It’s not every night when you invite the leader of the Injustice Society of America into your home – and he brings his teenage son and frightening parents and just raves about your chicken and dumplings.
Oh, there was so much more to this week’s “Stargirl” – like monstrous migraines, and, well, just plain monsters of men.
Warning! We’re digging into full spoilers here. Travel at your own risk.
Courtney (Brec Bassinger) wants to recruit Henry Jr. (Jake Austin Walker) into her new Justice Society. Since he can read minds, he can identify the Injustice Society members in Blue Valley.
Pat (Luke Wilson) is more worried about the Dragon King living in Blue Valley. Pat now wonders if the ISA didn’t just settle in Blue Valley to hide – they’re planning something big.
He shows Courtney a picture of the first super-hero team he fought with – the Seven Soldiers of Victory (DC canon and everything).
Take a moment to appreciate how respectful Courtney is of his heroic past. When she was first getting to know her stepfather, she was so dismissive of his history. She’s grown.
Courtney takes in the photo and notes there are eight members. (Again, DC canon) Pat acknowledges the contradiction. (And hey, those sidekicks Speedy and Wing look like babies!)
Courtney spies a Robin Hood (Green Arrow), a knight (the Shining Knight, her very own school janitor, tho’ she does not realize it) and – a cowboy?
“You had a cowboy? Like the Village People?”
The Seven Soldiers were never as famous as the JSA, Pat says, but they did save the world once. Dr. Ito built a weapon to destroy New York and they stopped him. (So they were the Watchmen, only successful? Hmm.)
Pat notes he lost track of his pals a long time ago … if he only knew how close he was to one.
The Janitor is at the high school hallucinating that his mop is the cosmic staff. Did Brainwave somehow fry the Shining Knight’s mind and leave him at the school as some sort of cruel punishment?
Beth (Angelika Washington) learns from her McNider AI that Cindy has reportedly dropped out of school to study overseas. There’s no one in the Burman home.
Cindy (Meg DeLacy) is actually imprisoned in a cell in the tunnels beneath Blue Valley.
She begs for her father to free her. Then she threatens him.
“I’m gonna kill you. Like I killed Mom.”
That gets his attention. He has his minions turn on the gas – to relax her.
With the knowledge that Henry Jr takes after his dear old dad, Dragon King knows they can proceed with his grand machine.
Courtney’s fellow JSA members are not on board her plan to recruit Henry. Yolanda (Yvette Monreal) especially still hurts from the way he betrayed her in the sexting scandal that cost her her good name and the respect of her classmates and her family.
Henry, meanwhile, has been binging his father’s videotapes, learning about how his own experimentation on himself led to his powers and his swing into villainy.
Brainwave Sr. (Christopher James Baker) learned the cure to his migraines was giving a robber a fatal seizure – or giving a fellow commuter a telekinetic push into traffic.
“I’ve learned the truth about humanity. At their very core, people are monsters. I hate them,” he says.
Junior is coming to the same conclusion as he “overhears” the thoughts of others and experiences crushing headaches.
Dragon King tells his fellow ISA members that the amplifier will be complete within a week. They can use Henry Jr.’s brainwaves to power the machine – and to take control of the minds of everyone in six neighboring states.
They’ll carve out their own America.
Courtney finds Henry Jr. watching over his father in the hospital and appeals to his better side (if there is one).
“You think I’m a jerk? Well, trust me, everyone else is worse,” he says.
“… People are monsters. Deep down they’re ugly, angry and hateful and twisted. That’s the truth.”
Courtney tries to reason with him, to get him to look deeper.
“People can be bad, but they can be good, too. … Behind the pain and the fear, it’s all about love. People want to love and be loved. I think you do, too.”
Courtney makes the mistake of suggesting his father was a lousy dad. That enrages Junior, and he orders Courtney out. She lets him know the offer stands if he wants a friend.
Pat tries, again, to tell Barbara (Amy Smart) about the superheroes in her midst, but Courtney interrupts – and then company arrives: Barbara invited her boss Jordan (Neil Jackson) and his family to dinner.
In other words, Icicle is at the door, and he has his teenage son Cameron (Hunter Sansone), who has a major crush on his classmate Courtney, and Jordan’s rather imposing Norwegian parents, who look like the founding members of the Geriatric Geezers of the Injustice Society. (And twice as scary.)
At the hospital, Henry is interrupted by another visitor – Wildcat, who tosses him against a wall and warns him not to come near Courtney and her family.
“She needs to stay away from me.”
“She thinks your soul is worth saving. I know it isn’t.”
She invites him to read her mind, and he obliges – to learn that she’d just as soon kill him.
But she loved him once, and Henry seems saddened by her disappointment in him. (Worth noting: Henry’s role in that sexting scandal is ambiguous. Cindy was the mastermind, but was Henry a participant or a dupe?)
Rick (Cameron Gellman) and Beth discover that Blue Valley was founded by separatists in the 19th century who were determined to live free – and they built the tunnels underneath all of Blue Valley that the ISA use.
Family dinner goes reasonably well, if you discount the Norwegian grace said at the table that pretty much reads like bloody pox on your enemies. Barbara makes a great impression on the geezers. Courtney, not so much.
When Courtney brings a piping hot dish of dumplings to Jordan, she is shocked when he touches it and has no reaction to the heat.
And with that, she realizes she’s dining with Icicle.
She gets Pat into the kitchen for the reveal and a question: If Jordan is Icicle, does that mean Cameron is evil like Cindy?
Jordan doesn’t make things easy for Courtney at the door.
“You do know why I was here, don’t you?” he smiles.
Oh, no. It’s another sneaky swerve, just like Cindy last week, you can tell, right?
“Why do you think? Because I had to meet the girl my son has been talking so much about. And I approve.”
Well that’s just … unnerving.
Courtney races to the basement to get her cosmic staff, but Pat intercepts her. They are both interrupted by Barbara, who apparently finally learned there is a basement in her home.
“What is that?” she says about the glowing staff in Courtney’s hands. “What the hell is that?”
Henry is still by his father’s bedside when the family attorney visits with paperwork authorizing the removal of his father from life support.
But Henry reads his mind and learns it’s a scam to get his money.
He zaps him so hard, the attorney falls, blood coming out of his nose.
And just like that dear old dad finally wakes up.
“Junior! What’s going on?”
Next week: Barbara knows the truth and wants them out of Blue Valley. Stargirl and the rest of the JSA face off against Dragon King’s minions. This fight looks good!