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Superman's Pal

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Superman's Pal

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,803
Subj: Ep 12 & 13 "Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. Part 1 & 2"
Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 at 11:44:33 pm EDT (Viewed 517 times)
Reply Subj: CW's Stargirl "Pilot"
Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 at 08:23:55 pm EDT (Viewed 831 times)

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I’m a bit behind, this show premiered a couple of months ago and there was a thread on the DC Universe board about it, but since it’s a JSA-centric show I thought it belonged on this board.

I just watched the first episode and plan to watch the rest, I guess 8 episodes are currently out and there are going to be 13 this season.

I guess I’m old school so it’s odd to think that the JSA only came and went 10 years ago, as the opening title card tells us. So they existed post-2000 not in the 1940s. Another reason why that’s weird is that the show begins in what looks like the real world, but if superheroes are a part of normal everyday life here you would think it might be a little bit different. Like when they did the JSA on Smallville they had to say that they were a forgotten team that operated in secret decades ago and no one ever knew about them. But this is coming in after like 10 years of CW shows so I guess they figure you’re on board with the superhero premise or you’re not.

We start right in the thick of things with the JSA battling the ISA (Injustice Society). They don’t bother to introduce everyone or their gimmick, looks like the ISA is being led by the Wizard or Brainwave. Where did the giant black hand come from, was that Karkull? I think the lady with the braid was GA Huntress? The guy with the hockey mask must have been Sportsmaster. For some reason the big hero of the JSA is Starman, Sylvester Pemberton rather than Dr. Fate or Green Lantern. The entire JSA gets killed except for Starman who is rescued by his sidekick Stripesy in the Star Rocket Racer, I presume. They crash shortly after and Starman dies in Stripesy’s arms telling him to pass on the Cosmic Staff “but not to you, you’re not a hero” he says. Unless that’s a ‘tough love’ way of trying to motivate him, it’s kind of a dick thing to say.

Now we cut to present day Blue Valley, Nebraska where Stripesy AKA Pat Dugan has moved his family; his son Mike, his wife Barbara and stepdaughter Courtney. They don’t know he used to be a superhero but it’s not long before Courtney stumbles across his secret. The Cosmic Staff in this version is sentient, I guess, and chooses Courtney as its new champion. I’m not sure why it needs a champion since it has a mind of its own and can move on its own, mostly dragging her along.

They didn’t name every character we saw but I’m assuming the girl she meets in the ‘loser’s club’ at school, Beth, is going to be Dr. Midnight, the Latina girl Wildcat, and the mopey guy Hourman II. Pat sets up an auto shop and gets a visit from a nearby gym owner Larry “Crusher” Crock, yep that’s the Sportsmaster. The bullies at school are lead by a ginger who must be Brainwave Jr. since his father turns out to be Brainwave.

Courtney goes from hating her stepdad to partnering up with him pretty quick, by the end of the first episode. Kind of played out that storyline from the comic fast. She ends up being drawn to a confrontation with Brainwave but suddenly Pat shows up in his giant robot suit S.T.R.I.P.E. to help out, and: cliffhanger.

It was okay. Meshing Star-Spangled Kid and Starman into one character doesn’t really matter, nor skipping Jack Knight and giving the Staff version to Sylvester (instead of the rod or belt), just details. I don’t like how clueless Pat seems, I don’t like how the JSA treat him like he’s not one of the heroes just because he’s a sidekick or how Sylvester told him he wasn’t a hero.

There was no real character motivation for Courtney to start a hero’s journey, she just finds the poorly hidden staff and starts playing around with it. And it has super duper extra powers that will do a lot of the heavy lifting for her which makes her a little less heroic, I think.

Good costumes, effects, mostly good acting. I wish it the best, I hope it’s good. I don’t care if it crosses over with the Arrowverse.

S01E12 & 13 "Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. Part 1 & 2"

I feel like things kind of wrapped up quickly, maybe that's just me.

The gang takes shelter at a cabin in the woods since the ISA is hunting for them. As they're packing to leave, Sportsmaster and Tigress attack Pat's auto shop. Mike distracts Sportsmaster with a drill while Pat knocks him out, and Barbara takes out Tigress with a potted plant.

Dragon King unveils his machine, a giant set of satellite dishes that he plugs Brainwave into to expand the influence of his telepathy. The dishes emerge from under the high school's football field. He's going to brainwash most of America into living life the right way. Icicle is finally on board with killing all the heroes. The Gambler is still sitting in his mom's basement hacking internet stuff. Sportsmaster and Tigress are always up for a good kill.

Rick (Hourman) manages to decode his father's journal and coupled with Dr. Mid-Nite's magic goggles they can map out the entirety of Dragon King's underground lair. They decide to go in and split up and defeat the villains.

Along the way Yolanda runs into Henry Jr. who apparently wasn't killed by falling debris and was hiding out waiting to help the heroes, disguised as one of Dragon King's zombies. But it's a switcheroo, actually Henry Sr. in disguise and Yolanda guts him with her claws, becoming the first JSA murderer. That's not good.

Mid-Nite's goggles get crushed and that seems to be the end for A.I. Chuck. Or is it? Is he only contained in the goggles or does he have a mainframe somewhere?

Pat in S.T.R.I.P.E. gets to have a giant monster fight with Solomon Grundy who is 20 feet tall in this version. Grundy ends up tearing all of S.T.R.I.P.E.'s limbs off and Hourman has to activate his hour of power to fight the brute. He actually gets closure on his hatred of Grundy, the monster who killed his parents, when he realizes he's just a mindless animal and not really evil.

Cindy's cell is broken open during the melee and instead of killing the heroes as promised, she kills her dad. I would have rather seen more of the abusive relationship of serial killer mad scientist and daughter. Then she gets knocked out and in a post-credit stinger (I think) she finds Eclipso's black diamond. She'll be a version of the Jean Loring Eclipso, probably? I guess they can always give it to Alex Montez later on if they want to.

Sportsmaster and Tigress don't last too long. Stargirl and Wildcat destroy the big machine. Pat tries to rescue Barbara from Icicle who is going to throw her off a bell tower in downtown Blue Valley. He gets his butt kicked, but Stargirl shows up for the save. Icicle gets thrown to the ground where he would probably recover, but he's shattered into a million pieces by a truck driven by Mike, making him the second JSA murderer. Hmm.

We never find out why the Cosmic Staff is sentient. Even though the genie's pink pen was teased 2 or 3 times during the season, it's forgotten. We never got to see Sir Justin suit up as the Shining Knight, I hope they do that for season 2 or just leave him out. He says he's off to find the rest of the Soldiers. The Fiddler's son plays a tuba but may become as evil as his mother (The Tubist?)

Sylvester Pemberton shows up in the post-credits too. And we see the Shade arrive at ISA headquarters, must be the season 2 villain.

I will say that Brec Bassinger grew on me as Stargirl throughout the season. More surprising was Luke Wilson, whom I usually like, I found kind of dreary here as S.T.R.I.P.E. The JSA kids (who should really be called Infinity Inc.) were all fairly one-note so it was hard to get a read on them. I liked Wildcat when she was heroing, I liked Mid-Nite for comic relief. Hourman was a bit of a bore with his teenage angst but he showed promise in the finale. I didn't like the villains that much other than Brainwave towards the end, and Sportsmaster as the douchey gym owner.

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