Monday, June 22, 2020

Stargirl Season 1, Episode 5: Hourman And Dr. Mid-Nite

This week on Stargirl, Courtney takes a backseat in her own series as we're presented with the final two members of her team.

Although we've met Rick Tyler and Beth Chapel before, they take front and center in Hourman And Dr. Mid-Nite. That's not a bad thing, as their origins (especially Rick's) are fairly interesting.

But cramming both their stories into a single episode made it feel a bit rushed. Especially when Rick goes from wanting nothing to do with Courtney and her friends to joining her team in the space of about thirty seconds. 

I get the feeling the writers were afraid that Rick & Beth's origins didn't contain enough content to fill two individual episodes, so they opted to combine them. I guess that's fine, as I'd rather have a rushed episode than a dull, drawn out one any day.

As of this episode, the members of Team Stargirl are all present and accounted for. So far they seem like an eclectic lot— there's the new girl, a social pariah, a bubbly know-it-all, a sullen, angry loner and the adult who ostensibly provides the voice of reason.

It should be interesting having Courtney and Rick on the same team. She's trying her best to play superhero without really knowing what she's doing, and he now has the power to back up his constant seething rage. I have a feeling we'll see lots of scenes of the two of them butting heads over how to deal with the ISA.

Although this was another enjoyable episode, it was odd from a story standpoint. There's no actual plot, other than the two new recruits joining the team, and there's no clear villain either. Strange.

Sadly, the least interesting part of the episode involved Dugan. He's spent the last two weeks playing detective as he tries to figure out if the Injustice Society's alive and well and operating in Blue Valley.

Of course the audience knows the answer to that question, making Dugan's investigation scenes pointless.


The Plot:
We begin with a flashback to nine years ago in Blue Valley. Rex Tyler, aka Hourman of the Justice Society, hastily writes in his journal. He stuffs it and a stack of other documents into a box addressed to Dugan. He and his wife Wendi then dash out of the house, where they tell their young son Rick that they have to leave for a while. What they don't tell him is that the Injustice Society has discovered them, and they have to leave town before they're attacked.

Just then Wendi's brother Matt pulls up in his truck. Matt snarls at Rex, asking him what kind of trouble he's gotten his sister into this time. Rex tells Rick that his Uncle Matt will be staying with him for a while. He gives him a toy car of a yellow '66 Mustang, saying he had a real one like it once. He tells him to take care of the toy and to mind what his Uncle Matt says.

Rex tells Matt he's signed the house into his name, as well as forging papers saying Rick's his biological son, whose last name is now Harris. 
Matt objects to becoming an instant father, but Wendi tells him he's the only person they can trust. She and Rex give Rick one last hug and then roar off in their truck. Rick runs after them, begging them not to leave.

The Tylers speed down a deserted rural road, and Rex assures Wendi that "they" don't know about Rick. Suddenly a massive, white-skinned hulk steps into the middle of the road and smashes their truck, causing it to skid into a tree. The Tylers are killed instantly.

Cut to the present day. Rick, now sixteen, works on a yellow '66 Mustang— just like the one his dad had. His Uncle Matt exits the house and tells Rick not to wait up. Rick asks him what happened to the carburetor he bought, and Matt says he sold it. Rick angrily tells him he had no right to sell his personal property. Matt invites Rick to take a swing at him, threatening to knock him on his ass if he does. Rick backs down and Matt drives off.

Rick walks to school down the same road his parents took on that fateful night. He stops at the tree their car struck nine years ago and glares at it. He punches The Tree in anger, bloodying his knuckles.

Over at the Dugan's, their house is all decked out for Halloween. Barbara wakes Courtney and tells her to get ready for school. Courtney notices her Stargirl costume lying on the closet floor, and rushes her mom out of the room before she sees it. She then grabs her duffel bag full of JSA items and lugs it downstairs. Unbeknownst to her, Doctor Mid-Nite's goggles fall out of the bag.

