DC’s Stargirl Series Premiere Recap
A new superhero is in town following the premiere of DC Universe’s Stargirl, starring Brec Bassinger and Luke Wilson. Created by Geoff Johns and Greg Berlanti and based on the DC Comics character, the series follows high school sophomore Courtney Whitmore as she inspires an unlikely group of young heroes to stop the villains of the past. But first, we need to establish her origin story.
Blue Valley, Nebraska
The pilot kicks off by jumping right into the action, taking viewers back 10 years during the Golden Age of Heroes and the night it came to a halt after they had protected the world for decades. During an epic fight with Brainwave, Icicle, and their group of baddies known as the Injustice Society, the heroes fall one by one, including Starman (Joel McHale) who tells his sidekick Stripesy, aka Pat Dugan (Wilson) that the legacy of the Justice Society of America (JSA) must survive, that someone “with honor and strength must carry the torch.” Starman makes it hilariously clear even as he lay dying that the next person to carry on his legacy is “definitely not” Pat, but remarks to his sidekick that he’s a good friend before he dies.
A decade later we’re introduced to teen Courtney Whitmore (Bassinger), Pat’s new stepdaughter whose father vanished 10 years prior leaving Courtney with years of missing an absent father and struggling with the possibility that he might have abandoned her and her mother, Barbara (Amy Smart). Courtney is a little cold towards Pat at first, rejecting the idea of anyone trying to replace her real dad and none-too-pleased that she has to leave behind her home for a new one as she moves with her mother, Pat, and Pat’s son Mike (Trae Romano) from Los Angeles, California to Blue Valley, Nebraska, where Barbara is starting a new job where she grew up.
The welcoming town isn’t just where Pat and Barbara first met, though, as we quickly learn that Pat has held onto all of the JSA’s records, artifacts, and maps, revealing that he’s looking for something specific in Blue Valley. Courtney picks up on the fact that Pat might be hiding something, but the teenager has bigger things to worry about at the moment, including navigating her new high school.
The Cosmic Staff
As Pat takes Courtney to her first day of school, the former superhero sidekick attempts to bond with Courtney by talking about his childhood and how he was an Army brat, so he knows what it feels like to have to move around a lot. Courtney doesn’t take the bait, though, even when Pat brings up the loss of his own father, uninterested in bonding with the man. Finally at school, Courtney reveals she is interested in joining the gymnastics team but finds out that there no longer is one and is directed to sign up for the cheerleading squad instead, especially since “boys love cheerleaders,” much to Courtney’s horror.
Meanwhile, Pat rents out an empty tire shop for his mechanic work and meets Larry “Crusher” Crock who owns the gym Ripped City down the road. The invasive Blue Valley townie invites Pat to take some classes at the gym, and he also takes his Crusher nickname pretty seriously. Elsewhere, Barbara arrives at her new job at The American Dream as Courtney meets the school’s mean girl, Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy), the cheerleading team captain who at first tries to befriend Courtney but turns on her relatively quickly after Courtney has a run-in with Cindy’s boyfriend, Henry King Jr. (Jake Austin Walker), snapping at the jock as he calls another girl at the “losers” table a slut in the cafeteria and tries to jack Courtney’s phone, resulting in Courtney shoving him. Of course, Courtney lands in detention, ending her rough first day of school as the new kid on an even more sour note.
Mike, on the other hand, tells Pat and Barbara all about his great first day at school as the family later sits down for dinner. When Pat offers to take Courtney to a drive-in after realizing she doesn’t have any plans with friends, Courtney tells him to stop pretending he’s her dad. Frustrated with her family, Courtney heads to the basement and eventually finds boxes full of Justice Society photos and old newspaper clippings, including evidence of Pat’s secret identity as Stripesy along with Starman’s uniform. Suddenly, a flash of light draws Courtney to a crate that contains none other than the Cosmic Staff which reacts strongly as she picks it up. Courtney slowly begins to understand that the staff is something of a sentient being that is capable of moving and acting on its own, essentially dragging her out of the basement outside into the dark neighborhood.
