What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about DC’s Stargirl “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One”! It’s hard to believe that here we are at the second to last episode for the first season of Stargirl. The stakes have been set, and there is no greater urgency than there is now to put an end to the ISA’s plans. Particularly now that the ISA knows who they all are, and are willing to remove them all from the picture before they further get in the way.
Given the promotional images, it was clear that the two for the job here was Sportsmaster and Tigress. Once more I was thrilled to see these two in action, because everything about them just screams villains. More than the others they have little problem killing, and they enjoy being in that moment with their prey. In general, this is where the two feel most alive. Honestly I don’t think the ISA making the first move this episode could have worked any more better if they chose anyone other than them. The first battle took place between Courtney, Barbara, and Tigress. The fight choreography here was on point between Courtney and Tigress specifically. It was sad that so much of the house interior was destroyed in the process of their fight, but that is what you expect when these two are the type who make use of their surroundings and ability to be very active in action. What made it so brilliant was the way that Courtney was both fighting and trying to keep her mom safe at the same time. It’s a phenomenal combo that she is able to pull off being able to do one thing while the staff does another thing, and still be fluent about what follows after that.
Which brings us to Sportsmaster taking on Pat, and that was worth the wait. From the minute that these two met, I was looking forward to that episode where the two of them would have to confront one another. This was an interesting scene because neither of them were really aware of the other until this moment. When Sportsmaster made his move, it was quite chilling too. There’s something about the way that his smile and body language say two different things. It’s an impressive combo to look ready to cave someone’s skull in and still try to disarm the person with a smile at the same time. Then from there it was just gut-wrenching because you knew that there would have to be some special circumstance for someone like Pat to get out of this in one piece. This fight here was brutal for how one-sided it was going to obviously be, though it couldn’t have ended any better than it did.
Getting back to the group, I was surprised that in this episode they were all so quick to adjust to this new situation. If this were other superhero shows, they would have all still been clinging to the idea that their homes were the safest place they could be. And we all know that is farthest from the truth when the villains know your identities. So it was a breath of fresh air that there was a plan for when things slipped out of their control.
When it came to the ISA, they did not let us down when their plan was being carried through in the final hour. It was in this episode that we got to see exactly what they were building, how it worked, and what made this plan of theirs more dangerous than what it seemed on the surface. What did not surprise me one bit was the sudden change in atmosphere this story took when Brainwave woke up from his coma. It almost made you wonder who was truly in charge comparing the levels of determination he has for the mission to Jordan’s. It was only unfortunate that by the end of this episode you could already see some of the cracks in their plan forming, but at the end of the day they are supervillains. If their own ambitions and needs didn’t get in the way of the bigger picture? They would not be who they are.
That aside I was happy to see that there was more involvement from at least Beth and Rick. This was not the time for any of the three to really fall to the background when everyone should have a role to play in what follows. Given the situation they were in, Beth was up to the plate when the most important thing for any of these heroes to have right now is information. That is where you know where you’re going, and what you’re doing when you get to where you need to go. As for Rick, I appreciate that this week they gave him the room to be helpful, instead of succumbing to his own habits. Giving him that journal as the focal point of his attention does wonders when cracking the code helps everyone, instead of steering him back into that obsession with killing Grundy. Overall, his breakthrough was worth the wait. Now I’m sure that some would have wanted to see more from Yolanda, and I would be there with you. For everything she has been through, Henry is the first person connected to that incident who has given her some sort of closure to what happened. You should want to see how she is getting over that, and where her head will be at when the final battle commences.
I was also happy that this episode they did not continue to push Mike into a corner. As I said before, it was problematic at a point believing the way that he was being treated. It sucks to know that you’re being lied to about something, and being neglected in the process. You get why everyone was trying to keep him in the dark, but there was nothing about this developing situation where prolonged secrecy wasn’t going to do more harm than good. This would normally be that time where the kid like him was going to annoy you, but could you blame Mike in this scenario? His reactions and responses to everything came naturally.
In the end, DC’s Stargirl “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One” cranked the dial to ten and did not disappoint one bit. It is down to the wire for these heroes, and I for one certainly want to know how they are going to beat the ISA when it seems they are all in over their heads.