Dugan notices the bag and asks Courtney if she has something to tell him. She says it's just her gym bag. He shows her a newspaper article about the late William Zarick, saying he suspects he was secretly the Wizard. He says Zarick and his wife Denise were most likely killed by the ISA for reasons, and the entire group is hiding out in Blue Valley just like Courtney said. Unfortunately he doesn't know who they could be.

Courtney asks if anyone in the ISA played the violin, and Dugan says the Fiddler did. Courtney believes Principal Bowin is the Fiddler, as she saw her playing in Brainwave's room. Dugan says that's impossible, as the supervillain was a male and Irish. He then demands to know what Courtney was doing in Brainwave's room, and tells her to say away from the hospital and stop trying to tackle the ISA by herself.

Courtney goes to school, where she and Yolanda stuff the duffel back into her locker. Yolanda asks why she brought it to school in the first place, and Courtney explains she was afraid her mom would discover it and the JSA artifacts inside. They walk through the halls discussing who else they should recruit for their new team, unaware that Beth Chapel (who saw them both in costume last week) is following closely behind, eavesdropping.

At the local movie theater, a nervous-looking driver enters and sits behind Stephen Sharpe, who's secretly the Gambler of the ISA. He gives Sharpe an envelope filled with blueprints of some sort of high tech device, and tells him the route the delivery truck is taking. Sharpe says he did well, hands him a wad of cash and flips him a coin as a tip, saying it's made of the finest imported chocolate (uh-oh).

That afternoon, Dugan gives Courtney a ride home from school. Unfortunately his car stalls along the way, and won't start back up. Rick walks by, hears the ailing auto and says it sounds like the alternator (um... they don't work like that, but let's just go with it). Dugan's impressed, and says Rick knows his cars. The two begin talking, and Rick says he's restoring a yellow '66 Mustang, and just needs a carburetor to get it going. The mention of that particular car model piques Dugan's interest, as he remembers Hourman had one just like it.

Courtney sits in the car and hears a humming noise coming from her duffel bag. She opens it and sees Hourman's hourglass glowing with a yellow light. She realizes it's been activated by Rick's presence. Dugan asks Rick to help him push the car, but he declines and walks off. Dugan asks Courtney what she knows about Rick, and she says nothing. She tells him she'll walk the rest of the way home.

Rick walks down his road and stops at The Tree again. He then turns and asks Courtney why she's following him. She takes out the hourglass and holds it up to his chest, but nothing happens. Rick tells her she'd better take her meds and walks off.

Beth knocks on the Dugan's door, looking for Courtney. Barbara says she's not home yet, but invites her in. Beth sits in the kitchen, talking a mile a minute while Barb prepares for her trick or treaters. Eventually Barbara can't take it anymore, and asks Beth to wait in the living room (!).

Beth sits on the couch and sees Buddy the dog chewing on Doctor Mid-Nite's goggles. He runs upstairs with them, and Beth chases after him. She grabs the goggles away and then wanders into Courtney's room. The goggles buzz, so she puts them on. Instantly everything in the room is highlighted and identified by the high tech device. An AI with the voice of Henry Thomas, er, I mean Charles McNider (aka Doctor Mid-Nite) begins speaking, telling Beth the entire JSA database is at her disposal.

Courtney comes home, goes upstairs and is surprised to see Beth in her room. She asks her what the hell she's doing here, and Beth explains that she knows Courtney's a superhero. She also says the goggles have told her everything and can even shift to various spectrums of light.

Beth says she can't wait to tell her parents about all this. Courtney swears her to secrecy, warning her that blabbing could endanger her loved ones. Just then the goggles identify the dirt on Courtney's shoes, and Beth asks what she was doing out by Rick's house. The AI, which Beth dubs Chuck, then spills the beans that Rick Harris is actually Rick Tyler, son of Rex— the original Hourman.

Meanwhile, Dugan apparently got his car running. He drives out to Rick's house, intending to give him the carburetor he needs for his Mustang. As he admires the car, Matt comes out and asks what he wants. He says he's looking for Rick, and Matt asks what he's done now. Dugan says he just dropped by to give Rick the part. Matt grabs it and says he'll make sure he gets it. Dugan, feeling uncomfortable, makes a quick exit.

