Stargirl – Shiv Part One review S1 E7

One of my concerns with the quick introduction of the JSA was Stargirl was going to be fighting for screen time in her own show. Shiv proved that concern might have been unfounded with a necessary focus on Courtney and potentially her very own arch-enemy.

Cindy was in rare obnoxious jerk form this week. She tried to get Henry to blow off watching over his father to take her to the Homecoming dance and managed to tick off her one friend Jenny. At least Courtney was up for trying to befriend her one more time and agreed to hang out instead of attending the dance. Not like Courtney has anybody to take as her date…

Cindy’s warpath continues to her poor harassed stepmother Bobbie (Lesa Wilson) before she tries to force her father, Dr. Ito/Dragon King into giving her a seat at the table of the Injustice Society. Unlike the other teens, Cindy knows her dad is a supervillain and is eager to join the family business. From the inference in their conversation it sounds like Cindy inadvertently killed her mother when her powers emerged and Dragon King is holding that accident over her. The other big bombshell is Cindy’s only dating Henry to determine if he’s developing telepathic powers like his father. 

stargirl shiv part 1 review - dragon king

Unfortunately for her, Cindy might have annoyed Henry just as they’re starting to show up. An open book test is pretty easy, but an open mind test is even easier. 

It was pretty embarrassing that it took the sword reveal to realize janitor Justin is The Shining Knight. That is a super deep cut for Stargirl to throw in not just JSA characters, but also an All-Star Squadron member.

Courtney doesn’t have much patience for Pat’s well-intended, but methodically paced training session. In a nice switch though the rest of the JSA are annoyed with her selfish antics. It’s refreshing to see Mike get along with his stepmother, Barbara, while also being realistic that he would resent Courtney spending so much time all of a sudden with Pat. 

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Cameron asks Courtney to homecoming so she has to back off on hanging with Cindy. In some cases this would be the final somewhat understandable slight to push Cindy off the deep end into supervillainy, but she was long on that path before Courtney asked for a rain check. And it’s hard to feel remotely sympathetic to Cindy being told for a change.

Courtney has other issues though as she defies Pat’s orders and follows The Fiddler into the Injustice Society’s lair. You’d think Courtney would have learned her lesson after going after another “weaker” member of the ISA with The Gambler and getting humbled by Sportsmaster and Tigress. 

While she can’t find Fiddler, Courtney does manage to get detected by Dragon King’s surveillance cams and a full-tilt temper tantrum Cindy decides to take Stargirl out for her pops and his pals. If that won’t get her into the club nothing will. There’s no way Courtney doesn’t recognize that Cindy is fighting her, but it seems somewhat difficult to buy Cindy not recognizing her ex-replacement BFF either. 

stargirl shiv part 1 review - cindy and courtney

As usual for Stargirl, we get another great fight scene complete with creative uses of powers — the staff somersault was very cool — and energy effects. Cindy cheats and doses Stargirl with some of her blade toxins, but Justin saves her with a sword strike that knocks Cindy out. The real question is did Cindy hear Pat as he yelled out for Courtney before grabbing the prone Stargirl off the floor?

Justin recognizes Stripesy, which also makes sense as in the comics Shining Knight and Stripesy were fellow members of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. I’ve been clamoring for adult members of the JSA, but having the SSOV filling that role could work too. Crimson Avenger, Wing and Vigilante at least seem like viable support heroes for the show. 

Shiv was an encouraging episode that proves Stargirl hasn’t lost any luster as we reach the halfway point of the season. So far this has been one of the more promising first seasons of the modern DC TV show adaptations and there’s a real sense it’s only going to get better. 

Rating: 9 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW

 

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