This week's episode of The CW's Stargirl ("Summer School: Chapter Two") begins as Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy) returns home to put her plan in motion, but has she underestimated this new demonic force? Courtney is no longer able to ignore her scholastic responsibilities and has to attend her titular Summer School classes. Adding best friend Yolanda (Yvette Monreal), teammate Rick Harris (Cameron Gellman), and potential villain Issac Bowin (Max Frantz) give the situation a bit of a Breakfast Club feel to it, and viewers will want to see how this dynamic plays out. Unlike the last episode, the overall mood of the show is less fun and light and seems to be headed towards something truly darker.
Writer James Dale Robinson does a great job juggling a show full of lesser-known heroes with deep-cut references and even manages to sneak in a nod to fellow writer Jerry Ordway (The Man of Steel, The Power of Shazam!). Robinson excels at creating a creepy tone alongside teen banter as Courtney struggles with distrust, anger, jealousy, and inadequacies, all of which are laying the groundwork for Eclipso to take hold in Blue valley. This week's standouts begin with Jonathan Cake (DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Chuck). Introduced as "Richard Swift", his performance, and the fact that viewers know that he is The Shade, hints at an underlying evil. Cake is oozing a charming Something Wicked this Way Comes vibe, and he is simply delightful.
Luke Wilson's (Old School, The Royal Tenenbaums) fatherly Pat Dugan is more fleshed out a little more and, again, Wilson serves as narrator and exposition guy. He is nailing the parenting talks, as well as serving as a father of sorts to the audience. Patiently explaining all the superhero mumbo jumbo. His comical grilling of Mr. Swift, and hasty exit to help the young heroes, exemplifies why Wilson is perfect for the role. Ysa Penarejo as Jenny glows in her character intro. Confused and angry Jenny does not find the answers she was looking for last week, but with Pat's help, she does discover so much more. From angst to elation Penarejo feels right as a young hero with newfound powers and her arc may be the most important of this season. Can she control her emotions and her new power? Is she who she says she is?
Another great episode. Points for fan-favorite Zeke (King Orba) adding a Checkov's flamethrower to S.T.R.I. P.E. Look forward to that paying off later in the season. Points off, however, for the third act resolution being so public. Sure it's a television show, but we still have secret identities to keep. Maybe it will play out in future episodes, and it does not ruin the episode but it may take the viewer out of the story momentarily.
Stargirl S02E02 "Summer School: Chapter Two" is still having a light-hearted good time but with slightly darker undertones. The fun is still there, juxtaposed against the sinister goings-on in Blue Valley. A new hero discovers her powers as an old adversary sets her plan in motion. The extra backstory and character development cost the viewers some action this week, but the table is being precisely set for an epic showdown.
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