Sunday, September 5, 2021

Stargirl Season 2, Episode 2: Summer School: Chapter Two

This week on Stargirl, we get an episode that's short on action but lonnnnnng on setup and exposition.

Summer School: Chapter Two introduces us to Jennie-Lynn Hayden (aka Jade to comic book fans),who's the daughter of the original Green Lantern. It was fun to see an Arrowverse show FINALLY tackle the Green Lantern lore, and give us a long-awaited glimpse into that particular corner of the comics.

Unfortunately Jennie's story felt a bit rushed, as she discovers her heritage, locates the lantern and learns how to use it before leaving— all in one episode. Her arc definitely could have used a bit more room to breathe. 

We also needed a bit more explanation of just who Green Lantern was, and how his ring and lantern/power battery actually work. As well as why Jennie seems to be a living power battery who doesn't need the lantern. Hopefully these questions will be answered later in the season. 

This episode also gives us a storyline in which Courtney feels jealous and left out, due to the fact that Jennie's a JSA legacy and she's not. It's all VERY obvious and heavy-handed, and I'm sure the writers thought the whole "Green (as in Lantern) Equals Jealously" thing was terribly clever. They were wrong.

On the plus side, the Shade makes his debut this week. Yes, he made a VERY brief appearance in the Season 1 finale, but I'm not counting that as we never even saw his face and he was played by a completely different actor. Jonathan Cake portrays him here, and plays the character to perfection, giving him a combination of Old World charm and quiet menace. Cake does an excellent job here, and I look forward to seeing more of the Shade.

Despite the fact that Jennie disappears at the end of the episode, it's a sure bet she'll return at some point. Especially now that the Shade's been set up as a major threat. Who better to defeat a living shadow than someone who's literally a beacon?

Those minor nitpicks aside, this was another top notch episode of a series that continues to fire on all cylinders.


The Plot:
We open on a flashback to six days ago. Bobbie Burman— wife of the Dragon King and stepmother to Cindy Burman— is celebrating the seeming demise of her horrible, horrible family. She joyfully smashes dishes and vases, then packs a suitcase and heads out the door to start a new life anywhere but Blue Valley.

Unfortunately those plans instantly change as she sees Cindy standing in the doorway. Cindy asks who changed the locks, as she raises her Eclipso diamond to her eye.

Six Days Ago:
We see an establishing shot of the Ordway Orphanage in Milwaukee. Mrs. Ordway, owner of the place, tells her a young girl named Jennie that it's time to hit the road and wishes her luck! She gives Jennie a box that belonged to her father and slams the door shut. Jennie sits on the steps and wonders what the hell she's going to do next. She opens the box, and inside it she sees a toy car labeled "Todd." She realizes it belonged to her beloved long-lost brother, who she somehow knows about.

She also finds a Green Lantern ring in the box. The second she sees it, the ring begins glowing, floating out of the box and slipping onto her finger. It then drags her off camera.

Present Day:
At the Dugan house, the family assesses the damage caused during Courtney's battle with Jennie at the end of the previous episode. Dugan's furious with Courtney, but she says she was simply responding to an intruder in their home. Jennie apologizes for the damage, but says she was only there for the lantern, as the ring led her to it.

She introduces herself and says her father was Alan Scott. Dugan's startled by the mention of that name, and tells Barb he was the Green Lantern. Dugan introduces himself to Jennie, who recognizes him as Stripesy. She asks if he can train her in how to use the ring.

Barb asks Jennie to stay the night, and gives her Courtney's room (!). Courtney's then banished to the couch, where Dugan brings her an extra pillow. Courtney asks how he knows Jennie's really Alan Scott's daughter. He says the ring only worked for Green Lantern, so her ability to use it must mean she's telling the truth. 

Courtney worries that Jennie's a supervillain or a spy who's there to find out their secrets. Dugan insists she's seeing villains where there are none, and reminds her that being a superhero is more about helping people than fighting bad guys. He also reminds her that she gave Yolanda, Rick and Beth a shot when no one else would, so she should give Jennie a chance as well.