Elsewhere, Courtney, Yolanda and Beth search for Rick so they can recruit him into their new JSA team. Chuck tracks Rick from a liquor store to Cindy Burman's house. The three arrive at Cindy's place, where she's throwing a massive Halloween party. Yolanda sees Henry Jr. through a window and refuses to go in. Courtney says Rick is a "legacy hero" like her, so they need him for the team. She and Beth then infiltrate the party to try and find him.

Courtney wanders through the party and sees Cindy approaching. She notes a party-goer nearby who's passed out, so she grabs his mask and puts it on. Cindy sees her best friend Jenny wearing the exact same costume as hers, and angrily demands she go home and change.

Cindy spots Henry and begins flirting with him. He winces and holds his head, saying it's too loud. Cindy says he's been a drag lately, and he reminds her his dad (who's secretly Brainwave) is in the hospital. She says maybe he should go visit him then, and Henry leaves in disgust. Why the hell would anyone ever be friends with this Cindy slag?

Outside the house, Yolanda sees Henry and thinks "jerk" in her mind. Henry somehow "hears" , and asks what she said. Surprised, she replies that she didn't say anything. He gets in his car and drives off.

Courtney finds Rick behind the house, wrangling the kegs. She tells him she knows his real name is Rick Tyler and his dad was secretly Hourman, and hands him the hourglass. Yolanda and Beth approach, and Courtney tells him they're all superheroes. She says the hourglass gave his dad superstrength for an hour a day. Naturally Rick doesn't believe any of this, but when he hangs the glass from his neck it begins glowing, engulfing his entire body with energy.

Rick says he actually feels stronger, then picks up a keg and crushes it with his bare hands. Courtney warns him not to use his powers in public, and he says he's not wearing a stupid costume like the rest of them. He says the hourglass belongs to him now and leaves. Yolanda congratulates Courtney for giving superpowers to the biggest psycho in school. Courtney's convinced she can still reach him somehow.

Rick walks down Main Street and pauses in front of the diner. Inside he sees his Uncle Matt flirting with a waitress. Strike that, he's sexually harassing a waitress. Rick sees Matt's truck in front of the diner, so he hauls off and punches it so hard it nearly folds in half. For the first time in years, a smile spreads across his face.

Beth walks home, chatting Chuck. She says she understands how Rick feels, as she doesn't know what she'd do if her parents were ever killed in a fatal car accident like his were. Chuck tells her their deaths were no accident, and shows her an image of what really happened.

Courtney and Yolanda— now in costume— somehow find Rick staring at The Tree. Courtney says she just wants to talk. He says he's so filled with anger over his parents' death that he feels like he's poisoning himself, and he wants to punch something all the time. Courtney says she understands, as her father was Starman and was killed before she got the chance to know him. She said she became Stargirl to keep his legacy alive, and he can do the same with his father. She says it's his choice.

Rick says he's never had a choice and punches The Tree, knocking it over. Courtney says she can't let him keep the hourglass in his current state of mind. He dares her to try and take it from him.

Just then Beth runs up and says Rick's parents weren't in an accident, they were murdered. Chuck then somehow projects a 3D wireframe recreation of the attack, showing Grundy punching the car and knocking it into the tree. Courtney says the same people who killed her father probably did the same to his parents.

A shaken Rick tells Courtney he'll join her team. But he ominously says he's not looking for justice— he wants revenge.

Elsewhere, two truckers are driving through Blue Valley. They stop when they see a school bus in the center of the road. They get out to investigate, and Principal Bowin emerges and begins playing her violin. One of the drivers is instantly hypnotized by the music. The other driver resists, and Sharpe walks up and shoots him.

Cut to Sharpe's informant lying dead in his apartment, foaming at the mouth as he holds a half-eaten piece of chocolate in his hand.

