The new Justice Society of America is beginning to take shape. However, these teenagers still have a long way to go before they're ready to fight the Injustice Society of America.
While Stargirl Season 1 Episode 5 did add two more recruits to the ranks, they're still essentially teenagers playing dress-up at this point.
Please, please, please, let Courtney finally realize she is in over her head and ask Pat for help.
After finding the green lantern in her room, Pat has got to realize Courtney is doing more than simply assembling a new JSA.
She's using the superhero artifacts she looted from the JSA headquarters and giving them out like free candy to superhero rookies.
While this is all very much in line with Courtney's character, she still refuses to grasp just how dangerous a game she is playing.
If anything, successfully recruiting Yolanda has emboldened her to make more aggressive moves.
While she didn't technically give Beth Dr. Mid-Nite's goggles, she had no problem handing over an hourglass that would give the user super strength for one hour a day to a hothead like Rick.
Sure, she tried to get it back when Rick didn't initially want to join the JSA, but that should have been aforethought.
Rick: Look, I’m not playing fairy princess teatime with you two.
Courtney: I understand.
Rick: What do you understand? My parents hit a tree, and they died. What grand plan of God’s was that?
Yolanda: It wasn’t God’s plan, Rick; it was an accident.
Rick: Then who do I blame, huh? Do you know what it’s like to be so filled up with anger that you feel like you’re poisoning yourself? Do you? I want to hit something – anything – all of the time, every second. You think I like that? I hate feeling this way.
Courtney: My dad was a member of the Justice Society too. He was Starman, and even though I only met him a few times, I feel cheated. He was killed before I even got to know him. But now I get to keep his legacy alive, and you can too. You can be a hero like your dad, Hourman. It’s your choice.
Rick: My choice? When have I ever had a choice? Be a hero like my dad? My dad’s dead.
These are dangerous artifacts, and in the wrong hands, they can cause severe damage.
Just look at Henry's car and the Blue Valley High School entrance sign.
My increasing frustration with Courtney aside, this installment was mostly on par with Stargirl Season 1 Episode 4 in its success in giving the audience the much-needed insight into Beth and Rick.
The only downside was that not as much time could be devoted to either character, as they were forced to share the spotlight.
When it comes to recruiting new superheroes, neither Beth nor Rick seem like an obvious choice.
Beth sits at the self-proclaimed "loser table" and seems to have no friends save for her parents, who appear to be suffocating under her constant presence in their lives.
Rick, on the other hand, is a brooding loner with a grade-A temper and sporadic fits of rage.
Just based on these surface-level characterizations, Rick could even been seen as fitting the mold for a possible supervillain at some point, channeling all the anger over losing his parents at an early age outward onto the world.
I’d go home but no one’s there. Mom’s working a double shift, dad’s out of town on a business trip. They don’t have much time for me anymore now that I’m older. They want to get back to their lives, but still. You know, I get why Rick’s so mad all the time. Losing his parents like that. I can’t imagine what I’d do if mine were in some kind of accident.Beth
However, for better or worse, they are the newest members of the JSA.
As the son of Hourman, Rick's backstory was given more focus, with the writers doing a decent job in softening up the character and providing some insight into all that anger and rage that lies within.
As flashbacks revealed, Rick got dealt a crappy hand in life.
He had parents who loved him, but upon their death, he was left to be raised by his resentful uncle.
Losing one's parents at such a young age and in such a tragic manner would be enough to give anyone issues, but couple that with the constant berating, and possibly physical violence, from a family member, well, then you get an angry, closed-off teenager.
It was hard not to feel for Rick, especially as he watched the simulation of his parents' death.
For so long, he's been plagued by questions that have no answer: Why did his parents die that night? Who is to blame for such a senseless tragedy?
Now that he has these answers, avenging his parents' death is the only path he can see forward.
However, him joining the JSA isn't in the name of fighting justice.
Courtney: Your parents, I’m betting they were killed by the same people that killed my dad.
Courtney: I don’t know yet, but whoever they are, they’re in Blue Valley. They’re the reason I’m putting together this new team: to get justice, for my dad, for yours, for all of the JSA.
Rick: I’ll do it, but I don’t want justice, Courtney. I want revenge.
Like he told Courtney, he's just in it for revenge.
Though that may be his primary reason at this point, hopefully having friends and people that care about him for the first time since his parents died will smooth out some of those rougher edges.
As for Beth, well, she became the new Dr. Mid-Nite was more by accident than anything else.
Unlike Rick and possibly Courtney, being a superhero isn't her DNA, both literally and figuratively.
She just sort of fell into the role when she tried on the goggles, and they worked for her.
And while legacy doesn't guarantee superhero status, it doesn't hurt to be the offspring of a superhero.
To viewers' knowledge, Beth, though, is just an ordinary teenager with ordinary parents.
Sure, she may be unexplainably close with her parents and could talk for hours on end, but there's nothing to suggest she inherited any sort of superpowers from her parents or was experimented on in some way.
