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Stargirl -The Murder -Review : A Interesting Experiment

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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 :

STARGIRL IS BACK — The show’s writers continue to subvert viewers expectations about what the show can be with the shows 3rd season which brings a new flavor to the series , murder mystery. The episode opens very much as a calm before the storm as everything is quiet and peaceful in Blue Valley when the episode starts. After two seasons the audience knows danger is always afoot in Blue Valley and in true dramatic fashion the episode ends on a murder that hackens back at the point that peace and quiet is truly always short lived in Blue Valley. Making the series a murder mystery this season was an inspired idea by the writers and keeps things fresh and interesting for viewers. With Only Murders in the building having just finished its second season (or left the building) , I'm excited to dive into another murder mystery series. Come to think of it, I'm sure the pitch for this season in the writers room was probably "lets mix true crime and superheroes".


In this episode we finally got an explanation about how Starman came back to life , he basically woke up buried alive completely fine around the time Courtney started using the staff. His explanation made me wonder if that isn't necessarily the truth and his resurrection is connected to Mr Bones and Starman himself isn't actually aware of the truth. Mr Bones concluded the last season stating "Heroes and villains living side by side, what an interesting experiment" in his introductory scene referencing Blue Valley, I bet those spy cameras are his.

Courtney's personal feelings about Sylvester coming back and possibly taking the staff away from her are understandable because she doesn't know Sylvester and he also lowkey comes across a bit shady like he is hiding something. If a new character is too nice in a television show, be very careful. Sylvester admits that he initially came looking for the staff but he has decided to let Courtney keep it in this episode but I doubt that will be the end of the conflict between our two staff bearers this season.

The Villains

Cindy , the Shade and the Crocks are all on journeys of redemption this season and the first episode of the season sets up this season-long theme quite well.Tigress really lacks social skills. I enjoyed her bonding scenes with Barbara last season and I hope we delve into why she is the way she is at some point this season. When Tigress was interacting with Barbara this episode I don't think Tigress even realized just how threatening she might have come across to Barbara who was scared during their scene. Even though it can also be argued that she knew exactly what she was doing. Tigress seems to be housing a lot of issues, you don't end up like that without a lot of childhood trauma issues.The scene was a nice parallel to the Gambler's plot in this episode about his daughter , even villains are willing to do anything for their children.

Crusher breaking into the Whitmore-Dugan residence to try to help Pat with his health (to make him a healthy breakfast) was pretty similar to Tigresses behaviour too , both of them mean well but don't know how to go about showing it properly. I do think Crusher genuinely considers Pat his friend in his mind which is why he warned him about the Gambler being shady. Crusher calling the Gambler a Kentucky fried felon was a funny jab at how the Gambler looks like Colonel Sanders (the KFC fast food franchise founder), especially considering Crusher and Tigress themselves should also be in jail right now.

Courtney is the only JSA member who believes they should give the villains a chance to prove they have changed. I hope the season addresses what Cindy did to Yolanda in season 1 when she leaked those pictures because she was interested in Henry King Jr, having Cindy actually take accountability for that would be a real sign of redemption and one I think Yolanda would actually accept because Cindy doesn't actually have to , there is no evidence she leaked the pictures even though we saw her do it (as the audience).

Regarding the JSA accepting that the villains have changed, I can see Beth coming around quicker than Yolanda and Rick about the villains. When Yolanda asks Courtney about why she is willing to give the Gambler a chance and Courtney basically says the Gambler is a better father than mine ,that was such a great emotional callback to season 1. Courtney still has scars from her father abandoning her and her mother , that sort of stuff doesn't just go away overnight.

The Murder

Throughout the episode we saw the Gambler try to make amends with the people he had harmed but no one believed his intentions were pure.The episode ended with an interesting cliffhanger as we learned that the Gambler was actually being genuine about his desire to make amends.But it was too little to late when he was murdered by a mysterious figure after coming across some surveillance cameras watching the heroes and villains of Blue Valley. I think those spy cameras belong to Mr Bones but I think someone else might have killed him. It would be way too easy for it to be Mr Bones.

The final scene of the episode ends with Cindy standing over Gamblers body but we all know she didn't do it. Stargirl is a TV series big on visual storytelling so every detail matters.From the loud roar that we hear the last time we see Gambler alive to the final shot of the Gamblers trailer being destroyed. It's clear something huge and monstrous killed Gambler or at least that a person with super strength did it. Cindy has some enhanced strength but she isn't strong enough to actually rip apart a trailer like that. The only characters on the show we've seen before with that kind of physical raw power who could have done it from our cast we know are Hourman, Stripsey (Pat in the suit), the Shade and Solomon Grundy. Solomon is still buried , Pat was with Sylvester and Hourman was with the JSA during the murder.

Part of me can believe that a big prime suspect to our characters on the show could potentially be Starman (he is the newest series regular and he also has a motive). But Gambler saw Pat and Syvester on the poach around the time the murder happened. The only people unaccounted for are the Shade ,Crocks and Cindy but that would also be too easy. The show did a good job setting up the murder mystery with multiple potential suspects which relates to next week's episode title.

Favorite scene

The school cafeteria scene was so funny, from the awkward interaction with Cindy to Artemis banging on the table. The scene also revealed that Cindy ended up on the team because Courtney and Beth voted in her favor which ended in a draw with Yolanda and Rick (who clearly don't want her there). I also liked the nod to Beth's comic book suit, I hope we get to see her rock it this season. I found it funny how non of the actors actually ate their food in the scene, actors usually don't eat in scenes in case they have to do multiple takes.

Additional notes :

1. This episode marks Neil Hopkins (Crusher), Joy Osmanski (Tigress) and Alkoya Brunson's (Jakeem) first season as series regulars after having previously recurred on the show .

2. Cindy's facial reactions during Artemis's take down fight scene were hilarious. I loved how she basically said "I told you we didn't need the whole team for this" with her face. Courtney's team is great together but individually they are very vulnerable, they need way more training. Rick mostly relies on his strength way too much , Yolanda and Courtney are the team's best fighters. Beth needs to go for a Tigress bootcamp to whip her into fighting shape because I worry the most about her whenever they go into battle. It would be hilarious if Tigress ends up teaching Barbara self defense before Beth gets to do it.

3. Rebecca Sharpe Gambler's daughter in the show is a metahuman (Hazard) in the comics and actually the Gambler's granddaughter instead.

4. I think the core theme in Stargirl is about family. It's something that has stood out to me over the last three seasons.

5. The episode was a bit light on action apart from Artemis's fight scene but knowing the show we will probably get a big action sequence sometime during the season and it will be glorious.

6. Whilst Pat and Sylvester had a great time together this episode I haven't forgotten how Sylvester used to treat Pat as his sidekick. I definitely feel a heavy dramatic scene coming between those two eventually. The special effects in their flying sequence were very cool though.

7. I like how Courtney and Sylvester use the cosmic staff to fly differently. Courtney's technique involves more gliding (a surfer stance technique) and sometimes sitting on the staff like a magical broom whilst Sylvester holds it in his hands more like a wizards magical staff ( which creates a more traditional comic book flying stance like Sylvester is actually flying on his own without using the staff). Those little details are great.

8. The episodes tone reminded me a lot of season 1's lighter tone with some darkness creeping underneath the surface of the shows misleading sunny exterior, the episode even opens with a music sequence montage to Neil Drummond's America.

Conclusion :

A great season opener that sets up a very interesting main plot for our cast, season 3 has the potential to be the best season of Stargirl yet.

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

"Who are your primary suspects for the murder ?"

"What did you think of the episode ?"

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