Meanwhile, Dugan's in his basement, looking through old JSA files. He finds a photo of Rex Tyler, standing next to a Mustang just like the one Rick was working on. Barbara comes downstairs and tells him there's been an accident.

Dugan drives to his garage, where his pal Zeke tows in Matt's truck. Zeke says it looks like King Kong himself punched the truck. Dugan gives it a long hard look.

Dugan goes home and enters Courtney's room, where he sees a glow coming from the closet. He opens the duffel bag and finds the Green Lantern's er, lantern inside, giving off a bright emerald light. He realizes what Courtney's up to.

• Because this series airs first on the DC Universe streaming series, the episodes aren't constrained by the standard 43 minute network time limit. In fact the first two episodes were 54 and 53 minutes respectively. Unfortunately that meant a good TEN MINUTES had to be chopped out of each episode when they aired on The CW.

Starting with Episode 3 though, they've all been around 43 minutes. Oddly enough, even though this week's episode clocks in at 43:14, the DC Universe version still had a couple of brief scenes that weren't in The CW version. No idea how that can be possible!

• Not a nitpick, just an observation: So far every episode of the series has started with a flashback.

• The episode begins with Rex Tyler, aka Hourman, furiously scribbling in his journal. It looks like he's writing down some kind of complex chemical equation— which is no doubt the formula for the compound that gives him superstrength for an hour a day.

 We then see Rex box up his notes to send to Dugan, and we get a good look at his address. A couple things here:

First of all, Dugan lives at 1941 Siegel Way. That's obviously a reference to comic book writer Jerry Siegel. He and Hal Sherman co-created the Stripesy character back in— you guessed it— 1941. Siegel also co-created a little character called Superman with Joe Shuster.

Secondly, we see that Dugan lives in North Hollywood. A couple weeks ago in Icicle, STRIPE flew Courtney from Blue Valley to the abandoned JSA Headquarters. Although it wasn't stated just where the HQ was located, I said it was a good bet it was in LA. 

I pointed out that it's a whopping 1,300 miles from Nebraska to LA, which seemed like a long way for Courtney to ride on the back of a giant robot! But apparently that's exactly what happened! If Dugan lives in the LA area, then the JSA HQ must be there as well.

Ah, but it gets even worse!

I didn't know exactly where Blue Valley was located in Nebraska, so I just used the center of the state to calculate that 1,300 mile distance. In this episode, Chuck provides us with Beth's address, which has a 68066 zip code.

That puts Blue Valley near Lincoln, Nebraska. Unfortunately that also adds another two hundred miles to the distance to LA. Which means Courtney & STRIPE flew an astonishing 1,500 miles to the JSA HQ— and back again! Holy crap!

• Another observation: The Tylers are forced to flee for their lives before the ISA finds them, so they leave their son Rick in the care of his uncle. It struck me that this is sort of a "Reverse Superman" situation. Instead of sending their child away to save him, they're the ones who have to leave in order to survive.

• Rex Tyler is played by actor Lou Ferrigno Jr. As you might have guessed, he's the son of Lou Ferrigno, aka the Incredible Hulk! Cool!

• Unfortunately for the Tylers, they don't leave in time and are attacked by Solomon Grundy, the designated muscle of the ISA.

I wonder if we'll ever get a clear look at Grundy, or if we'll always see him in quick shadowy shots as we do here? It's probably better if we don't get a long, lingering look at him— he's much scarier that way.

• At school, Courtney and Yolanda discuss who else they can recruit for their new JSA. Yolanda sees fellow classmate Artemis Crock and suggests her. Just then Artemis tackles one of the guys on the football team in the middle of the hallway. Courtney and Yoldana decide to pass on Artemis, saying she's "too competitive."

There've been a couple different versions of Artemis in the comics over the years. She made her debut in 1987's Infinity, Inc. #34, where she eventually became the new Tigress and joined the Injustice Society. She later killed Skyman, aka Sylvester Pemberton (who Courtney believes is her father on Stargirl).

