‘StarGirl’ Review: 1.10, “Brainwave Jr”
After Barbra’s shocking discovery at the end of last week’s episode that left us all hanging, Stargirl picks up right as the staff hit the ground. ‘Brainwave Jr’ cements itself as possibly one of the best episodes of the season so far, its got the best juvenile JSA teamwork we’ve seen all season, stellar character development, and yet another classic cliffhanger. With Courtney’s future in Blue Valley and as Stargirl in doubt, she’s looking to do whatever it takes to finish off the ISA and stop their nefarious plan that could see the very way of life in America changed forever.
One of the biggest revelations of this episode was Barbra’s discovery of Courtney’s alter ego, driven into immediate shock Barb doesn’t hold back and begins to question everything about her new life in Blue Valley. I think a reaction like Barb’s would be natural when you take into account what her life had been like the past 15 or so years and finally having a real family and a real home, I just think she clung to that feeling of “I did it on my own before, I can do it again”. Watching her come around at the end and begin to believe that Jonah was Icicle was exciting to see. Although we don’t know what her final thoughts are on the topic of Courtney playing superhero with her friends, I think if she realizes what lengths Pat went to, to keep her safe, that she would be fine with it knowing she had someone watching her back.
The standout of this episode and cementing himself as one of the best characters on the show, Henry King Jr. took the spotlight here. After realizing that Icicle may have had something to do with the death of his mother, who is also revealed to be the sister of Starman, he takes a complete turn around and goes searching for Courtney to take up that offer she’d given him in the previous episode. When Courtney attempts to bring Henry into the fold once more it causes even more tension among the group, while they’re not for it, the team suits up and heads down into the tunnels previously discovered by Beth. This is where they confront Dragon King, who is hard at work on trying to restore the memory of Henry’s father, Brainwave. The team’s position is given up by a captive Shiv, whose been put in time out by her father, which I wasn’t too fond of her being sidelined like that when she really could’ve helped her father, especially when his only backup was Brainwave and his minions that move at a snail’s pace. But alas the ISA forces proved to be more than enough for the JSA to handle, having only escaped due to Henry’s sacrifice. This scene had to be the highlight of the episode, Jake Austin Walker knocks it out of the park, his final moments had a genuine amount of regret and the guilt he felt for what he did to Yolanda shined through in his apology to her before he was seemingly crushed under falling rubble that his father brought down upon him. The death of Henry was something that I didn’t expect at all, but this is a comic book based property, so does anyone ever really stay dead?
With an ending like that and only 3 episodes remaining this season, the repercussions of this episode will undoubtedly shake the team to their core. Seeing how it affects the team dynamic or even if it makes some of them question if they belong on the team, but hopefully help some of them get their head screwed on right and be able to focus on the mission and honor Henry’s’ noble sacrifice, many of them have spent their time as heroes focusing on what they want to do, this would be the perfect thing bring them together and stop the ISA.