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Superman's Pal

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Superman's Pal

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,803
Subj: Ep 8 & 9 "Shiv Part Two" & "Brainwave"
Posted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 at 06:38:16 pm CDT (Viewed 459 times)
Reply Subj: CW's Stargirl "Pilot"
Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 at 07:23:55 pm CDT (Viewed 825 times)

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I’m a bit behind, this show premiered a couple of months ago and there was a thread on the DC Universe board about it, but since it’s a JSA-centric show I thought it belonged on this board.

I just watched the first episode and plan to watch the rest, I guess 8 episodes are currently out and there are going to be 13 this season.

I guess I’m old school so it’s odd to think that the JSA only came and went 10 years ago, as the opening title card tells us. So they existed post-2000 not in the 1940s. Another reason why that’s weird is that the show begins in what looks like the real world, but if superheroes are a part of normal everyday life here you would think it might be a little bit different. Like when they did the JSA on Smallville they had to say that they were a forgotten team that operated in secret decades ago and no one ever knew about them. But this is coming in after like 10 years of CW shows so I guess they figure you’re on board with the superhero premise or you’re not.

We start right in the thick of things with the JSA battling the ISA (Injustice Society). They don’t bother to introduce everyone or their gimmick, looks like the ISA is being led by the Wizard or Brainwave. Where did the giant black hand come from, was that Karkull? I think the lady with the braid was GA Huntress? The guy with the hockey mask must have been Sportsmaster. For some reason the big hero of the JSA is Starman, Sylvester Pemberton rather than Dr. Fate or Green Lantern. The entire JSA gets killed except for Starman who is rescued by his sidekick Stripesy in the Star Rocket Racer, I presume. They crash shortly after and Starman dies in Stripesy’s arms telling him to pass on the Cosmic Staff “but not to you, you’re not a hero” he says. Unless that’s a ‘tough love’ way of trying to motivate him, it’s kind of a dick thing to say.

Now we cut to present day Blue Valley, Nebraska where Stripesy AKA Pat Dugan has moved his family; his son Mike, his wife Barbara and stepdaughter Courtney. They don’t know he used to be a superhero but it’s not long before Courtney stumbles across his secret. The Cosmic Staff in this version is sentient, I guess, and chooses Courtney as its new champion. I’m not sure why it needs a champion since it has a mind of its own and can move on its own, mostly dragging her along.

They didn’t name every character we saw but I’m assuming the girl she meets in the ‘loser’s club’ at school, Beth, is going to be Dr. Midnight, the Latina girl Wildcat, and the mopey guy Hourman II. Pat sets up an auto shop and gets a visit from a nearby gym owner Larry “Crusher” Crock, yep that’s the Sportsmaster. The bullies at school are lead by a ginger who must be Brainwave Jr. since his father turns out to be Brainwave.

Courtney goes from hating her stepdad to partnering up with him pretty quick, by the end of the first episode. Kind of played out that storyline from the comic fast. She ends up being drawn to a confrontation with Brainwave but suddenly Pat shows up in his giant robot suit S.T.R.I.P.E. to help out, and: cliffhanger.

It was okay. Meshing Star-Spangled Kid and Starman into one character doesn’t really matter, nor skipping Jack Knight and giving the Staff version to Sylvester (instead of the rod or belt), just details. I don’t like how clueless Pat seems, I don’t like how the JSA treat him like he’s not one of the heroes just because he’s a sidekick or how Sylvester told him he wasn’t a hero.

There was no real character motivation for Courtney to start a hero’s journey, she just finds the poorly hidden staff and starts playing around with it. And it has super duper extra powers that will do a lot of the heavy lifting for her which makes her a little less heroic, I think.

Good costumes, effects, mostly good acting. I wish it the best, I hope it’s good. I don’t care if it crosses over with the Arrowverse.

With these two episodes I'm all caught up and I'll have to review these one per week for the rest of the season.

S01E08 "Shiv Part Two"

Either Pat or Sir Justin delivered Courtney to the hospital. Pat covers for it by saying they got in a car crash in his classic car. He says they needed a police report to cover the story. Did he drag Court to the scene of the crash so they could discover her there? Why did he have to hit a tree going 90? That car has no air bags or even shoulder belts, he could have been much more hurt. What if he passed out from the crash and the cops had discovered him alone, then he couldn't have used it as an excuse for her injuries. Maybe he should have crashed at 30 or 40. Maybe I think too much.

Cindy visits Courtney and it's kind of a nice scene where maybe Cindy doesn't know Court is Stargirl and is trying to be friends in the only way an awkward kid raised by a homicidal war criminal can, or maybe she knows Court's secret and is toying with her. Nicely handled.

Meanwhile Rick, Beth and Yolanda go to Cindy's house to snoop around. Pat runs interference with the clueless mom and it's pretty weak. Beth stumbles on a secret tunnel to the evil lair and you assume she'll find something incriminating and barely get out, or not get out. Instead she finds nothing and heads to Cindy's room where she finds something incriminating. So what was the point of the tunnel red herring?

Cindy and Courtney are about to fight in the street but Henry Jr. shows up and his mind powers start to kick in and he breaks it up.

Not too much happened this episode but I'm starting to think that a show about Cindy being raised by a homicidal lunatic lizard-man pretending to fit into normal life in the suburbs would be more interesting.

S01E09 "Brainwave"

We see young Henry Sr. when he first starts experimenting on himself and getting telepathic powers. Back at King Manor, Henry Jr. discovers dad's VHS diary and starts learning about him.

Courtney asks Pat if they should recruit the janitor who saved her. Pat tells her that they served on another team before the JSA, the Seven Soldiers of Victory. That's a deep cut. I didn't think they would bother to mention them. It's even the original group which includes Green Arrow and Speedy, instead of the retcon group with the Spider or Stuff. Color me surprised. Unfortunately that means they also have to address the elephant in the room that there are eight members of the Seven Soldiers but Wing didn't count because he was Chinese. Oof.

Courtney goes against the team's wishes and tries to recruit Brainwave Jr. but he's not ready to join, he has too much affection for his abusive father. Yolanda tries to kill him because he published her sext photo which seems like an overreaction and he probably didn't even do it, right? It was probably Cindy.

Henry also finds out that Cindy was only dating him to keep an eye on him for the Dragon King. Henry's got a lot of anger and takes it out on some lawyer, right before dad wakes up.

Barbara also invites Icicle and his family over for family dinner night at the Dugan's. She doesn't know he's a villain but Court starts to figure it out. But then Barb walks in on Court and Pat superheroing in the basement for a cliffhanger ending. They really should have told her the first day.

I think Henry, like Cindy, is almost a more interesting character than any of the JSA kids. Raised by a villain, trying to fit into a normal world.

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