The next morning Courtney wakes up late and shuffles into the kitchen. There she sees Jennie's fixed an elaborate breakfast for the entire family, who've accepted her wholeheartedly. Dugan says he's going to take Jennie to the garage to figure out how to use the power ring and lantern. Feeling left out, Courtney insists on tagging along. Barb says she'll do no such thing, reminding her that she has summer school.

Cut to Blue Valley High, where Courtney grudgingly walks into class. She's delighted when she sees Yolanda there as well. When she asks why she's in summer school when she gets straight As, Yolanda says her asshole parents enrolled her to keep her out of trouble (!).

Mr. Desinger enters, making dated jokes and references that fly far over the heads of the teen students. He begins taking roll call, and we see surly psychotic Isaac Bowin's in the class as well. He then calls Rick's name, but unfortunately he's absent.

Elsewhere, we see Rick traipsing through the woods, carrying several boxes of pizza to feed Solomon Grundy.

Dugan arrives at his garage with Jennie. They're amazed when they see Zeek's installed a wrist-mounted flamethrower on the STRIPE robot— just as he promised to do last week. After Zeek leaves, Jennie asks Dugan what he knows about the power ring and lantern. He says not much— only that the ring can create anything she can imagine if she wills it hard enough.

Jennie then concentrates and creates a 3D energy replica of her brother Todd's toy car. Dugan's suitably impressed and congratulates her.

Meanwhile, Courtney & Yolanda eat lunch in the cafeteria. Courtney rants about Jennie, saying she broke into their house and everyone's perfectly fine with that. She says Dugan's more than fine, as he & Jennie are now seemingly best friends. Oddly enough, Yolanda takes Jennie's side as well.

Back at the Burman home, Bobbie's cleaning up the mess she made the night before. Suddenly she hears Eclipso's voice, croaking, "You'll never escape her."

Courtney & Yolanda show up at the garage, where Jennie's demonstrating the ring to Rick & Beth. Jennie introduces herself to Yolanda, who's instantly smitten with her as well. Courtney's upset to find that the others told Jennie all about the JSA and their secret identities. Rick says it's fine, as Jennie's a "legacy" like him.

Courtney still refuses to blindly accept Jennie, causing her to say that maybe it's best if she just left. The others glare at Courtney as they follow her out. 

Meanwhile, a man decked out in a top hat and cane arrives in Blue Valley. He pays a visit to Barb at The American Dream, and introduces himself as Richard Swift— a collector specializing in stage magic props (?). He says it's come to his attention that William Zarick (aka the Wizard) had quite a collection of such items, which are now owned by The American Dream for some reason. 

Swift tells Barb he wants to buy Zarick's collection, and would pay handsomely for it. Barb's instantly suspicious, and says she'll have to discuss it with the committee. 

Elsewhere, Bobbie's still cleaning. She hears the voice again, telling her that she'll never get her old life back as long as Cindy's alive. She then sees Eclipso's true form reflected in the blade of a butcher knife, as he urges her to kill her stepdaughter.

At the garage, Dugan tells Courtney she should apologize to Jennie (!). He says she's just a superhero trying to find out about the father she never knew, and says Courtney should know how that feels. Just then Barb calls him about Swift, and he says he's gotta go.

Courtney reluctantly joins the others and apologizes to Jennie. She tells her she spent months thinking she was Starman's daughter, and it devastated her to find out she wasn't. She says Jennie's perfect, and is everything she ever wanted to be. She tells Jennie she has it all.

Oddly enough Jennie doesn't take this well, claiming instead that she has nothing. She says all she wanted was to find her brother Todd, and hoped the ring would help her do so. Her eyes being glowing green as she says the ring's done nothing, then angrily sweeps the lantern off the table. It lands on the floor and begins glowing with green energy.

