Sunday, July 5, 2020

Independence Cray

This past weekend I watched Independence Day, as I always do this time of year. I've probably seen it twenty five times or more since it premiered in 1996, as it's one of my guilty pleasures.

During this year's viewing, I spotted something I never noticed before...

The character of Russell Casse (played by the now-insane Randy Quaid) claims he was abducted by aliens ten years ago. According to him, they performed all sorts of experiments on him in an effort to learn about humans. The incident was so traumatic it caused Russell to become a hopeless drunk.

Russell tells his story to anyone who'll listen. No one believes him course, as everyone just assumes he's a crazy old rummy.

Then this happens. The very same aliens who kidnapped Russell invade Earth, in city-sized spaceships fifteen miles wide. Instantly, the question of whether mankind is alone in the universe is definitively and unquestionably answered.

We then find out that Russell's been dropping leaflets on City Hall, warning the public about the threat the aliens pose. Oddly enough, instead of finally believing him and listening to what he has to say, the authorities arrest for disturbing the peace!

Then this happens.

As does this. The aliens begin systematically wiping out all of humanity.

In the third act, a few desperate survivors gather at Area 51, where they plan a last-ditch air attack on the aliens. Because the entire military's been decimated, Major Mitchell asks if any of the civilians present have flight experience.

Russell overhears the Major, says he can fly and volunteers for the mission. He then mentions his abduction again, saying, "On a personal note sir, I'd just like to add that uh, ever since I was kidnapped by aliens ten years ago, I've been dying for some payback."

Major Mitchell and his aide then look at each other and roll their eyes in the most exaggerated way possible. It's clear from their expressions that they also consider him a crackpot.

And therein lies the problem. This doesn't make a lick of sense! Why are people STILL treating Russell like he's a nut? Sure, before the aliens arrived the public's treatment of him was somewhat justified. But now that there's incontrovertible proof that aliens exist, it's evident he's been telling the truth all along. Yet for no good reason, everyone still acts like he's crazy any time he mentions aliens.

Instead of mocking and berating him, the military should be debriefing him, pumping him for every ounce of info in the hope he knows something about the aliens that could be used against them.

I demand the film be recalled and this grievous error rectified immediately.

Stargirl Season 1, Episode 7: Shiv Part One

This week on Stargirl, the JSA takes a backseat as we focus on Mean Girl Cindy Burman, and learn why she's the way she is. 

We also get quite a bit of setup in this episode, as Courtney alienates her teammates, Jordan schemes to get Barb alone, Mike voices his resentment towards Courtney dominating his dad, Cameron asks Courtney to the Homecoming Dance and Justin The Janitor finally reveals there's much more to him than meets the eye.

Best of all, this episode took Cindy Burman, who up to now has been a shallow, stock stereotype, and somehow turned her into an actual human with real depth and emotion. Once we're told about her twisted and tragic past, it's impossible to not feel a wee bit sorry for her. Well done, writers!

This episode also draws parallels between Courtney and Cindy, both of whom are impatient and eager to realize their potentials and become members of their respective teams. In effect, they're two sides of the same coin, and it's evident that with just a slightly different upbringing, Courtney could have turned out like Cindy. It's an interesting approach, one that I hope they run with in the coming weeks.

Courtney gets her ass kicked at the end of this episode, which was inevitable as well as necessary. Ever since the series began she's been ignoring Dugan's sensible advice to take things slowly until they know what they're up against. Of course each week she consistently dismisses him, has a close call and then realizes he was right. Then she seemingly forgets everything she learned and repeats it all the next episode.

The same thing happened in Season 4 of The Flash. Ralph Dibny, aka the Elongated Man, was a sleazy ex-cop and all-around terrible person when he first joined the show. Each week Team Flash would teach him how to be a hero, he'd learn his lesson and then magically forget all about it by the next episode. They repeated this exact same plot a good ten or fifteen times before the message finally got through to him. After a while it became extremely frustrating to watch him make the same stupid mistakes each week. 

Sadly, Stargirl's starting to follow the same pattern with Courtney. Her impatience really started to become annoying this week— especially when the rest of her teammates easily understood what Dugan was trying to tell them.

Hopefully now that Courtney's had her ass handed to her, she'll finally get the message and start listening to Dugan.

