Stargirl Season 1 Episode 9 Recap: Brainwave
In the ninth episode of DC Universe’s Stargirl, tensions rise among the JSA members after Courtney suggests who she wants to recruit next to the team. Meanwhile, Henry, Jr. makes a surprising discovery about his father.
Seven Soldiers of Victory
The episode starts off “decades ago” as Dr. King discovers his telepathic abilities while being robbed at gunpoint, killing the thief with his mind. King then records himself saying he thinks he killed a man. Back in the present, Henry, still struggling with his own growing abilities, starts watching his father’s tapes. Henry realizes that his father experienced the exact same thing he’s currently going through with his new powers.
Courtney explains to Pat about her confrontation with Henry and how he was so confused and scared about what was happening to him. She could feel everything he felt, how lonely and sad he was. Courtney tells her stepdad that Henry is not like Cindy or even his father. She then says she wants Henry to help them because he could use his abilities to tell them who else is ISA in Blue Valley. Pat’s mind is elsewhere, though, namely that Dr. Ito, aka Dragon King, is likely helping the ISA plan something big.
Pat also reveals that he and Sylvester were originally part of a different team when they first fought Dr. Ito and before they joined the JSA called The Seven Soldiers of Victory. He shows a picture of the group, which includes The Vigilante, Crimson Avenger, and Wing, among others. Back in the day, they stopped Ito from destroying New York and saved the world. Pat says he lost touch with them years ago and wishes he knew where they were. They need all the help they can get. Courtney replies that they need Henry.
Back at the school, Justin, the janitor who saved Courtney during Cindy’s previous attack, stares at the broom in his hand until it morphs into a staff similar to Courtney’s. He drops it, the staff turning back into a broom. Elsewhere, Beth talks with Chuck as Dr. Mid-Nite’s goggles scour Cindy’s place but he’s unable to locate Cindy or anyone else in the house. He tells Beth that according to school records, Cindy has withdrawn from school to “study overseas with her mother.”
In the tunnels, Cindy is locked up in a cell and begging her dad to let her out, who is ignoring her. She then tells him she’s gonna kill him like she killed mom if he doesn’t let her out. Dr. Ito tells his drones to gas his daughter, saying she needs a nap. He’s more interested in the fact that Henry has his father’s powers and will be able to power his machine. Meanwhile, Henry continues to watch his father’s tapes and practices his abilities.
At school, Courtney brings up wanting to recruit Henry to the team but Yolanda has bad history with the kid and Rick says people don’t change. Beth disagrees, using them as an example. Yolanda and Rick think he could hurt them like his father; Courtney says they need every advantage they can get and you need to have faith in people. Yolanda refuses to be on any team that includes Henry, Jr. At his house, Henry continues watching the tapes, hearing his father speak about how being able to read minds taught him that people are monsters and he hates them.
Dr. Ito gathers Jordan and the other members of the ISA (who are little tense around him) to inform them that they’ll be able to use young Henry’s telepathic abilities to funnel the amplifier Ito is building to broadcast them across six states, “taking control of every fully developed mind within them” in order to carve out a new America to complete their Project: New America mission.
At work, Barbara speaks with Jordan who asks how Courtney is doing after the accident. Barbara said she’s better, and then asks if Jordan is okay, noticing he seems off. Jordan replies that he just completed a huge project he’s been working on for a long time and thought he would feel a sense of accomplishment, but he doesn’t. He mentions his wife used to make him a big dinner whenever he would get back from a trip, clearly missing her, so Barbara invites his family over to their house for dinner.
Henry visits his father at the hospital, once again developing headaches from hearing everyone’s thoughts. Henry thought he heard his father’s voice in his head and starts to ask his father questions, who is still in a coma. King doesn’t respond. Henry gets angry when a nurse comes in and Henry hears the man’s thoughts about how he never liked Dr. King and they should terminate life support. Henry tells his father that he was right, people are monsters.
Are People Monsters?
Beth and Rick visit Pat at his shop, who says he wants to know how the tunnels below Blue Valley are connected, which means lots of research. Rick is annoyed by the tedious project, but Pat says part of being a superhero involves slow research, too. When Pat leaves to take care of some family business, Rick says he’s going to crack the code on his dad’s journal, and Beth and her goggles can work on the tunnels.
Courtney shows up at Dr. King’s room, immediately enraging Henry when he hears her thoughts about how she hurt his dad. She explains that it was a combination of self-defense and an accident as she hadn’t meant for King’s brain to get fried. Courtney asks Henry for his help against the Injustice Society, saying they kill people, like young Joey Zarick and her dad. Henry says that he was a nice kid; Courtney asks why Henry isn’t. Henry calls it hell on earth being able to hear everyone’s thoughts and that others are worse. Henry believes that if his dad hurt anyone, he had a reason to, that people are, deep down, ugly, greedy, hateful, and twisted.
Courtney argues that life isn’t that black and white and that people can be good and kind and compassionate, not just solely bad, and sometimes thoughts stem from fear and pain. Henry doubts it, but Courtney presses that deep down it’s about love, and wanting to be loved, and she thinks Henry wants the same thing. Henry gets angry when Courtney implies that King didn’t treat Henry well, so Courtney leaves, asking him to come talk to her when he’s ready.
Pat wants to tell Barbara the truth about everything but Courtney says no. The argument gets pushed to the side when Jordan, Cameron, and Jordan’s grandparents show up for dinner. At the hospital, Yolanda, dressed as Wildcat, throws Henry into a room and warns him to stay away from Courtney and her family. Courtney may think that Henry’s soul is worth saving, but Yolanda doesn’t agree, reminding Henry how he betrayed and hurt her even though she loved him. She threatens to kill Henry if he doesn’t stay away from her friends.
The Mahkents say a Norwegian grace (besides Cameron, who seemingly doesn’t understand the language) before the two families dine together as Beth and Chuck discover that Blue Valley was settled in 1876 by a group of Freemasons known as The Other Founding Fathers who came here to build a community free of interference from the outside. They likely built the tunnel network beneath the town, which the ISA can now use to their own benefit.
During dinner, the two families get to know each other more. Jordan’s parents casually speak in Norwegian to each other, saying how they like Barbara but not so much Courtney as Barbara talks about how families are the center of building a better America and Courtney says Blue Valley isn’t perfect. Courtney fetches more of the chicken and dumplings from the oven, having to use oven mitts to carry out the dish, but notices that while everyone else is distracted by the dog, Jordan picks up the dish without being burnt. Courtney pulls Pat aside to tell him her suspicions that Jordan might be Icicle, but they can’t yet say for sure. Courtney wonders if that means Cameron could be like his dad.
After dinner, Cameron tells Courtney it was great to see her and wants to do something soon, but now Courtney is feeling a little unsure if she can trust him. Jordan speaks to Courtney privately, saying he really came to dinner to meet the girl his son has been talking so much about, and that he approves. Once the Mahkents are gone, Courtney races into the basement to grab her Cosmic Staff, but before she and Pat can discuss using it to find out if Jordan is Icicle, Barbara walks in and sees the glowing staff floating in the air.
At the hospital, Henry meets his father’s lawyer, Dr. Green, who says per Dr. King’s instructions, his life support will be coming to an end soon. Henry hears the man’s thoughts, though, as he thinks about needing Henry’s signature and needing this money. Henry accuses Green of lying to him, that he just wants his father’s money. Green denies it and Henry yells to stay away from his dad and attacks the lawyer with his mind. Suddenly, Dr. King wakes up, asking his son what is going on.
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