Cut to the diner, where Dugan somehow knows Swift will be. He enters, spots Swift and introduces himself. Dugan mentions he has a garage where he restores antique autos, and comments on Swift's 1965 Jaguar parked out front. Swift corrects him, saying it's a '67. Dugan's eyes narrow, as that date apparently means something to him. Just then he sees Courtney and the others run past the diner, carrying the dangerously glowing lantern. He excuses himself and goes after them.

The kids take the lantern to the courthouse square, hoping to keep it away from people in case it blows. Dugan joins them and asks what's going on, and Jennie says it's all her fault. He reminds her that emotions control the ring (?), and they all tell her she can do it. She begins concentrating, and starts absorbing the power from the lantern. Courtney realizes that Jennie IS the lantern, as she charged it instead of the other way around.

Jennie manages to absorb all the energy safely. Just as she says, "I think I got it," the lantern explodes, knocking everyone on their asses and sending a massive green shockwave through the town.

As they pick themselves up, they see a large crater in the middle of the square. Beth chokes back tears as she says Jennie sacrificed herself to save them. Just then they look up and see her hovering above them, bathed in green energy. She looks down in wonderment and says she can fly now.

The next morning, Courtney gets up and walks into the kitchen. She asks if Jennie's up, and Barb tells her she was gone when she woke. Apparently she got what she wanted from them and then buggered off.

Dugan sits in the basement, studying an old JSA file on the Shade. Courtney comes down and says she's done looking for villains under every rock, and is going to concentrate on school. Dugan looks sheepish and says the Shade's a villain from the old days, and is the last member of the ISA who's unaccounted for... and he's in Blue Valley. Courtney practically bursts with excitement as she runs to get her staff.

Cut to the Burman house. Cindy comes home, and Bobbie attacks her with a knife. Cindy easily disarms her stepmother and knocks her down. She pleads with Bobbie to stop, but she reaches for the knife anyway. Instantly Cindy's possessed by Eclipso, as her eyes glow red and half her face goes dark. She sucks the soul out of Bobbie (I guess?), causing her body to crumble into dust.

Cindy regains control, and demands to know what Eclipso just did. He says Bobbie was trying to kill her, so he took control of her body to save her. She hisses that she can save herself, and says if he ever possesses her again she'll put the diamond back in the box. Eclipso apologizes and says it'll never happen again. Cindy then looks at the remains of her stepmother, and says she never wanted her dead.

• The episode begins with a deliriously happy Bobbie Burman preparing to leave Blue Valley to start a new life somewhere else. ANYWHERE else.

We've seen Bobbie several times before, as she appeared in Season 1's S.T.R.I.P.E., Shiv Part One and Shiv Part Two.

• As with most episodes of Stargirl, this one begins with a flashback. Seriously, it's like the show's in love with them they happen so often. This time we flash back to a whole six days ago.

"The Ordway Home For Children" is no doubt named after Jerry Ordway, a prolific comic artist and inker who worked extensively for DC. 

Ordway's one of my all-time favorite comic artists, as his work effortlessly conveys the power of the characters, and is somehow clean and simple, yet highly detailed at the same time. His art can be seen in many of the Superman titles, as well as All-Star Squadron and Infinity, Inc. both of which inspired much of Stargirl. He also inked George Perez's awesome pencils on the Crisis On Infinite Earths minseries.

• We then see young Jennie-Lynn Hayden (who broke into the Dugan house last week) being kicked out of the orphanage by its owner, Mrs. Ordway.

Mrs. Ordway's quite a piece of work, and clearly has no business being around children. Especially emotionally vulnerable orphaned children. Don't believe me? Get a load of her dialogue:

Mrs. Ordway: "Jennie, here's a little something for the bus. I'm sorry you have to go, but you know how this works. Other kids need a home, and you're no kid anymore."
Jennie: "I understand, Mrs. Ordway."
Mrs. Ordway: "This was left for you by child services for today. Happy birthday, Jennie."
Jennie: "Is this about my brother?"
Mrs. Ordway: "I have no idea."