In 2011, DC launched their New 52 line, and Artemis got a major revamp— becoming an ally of the Teen Titans.

Later on in the Young Justice animated series, Artemis became a member of that team. And there was yet another villainous version of her who appeared on Arrow.

We've seen Artemis before— most notably in S.T.R.I.P.E., where her parents Larry Crock (aka Sportmaster) and Paula Brooks (aka Tigress) were bragging about her athletic prowess. 

Her parents were both charter members of the ISA, so it's unclear at this time whether TV Artemis will follow in their footsteps or side with Courtney and her new JSA.

• Justin The Creepy Janitor makes another appearance this week.

SPOILER ALERT! Back in Icicle, I pointed out that Justin is most likely Sir Justin, aka The Shining Knight. In the comics he was a member of the Seven Soldiers Of Victory. During a battle with Nebula man, the Seven Soldiers were thrown back to random points in time before being rescued by the JSA. Unfortunately the ordeal gave poor Sir Justin amnesia, and he ended up becoming a janitor at Blue Valley High (!).

If that wasn't enough evidence that the janitor is Sir Justin, when Beth slips on his freshly-mopped floor, he ominously tells her, "Careful. There are dragons in the water."

And if you're STILL not convinced, take a look at his magnificently fake beard, which will no doubt be removed in a future episode. Jesus Christ, I've seen more realistic facial hair in Neil Breen movies!

What the hell happened to wigs and fake beards in movies and TV shows? They used to be undetectable, then ten or fifteen years ago fake hair became hilariously unrealistic and easy to spot. So why the change? Is it due to the advent of high definition?

• Back in Icicle, Jordan returned to his job at The American Dream and planned to revitalize downtown Blue Valley— which meant tearing down the local theater. Barbara disliked this idea, saying the whole community used to gather at the theater when she was a kid, and it'd be a shame to lose it. 

Steven Sharpe (aka the Gambler) told her the theater had been losing money for decades and was coming down. Surprisingly, Jordan changed his mind and sided with Barbara. He said the theater could stay, and ordered Sharpe to "figure out a way to make it profitable."

Looks like Sharpe came through! In this episode the theater's still open, and we even see him inside, watching a vintage film!

By the way, note that the theater's called the "Dallas." That would be because Stargirl is largely filmed in Dallas, Georgia!

Also, the theater's playing Alfred Hitchcock's The Wrong Man. In the film, Henry Fonda plays Christopher Balestrero, who's accused and eventually arrested for a crime he didn't commit. He's ultimately freed when the real crook commits a robbery while Chris is incarcerated.

If there's some significance to featuring this particular movie in this episode, it's lost on me. 

• Sharpe pays off his informant, then flips him a fancy imported chocolate coin as a tip. Note that when he flips the coin, it makes a ringing sound as if it's actually made of metal! Whoops! Apparently the Foley artist wasn't paying attention!

• Man, whoever directed this episode is definitely spatially challenged. 

Rick lives in a remote house that's accessible only by a narrow dirt road that winds through a forest. Near the beginning of the episode we see him walk along this road from RIGHT TO LEFT on his way to school. At one point he pauses to look at the tree his parents plowed into on the night they died. 

Note that The Tree still bears the scar of the impact, and it faces his house. This makes sense, since his parents hit it as they were fleeing their home. So far so good.

Unfortunately things take a turn for the confusing later in the episode. Courtney follows Rick as he walks down the road to his house. We see the same camera setup of him walking RIGHT TO LEFT again, even though he's supposed to be returning home! Note the scar on The Tree in the circled area, which is still pointing back towards Rick's house.

So... somehow he's heading TO his house here as he's walking AWAY from it.

After Courtney confronts him with the hourglass, Rick tells her she'd better take her meds and then walks back to the right towards his house— the direction he should have been traveling at the beginning of this scene.

The only way this scene can make any sense is if Rick walked home past The Tree, then decided to turn around and glare at it again. Of course if he did that he'd have seen Courtney in front of him, not behind. See what I mean? Spatially challenged!

