That is how it is done.
Everyone take note because Stargirl Season 1 Episode 7 was the best episode to date.
The pacing was solid, the stakes were raised, and a new supervillain came out of the woodwork. What more could you want?
An alternate title for this episode could have been "The Cindy Burman Show," as viewers finally got a fuller picture Blue Valley High's resident HBIC.
She's a very guarded person who lashes out when people hurt her. She's a nightmare to deal with at times.
And oh yeah, she's the daughter of Dr. Ito/Dragon King.
Some won't be surprised to learn that Cindy's allegiance lies with the Injustice Society of America -- especially those who are familiar with the comics -- but the writers did a great job of making her more than a one-note villain.
Upon first glance, Cindy comes off as the stereotypical popular girl who makes everyone's life a living hell.
That is only further evidenced by how she treats those closest to her -- her best friend, and her boyfriend.
Cindy: I can’t take it anymore.
Dragon King: Can’t take what exactly?
Cindy: Being a teenager.
Dragon King: You are a teenager.
That attitude even carries over to her home life, as she's an absolute terror to her stepmother.
However, underneath all that anger and aggression is still a teenage girl who's trying to find her place in the world.
She doesn't feel like she fits in anywhere -- not among her classmates or the ISA -- and she has no one to talk to.
Even Cindy's father keeps her at a distance, claiming he has more important work to do than to entertain her tantrums.
It must be a very lonely place to be, knowing the truth but not be able to confide in anyone.
She doesn't even seem able to choose her own boyfriend, as the Dragon King explicitly tells her she has to keep dating Henry even though she's clearly not that into him anymore.
And while she does behave like a "petulant child," as her father puts it, who goes around throwing tantrums about how unfair life is, she still makes an effort for human connection, asking Courtney if she wants to hang out on Saturday.
If you watch Stargirl online, then you know Cindy initially asked Courtney to hang out on Stargirl Season 1 Episode 1, but the head cheerleader quickly withdrew the offer when she believed Courtney was blowing her off.
Things between the duo have been more than a little rocky since, but Cindy did extend an olive branch after the girls got to talking while they were paired up during a class assignment.
Cindy: What are you staring at?
Courtney: You haven’t looked at the directions once.
Cindy: Yeah, this is child’s play. I literally did this as a child.
Courtney: You played with dangerous chemicals as a kid? That’s kind of unusual.
Cindy: Yeah, not when your dad’s a chemist and leaves the cupboards unlocked on purpose. We did science experiments for fun.
Courtney: Oh, that sounds kind of cool.
Cindy: What did your dad do?
Courtney: I don’t really know. My stepdad’s a mechanic, but my real dad died when I was younger, but I hear he was this really great guy.
Cindy: Mmh, sad he died.
That sort of gesture probably seemed like no big deal for Courtney, but after learning more about Cindy's past, it's clear that was a big move on her part.
Like everybody, Cindy hates feeling rejected, and from her point of view, Courtney had already rebuffed her efforts at friendship.
So when Cindy invited Courtney to hang out, it was somewhat of a risk for Cindy as it put her in a situation where she could, once more, be rejected.
Opening herself up like that doesn't come easy to Cindy, which made it so much worse when Courtney opted to go to the homecoming dance with Cameron as opposed to hanging out.
And while Courtney bailing on Cindy is a somewhat crappy thing to do, it shouldn't be the be-all and end-all, but for Cindy it is.
It's the straw that breaks the camel's back, prompting Cindy to prove her father right by doing something insanely stupid and reckless.
At that moment, though, Cindy doesn't care about the consequences, as all of her rage and frustration is fueled into taking out Stargirl.
It's an epic fight scene and possibly the most realistic to date, as Cindy and Courtney are almost evenly matched, which is how it should be.
Pat: We need to go over two crucial categories: one, what you guys can do, and two, what the bad guys can do.
Rick: We know what we can do. I can hit things hard. Yolanda can climb up walls and kill toasters. Beth can talk about everything.
Beth: Happy to.
Rick: And Courtney has a glow stick that blows things up.
Until this point, it's been rather frustrating watching rookie superheroes go toe-to-toe with seasoned supervillains and walk away unscathed.
This time, though, the good guys aren't as "lucky," for while the janitor does prevent Courtney from being killed, she still suffers some pretty bad injuries, from the look of things.
Had Pat not found her in the knick of time, she may not have survived at all, had this been the real world.
It's also worth noting that though they are on opposite sides, Courtney and Cindy are a lot alike.
Even without the intercut scene of Pat and the Dragon King scolding Courtney and Cindy, respectively, that would have been clear.
Both are impulsive and reckless to the point of certain death, refusing to listen to their father figures and heed their advice.
They both believe they know best and never stop to consider the possible consequences or fallout.
They're two sides of the same coin, so to speak, and in another life, they could have been best friends. However, in this one, they'll probably kill each other.
And speaking of Courtney's impulsivity, she was in fine form as she, yet again, ventured on another risky "mission" without thinking through things.