Wow, you can practically feel her warmth and compassion coming right through the screen!

Seriously, would an orphanage REALLY force an eighteen year old girl out into the cold, cruel world without arranging a job or lodging for her first? At night? On her goddamned birthday? Jesus Christ!

Ah, but Mrs. Ordway's not finished yet! As Jennie walks away from the orphanage for the last time, she tells her:

Mrs. Ordway: "A little advice for out there in the world. Don't try so hard to be perfect. You don't have to be for people to like you. And it's a little annoying."

Holy crap! What kind of advice is that to give to a kid? How the frak did this woman get a job in social services in the first place?

• In the comics, Jennifer-Lynn Hayden is the daughter of Alan Scott, aka the Earth-2 Green Lantern, and Rose Canton, who was the plant-controlling villain Thorne. Rose had a split personality, but her condition was allegedly cured and she eventually married Alan Scott. The couple had fraternal twins, Jennifer-Lynn and Todd.

Fearing her evil persona would return, Rose gave up the children for adoption. Sadly they were split up, with Jennifer-Lynn going to a family named Hayden, and Todd to a family named Rice.

Both kids turned out to be metas— Jennifer had powers virtually identical to those of Green Lantern and became a superhero known as Jade, while Todd had the ability to become a living shadow who could fly, and called himself Obsidian. Both siblings eventually joined Infinity, Inc.

Whether the show follows the comic template is anyone's guess at this time.

• What the hell was up with Courtney's family this week?

At the end of last week's episode, Jennie straight up broke into the Dugan home and stole the Green Lantern's lantern. Quite rightly, Courtney attacked this unknown intruder and tried to stop her. 

Granted, Courtney may have gone a bit overboard with the excessive force, as she inadvertently destroyed the Dugan's cool Mid-Century Modern kitchen in the process. But in her mind she was simply defending her loved ones from a potentially deadly threat. After all, it's not the first time a supervillain's busted into their home!

Unfortunately, rather than praising Courtney's actions, Dugan and Barb inexplicably condemn her. Even more puzzling, once Jennie explains why she broke into their home, the Dugans are instantly touched by her sob story and actually side with her! Barb even offers to let her spend the night in Courtney's room. Courtney's then forced to sleep on the living room couch for the duration of Jennie's visit!

OK, I assume this was Barb's way of punishing Courtney for the damage she caused, but it still seems kind of harsh. Plus who the hell lets a complete stranger— especially one who just broke into their home— spend the night?

Courtney tries to defend her actions, but her family refuses to listen. I'm with Courtney on this one. Jennie could have simply knocked on the door, explained who she was and why she was there and asked for the lantern. Instead she broke into their home in the middle of the night and tried to steal it. She literally committed a crime, but Courtney's family can't seem to comprehend that.

• After taking over Courtney's room, Jennie sits on the bed and gazes longingly at a photo of her beloved brother Todd.

So who the hell's the little white girl next to Todd supposed to be? It can't be Jennie, as she's clearly of Hispanic origin. It looks like a photo of two completely random kids.

Could the Prop Department really not find a child anywhere in Georgia (where the series is filmed) who looked even remotely like a young Jennie?

• Apropos of nothing, Courtney wakes up the next morning and staggers into the kitchen as she struggles to pull on her robe.

Virtually every character I've ever seen in a movie or TV show dons a robe the second they roll out of bed. Is robes actually a thing in real life? I haven't owned one since I was six years old. I just eat breakfast in the t-shirt & shorts I sleep in year round. 

Even if I did have one, I for damn sure wouldn't wear a hot flannel robe in the middle of summer, which is when this episode's taking place.

• I just noticed the Dugan's have a portrait of their dog Max in their dining room! Cool!

• Courtney drag herself to summer school, where she's happy to see Yolanda there as well.

