In this week’s episode of Stargirl, we finally get to see the new JSA in action as Stargirl, Wildcat, Dr. Mid-Nite, and Hourman team up against the ISA. But can they work as a team? And are they even a match for what remains of the Injustice Society? I got major Sky High vibes from this week’s episode, which makes me enjoy the series even more. This season has been an origin story not just for Stargirl but also for the new Justice Society, and now that the team is assembled I’m excited to see how the second half of the season unfolds. Read on to see what happens as “The Justice Society” assembles for the first time.
On the football field, we see Artemis Crock get into a fight with another member of the football team over what she sees as an unfair play. She’s the only girl on the team, and also happens to be the daughter of ISA members Lawrence Crock (Sportsmaster) and Paula Brooks (Tigress). When the coach benches her for fighting, Lawrence and Paula confront him after school. When the coach doesn’t respond to their complaints the way they want, they bash his head in with a baseball bat, killing him. These two are darkly funny together, and I really enjoyed watching the dynamic between them and Artemis.
Back at the Whitmore residence, Courtney tries to sneak back in unnoticed. But Pat is waiting for her to confront her over taking the JSA artifacts. It also comes out that Courtney has recruited Yolanda, Beth, and Rick, with Courtney confirming that Rick is Rex Tyler’s son. Pat is angry she put the other kids in danger. He worries about what will happen, especially after Joey Zarick’s death. Pat tells Courtney to get the Wildcat and Dr. Mid-Nite gear back from Yolanda and Beth. He’ll deal with Rick since he wants to talk to him about Rex. Before he leaves, he takes the rest of Courtney’s stolen artifacts with him, but misses the Thunderbolt pen. He goes back to the basement and looks sadly at Rex’s diary. Meanwhile, Jordan (Icicle) gets a text saying that the “gym rats” are at it again. He confronts Lawrence and Paula, who are in the process of burying the dead coach. He tells them this is the third time they’ve killed a coach in this town (!!) and that they need to stay focused on stopping whatever is happening with the new JSA. He tells them they’ll be suiting up for a mission soon, which makes the couple happy.
Pat goes to Rick and explains he was a friend of his father’s. He takes Rick to the garage to show him the damage Rick did to his uncle’s truck, admonishing him that Rex would never have used his powers that way. We also get an explanation for why the hourglass only works for one hour a day: Rex was afraid of the corrupting influence of power and wanted to limit himself (okay, fine, I get it, but one hour? I don’t think six hours would morally corrupt anyone and would definitely give you more time to win a fight). Rick counters, asking why Pat has done nothing to stop the Injustice Society even after they killed all of his friends. Pat tells Rick he’s trying and pulls out Rex’s diary. He asks Rick if he can help interpret some of the messages in it, and Rick replies that it seems like it’s in code since not everything in it matches up with facts he knows about his father. He goes to leave, taking the journal with him, but Pat tries to stop him. He says he needs Rick to give him the journal and the hourglass back since it’s clear he can’t handle his father’s powers responsibly. Rick angrily tells Pat that he must see him as trash like the rest of the town does. He also tells Pat he’s just a sidekick who isn’t even trying to do anything before storming off.
At the school science fair, Mike is working on his project while Courtney tries to get the courage to tell Yolanda and Beth that the new JSA is disbanding. Yolanda and Beth both happily talk about how having the JSA gives them both a purpose (and for Beth at least, someone to talk to, as she has become besties with AI Chuck). Courtney finally tells them about Pat at lunch, saying he’s upset and wants the artifacts back, but both Yolanda and Beth refuse to give up their new identities. Back on the field, Artemis is practicing with yet another new coach as her parents look on. Sharpe (Gambler) approaches them both to tell them they have the broadcasting equipment, but now have to steal the codes to use it. They’ll be heading out on a mission tonight.
At the fair, Barbara comes to check out Mike’s project even after Mike told her and Pat not to bother coming (surprise surprise, he secretly actually wanted them there). He’s excited that she’s there to support him, and they seem to bond a little more than usual. Rick finds Courtney, Beth, and Yolanda to tell them that Pat visited him. He is dismissive of Pat and his abilities, and Courtney defends him, saying he’s just trying to protect them. Rick sarcastically remarks that if Pat asked for the staff back, Courtney wouldn’t be so quick to defend him. Rick pulls out the journal and asks if Chuck can read the equations, and the AI just says he can’t match them to anything in existence.
Before they can ask Chuck for more information, they get an alert from the goggles. Gambler is trying to hack into a local communication system. While Courtney wants to tell Pat, the rest of the group doesn’t. Chuck tells them Gambler doesn’t have powers, and the trio thinks this will be an easy way to test their powers. They decide this will be their first mission as the new JSA, acting rather cocky for heroes with absolutely no battle training. Courtney reluctantly agrees as long as they conceal their true identities.
Stargirl, Wildcat, Dr. Mid-Nite, and Hourman arrive in disguise at Empire Enterprises, where they use the goggles to find out how to break in. Stargirl tries to lead the group, but they’re definitely not ready to follow her just yet. They’re disorganized and not fighting as a team. The atmosphere gets even worse when they come across a dead security guard and realize the stakes of what is happening. Sportsmaster and Tigress arrive and begin to battle the new JSA in an effort to give Gambler more time to get the codes. The inexperienced JSA begins losing badly, and Gambler is able to get the codes. Once again, I have to applaud the team behind choreographing these fight sequences. They really take individual characters and their fighting styles into account, and we see how inexperienced these new heroes are. We also get a truly scary moment where Courtney is left without her staff and we realize how vulnerable they all are without their tech backing them up. We also get some humor courtesy of Sportsmaster and Tigress, which fits the tone of the show well.
It looks like Sportsmaster and Tigress will win, but then Pat arrives in his new S.T.R.I.P.E. suit. His arrival scares Sportsmaster and Tigress off, saving the kids just in time but not stopping Gambler. Eagle-eyed viewers will also recognize the above shot of the full JSA and S.T.R.I.P.E. from the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover. Pat takes everyone back to the garage. Yolanda, Beth, and Rick all admire the S.T.R.I.P.E. machine, with Rick especially impressed at the engineering it must have taken to create it from spare car parts. He admits that maybe Pat is more useful than he gave him credit for.
Courtney goes to Pat, and they talk. She expresses frustration with how difficult it is to lead when no one will listen to you, and says she knows she did the same thing to Pat. She says she’s sorry and understands that Pat just wants to protect them. But Pat surprises her by saying that she and her teammates just need more training. He knows he can’t stop her, so he’d rather they at least train with him. It seems the new JSA is official, with Pat joining the team.
The ISA is discussing the battle, with Gambler reporting that he got all the codes Dr. Ito needs. But they really need Brainwave for Project New America to work. They turn their attention to the new JSA, and Jordan says he wants to know who they are.
Stargirl airs Mondays on DC Universe and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.