DC's Stargirl Season 2 Episode 3 Review: Be Careful What You Wish For

The CW's Stargirl does not disappoint this week. This season's third episode ("Summer School: Chapter Three") is still subtly playing on each character's insecurities. Starting with a flashback in which Pat (Luke Wilson) is having a discussion about playing second fiddle with fellow sidekick Johnny Thunder (Ethan Embry). Mike Dugan, until now a sidekick himself, discovers the power of his own personal genie- The Thunderbolt (Jim Gaffigan). After learning how to use his wishes he is accepted on the JSA. Mr. Swift (Jonathan Cake) is revealed to be The Shade and the young JSA stumble upon a confrontation they are not expecting

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Stargirl – Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

There is a lot to enjoy in this week's episode. The heartfelt chat between two sidekicks is something we don't get to see enough of in traditional superhero stories. Writers Turi Meyer & Alfredo Septién do a great job subtly setting up each character's insecurities. From the cold open where Johnny Thunder passes his insecure feelings on to Pat, the themes of inadequacy continue on to his son Mike who wants to be more involved with the JSA. Director Lea Thompson (Howard the Duck,  Back to the Future) has fun capturing the Summertime mood and the heroic tones with some really interesting shot choices. Thompson manages to capture the magic of some of her earlier movies in the introduction to the Thunderbolt. When The JSA confronts Shade she uses the table, framing, and shadows to create drama, before a word is spoken. 

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Stargirl – Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

This episode's standouts start with Cake. Now with a little more screen time we can see him spilling into his Shade persona and what his intentions are in Blue Valley. Cake plays the 'I'm bigger than this, you are insignificant' role to a T with a smarmy grin. Trae Romano (Mike Dugan) gets a chance to stretch his legs a little more story and screen time this week. Romano's range as his confidence goes from zero to hero is very convincing. He conveys the doubt, and insecurities subtly until he is accepted as a member of the JSA, and his entire body language changes along with his mood. Wilson might as well change Pat's last name to exposition. Wilson, again, leads the audience through the story making sure all the characters, and the viewers are up to date. Pat starts the episode by staying behind as a sidekick, losing his confidence, and then leads the charge against Shade. He stands at the head of the table, with his heroes (children) flanking him on either side, now they are the sidekicks.  

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Image: Screencap

Fans disappointed in the lack of action last week have no complaints about this episode. Points for our first look at the Ted Grant Wildcat (Brian Stapf) of this universe, and for the JSA suiting up together for a big tussle. Jim Gaffigan plays the Thunderbolt just shy of Robin Williams' Genie from Alladin and is a great addition to the show. The group photos and the live-action depiction of Johnny Thunder are straight out of a vintage comic book. Points again for the look at sidekicks and the conversation between Pat and Barbera (Amy Smart) deciding that you don't need a costume to be a hero.

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Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Subtracting points for Thunderbolt's animation. Design and execution, aside from his glow, could/ should have been better for a production that is quality everywhere else. Also subtracting points for the 'Writing the perfect wish montage'. Although fun, it seems a little forced and maybe just a time filler.  The CW's Stargirl is once again a well-crafted hit. The fun and magic of the first half of this episode are starkly contrasted by the dark final set-piece. Laying down each character's emotional paths that will eventually lead to Eclipso, this episode ends with a set-piece that will have viewers rewatching over and over. In the end, we know what designs Shade has on Blue Valley and its inhabitants.

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DC's Stargirl Season 2 Episode 3 “Summer School: Chapter Three”

Stargirl Season Two Premiere: Review
Review by Jimmy Leszczynski

9/10
The CW's Stargirl is once again a well-crafted hit. The fun and magic of the first half of this episode are starkly contrasted by the dark final set-piece. Laying down each character’s emotional paths that will eventually lead to Eclipso, this episode ends with a set-piece that will have viewers rewatching over and over. In the end, we know what designs Shade has on Blue Valley and its inhabitants.
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Network
CW

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Jimmy LeszczynskiAbout Jimmy Leszczynski

Jimmy Leszczynski has been blurring the line between comics and reality at SDCC every year since 1994, and was a nerd long before Lewis, Gilbert, and the Tri Lamdas made it cool. Middle aged father of 2 that REFUSES to grow up, lifelong Bat-Fan, and he thinks he's pretty funny.
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