All the insight she seemingly gained from narrowly escaping Sportsmaster and Tigress unharmed went out the window when she decided to follow Principal Bowin despite Pat's warnings.
Pat: It’s more like a driver’s ed class, you know?
Courtney: Well, less of a class and more of a hands-on experience, right? Because the only way to learn how to drive is to just do it.
Pat: Actually you’re not right because you’re not just going to jump behind the wheel of an automobile without learning a few fundamental rules. That’s a good way to get yourself and everyone you love killed.
Mike: Geez dad.
It's clear she has no respect for her stepfather, which again is discouraging, especially after their heart-to-heart on Stargirl Season 1 Episode 6.
Her friends seem willing to follow Pat's lead, but Courtney, for whatever reason, can't or won't.
I'd say let's hope her serious injuries would be a wake-up call, but that's what I thought after Pat came to the new Justice Society of America's rescue.
At this point, there may be nothing that will stop Courtney from being, well, Courtney.
We may just have to accept that this is the protagonist we get, which is made harder when we remember that Courtney not only disregards Pat but also her new teammates.
The point of the new JSA training together was not only about honing their abilities but also about learning to work together as a team.
However, since Courtney felt pretty confident in the former, she seemingly "forgot" about the latter, not bothering to let Yolanda, Beth, or Rick get a chance to show what they can do.
She also assumes because she is the de facto ringleader that everyone will fall in line behind her.
That isn't the reality of the world she lives in, for while Pat unexplainably puts up with her crap, her friends aren't as quick to follow her lead.
Cameron: You had trouble asking Mom out?
Icicle: Well, I had competition. There was another man pursuing her.
Cameron: So what’d you do?
Icicle: I killed him.
Sure, they deferred to her while they first got their feet wet, but now, they're less likely to follow Courtney blindly.
She needs to learn that if she expects them to follow her, she needs to treat them as equals, not subordinates.
There is no "I" in team.
Lastly, who is the not-as-creepy-as-we-initially-thought janitor?
That question is directed more for fans unfamiliar with the source material, as the medieval-looking sword was a dead giveaway for those who hadn't put two and two together about Justin's true identity from the beginning.
Since the pilot, Justin has lurked in the background in a somewhat stalker-esque fashion, making some wonder if there was more to him than meets the eye.
His sketchy appearance made him seem like another supervillain, but after this episode's events, it seems some may have been wrong about him.
Justin, after all, was the one who saved Stargirl, which should be enough evidence to prove that he's not in league with the ISA.
However, the more interesting part of that scene was that Justin recognized Pat as Stripsey when Pat was in his ordinary, everyday clothing.
Mike: He’s my dad you know, not yours.
Courtney: What are you talking about?
Mike: I’m talking about you and him hanging out all the time, him teaching you how to learn to drive and cook and be annoying. Do you see me with Barbara 24/7 because I don’t have a mother? No, you don’t because I deal with it. Pat and I have been through a lot, more than you know.
That suggests that Justin is not only on the side of good, but that he has crossed paths with Pat and the old JSA in the past.
Not that Pat knows any of that right now.
His main focus at the end was making sure Courtney was still alive.
Once everything has calmed down, Courtney and Pat will definitely be interested in Justin's identity.
That journey could lead them to forge an alliance with someone who has actual experience battling supervillains for more than a few weeks, which could give them a big advantage over the ISA.
In addition to providing help in combating the ISA, Justin might know the alter egos of the members of the ISA.
After all, if Justin recognized Pat, then he probably has a good idea of who the bad guys are.
That would be invaluable information and could mean the difference between life and death.
Some stray thoughts:
While Mike's comment about Courtney "stealing" Pat was out of line, he did have a point. As annoying as he can be, his feelings were justified. Courtney and Pat have been so engrossed in playing superheroes that Pat has neglected his son.
Sure, lives are on the line, but Mike doesn't know that. All he knows is his father is paying more attention to his new stepsister than him, and that's got to hurt. No one likes feeling excluded, and that's exactly what Mike is dealing with.
Pat's practice dummies were hilariously bad. They looked like some sort of elementary school arts and crafts project, and it's clear that Mike has inherited his father's artistic abilities based on his candy volcano science project. The Dugans are not artistically inclined in the slightest.
The new JSA are the worst at keeping their identities secret. It's a wonder no one has found out who they really are purely based on their carelessness. Pat was the worst offender, as he practically shouted "Courtney" for the entire world to hear as he rushed to his stepdaughter.
Maybe they just shouldn't bother with masks like Cindy if they're going to keep being so obvious.
Icicle telling Cameron he killed his late wife's fellow suitors was everything. The scene, in general, was great, though, as it further showed Icicle's many layers.
He can simultaneously be a good father and a supervillain, though he probably wouldn't have encouraged Cameron to ask Courtney out if he knew she was really Stargirl.
So what did you think Stargirl Fanatics?
What are your thoughts on Cindy?
How similar are she and Courtney?
What's the deal with Janitor Justin?
Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts.
Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.