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Stargirl -The Blackmail -Review : The Adults Are Fighting

Beware of spoilers for the episode in the article. Please do not continue reading if you haven’t watched the episode yet and you are not okay with being spoiled.

Introduction :

This episode centers on Sylvester and the Crocks' secret which is tied to the Gambler. Going into the episode it was clear that the Crock's didn't kill him , they wouldn't risk losing their daughter again. It was also great to finally get confirmation that the Crock's got out of jail because of a legal loophole because normally they wouldn’t have been able to get out of jail and essentially return to a normal suburban life.

On the other hand Sylvester is really struggling with finding something to do with his life beyond being a superhero. I find that fascinating because he allowed his superhero identity to become his entire being and now he doesn't have a family or career and he is left to struggle with what he will do with his life now. That's a very interesting storyline for the show to explore for Sylvester. I do however feel that something is off with Sylvester and he is not quite the same as he was before. The anger , outbursts and aggressive head first into danger without a plan character actions Sylvester has made this season don’t seem like moves Starman the leader of the JSA would make. I still think Mr Bones probably had something to do with his resurrection and he is a piece of that elusive mastermind's plan.

Courtney

Deciding not to tell Sylvester was the right call on her part especially after he attacked and hurt the Shade, especially with no clear evidence that the suspects (The Crocks in this episode) did it. Sylvester is an attack first and think later type of guy and that most of the time causes way more damage than it solves anything most of the time. His fight with the Crocks destroyed someones business, who is going to pay for that.Courtney has also started reaching out to Cameron again and I'm really not sure yet how their relationship doesnt end in anyway other than a drammatic heel turn for Cameron , the Cameron in this episode is completely different from the one we knew before. His ice powers are changing him.

Cindy

The Dragon Princess has always had a desire for approval from people she cares about , whether it was her seeking her Father's validation in season 1 by attacking and killing Courtney (who she thought was Starman’s daughter) or trying to use Sylvester to get the rest of the team to trust ( which backfired badly because it makes her look like she can't be trusted ). I also wonder how the show will address what Cindy did to Yolanda in season 1 , that's some downright unforgivable stuff right there.

Yolanda

Wildcat and the rest of the JSA kids seem to look at their heroes ( JSA members ) with rose colored glasses. As we have come to discover from the show, most of the adult JSA members were very flawed people. Sylvester is kind of a jerk and he identified Ted Grant as also being one too. Yolanda needs a bit more to do beyond being mad at Cindy storyline wise and I hope the show finds an interesting storyline for her.

Rick and Cameron

Rick standing up for the teacher who helped him out before was a great moment for him. Rick has never had an archenemy before and it seems Cameron may become his going forward after their confrontation. Cameron puncturing Rick’s car tyre definitely seemed to indicate the two characters would have tension/animosity going forward , Cameron didn’t let their confrontation go.

Rick has always been a very angry character and I think that's what Cameron is going through right now because of his powers. He doesn't know how to handle it so he is pushing everyone away from him ,the scenes with Courtney really hit that point home. I'm still not sure if we are witnessing the story of a troubled teenage boy or a supervillain in the making.

Beth

Doctor Midnight has mostly been a background character this season dealing with her parents' obsession with her being Doctor Midnight and I hope the writers give her something more to deal with soon. The car scene with her and Rick was great , they truly are best friends. Like Yolanda I really hope they give her more to do.

Barbara and Paula

The friendship that keeps on giving. Paula seeking Barbara's help and advice about the club and also finding her confidence when Barbara shows up to support her was a sweet moment. I knew the moment Paula saw Barbara's boss she was going to threaten him for Barbara , at least I'm sure she didn't kill him. That would be an improvement on her part. Paula is willing to do anything for the people she cares about. Barbara's superpower must be attracting supervillains in between Icicle , the Shade and now Paula; they all seem to like her. The Crocks explaining their big secret that the Gambler was black mailing them came across very genuine and it was kind of clear why they wouldn't tell anyone about, they don't have genuine friends and their ISA team mates were more like work colleagues. It's been great to watch both families unite in a way, we need more Crusher and Pat genuine friendship moments though.

Sylvester and Pat

I'm glad Pat finally told Sylvester off about constantly calling him his sidekick, Pat has grown so much since Sylvester's death and he is more of a hero at this point in time (the new JSA does not have sidekicks). Sylvester was out of line for going to attack Paula and Crusher alone. Pat is very nice and so fast he deserved a louder scolding. Pat telling Sylvester he has to act better and telling him about Courtney's dad was a nice emotional moment , Sylvester needs to understand that he has to present a good example to the JSA kids. I definitely wonder how much of his behavior is actually controllable , something has clearly been off with Sylvester since he came back to life.

