Stargirl' Episode 11 Review: Courtney mourns the loss of Henry King Jr and questions her superhero identity

Courtney deals with a personal tragedy, as the countdown to the Injustice Society of America's American Dream keeps on ticking


                            Stargirl' Episode 11 Review: Courtney mourns the loss of Henry King Jr and questions her superhero identity
Still from 'Stargirl' (DC Universe)
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Spoilers for 'Stargirl' Season 1 Episode 11 - 'Shining Knight'

It's the calm before the storm, as Stargirl (Brec Bassinger) gathers herself, mourns the loss of Henry King Jr (Jake Austin Walker), and is given cause to question her entire identity as a superhero. No heroes suit up, no action is had, but the show's villains make the stakes clear to everyone involved, and an episode that sets up the finale delivers on a lot of heart.

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Despite the title of the episode, the show largely relegates its origin-of-the-week format to the background, largely glossing over the story of the Shining Knight (Mark Ashworth). It is a move that is deeply appreciated, as this late in the series, 'Stargirl' needs to take what works best for it and use those elements to take itself forward, and it does just that. The greatest strengths of 'Stargirl' are the show's focus on family, and its great villains and both elements are on full display here.

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Now that she's had some time to adjust to the idea, Barbara Whitmore (Amy Smart) has become a very capable member of the unofficial Team Stargirl. Courtney's family has never been stronger as a unit, even Mike Dugan (Trae Romano), who may be feeling left out of his family's secrets, but still feels like an essential part of the family for how much he cares about them keeping together. This familial bond is strengthened in the face of the sudden appearance of Stargirl's father, Sam Curtis (Geoff Stults), who turns out not to be Starman (Joel McHale) after all.

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This turns Courtney's world upside down. She has based her entire identity as a hero around the idea that she is Starman's daughter, and that his legacy was her destiny. Courtney is filled with both guilt and a gut-wrenching fear to find out that she was just a girl who insisted on getting herself involved, and maybe thus responsible for the deaths of those the Injustice Society of America (ISA) killed while battling her. Brec Bassinger portrays this beautifully.

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While there is a side-plot concerning the Shining Knight's fall from grace, it's a minor plot point that serves more to inform our heroes of the ISA's intentions than it does anything else. Speaking of the ISA, Icicle (Neil Jackson) and Brainwave (Christopher James Baker) are in rare form as outright irredeemable and unrepentant villains. The show has been teasing a possible good side to Icicle, but all it takes is one confirmation that his American Dream might be threatened for Icicle to show the full extent of his villainy, as he is willing to kill anyone who might get in his way, even including family members in collateral damage.

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It is an episode that was much needed before the finale, in a season that's felt at times like a rush of origin stories that doesn't let its characters breathe. The episode puts the spotlight back onto the titular character, where it belongs, and allows her to develop in moments of genuine impact. It is a strong, but quiet episode, but with a two-part finale kicking off next week, 'Stargirl' has no doubt saved the best of its action for last.

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The next episode of 'Stargirl' airs August 3 on DC Universe, and August 4 on the CW. 

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.