But it gets worse! In the third act, Rick goes back to The Tree and glares at it some more. Courtney and Yolanda then come up behind him, again from the direction in which his house lies. Then when Courtney demands he give her back the hourglass, Beth ALSO runs up from the direction of his house! 

Is it possible the road leading to Rick's house actually goes past it and eventually back into town? That's the only way any of this makes any sense.

• Something I noticed this week: Courtney sure loves her some stars! She wears a star-spangled jacket in this episode...

And she even has a big 'ol decorative star in the window of her room! I guess this is going to be a running theme from here on out.

• While waiting for Courtney in her room, Beth finds Doctor Mid-Nite's old goggles and puts them on. The goggles contain a sophisticated AI that analyzes everything Beth sees and projects informative overlays on the lenses, as well as audibly providing relevant facts and data. She then dubs the AI "Chuck." There's a lot to unpack in this scene, and I do mean A LOT, so let's get cracking.

First off, Chuck speaks in the voice of Charles McNider, aka Doctor Midnight. That seems... odd. If I had a pair of high tech goggles like this, I certainly wouldn't want them blathering away to me in MY OWN voice! Maybe McNider was really in love with himself.

By the way, Henry Thomas (of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial fame) provides the voice of Chuck in this episode. Thomas also played Doctor Mid-Nite for a few brief seconds back in Pilot.

Next, when Beth puts on the goggles, Chuck introduces himself and instantly provides any info she needs, as if she's his new owner. 

WOW! You'd think the goggles would have a bit more security built into them. The second Beth puts them on, Chuck IMMEDIATELY blabs Doctor Mid-Nite's secret identity to her! How does he know she can be trusted? What if a member of the Injustice Society put them on? Would he tell them all the JSA's secrets? 

I suppose we could say Chuck scanned Beth's records and determined she wasn't evil or a threat. Still, it just seems like he ought to ask for a password or entry code before accommodating a complete stranger.

When Beth asks how Chuck is such a limitless source of knowledge, he replies, "I don't know everything. But I can provide information on a vast library of subjects which I have access to via the Justice Society databanks."

So does that mean everything in the JSA's files is somehow stored inside this dinky pair of goggles? Or is Chuck connected to their server all the way in LA? If so, that's one hell of a wifi signal!

None of the comic book versions of Doctor Mid-Nite ever had an AI like Chuck built into their goggles. In fact they never had any powers at all! Each of the three Doctor Mid-Nites suffered an accident that left them blind in the daylight, but able to see in the dark. That's it! THAT was the extent of their powers!

Given that, I can definitely understand why Stargirl chose to augment Doctor Mid-Nite with a powerful AI and the ability to see in various light spectrums, in an effort to make him a bit more formidable. Now instead of a guy who can see in the dark, he also has the power of wikipedia!

Note that Chuck is very, VERY reminiscent of Jarvis, the helpful AI inside Tony Stark's Iron Man suits over in the MCU. Ain't no way to avoid the comparison!

Lastly, Beth appears to be the first version of Doctor Mid-Nite in any medium who isn't blind. Hopefully they're not planning on her having some horrible accident in a future episode!

• Chuck provides Beth with dozens of helpful text callouts on virtually everything she sees. He even identifies a painting hanging on the wall, pointing out its title (Petunias In A Basket) and the fact that it was painted by Courtney in 2012.

OK, how the hell would Chuck know THAT? I get how he could connect with the Blue Valley High server and look up Beth's stats, or analyze a bed frame and recognize it's brushed steel. But I don't see any possible way he could know the TITLE of a child's painting, when it was done or who was the artist! 

Did she display this painting in a gallery at some point? Because that's the only way he could have gotten any of that info.

 Chuck also determines that Courtney's algebra text book has been "hardly used." Again, how the frak does he know that? Did he zoom in and determine there's no wear on the book? Or maybe he checked Courtney's grades and saw she's flunking math?