Pat is so nice that even after their argument he started making Sylvester another superhero suit, it's very clear from the interaction that Pat became Sylvester's sidekick even though Sylvester treated him poorly because he genuinely considers them to be friends. I wonder if anything will come from Mike watching his father making the suit since Pat has been a bit hesitant about letting Mike be a hero. Pat should also make a suit for Mike. Whilst Sylvester made a mistake not taking the cosmic staff to the crime scene, it was definitely nice of him to obey the rules with Courtney especially since he doesn't have to. The staff belongs to Sylvester and technically Courtney just found it. Even though also on the other hand the staff is a sentient being capable of choosing its wielders.

The Supermarket Fight

This episodes director Walter Carlos Garcia also directed episode 6 of Season 2 and he will also direct next week's episode of the show. The Starman vs the Crock's fight scene this episode was excellent. Stargirl tends to have less fight scenes in general compared to other superhero shows like The Flash, Supergirl, Arrow and Legends of tomorrow ( in its earlier seasons) but when the show has fight scenes they are executed well and are quite memorable. In my opinion Stargirl arguably has way better fight scenes in comparison to those other Arrowverse shows (or CWverse shows) because the show favors quality control so the writers and producers would rather not give you lots of average fight scenes but a few extremely great ones. It's clear the show is made with love by comic book fans.

The show is really good at detail. Paula's fighting moves are very cat-like (a reference to her supervillain name Tigress) and that was really highlighted throughout this fight especially in comparison to her husband's brawler athletic fighting style. Artemis fights way more like her Father. The fight also made me remember just how unprepared Courtney was in season 1 episode 5 when she first fought the Crocks, she was able to hold her own against Crusher alone but when the Crocks double teamed her they were able to beat her fairly easily and quickly together. In the Supermarket fight, Sylvester legitimately almost killed both of them with the cosmic staff in comparison even though Paula and Crusher are pretty excellent fighters and they were not easy to defeat and even managed to have an upper hand over Sylvester until Cosmo intervened. Sylvester probably can’t take the Crocks down without the staff but with it he won that fight hands down.

The shot of Sylvester towards the end of the fight outside the supermarket walking towards the Crocks as the cosmic staff floated beside him about to fire at the injured Crocks echoed just how dangerous the cosmic staff can be. I liked how ambiguous the scene was about Sylvester's ultimate goal in that fight. It left us wondering if Sylvester was actually going to kill them. I think the writers are trying to make the audience question whether Sylvester is a hero or a villain or if most people are grey morally and they can, depending on the situation either be heroes or villains.

Additional notes:

1. Pat finally confirmed the timeline of the show , the first three seasons take place across two years.

2. Whatever killed the Gambler clearly has the power to lift Starman into the sky , so I'm guessing someone with some telekinetic or aerokinetic abilities.

3. If Henry Jr was still alive he would have probably bonded with Starman (his uncle) , Sylvester mentioned his sister.

4. We also found out that Rick is living alone and his Uncle has mysteriously disappeared.

5. A big theme this season is about “identity” ,Sylvester is mostly anchoring that story for the heroes' side whilst the villains are also on their journeys of self discovery and trying to be better. If Sylvester sat down and took a breather he would realize that they are all searching for the same thing. A place to call home in Blue Valley.

6. Sylvester being attacked and left for dead definitely puts him out of the running as a suspect for Gamblers murder. It's very likely it's a new character working for Mr Bones but I still think Mr Bones brought Sylvester back to life.

7. Mr Bones is watching the heroes and villains in Blue Valley , it will be interesting to see what his endgame is and why he killed the Gambler ( the most logical explanation is that he was worried the Gambler would be able to unearth his experiment especially since the Gambler discovered his spy cameras something mind you Cindy with her tech skills and Beth with the Doctor Midnight goggles have not been able to do yet. So the Gambler was a threat to Mr Bones experiment.

8. Crusher and Tigress are probably my favorite couple on this show next to Barbara and Pat. They should go on a double date together. Cameron and Courtney havent actually dated so I'm not sure I'd put them in that category yet because we haven't seen how they function as a couple together.

Conclusion :

A good episode which features a memorable action sequence, Stargirl continues to fire on all cylinders as a superhero genre tv series.

Join me weekly for more reviews of Stargirl season 3 on the CW.

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