Stargirl: Brainwave Jr. review S1 E10
Stargirl certainly isn’t afraid of completely shaking up the deck, huh?
Barb and Pat’s marriage is hanging by a thread after he reveals the truth about Courtney’s abilities; Brainwave’s origin gets more complicated and there’s a shocking casualty this week.
The opening flashback scene featuring a romcom worthy meet cute with Pat and Barb was adorable. Stargirl might be the only Arrowverse show where I feel like there isn’t enough time spent on the family dynamic.
One area Stargirl continues to do well is not giving Courtney a golden ticket to win every argument because she’s the lead. Sometimes she can get benched simply from a stern “go to your room.” While she can take down super villains, Courtney is still capable of being grounded.
The writers did a nice job covering Barb too. She’s got every right to be mad at Pat and consider a divorce, but she’s also got a ton of questions after hearing about Jordan’s potential involvement with a super villain group and Courtney’s father maybe being a superhero. And thankfully her suspicions pay off this episode as she records Jordan’s parents mouthing off about the big project that’s going to change everything.
Brainwave is back…sorta as he’s lost his memory over the last 10 years. Henry is thrilled to reveal his powers to his father, but isn’t so excited to see Jordan taking him away.
Proving he’s still a naive teenager not quite skilled in the art of reading between the lines, Henry watches Brainwave’s recording where he blames Jordan for costing him a life with Mary aka Gimmick Girl aka the sister of Starman. This is in keeping with the comic book as well right up until Mary’s death…
You couldn’t blame him then for seeking Courtney’s help in tracking Brainwave down especially after her staff went rogue and tried to attack Jordan and Brainwave only to get caught.
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Courtney asks Beth, Rick and Yolanda to help them, but neither Rick or Yolanda is keen on aiding Brainwave Jr.
It wasn’t cool how Yolanda was being portrayed as unreasonable for Henry’s role in her slut shaming. There almost felt like an element of “man, why won’t she just get over it already?”
That’s kind of a core aspect of #MeToo that the victim is the only one who gets to say how long they endure the pain from harassment or worse. Stargirl dropped the ball with Yolanda’s subplot to the point where she was being changed from victim to a character “lacking” sympathy and forgiveness.
Rick and Beth stumbles into Solomon Grundy’s cell and Rick foolishly struggles trying to open the door containing Grundy. Smart guy, if you can’t immediately take out the cell door there’s zero chance you can stop what it’s containing. I like Beth, but too often during these fight sequences she’s in cowering, bumbling sidekick mode.
I loved that Shiv spotted Stargirl, Wildcat and Henry and wanted Dragon King to let her kill them. That’s totally on brand for her. The Dragon King vs. Stargirl fight wasn’t as strong as some of the earlier ones this season, but Stargirl and Wildcat’s reaction to the unmasked Dragon King was hilarious. Stargirl never forgets that it’s a show about a teen girl and there can be some inherent fun with that concept.
Then it was time for the showdown as Brainwave chased after the Junior JSA. Henry pleads with his dad that he can help him to fight back against Jordan’s control since he was the one that killed Mary. Not so fast son, Brainwave drops the small shell because he really wasn’t paying attention that he killed his wife to be a stronger, more effective villain. And if Henry wants to keep messing around, he’ll kill him too. Henry of course wants nothing to do with Brainwave, who makes good on his threat and kills his own son (!) in front of Stargirl, Wildcat, Hourman and Dr. Midnight.
Whoa. I didn’t see Henry dying. This would be like Darth Vader literally killing Luke after his revelation. The problem with Henry Jr. was he was always going to be a mind reader on a teen show. Maybe an adult Brainwave Jr. with better control over his powers could have stuck around, but if anything I figured he’d skip town not get killed outright.
That was a shocker and Stargirl once again shows it’s not afraid to go dark every so often to reinforce the threat level of the Injustice Society. But the fact was made clear with this episode — how the heck can Courtney and this version of the JSA come close to beating the Injustice Society?
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW