold and reckless, and then she decides to strike a conversation with someone who can read her mind. Yet with that said, she somehow finds one of her most endearing moments having a conversation you didn’t think she had in her, given what she has been through so far.
One thing we knew that was being set up in this episode was this dinner Barbara decided to invite Jordan and his family over for. Surprisingly they dodged a lot that I thought was going to happen predictably. When you get these family dinners with extras, normally you prepare yourself for disaster. However, they did us the biggest favor by going for something that was pretty much straight to the point. Where that twist came in? You could have seen it coming maybe a minute before it happened, but not at all before that. In fact, I was more bracing myself for them to think this was the best time to stir some drama with Jordan seemingly having a thing for Barbara. So that, and what came after the dinner is what catches you off guard. Given the images they showed us before the episode aired, I had my suspicions about what they were planning to do with Barbara finally making a trip to the basement. Did I think it was going to happen in that moment? Not at all, yet at the same time I do appreciate that they did not drag out when said thing was going to become a situation for Courtney and Pat.
That aside, I was a bit disappointed that the others didn’t have too much of a role to play in this. Beth and Rick were really just there to give their input on certain things which either worked for them or didn’t. You knew what to expect from her perspective on the things they had to do, and you knew what to expect from Rick who does what Rick wants to do. They had their discovery on their own, but it was nothing really in contrast to other things unfolding. Though Yolanda on the other hand, at the very least you could appreciate the effort they put into her state of mind given the part Henry Jr. now plays in this battle of good versus evil. Even now, there is no way that someone like Yolanda can be expected get over what was done to her, and what she is still going through to move forward. You look at the person who hurt you, and it makes things that much harder. For that fact alone, you could not fault her for what she did to confront those feelings.
Before I forget, I was thankful that with so much going on this episode, they did not forget to address what has now happened to Cindy. The actress did say that Cindy was in big trouble after what happened last week, but there was a difference between knowing and seeing what that meant for yourself.
All in all, DC’s Stargirl “Brainwave” was an emotional roller coaster. Plenty of discoveries, some gut-wrenching interactions, thought at the end of the day satisfies you because we got a unique origin to Brainwave.