Once again, Yolanda's parents continue to prove they're the world's biggest assholes, as they forced her to sign up for summer school classes "just to keep her out of trouble. 

Jesus Christ! How many years are they gonna make the poor girl pay for her sexting transgression? I think she's been punished enough.

• While in class, Yolanda asks Courtney about "this Green Lama girl" who's staying with her. 

First of all, how the hell did Yolanda find out about her? I guess we're meant to assume the JSA is constantly texting one another and keeping everyone informed as to what's going on, but it feels like sloppy writing to me.

Secondly, this is sort of an in-joke, as there really was a Green Lama. There've been several different versions of the character over the years, appearing in pulp magazines and later in comics. 

The character premiered in 1940 (the same year Green Lantern debuted), and was an orphaned millionaire very similar to Bruce Wayne. He studied to become a Tibetan Lama, and acquired many "mystical" superhuman powers. Eventually he decided he could be more use by using his abilities to fight crime. 

The comic version had a similar origin but different powers, as he was more of a sorcerer who could travel through time and resurrect the dead. Even later iterations of the character gained the ability to fly. 

• When Mr. Desinger takes attendance, he calls Rick's name. A couple things here:

Last week Rick aced a test for the first time in his life, thanks to the Power Of Studying. This made his teacher unfairly suspect he cheated, and she demanded he take another test in front of her. When he refused, she threatened to flunk him. Looks like she meant it, as he's now having to take summer school classes in order to pass!

Second, Rick doesn't bother to show up for the first day of summer school. Did... did he just drop out?

• Speaking of Rick, last week he started leaving buckets of fast food chicken in the woods to feed Solomon Grundy, who's hiding out there. At the time I asked how a high schooler with no job could afford to pay for that much food every day. In this episode we see he's still feeding Grundy, so the question still stands!

By the way, what's Rick's endgame here? Does he just feel sorry for Grundy? Is he trying to prevent him from robbing any more fast food places? Or is he hoping to make a "pet" of him? It isn't out of the question, as something very much like that happened in the Infinity, Inc. comic!

• In the previous episode, Dugan's friend Zeek pretty much took over the STRIPE robot and outlined all sorts of plans and upgrades he had in mind for it— including a wrist-mounted flamethrower. 

This week we see he was true to his word, as STRIPE can now shoot flames from arm!

• So Dugan's completely taken with Jennie as well, and agrees to train her to use the power ring & lantern. When she mentions the ring flew onto her finger after being kept in a box for years, Dugan finds that odd. According to him, Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, had to charge his ring daily with the lantern/battery.

In the comics, Jennie/Jade didn't need a ring or battery like Green Lantern did. Her powers came from a birthmark on her palm, which acted much like Green Lantern's ring and was apparently fueled by her own body.

The show seems to be going a slightly different way here, as Jennie doesn't have a birthmark— but we do find out she's somehow charging the lantern with her own body..

• As part of his training regimen, Dugan tells Jennie that the power ring can create anything, and is limited only by her imagination and willpower. Determined to prover herself, she screws up her face, concentrates and instantly makes a 3D simulation of her brother Todd's toy car— on her first try!

And what a replica it is, too! Every detail's absolutely perfect, right down to the name "TODD" scribbled on the bottom of the car! Jesus Christ! This is doubly amazing when you consider that she saw the toy car for the first time a week ago! 

• Several times in this episode, Dugan tells Jenny that the Green Lantern ring is affected by her emotions. What the hell..? 

This was news to me, as in every Green Lantern story I'd ever read, the ring was controlled solely by willpower, which I'm pretty sure is a physical and mental action and not an emotion. 

But it turns out Dugan was right. Sometime after I stopped buying comics, DC published the Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night, two massive Green Lantern crossovers which introduced the concept of the Power Ring Spectrum. 

There are apparently nine different colors of power rings, each controlled by a different emotion (sort of). White is controlled by life, Red by rage, Orange by greed (um... shouldn't greed control the green ring?), Yellow by fear, Green by willpower (which as I pointed out isn't an emotion), Blue by hope, Indigo by compassion, Violet by love and Black by death.

