'Stargirl' Season 1, Episode 10 Review: Major revelations set the ball rolling toward the end
Spoilers for 'Stargirl' Season 1, Episode 10 'Brainwave Jr.'
Major revelations come to light in an episode that mines the past for some very rich material. A few cute-meets for the ages, a turn towards the side of the angels, the Justice Society's second outing as a team and a tragic death all feature in an episode that truly gets the ball rolling towards the end all feature this week on 'Stargirl.'
'Stargirl' opens with a scene showing how Barbara Whitmore (Amy Smart) and Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson) first met. It's an appropriate choice, for this episode offers us a peek behind the curtain into just what a fascinating history there's been to the world we're presented in 'Stargirl.' Though it's drawing on the comics, a lot of thought has been put into how the show's history works and every clue that's discovered reveals a fascinating and intricate story of all that's come before. Brainwave (Christopher James Baker) has his own past to deal with, waking up as he does with 10 years of his memory gone.
The Brainwave of a decade ago appears to have been a much nicer, more loving person than the Brainwave of today. He's a Brainwave who cares for his son, who believes that the world can be a good place, courtesy of his wife, Merry Pemberton. For fans of the comics, this revelation has been a long time coming, but even with that knowledge, the show still has some twists in store. The show's reveal that Brainwave himself was responsible for her death because of how much influence she had over him, turning him into a good person, is a more chilling moment than anything we've ever seen Icicle (Neil Jackson) do. The death of Henry King Jr. (Jake Austin Walker) makes it worse, while none of the Injustice Society have been especially great parents, none of them have been callous enough to kill their own children.
This episode ends the two-part Brainwave arc and it's been a fascinating study in the relationship between father and son and with their own relationships to good and evil. After seeing the good in his father for the first time and hearing about how his mother was turning his father towards the side of good, Henry Jr has a change of heart. Naturally, the rest of the Justice Society is reluctant to trust him, but Henry's change is earnest. He's struggled with his powers and with the weight of his decisions, for the full season. His father, however, is evidenced to be a man who has moved past that struggle and expects his son to do the same. Henry is robbed of the chance to become a better person and his death is hearbreaking.
In the meanwhile, Barbara becomes more than just a background character as she finds out the truth about her daughter and her husband's secret superhero lives. She hasn't had all that much to do through the season, which is understandable given how many characters the show features, but she's a great character who deserves the focus she gets this episode. Smart, resourceful, it's easy to see where Courtney gets some of her best traits from.
This episode also gives us one of this season's biggest action scenes, as the Justice Society face an army of the Dragon King's (Nelson Lee) minions deep within his lair. The action continues to set a high bar for superhero television. The fluid dexterity of Wildcat (Yvette Monreal) is especially dynamic on screen. It's also good to see how capable a fighter Stargirl is without her Staff - proving once and for all that it's not the Staff that makes her a superhero. It's a scene that's made all the more disturbing for Cindy Burman's (Meg DeLacy) constant pleading to be allowed to be the one to kill Stargirl herself.
With another major death - this time, right in front of the Justice Society's eyes - the stakes are firmly established. If the Injustice Society is ready to imprison and kill their own children, they're not going to hold back when it comes to fighting the children who try to stop them. With Brainwave back in action, the JSA only have so much time before the ISA's plan is put into action.
The next episode of 'Stargirl' airs July 27 on DC Universe, and July 28 on DC Universe.