Beth: I can’t believe how much Mr. Keating owes on his house.
Yolanda: When you called and said you found a new recruit, I wasn’t exactly expecting Beth Chapel. Why’d you choose her to be the new Capt. Mid-Nite?
Courtney: Dr. Mid-Nite, and I didn’t choose her. She just found the goggles and got them working, and she hasn’t stopped talking ever since.
Yolanda: Oh, it’s well known that talking is Beth Chapel’s superpower.
Beth: It’s true.
Courtney and Yolanda didn't even recruit Beth to be a member of the JSA; she essentially had to force her way into the group, something neither of them seems very excited by.
In a way, that makes her more worthy of being a superhero than someone like Rick, who just happened to assume the role of Hourman in the heels of his father.
It's also somewhat kismet that viewers will see a young Black woman suiting up on the heels of protests and rallies for the Black Lives Matter movement across the world.
That sort of representation -- though no longer a complete rarity in television and film -- is still very much needed, so kudos to the writers for including such a character.
If there was one weakness to Beth's introduction to the JSA, it was that we didn't get as much insight into her background and home life, as we did for Yolanda and Rick.
The writers told the audience that Beth's parents had less time for their rather clingy daughter rather than showing us through flashbacks.
That made it harder to get a read on Beth's true feelings on the matter, especially due to her endless optimism and positive attitude.
Courtney: You shouldn’t even be in my room right now. I don’t know you.
Beth: Um, well, a) we eat lunch together every day, and b) last night at the hospital I heard you call Yolanda by her real name.
Charles McNider AI: That is a common rookie superhero mistake.
Beth: Chuck says that’s a common superhero mistake. It got someone named the Red Bee killed.
Courtney: Beth, let’s sit down. Look, this is all top secret. You can’t tell anybody – nobody at school, not your parents.
Beth: I don’t really keep secrets from my parents.
Courtney: Do you want them to die because that’s how you’ll get your parents killed. Secret identities are Superhero 101. They keep the people you love safe.
She may not have some heartwrenching origin story and a moment of true tragedy like Courtney, Yolanda, or Rick, but it still would have been nice to see things from her perspective.
Perhaps that'll happen in the coming episodes.
Lastly, with a new JSA forming, one has to wonder whether there will be a new ISA at some point.
While most of the original ISA members are still alive and clearly up to no good in Blue Valley, they do have teenage children, at least one of whom seems to have inherited his father's abilities.
Yes, that is a reference to Henry King Jr., who unknowingly heard Yolanda call him a jerk in her mind.
It seems after years of practice, Brainwave's lessons have paid off, or it could just be that Henry's finally coming into his mind-reading abilities at this point in his life.
Regardless, Brainwave would be so proud of his son, if he weren't in a coma.
Unlike Henry, though, Courtney and Rick don't seem to possess any superhero ability beyond the gifts the Cosmic Staff and Hourman's hourglass provide, respectfully.
At least when it comes to Rick, the hourglass works for him because he shares some of the same genetic material Rex does.
Pat: I think Joey’s dad was a member of the Injustice Society. William Zarick, we called him the Wizard.
Courtney: Of course you did.
Pat: I think maybe he and his wife were killed by the ISA.
Courtney: Why would a villain kill another villain?
Pat: Well, they’re not exactly the most stable people to begin with, and I’m starting to think you might be right. They could all be in Blue Valley. I just don’t know why or who they could be.
Meanwhile, it's still unclear why the staff responds to Courtney, whether it be that it's tied to Starman's DNA or simply because she is worthy.
All of this just adds to the complex discussion of who is poised to become a superhero and why.
Is a matter of parentage, of fate, of desire? Only time will tell.
Some stray thoughts:
The ISA clearly was up to something, though it's unclear what exactly their nefarious plan is. The Gambler and Principal Bowin were involved in the theft of a broadcast dish, which may or may not have something to do with the machine the Dragon King is building.
They also reinforced the idea that they are indeed supervillains through the killing of the man the Gambler met with and one of the truck drivers. Since both men could tie the ISA to the theft, they had to die to ensure there were no loose ends. Aren't supervillains thoughtful like that?
Did Courtney really think lugging around a bagful of superhero artifacts was a good idea? After Barbara nearly found the bag, you'd think Courtney would find a better hiding spot than her school locker. And even after that, she just brought it back home where Pat found it. How does that make any sense?
Do any of the characters even like Cindy? She treats her best friend and boyfriend like crap at her Halloween party and is pretty much mean to everyone else the entire time. They must really fear her to treat her like royalty.
So what did you think Stargirl Fanatics?
Does the new JSA have what it takes to take on the ISA without Pat's help?
What are your impressions of Rick and Beth now that their backstories were fleshed out?
Could the next generation of supervillains be on the horizon?
Don't forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the latest episode, remember you can watch Stargirl online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.