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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews Stargirl Season 1 Episode 7: Shiv Part 1

July 1st, 2020 by Todd Black Comments

I want you to think back to the beginnings of your favorite comic book TV show. Where were they by Episode 7? Arrow was truly hitting its stride and about to reveal the Dark Archer. Flash was continuing to showcase Barry’s powers and setting up the return of The Man In The Yellow Suit. Batwoman was killing it. Black Lightning was showing the power of a shortened season. Legends and Supergirl…ok they struggled in Season 1, I’ll admit it, but even at their worst, they aren’t stagnating like Stargirl continues to do.

“Shiv Part 1” did very little to advance the overall plot in NUMEROUS ways. Which is weird because if you look at the first 30 minutes or so it seemed like they were setting up A LOT. “JSA Training”, Barbara going on a business trip, the ISA looking into Courtney and crew, Cindy getting more backstory. But by the end…we didn’t get much outside of incredibly over the top drama, one good fight scene, a really cool reveal that a few might have saw coming and…a lot of teen angst.

I noted in previous episodes that Courtney Whitmore’s problem is that she’s 100% all the time. Even after her “realization” moment after losing big time to Tigress and Sportsmaster even with the others backing her up, she appears to have learned…NOTHING! And it’s frustrating!!!! Seriously, Pat is trying to train them, and Courtney won’t shut up. She continually interjects, then bashes Pat for trying to help, shows off “her moves” and then the rest of them are ticked because she did that and…training over? What did you in the first place!

And her line of, “I’m not a novice anymore” couldn’t be anymore arrogant. She’s beaten NO ONE outside of a fluke win against Brainwave that required STRIPE’s help and luck from the staff in a way that I still don’t understand. Who has she beaten 1 v 1? No one, exactly. So…how is she not a novice?

The other major frustration with this particular episode was that they were trying to play both sides with the coin that was Cindy as well as Mike.

Learning more about Cindy was fun despite it being a bit tropey. But what saved it was the interactions between her and Courtney as well as the Dragon King. We saw she was REALLY good with science, but was still a stuck-up B-word when she knew she could be. So are we supposed to feel bad for her? Or try and sympathize? Because they leaned one way, then swung back hard on the other.

Same with Mike, he’s been a teenage DICK this whole season outside of Barbara, and then suddenly he’s jealous that Courtney is spending more time with Pat? How does that work? And given his past appearances in the season where he DIDN’T listen to his father or want his dad to be around him…why does he care now? Furthermore, Pat completely ignoring the “don’t know, don’t care” line didn’t help matters.

And yet, still most ironically of all, the VILLAINS of the story are the most interesting. From The Icicle telling Cameron (who suddenly has a crush on Courtney…because…?) about finding love and how he met his mother (which I’m sure could work as a TV show…), to the ISA trying to understand the JSA, to the Dragon King continuing to be menacing as heck, it’s good stuff…that is diminished because of Courtney.

First off, following the Fiddler? Ok, fine. Literally burning her office to find the secret passageway? Yeah, like she’s not going to notice that! And then getting put down easily by Shiv further shows that she’s not ready, yet based on the next episode’s trailer, she STILL doesn’t care. What, if anything, will get through to her?

The true saving grace of the episode though was the reveal that the Janitor, Justin, is indeed the Shining Knight from DC Comics. A really awesome character who ironically was also a janitor in the comic that debuted Courtney, and apparently a member of the JSA based on him recognizing Pat (in the original origins of Shining Knight he was teaming up with Pat and the original Starman to be in the Seven Soldiers of Victory). Hopefully we get to see more of him in the future.

In the end, “Shiv Part 1” had a lot of potential but just failed to live up to it. It’ll be curious to see if Part 2 steps up the quality…but I’m not feeling confident.

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians (guardians-comic.com). He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!