Right now, Stargirl is at the boiling point for storylines. Between Courtney’s interpersonal relationships, the person watching the creep cameras, the various JSA members’ conflicts, and the reappearance of Mister Bones, we’re on the edge of having too much going on. Spoilers follow for Stargirl Season 3, Episode 7, “Frenemies: Chapter Seven: Infinity Inc. Part One.”
“Infinity Inc. Part One”
After Beth (Anjelika Washington) makes a major discovery on The Gambler’s laptop, the team moves forward with a risky plan that effects the entire town of Blue Valley. Elsewhere, Jennie (guest star Ysa Penarejo) returns to the fold seeking help from Courtney (Brec Bassinger).
There’s a lot going on right now, but maybe this is the start of things coming together for the JSA. After discovering the cameras last week, Beth and Sylvester have a plan to take out the cameras that requires the help of the whole team and their associates.
Stargirl doesn’t spend much time on humor, but they play with it a bit here as we watch each group waiting to take out the cameras once the town darkens. Courtney and her family sit around the table awkwardly, with Pat and Mike exchanging the kind of stilted lines reserved for a wealthy family that never sees each other. Meanwhile, Rick and Jakeem are playing board games with the mechanic Zeke, one of the most consistently entertaining characters on the show, who regales them with a story about a stolen car. It’s a nice bit of levity after some pretty emotionally intense exchanges in the last few weeks.
More interpersonal drama
There’s still a lot going on, though. Yolanda talks with Beth about Beth’s decision to isolate her parents–something that has clearly been eating at her. Yolanda tells Beth that she would never tell her parents, but that Beth’s parents don’t suck–it feels like the clearest-eyed thing Yolanda has said in weeks.
When we see Beth and Rick alone, it becomes clearer and clearer that Rick’s literal power struggle is going to begin negatively affecting the team soon. He’s playing out the stereotypical young angry man with more strength than he knows what to do with throwing his weight around. He punches through the school’s cinderblock walls for fun as much as anything, and Beth is frightened. This feels like a storyline that’s been brewing for a while; Rick wants to be a good person, but he has a lot of anger pent up from his abusive uncle, teachers who doubt him, and the other ways in which the world has failed him.
Rick has been an often underutilized character, taking a back seat to the other JSA members’ development, and I hope he gets a chance to take center stage as he overcomes this struggle, which seems like a huge step toward truly owning his role as Hourman.
Off with the wizard
Courtney, meanwhile, is searching in the darkness of her basement with Pat for more cameras when a living cloud of shadows bursts out–the Shade is back, of course, and Stargirl is better for it. The green wisp that has been swirling around him since the end of last season is beginning to kill him. Of course, it came from the Green Lantern ring belonging to Jennie, daughter of Earth-2 Green Lantern Alan Scott. There’s a line that feels both cliche and yet perfectly suited to the situation. The Shade takes Courtney–and a stowed-away Pat–to the Helix Institute, where Jennie is waiting. She and the Shade try to explain their situation but end up blaming each other, and Pat describes it as a “you got your peanut butter in my chocolate” sort of situation.
Who is Mister Bones?
This plotline calls into question everything we’ve been thinking about the Helix Institute and Mister Bones so far. The episode’s intro reminds us about Jennie’s quest and then introduces us to her brother, Todd, for the first time. When we next meet him in the modern day, he’s strapped to a table beneath a bright light. When Jennie and Courtney try to remove him, he tells them not to–that if he moves from under the light, he could destroy the world. Jennie’s uncontrolled powers, the Shade’s leaking powers, and Todd’s overexpanding powers clash, throwing Pat and the Shade into the Shadowlands.
As soon as Todd is freed from the bindings, he turns into a shadow monster with glowing eyes that seems to be made out of the same stuff as the Shade’s powers–are Mister Bones and Nurse Love actually trying to help Todd? Between the fact that this is a show, not a comic, and that I’m not terribly familiar with many of Stargirl’s characters, I don’t know exactly where it’s going, and I’ve been resisting looking up Mister Bones on DC wikis to find out. Rewatching the episode, it also seems like the person watching the cameras probably isn’t Mister Bones after all, and we’re back to square one on who that is–it could be anyone.
The big final event, though, isn’t related to a guy with no face, a secret camera creep, or anything heroic. Instead, things come to a head for Yolanda when she’s trying to remove the hidden cameras from her home and runs into her mother. After a disagreement, she ends up at Courtney’s door. The actors who play Yolanda and Courtney have great chemistry that makes these troubled moments between them really resonate.
For Yolanda to show up at Courtney’s door even when they’re fighting shows how much love there is between them, and Yvette Monreal does a great job of showing how shaken Yolanda is by what she’s going through. It feels like the first step of the team coming back together. Again, hopefully, this begins to tie things back together. Courtney brings Jennie back into the fold, Yolanda gets the chance to cool down and think about her interactions with Cindy, Rick learns a hard lesson about using power responsibly–just in time to take on whoever is watching Blue Valley. Maybe–we’ll know in the coming weeks.