• Doctor Mid-Nite's goggles have several visual modes, including Optical (which I assume means normal vision), X-Ray, Infrared and Night Vision. There's also a Lie Detector, which works by voice analysis, and a Hologram projection mode, as we see near the end of the episode. And they apparently monitor The Weather Channel, as there's a Weather Prediction mode.

Oddly enough there's also a Twitter mode (???). Watch out, Beth! Don't use that one! Say one wrong word on twitter and the Cancel Culture Posse will come for you!

• Based on Chuck's info, there's something's WAYYYYYYY off with Doctor Mid-Nite's timeline. At one point Chuck displays a screen of helpful stats about the good Doctor, including the fact that he was born in 1914. Woah, woah woah! That... that means he was a whopping 96 YEARS OLD when he died in 2010! NINETY SIX!!! Jesus Christ, no wonder he was so easy to defeat!

We got a brief glimpse of Doctor Mid-Nite in Pilot, seconds before his demise. Does this look like a man who's nearly a hundred years old?

Over in the comics, the JSA characters all debuted in the 1940s and often fought Nazis, yet they were still alive and kicking in the present— while barely aging at all. Eventually the writers came up with an explanation for this. IAll-Star Squadron Annual #3, the JSA fought a magical villain named Ian Karkull. As a result of that battle, the characters absorbed magical energy from Karkull, which dramatically slowed their aging processes. Maybe something similar happened to the JSA in the Arrowverse?

• Despite the fact that Doctor Mid-Nite has no real powers to speak of and is the lamest superhero ever, I've always liked the look and design of his costume (seen at left). From the promo images I've seen, it appears that Beth will be getting a version of this costume.

Good! Because in the comics, Beth Chapel wears the gawd-awful abomination on the right! Egad! She looks like a female Cyclops from the X-Men! And who thought those worthless, dangling sleeves and giant buccaneer boots were a good idea? Yeesh!

• Beth reveals she knows that Courtney and Yolanda are really Stargirl and Wildcat. When Courtney denies it, Beth says she heard her call Yolanda by her real name at the hospital the night before. Chuck then pipes up and says "That is a common rookie superhero mistake," and points out it's how the Red Bee was killed.

There really was a hero called the Red Bee in the comics. Rick Raleigh, district attorney by day, put on a costume at night and fought Nazis with his army of trained bees (!) and "stinger gun." He wasn't killed due to carelessness toward his secret identity though— he was murdered by Baron Blitzkrieg while saving the lives of Hourman (!) and other members of the JSA.

By the way, the Red Bee character has now fallen into the public domain, so if anyone out there wants to make their own comic starring a very goofy looking superhero, go for it!

• Courtney and Beth infiltrate Cindy's party to try and find Rick. As they enter Cindy's house, Beth looks around and says, "So this is a party. Parties are loud!"

From that statement it's obvious that this is the very first party Beth's ever been to. Talk about sad! That's genuinely heartbreaking.

• At one point we see Cindy Burman in her room as she puts on her Halloween costume. We get a glimpse of her vanity mirror, which has a photo of an Asian man taped to it. This is presumably her father Doctor Ito— before he turned himself into the lizard-like Dragon King.

As I said last week in Wildcat, in the comics Dragon King and Doctor Ito were two separate characters, but the show seems to have merged them into one for some reason.

• At Cindy's party, Henry Jr. begins experiencing stabbing pains in his head. It's obvious here that he's starting to develop telepathic and telekinetic powers like his father, who's secretly Brainwave.

This bolsters my theory that Henry will follow his character's arc from the comic and become Brainwave Jr., who joined the superhero team Infinity, Inc. as he tried to clear his family's name.

• Wondering why Courtney wears a comically oversized mask of Gizmo from the movie Gremlins? That would be because both Gremlins and Stargirl are owned by Warner Bros. Studios.

• Last week I said it looks like Principal Bowin is secretly the Fiddler of the ISA. Courtney thinks so too, as she tells Dugan she saw Bowin playing over Brainwave's hospital bed last week. Dugan says that's not possible, as the Fiddler was both a man and Irish.