Strangely enough, Jennie's green power ring seems to be affected when she's anxious, nervous or fearful— emotions which don't have anything to do with will. Based on this I'm assuming they're not following the comics, and won't be introducing the Power Ring Spectrum on this show.

• When Yolanda, Rick & Beth meet Jennie, they're immediately charmed with her— just like Courtney's family was. In fact they're so taken by her that they tell her their secret identities. 

Quite rightly, Courtney's not happy about this, and tells them so. Her friends instantly jump to the conclusion that she's jealous of Jennie, and chastise her for being so petty.

To be fair, there may be a small grain of truth in their accusations, as it's possible Courtney may be feeling a twinge of jealousy here. After all, Jennie IS the daughter of the original Green Lantern, and as such a JSA legacy— something Courtney desperately longed to be, but was cruelly denied last season.

But none of that explains why her teammates began worshipping Jennie seconds after they met her. Why's everyone so infatuated with this complete stranger who breaks into peoples' homes? It almost makes me wonder if Jennie has a secondary superpower that allows her to manipulate emotions! It would explain a lot, as she's not THAT nice or likeable!

• I get that this is an ensemble show, and they were doing lots of setup for the rest of the season. But man, Yolanda, Rick & Beth really got shafted this week. No mention or even a brief acknowledgement of their respective problems in this episode. In fact they all seemed perfectly fine.

• Richard Swift rolls into Blue Valley, driving what appears to be a Jaguar Mark 2, which were produced in England from 1959 to 1967. 

Jaguar made a limited run of a "reimagined" version in 2014, which sold for a modest $350,000 each. I'm betting that's likely the version we're seeing here.

• Swift pays a visit to Barb at the American Dream, where he asks if he can peruse the collection of the late William Zarick, aka the Wizard. Lots to unpack in this scene.

First of all, Swift is clearly the Shade, another character with a lengthy and convoluted backstory in the comics. He first appeared in 1942's Flash Comics #33. In his first appearance he used a machine to "steal" the light in Keystone City, allowing him to rob it at will. He was opposed by the Jay Garrick version of the Flash.

Later he became an enemy of the Barry Allen Flash as well, wielding a magical cane that could animate shadows. Eventually he teamed up with The Thinker and The Fiddler in the Flash Of Two Worlds storyline, which kick-started DC's multiverse.

The character was retooled in the 1990s, becoming an immortal Victorian gentleman named Richard Swift, who was sort of a living shadow. He had a connection to the Shadowlands, a dark and primordial realm, and could create illusions and creatures from darkness and shadow. He could teleport himself and others through the Shadowlands, emerging at any point on Earth.

This new Shade grew bored with his life of crime and became a mercenary, working for the highest bidder on either side. He developed a strict moral code, based on honor and fair play, refusing to commit any crimes in his hometown of Opal City. Eventually he became something of a mentor to the Jack Knight version of Starman.

Based on this episode, it looks like Stargirl's giving us the modern, morally ambiguous version of the Shade.

I love how Barb isn't impressed by Swift's smug, oily charm, and is instantly suspicious of him. Glad to see her being given more to do on the show, and not just play the supportive wife & mom.

That said, I was surprised to see she's still working at the American Dream. How the hell is that place still in business? While it was ostensibly designed to revitalize Blue Valley, it was actually a front for Jordan Mahkent's nefarious plan to take over the country. Seems like it should have died along with him.

Barb does mention some sort of committee though, so I guess maybe the town leaders decided to keep the place around and continue the benevolent part of the business?

• At one point Bobbie hears a voice, and sees a glimpse of Eclipso's true form (complete with glowing red eyes) reflected in a butcher knife. He urges her to kill her Cindy.