Lastly, this episode was directed by actress Lea Thompson of Back To The Future and Howard The Duck fame. Apparently she's decided to dip her toe into the directing pool. She does a pretty good job here, easily handling an episode with a ton of ongoing storylines. Well done!

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
We begin with a montage of the new Justice Society members, as they individually celebrate being part of the team. Courtney bounds downstairs to the basement, where she lets the Cosmic Staff out of its crate. Rick carves an hourglass into The Tree that his parents' truck smashed into, seemingly coming to grips with their death. Yolanda works out in the gym, smiling as she takes her Wildcat cowl out of her duffel bag. And Beth sings karaoke in her bathroom with Chuck.

Mike returns home from his paper route and overhears Dugan and Courtney talking about training. When he asks what's going on, the two give contradictory answers, and eventually settle on the lie that Dugan's teaching Courtney to drive.

Barb hears this and says she wishes Dugan had consulted her first about driving lessons. Dugan says she's right, and that he should tell her EVERYTHING. Courtney, sensing he's about to tell her about the JSA and being Stripesy, catches his eye and shakes her head. Dugan quickly changes the subject, telling Barb she looks beautiful.

At the hospital, Henry Jr. sits by his comatose father's bed. He winces in pain as he holds his head, then takes a couple of aspirins. His girlfriend Cindy Burman watches from the door, unwilling to enter and comfort him. She finally steels herself, puts on a fake smile and waltzes in. She tells Henry Jr. she brought some flowers to brighten up his father's room. Henry Jr. says he feels like he could wake his father if he could only concentrate hard enough.

She tells him that's crazy talk, and starts talking about the Homecoming Dance. Henry Jr. says he's not going, as he has bigger things to worry about. Cindy says his father would want him to have fun, but he refuses to leave his bedside. Furious at being turned down, Cindy starts to leave, but Henry Jr. asks her to sit with him a while. She reluctantly agrees, and he hugs her. She looks put out and disgusted by his touch.

At school, the new JSA swagger down the hallways. Suddenly Cindy plows through them and calls 'em all losers. Courtney wonders why Cindy's so mean. Beth says she used to be nicer when she was younger, but then her mom died and her dad remarried (twice!) and she suddenly became awful.

At The American Dream, Jordan asks Barb to accompany him on a business trip out of town. She's flattered, but says she'll have to check with Dugan first. She thanks Jordan for thinking of her. Uh-oh!

Meanwhile, Jenny excitedly tells Cindy she was asked to the Homecoming Dance by Travis, and suggests they double date. Cindy snidely says she wouldn't be caught dead at the dance, as it's for losers like Jenny & Travis. Jenny's finally had enough, calls Cindy a bitch and says she needs a break from her as she storms off.

Stung by her only friend's harsh words, Cindy turns and stomps down the hall. She bumps into Justin The Janitor, knocking her books from her hands and causing him to drop his mop. She berates him as she picks up her books and storms off. Courtney witnesses the incident and rushes over to help Justin, picking up his mop and handing it to her. He thanks her and calls her "m'lady," actually bowing a little!

Justin goes to his supply closet and looks at a calendar with a picture of a white horse on it. We also see a chalice sitting on his desk, and an ornate sword leaning against the wall.

In science class, the teacher tells everyone to pair up for their "cloud making" experiment. Courtney looks around the room, and sees the only other student without a partner is Cindy. She sighs, goes over and say it looks like they're partners. Cindy tells her to get lost, but when Courtney insists she finally gives in.

Cut to geometry class, where Henry Jr.'s taking a test. He grimaces again as he begins hearing voices in his head. He realizes the voices are his fellow students, who are working out the answers to the test questions. He begins writing down the answers he "hears" in his mind. Smart use of his superpower!

Back in science class, Courtney points out that Cindy isn't even looking at the directions. She says her father was a chemist and that as a child she did experiments like this for fun. She adds the chemicals together and makes a perfect cloud. The teacher notices and congratulates them both.

Against her better judgement, Cindy actually begins feeling a bond with Courtney. She asks if she's going to the Homecoming Dance, and Courtney says she hasn't been asked yet. Cindy says she's not going either, and suggests they hang out that night. A surprised Courtney agrees.

Later that day Cindy's chauffeured home. Her stepmother Bobbie nervously greets her with a plate of cookies, but Cindy knocks 'em out of her hands. She tells Bobbie she wants wine & cheese instead. When she says she can't give wine to a minor, Cindy threatens to report her disobedience to her father. A terrified Bobbie says she'll get the wine immediately.

