The Star’s Last Shine
With Discovery taking over CW, we saw the end of Batwoman and The Legends of Tomorrow. Even The Flash is speeding his way into a final abbreviated season. At the point in time when all of this was announced, the third season of Stargirl had yet to air, but I suspected that the same axe would fall on it. I’m a big fan of the show, partially because of the tie to the Justice Society of America. As my excitement grew regarding the Justice Society returning to comics (with a first issue to be released on my birthday no less), we also received the bad news that Stargirl had been cancelled. The team behind the show saw the writing on the wall and have promised a good end to the show and the season has been decent so far..
The title/theme for the season is ‘Frenemies’. The Injustice Society is back… or are they? Cindy/Shiv wants to join the Justice Society. Sports Master and Tigress are out of jail and living near Courtney’s family with their daughter, Artemis. The Shade is still around and even the Gambler is back trying to make amends. Does this sound too good to believe? The only way to find out is to let things play out.
Let’s start off on the hero side with the oldest member of the Justice Society, Starman. First, I’m a HUGE Starman fan. No, I don’t mean Sylvester Pemberton. He was the Star-Spangled Kid and later (just before he died) Skyman but he was never Starman so I really hate having him there using that name. Heck, his costume is pretty much like his old Skyman one. So far, there hasn’t been a good explanation for his return other than “the staff healed him and called him back”. He’s also had some serious anger and entitlement issues making him pretty much unlikable. If it wasn’t for the fact that there’s only a few episodes left, I’d really be hoping for a storyline to get rid of him. At least he’s finally starting to treat Pat more as an equal and not like a little kid.
Courtney has been pretty static throughout the season, not really changing at all. It’s odd that the main character is the one with the least growth in the show. Of Courtney’s other 3 original teammates, only Beth makes any real positive progress. She has become stronger, learning more and standing up for herself. The sudden inclusion of the gadgets in her costume was a bit odd since she had the goggles that talked to her before which, you would think, would have told her about some of it. Her parents learning about everything from Charles McNider and calling her while she’s in the middle of a battle needing exactly what they find out is a bit much. I’d have rather seen her make stuff with the help of Charles or her parents. Yolanda’s main issue has always been her family but they don’t even show up until most of the way through the season. Her anger issues around Cindy and Cameron just make her annoying and very one note. The family doesn’t pop up until they kick her out and makes her run back to Courtney for a place to live and then they are miraculously buddies and supportive again. Rick ends up being the really annoying one though but at least there’s part of a reason for it. When he’s trying to fix the hourglass, Sylvester convinces Rick to turn off the limiter as the amount of time it worked was erratic and not sticking at the 60 minutes it used to be. (I’ve never been able to understand how he was able to figure out the technology Rex built even with the book. I’d think it would be above what he could understand given his character.) Sylvester should have known that Rex set limits on the hourglass because of its addictive nature. This was a theme in the comic which obviously is true in the show too which makes his comments questionable. Turning the hourglass on 24/7 makes Rick constantly agitated, aggressive, and totally addicted to the power. This is even more so than usual that is. The team really isn’t as much of heroes as they have been.
Given that, let’s take a look at the former bad guys. The Gambler’s return was quite short. He starts looking into his daughter, Rebecca, who is the villain Hazard in the comics. Who knows if we’ll see anything of her now though. He also tried making amends with people. While some of the good guys don’t believe he was true to his change of heart, it seemed to be honest as he had with the Crocks and tried to with the Shade. Sadly, he gets killed early on leading to a murder mystery which takes up a lot of the season. As for the Crocks (Sports Master and Tigress), they really tried to turn things around. It was tough for them but they became real if a bit dysfunctional friends with Pat and Barbara. Artemis is supposedly interested in joining the JSA too and shows up to help one time and then is never heard from again until the last couple episodes. I’m not sure why they didn’t include her more. Cindy actually fought to be as good as she could be as well but something he father did to her was causing her to become more reptilian which caused her to pull away too. Another thread that is still unfolding is that of Cameron and his grandparents. Courtney helps Cameron with his powers but holds back the truth about his father. His grandparents are still pretty evil. In the comics, Cameron is Icicle Jr. but he seemed a decent guy. The truth about his father and Rick’s attack on him has built a wall between him and Courtney though and we don’t know where things will go, but the Crocks seem to have gotten his grandparents to consider the path they’ve taken.
In the midst of all of this, we get a 2 part story called Infinity Inc. This is a call back to the team that was made of JSA legacy heroes. It included people like Green Lantern’s son and daughter, the Atom’s godson, and Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s son and was the team that Skyman led. The story brought back Shade (who has left Blue Valley earlier in the season) and Jenny as well as finally introducing Todd. While there was little backstory or character interaction outside of the present situation, they did manage to inject the fact that Todd is gay into story which was great. Sadly, at the end of the second episode, the Shade takes the 2 siblings off to train them and search for other heroes. If things had gone well for this series, an Infinity Inc series introducing other legacy heroes could have been fun.
Despite the way some of the heroes have been acting this season, we still need some real villains. Despite the team thinking Cindy may have killed the Gambler, someone with a lot more strength had to have done what happened at the crime scene. Rick had been trying to get Grundy to come back but there had been no sign of that having happened. It wasn’t until Mike and Jakeem (who is more of a joke in this series than Johnny Thunder ever was in the comics) go searching for Cindy and find the Ultra Humanite. I never saw that coming and it was a great surprise. The character has a lot of history and is an old school JSA villain. They even did justice to the character in how they explained his back story. I have to say that this reveal was one of the best parts of the season. Throughout the season, we see someone in a hood observing everyone through cameras throughout the city. It was a mystery as to who it was until this last episode. Everyone thought it was the Dragon King. In the last episode, the Crocks follow a trail of Sports Master’s gym’s flyers into the swere. I swear that they are the only ones arrogant enough to actually do that in this show but it leads to the reveal that Icicle is still alive somehow and he kills the Crocks for some reason only he knows. After the great introduction of the Ultra Humanite, this was a big letdown.
With only 3 episodes left, I’m not sure where they are going to go. I’d honestly rather see the return of Brainwave Jr than Icicle though that would have been good if there was actually going to be an Infinity Inc series as he was a member. There are so many loose ends left to tie up before the series ends. Why is the Ultra Humanite there? How did Icicle return and what does he want? What is going to happen with Rick and his addiction to the Hourglass? Will wee ever find a real reason as to why Sylvester is alive again or or they going to leave it as “the staff willed it”? What ever happened to all the other JSA relics/equipment that Courtney stole in the first season? We’re promised a good ending so I just have to hope we get some answers to at least some of these with a nice clean finale.