That was epic.
There really are no other words to describe Stargirl Season 1 Episode 13, as the season finale was visually stunning and executed perfectly.
Along with doing a fantastic job in bringing this chapter to a satisfying ending, the new developments introduced at the end of the episode had me clambering on the edge of my seat with excitement.
Whatever comes next is sure to be entertaining.
To start, let's dissect the biggest "surprise" of all: Starman's alive.
Or well, someone who looks exactly like Starman and claims his name is Sylvester Pemberton is alive and well and walking around North Hollywood looking for Pat Dugan.
When characters magically come back from the dead on television -- especially on fantasy and supernatural shows -- we can't be surprised.
After all, there are two rules when it comes to death on TV.
One, no one is ever truly dead unless we see the body, and two, the dead don't always stay dead.
Also, in hindsight, casting Joel McHale should have been a tip-off.
You don't cast someone of McHale's caliber just to use him in one episode.
Manager: Can I help you?
Starman: I’m looking for Pat Dugan.
Manager: He doesn’t live here. Moved. Months ago now?
Starman: Any idea where I can find him?
Manager: Who are you?
Starman: I’m an old friend. Name’s Sylvester Pemberton.
Looking back on Stargirl Season 1 Episode 1, Starman was pretty badly injured after fighting the Injustice Society.
He then "died" right in Pat's arms, but not before giving his sidekick the Cosmic Staff.
It's possible he faked his own death, but then it becomes the case of why he gave Pat the Cosmic Staff.
One reason could be was that Starman wanted to live a normal life, away from all of the superheroics, and dying was the only way to achieve that.
Therefore, he needed everyone, including his closest confidante, to think he was dead.
Another possibility is Starman was trying to protect Pat.
Starman must have known the ISA would never stop coming after him and his loved ones -- they had already killed his parents and sister -- so the only way to protect those left was to fake his death.
Not even Pat could know, or else both Starman and Pat would be in jeopardy.
It's also possible, the Starman we met at the end of the episode wasn't Starman but someone pretending to be him.
However, working under the assumption that the person is the true Starman, this changes everything.
Please Pat, it’s me. It’s Courtney, your daughter. Ever since we came to Blue Valley, you’ve been there for me, every time I needed you. I need you now, Pat. I really, really need you.Courtney
Everything we thought we knew about this world has been completely unended.
And if Starman is alive, what does that mean for Courtney?
Can there be two Starpeople, or does Starman's return mean the end of Stargirl?
Also, after 10 years in hiding, what could have prompted Starman to reach out to Pat?
Did Starman learn some of the ISA were dead and feel it was now safe, or is it something else?
Is there another threat of sorts that Starman needs Pat's help in stopping?
There are so many questions swirling around and so few answers.
Stargirl Season 2 can't come soon enough.
The other major developments included the introduction of the Shade and Eclipso.
For non-comic book fans, here's a quick catch-up:
Icicle: I want to show you something so you understand. Look, look at what I made. Do you remember what this town was like before I came here? It was dying. We brought it back, better than it ever was. That’s what all of this is: to help people. I just... I want to help people.
Barbara: Tell that Joey Zarick and his parents and to Henry King.
Icicle: Over half a million Americans die from cancer every year, Barbara, every year. Now what if I told you it would take a half a million lives right now, but I could cure cancer forever. What would you do?
Barbara: No one was going to die because of the way people think.
Icicle: Yeah, but they do. My wife died because of the way people think, because of greed and politics, but I can change that, and it’s not too late. It’s not. I can still save America, Barbara. It doesn’t have to be today, but I can do it. And you could help and Courtney could. I can protect her from the others. I can. I can keep her safe, and we go somewhere. We could go somewhere else and start again. We could start anew.
Barbara: You’re out of your damn mind. Your wife would be horrified to see the person you’ve become.
Icicle: You didn’t know my wife. I will succeed, Barbara. Look at me. I will succeed, and I will kill your daughter and your husband for what you have all done. I want you to think about that on the way down.
Back when the ISA killed most of the JSA in the pilot's flashback, the Shade could be briefly seen -- or at least his hand could -- as he dragged Dr. Mid-Nite off.
A few episodes later, Icicle and Dr. Ito mentioned the Shade in passing, revealing he once betrayed their team.
While it's unclear what went down, it's safe for us to assume the Shade was persona non grata with the ISA and has come to Blue Valley to shake things up.
As for Eclipso, well, that's a little more complicated.
See, Eclipso is a demonic spirit capable of possession under certain circumstances.
Right now, Eclipso appears to be trapped in the gem Cindy found, which in the comics is referred to as the "Heart of Darkness."
Based on this information and the mythology laid out in the comics, two obvious paths come to mind.
One is that Cindy becomes the host for Eclipso.
She certainly has enough darkness in her and her desire for control and power has been evident since the beginning.
Yolanda: Is he back to normal?
Justin: I’m free to slay the dragon.
Rick: His normal.
There's also the possibility Alex Montez, confirmed to be Yolanda's cousin in the series, could come into play at some time.
In the comics, Alex vows revenge on Eclipso after the demon kills Yolanda.
While it's doubtful -- hopefully -- that Yolanda dies, bringing Alex into the fold could offer the chance to explore Yolanda as a character further.
Her family is very one-dimensional so that any further insights could offer some depth into her backstory.