This week I found out that in the comics, there's a female character of Indian descent called Virtuoso. She somehow acquired the Fiddler's violin and joined the Secret Society Of Super Villains. Is it possible that Bowin is the Arrowverse version of Virtuoso?

• Bowin's able to hypnotize one of the truck drivers with her music, but the other one is able to resist her. Sharpe then comes up behind the man and shoots him with a tiny Derringer pistol. 

How is it that Sharpe isn't affected by the Fiddler's, er, fiddling as well? Is he wearing earplugs we can't see? Or is she so adept at playing that she can target specific individuals with her music?

• In the comics, Rex Tyler worked as a biochemist at Bannerman Chemical. He discovered a chemical compound he called "Miraclo," which he drank to increase his strength for one hour. He decided to use this substance for good, and became Hourman.

That was all well and good back in 1940 when Hourman was created, but that sh*t don't fly here in hypersensitive 2020. There's no way in hell The CW's gonna feature a character who basically gets his powers from drinking or drug use, so they the character a bit here on the show.

Instead of Rick drinking a formula, he simply hangs his dad's hourglass around his neck, and it infuses him with strength. Just how it does this is fairly vague, as Beth explains, "You know that hourglass only worked for your dad. It was tied to his DNA."

So it shouldn't work at all for Rick then, right? He only got 50% of his father's DNA. Whoops!

• The best part of the episode was Rick's monologue in the third act, in which he explains how he feels about his parents' death:

Rick: "Look, I'm not playing fairy princess tea time with you two."
Courtney: "I understand."
Rick: "What do you understand? My parents hit a tree and they died. What grand plan of God's was that?"
Yolanda: "It wasn't God's plan, Rick. It was an accident."
Rick: "Then who do I blame, huh? Do you know what it's like to be so filled up with anger that you feel like you're poisoning yourself? Do you? I want to hit something, anything, all of the time. Every second. You think I like that? I hate feeling this way."

With that one little speech, Rick went from being a sullen teen stereotype to an actual fleshed-out realistic character. Well done, writers!

• Courtney tells Rick she can't let him keep something as potentially dangerous as the strength-enhancing hourglass while he's in his current mental state. Still possessing superstrength, he dares her to try and take it from him.

Um... all Courtney has to do is wait another ten or fifteen minutes and Rick's hour will be up. Then she can fry his ass with the Cosmic Staff and take the hourglass back at her leisure!

• Beth arrives in the nick of time to tell Rick that his parents didn't die in an accident, but were in fact murdered. Chuck then projects a very detailed holographic display of the accident— complete with Grundy punching their truck and sending it into the tree.

Again, how in the name of Stan Lee's Mighty Toupee does Chuck know that's what really happened to the Tylers? Their deaths occurred nine years ago in a remote area with no witnesses. Even with all the information at his disposal, there's no way he could possibly be sure of the real cause of the accident.

I'm assuming Chuck must be extrapolating here, and showing the gang what he thinks happened to the Tylers. So if doesn't believe the official police report, why didn't he contact Dugan and present his evidence to him? Maybe he could have gotten the authorities involved and nipped the ISA in the bud before they took over Blue Valley, as they've apparently done.

 As of this episode, we've now been introduced to all the members of Team Stargirl that we saw at the end of Crisis On Infinite Earths Part Five: Doctor Mid-Nite, Stargirl, Hourman, Wildcat and STRIPE.

 In the previous episode, Yolanda tested her newfound Wildcat powers by slashing the Dugans' toaster with her razor sharp claws. Later on, Mike— hungry for his beloved Pop-Tarts— discovered the ruined toaster and yelled for his dad.

I assumed Dugan would look at the toaster, recognize the pattern of the slashes in the metal and realize that Courtney was recruiting a new team with the old JSA equipment.

Nope! He does figure out her plan, but he does so after finding out Rick has a yellow '66 Mustang (just like Rex Tyler did) and seeing the damage done to Matt's truck. So instead of the toaster being a plot point, I guess it was just a comedy bit.

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