Cindy opens a secret door and goes downstairs. We see she's in the extensive system of Injustice Society tunnels underneath Blue Valley. She passes Solomon Grundy's cell and orders him to stop growling at her.

Meanwhile, the JSAers meet at Dugan's garage for training. He tells them that it took the original JSA years to learn to work together as a team, and then they were still defeated by the ISA. He wants to make sure they all understand how dangerous superheroing is. He then opens a door and shows them his "training room," which consists of several sad mocked-up statues of the ISA members.

Cindy creeps down a hall and eavesdrops on the ISA in their underground boardroom. She overhears them talking about the new JSA (even though they already did so last week). Crusher says he thinks they were just kids. Paula says maybe it's time they brought their own kids into the team, but Principal Bowin disagrees, saying they all agreed to keep their sons and daughters out of it. Jordan tells them to keep searching for this new JSA's identities while he's on his trip. Just then someone yanks Cindy away before the others notice her.

At the garage, Dugan gives the kids a rundown on each member of the ISA as he shows them his statues. The others look on with interest, but Courtney becomes bored and asks Dugan to hurry it up. He tries to tell her he's doing this for the good of the team, so they know who they're up against.

Courtney grabs her staff and systematically and stylishly blows up all the statues and says she's ready. Dugan scolds her, saying this exercise was for everyone, not just her. The others agree with Dugan and grumble at her as well. She tries to apologize but they ignore her and leave for the day.

Dragon King, er, drags his daughter Cindy to his underground lair. She tells him she can't handle being a teenager anymore. When he points out she IS a teen, she extends a blade from her sleeve and kills one of his minions. She demands to become part of the ISA now. He tells her it takes him two weeks to condition his henchmen, and she's learned nothing from her mother's death. Cindy says she was young and it was a mistake.

She then looks at a costume in an alcove, along with a dragon staff. She grabs the staff and Dragon King orders her to put it back. She says she wants to help him instead of wasting her time in high school. He says her only concern is Henry Jr., telling her that if Brainwave doesn't wake up then he'll need his son to power his machine. She says Henry Jr. has no powers and is boring, and asks if she can dump him. Dragon King forbids it, and tells her to go shopping.

Cindy again demands to be part of the ISA, but Dragon King says she's not ready. In the least subtle transition ever, Courtney says she knows Principal Bowin is a villain and wants to investigate her. Dugan tells Courtney she's not ready to be a JSA member.

Dragon King tells Cindy she's his greatest experiment, and not to take out her anger on her stepmother. Cindy angrily storms out.

At the Dugan house, Barb prepares to leave on her business trip. Dugan assures her they'll be OK while she's gone, and Mike gives her a bag of travel snacks. Dugan says he's taking Courtney and Mike to the big Homecoming game that night.

Meanwhile, Cameron comes home and Jordan notices his son seems depressed. Cameron confesses he wants to ask a girl to the Homecoming Dance, but doesn't know how. Jordan admits he was afraid to ask out his late wife Christina, but once he did he found out she'd been waiting for him to approach her. He tells Cameron not to let anything stop him from finding love. Cameron asks about Jordan, saying Christina would want him to be happy. Jordan says he is happy, as he packs for his trip with Barb. Uh-oh!

That night at the game, Dugan, Courtney and Mike sit in the stands. Courtney sees an agitated Principal Bowin talking on her phone. Dugan notices who she's looking at and tells her to leave Bowin alone. He leaves to get some snacks, and Mike turns to Courtney and tells her that Dugan's HIS dad, not hers, and he doesn't appreciate her monopolizing all his time. He then stalks off.

Just then Cameron comes over and asks Courtney to the Homecoming Dance. She says she'd love to, but she already made plans to hang out with Cindy. She comes to a decision and tells him she'd love to go.

She then walks over to Cindy, who's supervising and berating the cheerleaders. She tells her she was invited to the dance, and they can hang out another night. Cindy seems genuinely hurt, despite the fact she barely knows Courtney. She tells Courtney to get lost for good and turns her back on her.

Courtney then sees Bowin leaving the game and decides to follow her. Bowin enters the school, goes into her office and picks up a violin displayed on her desk. Courtney watches as Bowin opens a secret door in the wall and enters it.

Meanwhile, Dugan returns with the snacks and asks Mike where Courtney's gone. He says he doesn't know and doesn't care. Realizing she's likely getting into trouble, Dugan looks around for her.

