Stargirl – Frenemies Chapter Three: The Blackmail review S3 E3

It didn’t take Frenemies to turn into another highly engaging arc for Stargirl. As so much of the now departed Arrowverse struggled in balancing larger casts, Stargirl makes it a strength as the overall story arc continues to develop.

This week the murder mystery plot thickens. It’s not just the murder that’s being mysterious though as both Sylvester and Cindy seem a little shady in their respective roles. That certainly has helped their characters from getting stale or too predictable. It’s nice having characters with an edge that you can’t totally determine their angle.

stargirl - frenemies - the blackmail review -cindy and courtney

Cindy is all about stirring things up. She managed to crack some of The Gambler’s laptop info and sends Beth a file indicating he was blackmailing The Crocs. This explains why Crusher was staking out his place the day he got murdered.

I’m just now fully appreciating how the JSA has its strategy meetings at a round table albeit at the cafeteria instead of a JSA meeting hall. This time, Courtney doesn’t want anyone telling Sylvester about this link to the Crocs. He flew off the handle with Shade and Courtney doesn’t want a rerun especially with Artemis trying to fit in to join the team.

stargirl - frenemies - the blackmail review - jsa lunch meeting

Of course, Cindy doesn’t want to play by the rules and almost immediately tells Sylvester. Cindy would clearly be that “friend” who is on social media texting away spoilers the second she finished watching an episode.

He doesn’t take the bait like she expected and gives her a verbal trashing that clearly seems to dent her self-esteem a bit. But Sylvester does still go after the Crocs at a grocery store and goes full Terminator mode trying to take them down.

MORE:

Good thing Mike overheard the whole thing. Chaos at the grocery story ensues. Starman definitely seems a little out of practice not being able to take out two non-powered former(?) villains without completely trashing the grocery store. Beyond the lack of costumes, this was a pretty fun fight scene. Tigress is always cool to watch in these close quarter fights and Sportsmaster has a brutish intensity to him that makes him more formidable than expected.

stargirl - frenemies - the blackmail review - crusher and paula

Geesh, how big is Blue Valley that it took the JSA this long to arrive? STRIPE has to end the fight while Courtney and crew are nowhere in sight. The Crocs didn’t kill The Gambler, but he blackmailed them for crimes other Injustice Society committed. And then days before he died, he returned the Crocs money to them suggesting he really was trying to reform. That’s good enough for Courtney and Pat.

Not so much for Sylvester, who goes off on Pat again and tries to pull the ‘you’re my sidekick, dude’ card again. This sets up an intense conversation that provides some needed context for Sylvester’s attitude. “You let half the villains that killed our friends move in next door.” Man’s got a point. It would be weird to find your crew’s murderers suddenly getting a pass and acting like they’re best buds with your old sidekick.

stargirl - frenemies - the blackmail review - sylvester and pat

Pat gives Sylvester a pep talk that would make Joe West proud about how he’s an inspiration and father figure to the young JSA members. That lands and Sylvester seems to have a better sense of his role with this new JSA.

There was some decent progression on the subplots as well. Cameron isn’t sure of his feelings on Courtney anymore and blows her off. Then he goes off on the stuffy teacher Ms. Woods, who unexpectedly finds Rick has her back. Rick has a real edge to him. In another era it’s easy to see how Rick would have become the bad boy Dylan of this show. Bonus points if you actually got that reference.

Cameron gets a little payback by tossing an ice spike at Rick’s tire. What’s really interesting here is the slow…burn in making Cameron a threat to the JSA. He’s not a priority in that sense allowing the writers to take their time and make it occur more naturally. I like this approach a lot.

That’s still not the case with these extended musical numbers, which are the only annoyance with this season. Sylvester went by the theater, which was playing a Nathaniel Dusk P.I. movie. This is a nod to the side story running in the Geoff Johns written Doomsday Clock.

stargirl - frenemies - the blackmail review - beth and rick

The cake was a success so now Paula has to give a speech at the Women’s Rotary Club. This buddy dynamic has been a fun surprise and it’s nice to see two women have a friendship that’s not based on a dude or is only the foundation to make them a couple. And Paula definitely isn’t going to let Barabara’s new manager, Tim’s, slide with his passive aggressive harassment much longer.

It’s very refreshing to see Yolanda remain distrustful of Cindy. Thankfully there wasn’t some big mystery about how Sylvester knew about The Crocs and Gambler. Cindy’s on the hot seat and Courtney warns her if she pulls a stunt like that again she’s off the team. Nice to see Courtney stand up against Cindy in this instance.

stargirl - frenemies - the blackmail review - the crocs, pat and courtney

This doesn’t deter Cindy from still trying to crack Gambler’s laptop while someone watches the main players in Blue Valley. Pat whips up a costume for Sylvester, who gets snatched away at Gambler’s trailer and severely beaten down.

The mystery hasn’t lost any of its intrigue and this season is playing out very well. I don’t doubt Stargirl will be able to sustain this excitement through the season and with quality episodes along the way like this, it’s set up to be another winner.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW

lylesmoviefiles