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Stargirl - Brainwave Jr. - Review: Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire

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(WARNING: Full spoilers for the episode below)

I mentioned in the last review about how consistently great this show has been in its freshmen outing, and just when I say that the show turns around and gives us the season's best episode yet. Much like last week, this episode had a lot of exciting moments, but this time around the action and stakes were ramped up higher than they've ever been.

Right off the bat, we continue off from last week's story, where we see Barbara finally finding out about Court and Pat. She takes it about as well anybody expected. The three have an intense argument, that ends with Barbara deciding that she and Court are going to head out of Blue Valley and leave Pat and Mike. All actors involved here did an outstanding job, and it was a great way to open up the episode. The show's done such a good job of making us love these characters, that it hurts to see them arguing so heavily. Later on, of course, we see Barbara starting to turn around as she realizes just how bad things have gotten, and even begins to hesitantly "join the team" (good one recording Jordan and his parents!). Nonetheless, it's obvious there's still some animosity she has towards Pat, and Mike is also growing frustrated with being out of the loop and feeling more distant from Court than ever. With both her team and family starting to tear apart, I'm surprised Courtney is able to keep pushing forward without mentally breaking.

The other main driving force of the episode was both Henry Sr. and Jr.'s development. When Brainwave wakes up, he's forgotten the past 10 years of his life, essentially erasing the worst parts of his life. This situation allows for both him and his son to connect in a way that they haven't been able too in a long time, as they grieve the loss of Mary all over again. It shows that both these characters have a hidden vulnerable side due to a terribly dark past, that gives them more depth than before. I also appreciated the bait and switch they did with Mary's killer, leading us on to believe that Jordan was the culprit, while it was Henry Sr. all along. A shockingly good twist.

Finding out that Courtney and Henry are cousins was also a fun surprise, and it was seemingly the final thing that pushed Court to get him on the team. I talked last week about how it's understandable that Yolanda and the rest of the JSA don't want Henry on the team, and I appreciate how the show forces us to think a little bit deeper about situations like this. Knowing what Henry did, would you work with him knowing that it could lead to saving lives? Is he beyond redemption?

The big third act of the episode was probably my favorite moment of the entire season so far. The JSA's invasion of the ISA's lair was filled with fantastic action, superb effects (loved Wildcat's in particular), and emotionally resonant stakes, and was definitely the best battle sequence so far on the show (though the Stargirl Vs. Shiv fight is another strong contender). Dragon King and his crew were fittingly creepy, and that unmasking was especially terrifying. Stargirl's one-on-one against him was probably the highlight of the whole sequence for me, but everything was done incredibly well. The only thing I thought was stupid here was Rick's insistence on fighting Solomon Grundy. Like, I get he wants revenge, but his stubborn arrogance is getting hard to watch personally.

As the episode ended, we got another shocking gut punch, as Henry Jr. was killed by his father while protecting the rest of the JSA. I was looking forward to seeing how his dynamic with the team was gonna grow, knowing the jerk he was before, but at least he got to die attempting to be a better person. It was heartbreaking watching Court, Yolanda, Rick, and Beth helplessly attempting to breakthrough Brainwave's shield as he attacked his son. If they didn't have enough motivation to defeat the ISA before, they sure do now.

Looks like next week we'll see what the situation between Barbara and Sam and that email exchange is about. But until then, what did you guys think?

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