Courtney gets her costume from her locker (?), and the Cosmic Staff appears behind her from out of nowhere. She returns to Bowin's office and tries to open the hidden door. The Staff finally blasts the door, causing it to open. She enters and it closes behind her. She sneaks down a corridor, unaware of a security camera watching.

Cindy goes to see her dad in his lair, but finds he's gone. She hears an alarm go off and sees Stargirl lurking through the underground tunnels. She smiles and grabs her armor and staff.

Stargirl finds another hidden door that leads back into the school. Just then she's attacked by Cindy in her Shiv getup. The two begin battling, and Stargirl's surprised when Shiv blasts a huge jet of flame from her staff. Their battle leads them into the gym, and Stargirl uses the Cosmic Staff to blast Shiv in the face.

Stargirl's horrified when she sees the blast severely burned Shiv's face. She's even more shocked when Shiv's apparent healing factor kicks in, returning her to normal. Shiv knocks Stargirl on her ass, sending the Staff flying. Just as she's about to deliver the killing blow, Justin The Janitor appears and blocks Shiv's attack with his sword. He then knocks Shiv senseless before scampering off. Stargirl tries to get up but passes out.

Meanwhile, the Cosmic Staff finds Dugan and gets it to follow him to the gym. Shiv wakes and slinks off just as Dugan enters, calling Courtney's name. Justin watches from the shadows, and recognizes Dugan as Stripesy. Dugan sees Courtney collapsed on the floor and holds her in his arms.


Thoughts: 

• This is the second episode that doesn't begin with a flashback.

• Back in Wildcat, Beth made an elaborate dinner for her mom and brought it to her at work. Rather than thanking her, Dr. Chapel scolded Beth, telling her she should be out with friends instead of spending all her time cooking for her. When Beth says her parents are her friends, Dr. Chapel adamantly tells her, "No, we're not!"

During the opening montage this week, we see Beth gleefully singing Karaoke with Chuck. Her parents approach her and point out that they don't see their lunches waiting for them. Beth says, "I got busy!" as she sashays out of the house, leaving her parents stunned.


Oh, how the turn tables! When their daughter was doting on them they didn't want anything to do with her, but the minute she stops they're hurt and crave her attention again. Serves 'em right, I say!


Nice Continuity: This week we see Dugan did indeed get Mike a paper route, just like he threatened to do in Icicle.

• This week Dugan comes perilously close to telling Barb about the JSA and his secret identity as both Stripesy and STRIPE. At the last second, Courtney catches his eye and signals for him to shut it.

Based on this scene, I predict it's only a matter of time before Barb wanders into the basement, finds Dugan's trunk full of JSA memorabilia and discovers the truth. Will she accept her new husband's double life, or resent him for keeping such a momentous secret from her?


• Man, Christopher James Baker's (aka Brainwave) sure had an easy time of it lately. He had actual lines in the first two episodes, but from then on all he's done is lie in a hospital bed and pretend he's in a coma! He must have one heck of a good agent!

• At school, the new JSA members proudly strut down the hall until Cindy Burman deliberately barrels through them. The JSAers stare after her in disbelief.

Courtney: "Why is Cindy Burman so mean?"

Yolanda: "She's always been like that."
Beth: "No, I remember in elementary school she was a lot nicer. Then her mom died and her dad got remarried. Twice, actually. And overnight, she became the scariest kid in the fourth grade."
Courtney: "Her mom died?"
Rick: "That's no excuse. She's just a horrible person."

A couple things here:

First of all, based on Cindy's conversation with Dragon King, we know her mom didn't just die. Cindy accidentally killed her after Dragon King gave her superpowers. That'd mess up even the nicest kid!

Secondly, it seems a bit hypocritical for Rick to say a dead parent doesn't justify being a terrible person. He's been punishing the world and acting like an asshole ever since his parents were killed by the ISA nine years ago!

• For weeks now I've been saying that Justin The Janitor is actually Sir Justin, aka The Shining Knight of The Seven Soldiers Of Victory.

This episode pretty much confirms this, as it lays on the clues thick & heavy.


First of all, when Courtney stops to help Justin in the hallway, he says, "Thank you, m'lady" and actually bows to her! Not the typical behavior of your standard janitor.


Later we see Justin in his supply closet, with what appears to be a Medieval golden chalice on his desk.

