This week's episode of The CW's DC's Stargirl finds the series continuing to get darker, shifting from shadow to outright horror. Now that Courtney (Brec Bassinger) has learned more about Eclipso from The Shade (Jonathan Cake) and Cindy (Meg DeLacy) continues to round up embittered legacy super villains for her ISA, Blue Valley itself is literally getting darker. Depicted as cloudy in this episode instead of the usually sunny skies, the weather is a factor as Eclipso is no longer in hiding.
Secrets are a key theme this week when Courtney gets caught by Pat (Luke Wilson) as she returns from her encounter with Shade, but isn't completely honest, and neither is Pat. Even though they agree there should be no team-ups with Shade, Pat is still hiding something and Courtney can sense it. Shade adds to the distrust between the Whitmore family when he secretly enlists Barb to inform him of any news of the Black Diamond. Some relationships are on the mend as Pat tries to help Mike (Trae Romano) find some purpose in the JSA, still without the Thunderbolt. Director Sheelin Choksey captures the mood of her earlier movies' 80s vibe in tone, clothing, and hair when Cameron is talking with Courtney. Choksey manages to elevate these scenes above the darker tones within this episode using a mostly blue pallet during these scenes.
Standouts in this episode start with art teacher Paul Deisinger, played by teen horror regular Randy Havens (Stranger Things, Fear Street). Havens shows a lot of character as he gets a lot of the screen time this episode. From lamenting his lost love to his eventual transformation, Havens commands the scene when he is in it and gives a very nuanced and emotional performance. Although not named in the episode fans may recognize Deisinger as deep bench DC villain Paintball, but Stargirl's version is much more tragic. Hunter Sansone (Safety, Drama, Drama) plays Cameron Mahkent as both shy and confident. Ranging from heated and impassioned when confronting Cindy, and is much softer and charming when he is dealing with his 'muse' Courtney. Hats off to director Sheelin Choksey for being able to keep these scenes mostly out of the shadowy tone and focus on a lighthearted nostalgic vibe during these moments. Plus, with the return of Zeke (King Orba), viewers may agree there is more to this laid-back junkyard mechanic than meets the eye.
This week's episode is a lot of exposition and backstory that eases up off the gas, until the last 10 minutes when we get a hint at what Eclipso can truly do to someone. Fans will agree that Steve Harper's script and Havens' Paul Deisinger make this one of the best Stargirl episodes of the season. The light is slowly fading from Blue Valley; a shift towards horror is very prominent this week as the shadows taking over Blue Valley are no longer in the background. Eclipso has made his presence known and the JSA may not be the same again.