Based on this scene, it's clear that Eclipso wants Cindy dead, since she's currently able to control him (sort of). I'm betting we'll eventually get a subplot in which Eclipso becomes more than Cindy can handle, and she has to turn to the JSA for help.

• Something just occurred to me regarding Eclipso. Stargirl takes place on Earth-2, and is separate from the rest of the Arrowverse (so far!). Up to this point, all the characters we've seen on the show are based on ones who've appeared in comics set on Earth-2.

Until now. I could be wrong, but as near as I can tell there's no Earth-2 version of Eclipso in the comics, as he was always strictly an Earth-1 villain. 

I don't have a problem with this, mind you. I just thought it was worth a mention.

• Courtney apologizes to Jennie, which upsets her for some reason. Her emotions then cause the lantern to overload and threaten to explode. She and the others rush it to the town square, hoping it'll do less damage there.

When Jennie picks up the out-of-control lantern and absorbs its power, I swear the musical score sounded very similar, if not identical, to the Superman Theme from Superman & Lois. Did the composer just recycle his own music for Stargirl?

• Jennie seemingly absorbs the lantern's energy at the last second, as the team breathes a sigh of relief. Suddenly the lantern explodes anyway, causing a huge shockwave of green energy in the middle of town.

Fortunately everyone in Blue Valley apparently goes to bed at 8pm, so no one saw the gigantic explosion and wondered what it was. Nor did anyone notice the giant crater it caused.

• After absorbing the lantern's energy, Jennie discovers she can now fly under her own power. This officially makes her the most powerful character we've seen so far on the show. Courtney comes close, but even she can't fly without the Cosmic Staff.

• The next day the Dugans wake to find Jennie gone. Apparently she got what she needed from them and then noped the hell out of there. Doesn't sound all that perfect now, does it? 

This is why I sided with Courtney all through this episode. The other characters all talk about how nice and perfect Jennie is, even though we see no actual evidence of this. Her "niceness" is an informed attribute. That's when the script constantly TELLS us of a character's charm or skill, even though there's no visual evidence of it.

I don't think we've seen the last of Jennie though. I'm confident she'll be back at some point, possibly in the season finale, to help the JSA battle Eclipso.

• Dugan looks through old JSA files, and pulls out a folder on the Shade. Naturally the photo's out of focus, so it's impossible to tell if Richard Swift and the Shade are the same person.

This seems to be a common trick on this show, as they did the exact same thing last year when Barb looked at a damaged photo of Starman and tried to figure out if he was her ex-husband.

• I loved Courtney's expression as Dugan said the Shade was in town, and painfully admitted there was still an ISA presence in town. As he speaks she's so giddy she can barely contain herself!

• At the end of the episode, Bobbie tries to kill Cindy. Suddenly Cindy's eyes glow red as half her face goes dark, and she sucks the soul from her stepmother, leaving her a pile of ashes.

Cindy's horrified by Bobbie's death, and realizes that Eclipso possessed her without permission. She threatens to destroy his diamond if he ever does so again. A few things here:

At the beginning of last week's episode, we saw a lengthy prologue in which a young boy named Bruce Gordon was possessed by Eclipso, and killed Rebecca McNider, the daughter of the original Dr. Mid-Nite.

We didn't get to see exactly what happened to Rebecca, but based on this episode, it's a good bet she died the same way Bobbie did.

Secondly, Cindy clearly thought she'd be able to use Eclipso for her own purposes, but it's evident she's already losing control of the demon. She's definitely in way over her head, and who knows, he may even end up killing her as well.

Lastly, I was surprised to see Cindy so broken up over the death of her stepmother Bobbie. I'm assuming this was an attempt at giving Cindy a bit of depth and make her a more interesting character. It's just that every time we've ever seen the two of them interact, Cindy's always been rude, insolent and downright evil to her stepmother. Heck, if I remember right she even threatened to kill her last season.

So it's all the more jarring when she's suddenly mourning her death.

• Poor Bobbie. "Mr. Stark I don't feel good..."

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