He then looks fondly at a calendar with a picture of a white horse on it.

That's a very blatant nod to Winged Victory, the flying horse Sir Justin rides into battle in the comics. Will we see his trusty steed on the show? I'm gonna say probably not, but it'd be awesome if we did!

Lastly we see Sir Justin's sword, casually stored in a mop bucket!

If all that doesn't prove he's really The Shining Knight, then I'm shuttin' down this blog!


By the way, top notch security there, Blue Valley High! You've got a janitor who stores deadly weapons in his supply closet!


• This week Henry Jr.'s telepathic powers continue to grow. Kudos to the producers for showing his powers gradually and naturally increasing each week, instead of coming out of nowhere.

And hats off to Henry Jr. for making amazing use of his burgeoning powers! In this episode he "hears" his fellow students coming up with the test answers, and hurriedly writes them all down on his own paper. That was awesome!


By the way, there's a VERY deep DC Comics cut in this scene. If you take a VERY close look at Henry Jr.'s test paper, the third question contains the equation "3x2(9yz)4a."

That's a reference to Golden Age speedster Johnny Quick. Unlike the Flash, who taps into the Speed Force, Johnny Quick got his powers by reciting this mathematical formula!

Apparently when the Stargirl Design Department was mocking up the test, they couldn't resist adding this arcane bit of DC lore into it.

• I mentioned in the intro that this episode was directed by Lea Thompson, who played Marty's mom Lorraine in Back To The Future. Turns out that Stargirl's featured a BTTF Easter egg since the very first episode!

On Main Street in downtown Blue Valley, there's a shop called Roy's Records, located right next door to the Dallas Theater (don't bother looking for it in this episode, as it doesn't appear this week).

There was also a Roy's Records in Hill Valley in 1955 in Back To The Future. Cool!

Apparently the producers wanted Blue Valley to echo the wholesome, small town charm of Hill Valley of the past— hence the reference.

• I couldn't help but laugh at Dugan's sad little attempt at creating training dummies for the new JSA to fight. Dummies made from styrofoam wig heads, hockey masks and buckets.

Odd that he can build a flying car and a giant working robot, but this is the best he can do when it comes to mannequins.

Despite this, the new JSA decides to give him a chance. I appreciated the fact that Rick, Yolanda and Beth were willing to go along with Dugan and listen to his spiel, realizing they could learn something from him.

Unfortunately Courtney was being an ass this week, and ruined everything for everyone.

• In Wildcat, Principal Bowin entered Brainwave's hospital room and played her violin in an attempt to use her sonic powers to bring him out of his coma. From that I said it was clear that Bowin was actually the Fiddler of the ISA.

Then in Hourman And Dr. Mid-Nite, Dugan told Courtney that the Fiddler was an Irish male. And in The Justice Society we found out that Bowin was actually married to the Fiddler! 

This week we get a brief look at the original Fiddler, as Dugan gives the gang a rundown on the Injustice Society members. He looks much like he did in the comics here, sporting a tuxedo and a long "maestro" hairdo.

• Cindy's stepmother Bobbie is legitimately terrified of her, and with good reason! In fact she's so scared of Cindy that she talks about "retiring early to her room," even though it's clearly late afternoon. She also mentions she has a bottle of Pinot Noir stashed in her room, implying she regularly gets sloshed as she hides there.

I loved Cindy's line here, when she tells Bobbie, "Do you really hope that I had a good day? Because if I were you, I'd be praying I was hit by a car." This is what happens when you give superpowers to an irrational teen.

We actually saw Bobbie before, when she showed up at the school Open House in S.T.R.I.P.E.

• This week we get a good look at Dragon King's underground lair. And what a layout it is! It's a vast, spacious dungeon with a hundred foot tall cathedral ceiling, filled with high-tech equipment and staffed with hundreds of minions.

Add this to the previously-seen ISA boardroom and surrounding catacombs, and again I gotta ask— who built all this stuff? Did the handful of ISA members secretly hollow out this immense space below Blue Valley by themselves? Seems like quite a major undertaking for seven or eight people, especially when they've only been living in the town for ten years or less. 

Did they hire contractors to excavate these underground spaces? If so, how'd they keep such a massive project a secret? Did they kill everyone who worked on it when it was done, like the Pharaohs of old?

And where'd all the dirt that they dug out go? Is there a corresponding mountain of earth just outside Blue Valley?