That very well might not be needed, as Yolanda is bound to become more layered during the second season as she grapples with having killed Brainwave.
She even said earlier in the episode, killing is wrong, and yet with one slice of her claws, she killed Brainwave.
That'll be an interesting story arc to follow, as Yolanda now has to find a way to live with what she did.
She's already showcasing remorse and guilt over her actions, but no matter how much she wishes she can go back, she can't change the past.
She might also have to contend with how she felt in the moment and those darker impulses.
Yolanda seemed almost to relish the act and somewhat full of glee as she got justice for Henry.
Brainwave (as Henry): Wait, wait, Yolanda, just wait.
Yolanda: Henry? Henry!
Brainwave (as Henry): We need to get out of here. My dad, he’s coming.
Yolanda: What? I… I don’t understand.
Brainwave (as Henry): The cave-in didn’t kill me. My dad didn’t either. I’ve been hiding, wearing these clothes for days, pretending to be one of them. I know where my dad is, and how we can stop him. Remember what I said, how I was sorry for everything.
Brainwave (as Henry): You’re all I’ve been thinking about this whole time. OK, what’s… what’s the plan. Where are your friends?
Yolanda [as she kills Brainwave]: They were Henry’s friends too. I watched Henry die. Now, I’m going to watch you die.
There are bound to be a lot of emotions around this, and killing Brainwave could drive a wedge between the JSA.
Courtney seemed taken aback by Yolanda's actions, and while they ended the season on good, if not great, terms, they will still have to deal with this.
You can't emove n and pretend everything is normal after taking a life, albeit one as evil as Brainwave.
Yolanda's actions are contrasted nicely with Rick, who has been itching to get his hands on Grundy all season.
However, when the time came, Rick just couldn't do it.
Grundy's resolve not to fight Rick, almost as if he knew he deserved this because of what he's been forced to do, was what broke the floodgates for Rick wide open.
If Grundy had continued to put up a fight, Rick might have gone through with it.
Yet, upon realizing Grundy was a victim of sorts too, being forced to do the ISA's bidding, made Rick realize killing Grundy wouldn't accomplish anything.
It wouldn't bring his parents back; all it would do was make Rick like the ISA -- a cold-blooded murderer.
And even though it was a difficult choice, Rick seemed more at peace at the end of the episode.
Damn you, fight back. Fight me. your stupid animal. You stupid animal. Ahhh. Go on, get out of here, and never come back.Rick
By choosing not to kill Grundy, he was able to let go of some of that resentment and anger and hatred he's been carrying around since his parents' deaths.
This allows Rick to start the healing process and move on with his life.
Now, if he could just move into the Whitmore-Dugan household, he'd have a chance at a semi-normal life. The house does have an extra bedroom, after all.
Last, but not least is Courtney and Pat's relationship.
After so much frustration over Courtney's dismissal of Pat on most fronts, hearing her refer to herself as his daughter was so heartwarming.
And then giving him the 'World's Best Father' mug for Christmas -- a gift she's been waiting to give her dad since she was 5 -- was the icing on top.
She may still call him Pat, but he's her father.
They've come so far, and their relationship was one of the best parts of the season.
Pat's been wearing the 'father' hat since Day 1, but Courtney finally accepting it was great.
Pat: Everything OK?
Courtney: Yeah, everything’s great. I just…
Pat: What is it?
Courtney: Something I’ve been waiting to give to you for a long time.
It was so moving to watch.
And even though we all wish this revelation had come sooner, it was amazing nonetheless.
Some stray thoughts:
Is anyone else worried about the quality of the episodes moving forward? With Stargirl Season 2 airing solely on The CW, things are bound to change. One of the things is probably the tone of the show. Stargirl Season 1 was a fun, family-friendly show with intermittent violence.
On The CW, the series will probably be a
littlelot family-friendly as the romance and violence will be cranked up tenfold. Also, the visual effects -- one of the best parts of the series -- will most likely be downgraded, as the shift may indicate a decrease in the production budget.
For those looking for an easy reference, just remember the dip in production quality Supergirl underwent after the series moved from CBS to The CW for Stargirl Season 2.
The visual effects this episode were spectacular. Post-production did an outstanding job. They were so great that we can completely overlook how improbable it was how easily and seamlessly the newbies defeated the ISA. OK, maybe not completely, but we can suspend our disbelief for the time being.
It was so sad that Beth lost Chuck. He was her best friend, and I hope they're "reunited" at some point. I do wonder, though, how Beth can be a full-time member of the JSA without Dr. Mid-Nite's goggles and Chuck.
Her friends aren't going to kick her out, but Beth may find herself struggling with how she fits into the group now and what she can contribute. We all know she's amazing, but she may not, which is heartbreaking because she's Beth.
Was Icicle deluded enough to think Barbara would just uproot her entire life and belief system and run away with him, or was he just spiraling because everything was falling apart? I like to think it was the latter because until now, he's seemed like a relatively stable guy, or as stable as a supervillain can be.
Mike running Icicle over with the car was amazing. This kid doesn't need superpowers. He's a bonafide superhero already.
So what did you think Stargirl Fanatics?
Is that the real Starman? If so, how is he alive?
What are your thoughts on the new villains?
How much did it melt your heart watching Courtney and Pat this episode?
Don't forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the season finale, remember you can watch Stargirl online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.