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Stargirl -The Suspects -Review : I Didn't Do It

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 :

In the second episode of the series tensions are high as the JSA is divided on the issue of making the ISA the primary suspects for the Gambler's murder. The episode also serves as a character study for why Courtney may be the best person to use the cosmic staff. Courtney's empathy is what makes her so loveable as a character. Courtney promising to give the Gambler’s letter to his daughter is definitely going to be an important plot point at some point during the season. Whilst I feel she is projecting her own unresolved feelings about her father towards the Gambler's situation she is willing to give everyone (Hero or villain) the benefit of the doubt and that was echoed throughout the episode.

Starman sees the world in a very black and white way in comparison as a character. To Sylvester people are either good or bad but even the JSA made morally questionable decisions (nothing is ever that simple). Yolanda's hate for Cindy does tend to affect her ability to be impartial and Rick has trust issues so he isn’t willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Beth seems to be the most practical minded next to Courtney and Pat lets Courtney lead. Courtney is definitely the best leader for the team and a better leader than Starman was during his run, she has grown so much since season 1 and she is the glue keeping the team together. In a way it feels like the show has been slowly progressively building towards this eventual confrontation between the old leadership (Starman) and new leadership (Stargirl) over the past two seasons.

Barbara and Paula

Barbara and Tigresses' uneasy friendship is hilarious. I find it ironic that Tigress actually feels comfortable being her complete self with Barbara including telling her way too much information like how the Crocks would not have sloppily murdered the Gambler if they did it (or gotten caught). I truly hope the writers are genuinely interested in developing the unlikely friendship between the two characters as I enjoy their scenes together. The scenes between the two ladies definitely pass the Bechdel test (A measure of the representation of women in fiction. It asks whether a work features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man). The initial conversation between the two characters quickly moves away from the Gambler as Artemis and navigating social events becomes the focus of the scene, Barbara not being able to explain why baking a cake was better than simply buying it was funny. Tigresses take away from their discussion being "Baking makes people think you care" was very much in character for her. I definitely think Paula considers Barbara a friend at this point.

Prime suspects

When the episode opens Cindy , Shade , the Crocks the show telegraphs to the audience that the former ISA members are the primary suspects for the murder but I don't think any of them did it. They would be way too obvious. Cindy doesn't have the strength to destroy that trailer , the Shade definitely seems to have taken a new lease on life by being good so I don’t think he would brutally kill the Gambler, the Crocks disliked the Gambler but wouldn't risk going back to prison and leaving their daughter ( if there is one thing we can be sure of from the past 2 seasons Artemis is their number one priority).

The more interesting suspects on the show in the episode :

1. Sylvester Pemberton

Sylvester's inability to forgive will be the cause of many issues for the JSA this season. Sylvester blames himself for the defeat of the JSA at the hands of the ISA and can't forgive the ISA for it something which he is justified in doing. But the one thing he shouldn’t get a pass for is his terrible treatment of Pat. The way Sylvester was treating Pat during the Diner scene bothered me. Pemberton isn't a bad person but he can be a jerk at times especially to Pat and he hasn’t changed. When he said, "What was that in there you're the sidekick I take the lead." The writers really hit home the point Sylvester hasn’t evolved much since his resurrection. Pat handled it well but I don't see how this season ends with Pat and Sylvester not having a very necessary conversation. They have too many unresolved issues between them regarding the toxic friendship.

Both moments with the Shade also showed that Sylvester seems not to be able to control his temper so he can be civil , egging on the Shade to react in both their encounters and attacking him. Whilst this was explained with Sylvester blaming Shade for the stuff which happened with Eclipso, Sylvester and the JSA ultimately made the decision to kill Bruce Gordon. They made the final choice and the Shade can’t be blamed for that. I definitely wouldn't be shocked if Sylvester ends up being the killer this season, even if some form mind control is involved. There is definitely more to his resurrection story than what he said in episode 1.

2. Cameron Mahkent

For the past two seasons Cameron has been the shows regular character with the most slowest evolving storyline season to season. Not all of the characters will be /can be heroes so it will be interesting to see where Cameron falls on that spectrum when the time comes especially when he discovers that the JSA killed his Dad ( Mike Dugan did it ) and how he deals with that. If he goes after Mike that will definitely ruin any chance of a relationship with Courtney. Cameron could also be a suspect since something is clearly going on with him since he started manifesting his powers. Either way we are definitely witnessing the origin of Cameron as Icicle Junior this season. Come to think of it Cameron's shady grandparents could also be suspects at this point.

Additional notes:

1. The training scene with Courtney and Sylvester was beautiful , heads up to the VFX department. The show has always felt like a high quality streaming tv series and that aspect of the show hasn't changed at any point since it moved from the DC universe to the CW.

2. It’s very likely Sylvester and Courtney will end up fighting for dominance over the cosmic staff eventually, from the conversation with the staff and Sylvester at the end, the cosmic staff is clearly confused and at a certain point it will be forced to choose one master.

3. Cindy having the laptop will definitely end up helping the team discover what Mr Bones is doing to them (having them under surveillance). I don’t think she's the killer, she's way too obvious. I wouldn't be shocked if Cindy's conflict with the JSA culminates with her deciding to just start her own team at this point. I’ve always felt the show could have done way more with the Junior ISA in season 2 even though the show gave us a cool battle with the JSA vs the ISA. Maybe Cindy can start a version of the ISA that isn’t evil and serves as a competing superhero team to Courtney’s JSA.

4. I wonder what secret Crusher and Tigress have?, but I doubt it's that they killed the Gambler.

5. We can always trust Mike and Jakeem scenes to give the audience 80's Steven Spielberg with the paperboy aesthetics. It's clear from this show Geoff Johns loved 80's movies like the Goonies , E.T. The Extra-terrestrial e.t.c…

6. I love that the show is using more background music this season, from the opening scene with the Gambler dancing to Cindy’s ISA headquarters lab scene. It feels like a nice callback to season 1 of the show.

7. The show gave us a nice nod to Jay Garrick (The Earth 2 Flash) who is considered deceased on Earth 2 but is actually alive and well on Earth-Prime on The Flash tv series.

Conclusion :

A great second episode that raises the tension between the regular cast of characters (Heroes and Villains) as they grapple with the murder of the Gambler.

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

"Who are your primary suspects for the murder ?"

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