About the only way this underground network could possibly exist is if the Wizard magicked it into existence with his wand!

• In this episode we finally find out why Cindy Burman acts the way she does.

— Her father, Dragon King, genetically altered her when she was a child, giving her unspecified superpowers. He says he did this to "protect her," but doesn't say from what.

— Armed with an array of superpowers that she was too young to control, Child Cindy lashed out and her real mother and accidentally killed her.

— Dragon King forces Cindy to become romantically involved with Henry King Jr., in order to "keep an eye on him" in case the ISA needs his rapidly-developing superpowers.

Considering all her father's done to her, it's no wonder she's a straight up bitch, as well as batsh*t crazy.

• Dragon King tells Cindy she's just a teen, and too young to join the ISA. She then throws a tantrum by extending a spring-loaded blade from her sleeve and killing one of her father's minions. A couple things here:

Dragon King scolds her for killing the minion, saying, "It takes two weeks to condition them. Two weeks of work wasted, and for what?"


So... what do we think here? Are the minions actually alive? Are they unfortunate Blue Valley citizens that Dragon King abducts and brainwashes over the course of two weeks? Or are they some kind of artificial life form that he grows and "conditions?"


Let's hope it's the latter. Otherwise Cindy just straight up murdered a man— simply to make a point!


This scene also demonstrates that Cindy is apparently armed at all times with spring-loaded daggers up her sleeves. The perfect accessory for an unstable, self-absorbed psycho like her.


• Cindy tells her father she wants to be part of the ISA, saying, "I want a seat at that table and I want it now!"

When she said that I couldn't help but think of Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory"Don't care how, I want it now!"


• Dragon King tells Cindy she's too young to become part of the ISA. If that's true, then why is there a perfectly form-fitting Shiv costume for her hanging in his lair?

I guess it's possible it could be a training suit, but still...

• Jordan asks Barb to accompany him on a business trip to the nearby city of Oakville. As with most of the locations mentioned on this show, that's a reference to the comics. Oakville was the home to Red, White And Blue, an obscure and patriotic trio of Golden Age heroes who debuted in All-American Comics #1. They were created by Jerry Siegel, one half of the team who brought us a little character called Superman.

Oddly enough, the three heroes' names were Red Dugan, Whitey Smith and Blooey Blue. Apparently Siegel was a big fan of flag-based superheroes named "Dugan."

• Cameron tells his dad Jordan that he wants to ask a girl to the Homecoming Dance, but doesn't know how. 

Jordan: "When you really like someone, it's never easy. Like when I first asked your mother out."
Cameron: "You had trouble asking Mom out?"
Jordan: "Well, I had competition. There was another man pursuing her."
Cameron: "So what'd you do?"
Jordan: "I killed him."

After a beat, Cameron chuckles, assuming his dad's making a joke. Jordan then laughs too, but you just know he was telling the gospel truth there! Chilling!

From this we can gather than Cameron doesn't know about the ISA. Does he know about his dad's powers though? His grandparents certainly do. Does Jordan hide his abilities from Cameron, or does he openly use them around him as well? It's unclear at this point.

It's also unclear if Jordan knows Cameron inherited his powers. Last week Cameron blew out a candle and we saw a quick wisp of frozen breath as he did so. Did Jordan see that too? Again, it's not clear at this time.

• Jordan encourages his son to ask out his crush, saying, "You were put on this Earth to find love. Don't let anything stop you from trying." Cameron then says, "What about you, Dad? Mom would want you to be happy." Jordan looks wistful and says, "I am happy."

He is totally gonna put the moves on Barb during their "business trip," isn't he? And then she's gonna turn him down, and he'll give her an ultimatum— put out or get out.

Nice Attention To Detail: When Dugan and his kids first arrive at the Homecoming game, they apparently get there reeeeally early, when it's still light out. Note the sparse crowd in the stands.

Once it's dark and the game starts though, the stands fill up to capacity! That... that makes perfect and total sense! I don't know if this was director Lea Thompson's idea, but if it was, great job!

Enjoy crowd scenes like this while you can though. As I've said before, thanks to our friend Covid-19 we're not gonna see hundreds of extras like this on the show in Season 2.


• At the Homecoming game, Mike lashes out at Courtney and accuses her of dominating all of Dugan's time.

I thought that was an odd reaction on his part— especially when he's spent the past two episodes bonding with his stepmom Barb.