Superhero in Training
Courtney begins to utilize her gymnast skills and performs a few moves with the staff before asking the object if it’s alive. As the staff suddenly takes off with Courtney in tow, flying over the town, Pat realizes that Courtney has taken off with the staff. After crash-landing near the drive-in, Courtney spots Henry and his buddies harassing people as they try to watch The Goonies. Courtney immediately covers her face and uses the staff to let the air out of Henry’s tires, but his friends spot her. The Cosmic Staff goes to town on the boys, including blowing up Henry’s car (that actually belongs to his father), before Courtney yells at the staff for being a “bad stick” and running back home.
Pat confronts Courtney about taking off with the Cosmic Staff while Courtney in turn delightedly begins questioning Pat about his superhero sidekick alter ego. Pat is refreshingly honest with his stepdaughter, explaining about Starman, the JSA, and how they were killed 10 years ago on Christmas Eve — the same night Courtney’s father disappeared and never came back. Courtney grabs her locket necklace that contains a photo of her father and compares it to the low-quality photo of Starman with the JSA and comes up with a theory: what if she can wield the Cosmic Staff because Starman was her father? Pat thinks it’s too much of a coincidence, but Courtney grasps to this being the only truth that is possible, that her father didn’t abandon her, he died saving the world. When Courtney tries to ask her mom about the possibility of her dad having been a superhero, Barbara tells her that Courtney’s dad only came to see her once a year until she was five, and “then he just abandoned us.” She continues by saying that the only man who’s ever been there for them is Pat, and Courtney begins to understand what her stepfather means to her mom.
Henry is back at home explaining to his father, Dr. Henry King (Christopher James Baker), about the car explosion and the staff. King makes it clear he doesn’t care about what happened to his car or that Henry took it without permission, he only wants to know the identity of the person who attacked his son. Henry says it was too hard to see and is sent to his room. When Henry has left, it’s confirmed that King is Brainwave from the Injustice Society.
Courtney sits with Pat on the front porch, teasing Pat that Stripesy is a silly sidekick name. Pat explains that when he first met Starman, aka Sylvester Pemberton, he went by the Star-Spangled Kid, and Stripesy made sense at the time. Sylvester was 15 when they met, and Pat 20, working as Sylvester’s family driver and their mechanic. Pat helped Sylvester stop some criminals that were threatening his parents and the dynamic duo was born. Sylvester later became Starman and joined the Justice Society after obtaining the Cosmic Staff and he brought Pat along as his sidekick. Pat was proud to be a sidekick to Starman, calling it an honor and feeling like an important member of the JSA.
Courtney tells Pat that she doesn’t like that he’s keeping secrets from her mom, but he makes her mom happier than she’s ever seen her. The teen says she’ll keep Pat’s secret as long as he stays out of her way. Pat says that this is all about keeping Courtney, Mike, and Barbara safe, but Courtney has no intention of walking away from what she now considers to be her destiny, her legacy.
King calls Jordan Mahkent (Neil Jackson), aka Icicle, the villain who killed Starman during the battle 10 years ago. King tells him that someone with a glowing staff attacked his son and that there’s a new Starman out there who has found them. Jordan doubts that there is a new Starman in town and tells King not to do anything until he gets back. King doesn’t listen, however. Back at Courtney’s, the Cosmic Staff “wakes up” in the middle of the night and pulls her out of bed and to a roof in the middle of downtown, encouraging Courtney to get in some more practice using the staff.
After a bit of training and flying around, Courtney is suddenly attacked by tires being pelted at her from Brainwave. The staff protects her, but Courtney finds herself confronted by the supervillain and is soon tossed around like a ragdoll. Brainwave begins to question Courtney, speaking to her telepathically and demanding to know where she got the staff and why she attacked Henry. He begins to read her thoughts as Courtney tries to resist, telling her she is all alone. He questions why Courtney is thinking about her father, and then a fight breaks out. As Courtney tries to escape, she comes face-to-face with a very upset Pat who is sitting inside his new creation, S.T.R.I.P.E. (the Special Tactics Robotic Integrated Power Enhancer) and the episode comes to a close.
What did you think of the series premiere of Stargirl? Let us know in the comment section below!