Of course Mike doesn't know the real reason why Courtney and Dugan are spending so much time together, so maybe in his mind he's thinking his dad likes his new stepdaughter more— which is making him jealous and irrational.


It's also possible that if Mike wasn't always such a miserable little sh*t to his dad, he might spend more time with him.


• During the game, we hear an announcement that Blue Valley's star player Artemis Crock (who we saw practicing in the previous episode) has scored a touchdown. Apparently either actress Stella Smith wasn't available or the show blew this week's casting budget, because we don't actually SEE Artemis here.


 All through the episode the kids wait till literally the last minute to make plans for the Homecoming Dance. Cindy asks Henry Jr. to take her, telling him she'll handle getting his suit, making dinner reservations and booking a town car that matches her corsage— for a dance that takes place the next day! A bit later, Jenny tells Cindy that she was just asked to the dance by Travis. And Cameron's no better, as he waits till the night before to ask Courtney to the dance.


Admittedly it's been a while since I went to a Homecoming Dance, but that all seems like VERY short notice. How's Courtney supposed to find a new dress and get her hair did in less than a day? What happened to asking a week or two in advance?


 I almost felt bad for Cindy in this scene. She's clearly lonely and desperately wants a friend, but the situation her father's put her in— as well as her stubborn pride— cause her to lash out at the very people she so dearly wants to be with. 

That's surprisingly deep for a superhero show like this!
 For some reason Courtney stashes her Stargirl costume in her school locker. I guess that makes a slight amount of sense, as last week we saw Barb almost discover it in Courtney's room while cleaning.


Oddly enough, once she changes into her costume, the Cosmic Staff suddenly appears from out of nowhere. It definitely wasn't in the locker along with the costume, as it clearly pops up behind her. I guess it sensed that she needed it and flew across town to the school?


 Speaking of costumes, the producers do a bang-up job with Shiv's this week.

As is the norm for this show, it's incredibly faithful to the source material, and Shiv looks like she stepped right off the comic page. Well done!

 In this episode Stargirl finally remembers the Staff can fire energy blasts like a raygun. She forgot about that last week when she fought Sportsmaster and Tigress. Anyway, she blasts Shiv in the face at point blank range, severely burning her. Fortunately for Shiv, she apparently has a healing factor that fixes her injuries.

I loved Courtney's horrified "Oh no" when she thinks she's disfigured Cindy, and then her terrified "Oh no" when she sees her shake it off.


 This week we get another impressive, kickass fight scene. The first few episodes were a bit light on action, as they focused instead on introducing the various characters. Now that that's been done, they're free to ramp up the action.

I especially liked Stargirl's mid-air leap off of her stationary Cosmic Staff! That was freakin' awesome! I honestly can't tell if it was a real stunt or CGI. Either way, good job!

The single shot fight between Stargirl and Shiv was pretty amazing as well.

• When Dugan's at the game searching for Courtney, we hear the announcer on the loudspeaker mention the opposing team, the Civic City Atoms.


In the comics, the JSA's very first headquarters were located in Civic City— which was in Pennsylvania! So I doubt it's the same Civic City here on the show, as that would be one HELL of an away game to play in Blue Valley, Nebraska!


• Justin appears in the nick of time, saving Stargirl by knocking out Shiv. He stands over the unconscious Stargirl for a few seconds and says, "Until death, it is all life."

That's a quote by Don Quixote, from the book of the same name. Quixote says it meaning he'll continue fighting until he's dead. Apparently Sir Justin's a fan of the book.


Doesn't it seem odd that he just leaves Stargirl for dead after he saves her from Shiv? Instead of trying to find Dugan or getting her medical help, he just buggers off and hides.


Then a few seconds later Dugan enters the room, and Justin recognizes him as Stripesy.

In the comics, Sir Justin was a member of the Seven Soldiers Of Victory, who occasionally teamed up with the JSA. Apparently that happened here in the Arrowverse as well.

• Dugan bursts into the gym, stupidly shouting out Courtney's name instead of saying "Stargirl." Cindy wakes up and slinks off right as he's shouting, and surely heard him. 


That means it's now a given that she knows Courtney is Stargirl, and is gonna burst into the next ISA meeting and announce that fact, hoping they'll give her a seat at the table. Courtney's boneheaded actions have now put her and the entire Dugan clan in mortal danger.
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