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TV REVIEWS: Stargirl Season 1 Episode 9: Brainwave

July 15th, 2020 by Todd Black Comments

As I’ve noted since the beginning, one of the fundamental problems with Stargirl is that the heroes aren’t that likeable, and the villains are boss. So imagine the irony in that “Brainwave” was one of the best episodes of the series so far in my opinion…because it focused on the villains for the most part.

The best scenes by far were of course featuring Henry King and his son. The former being shown through past recordings and revealing to the world what had happened to him. In this case, his mental powers were because of an experimental drug he made and tested on himself. This resulted in all the things his son has been going through in recent episodes, and as tape by tape went by you saw more of Brainwave emerging and his son starting to put the pieces together that this might be him.

Seeing Henry Jr., struggle not only with his powers, but the words of his father in that “people are monsters” was honestly compelling. Because while Henry was a jerk to Yolanda and others, you could argue that he wasn’t “destined” to be a villain. And yet, as the episode went on, and the thoughts of many crammed into his head, things started to seem not so clear cut on that front, and the slow descent into madness and murder came about. Oh, and Brainwave is now awake, fun!

Also on the plus side was a bit of the history lesson that I teased a little while back. As Pat Dugan revealed that he and Starman (before he was Starman) were a part of the Seven Soldiers of Victory…alongside Shining Knight and more DC Comics legends. This was cool as it not only confirmed multiple super groups in this particular Earth-2, but it revealed why Shining Knight (our friendly neighborhood janitor) remembered Stripesy. Shining Knight’s scene in the episode was a bit odd, but surely it’ll play out in the long run.

Plus, seeing and hearing more about the Dragon King and how he factors into all this was much more fun. As he’s a master of making weapons to destroy, and now we know that “Project Middle America” is them literally taking over the minds of people in 6 states to make a “perfect home” for their children. Bold, to say the least.

And…now it’s time to NOT talk about the villains. Which is sad, because once again…the heroes don’t inspire confidence. What’s worse, they’re realizing their own faults and doing nothing about it.

Case in point, Courtney wanted to recruit Henry Jr. so that they could find out who else is in the ISA. Except that there’s no reason to believe that he was ever going to help him outside of that momentary connection they had before. I’ll give Courtney props, her speech to him in the hospital was mostly on point. Outside of that “I know deep down you want to do the right thing” line, which was uber cringe.

As for Yolanda (#STILLNotMyWildcat) her attack on Henry was 6 kinds of stupid. What would’ve happened if he agreed to help her, and then she attacked him? What if she was seen? Yes, I get it, she’s mad for what he did to her, that’s a fair motivation to want to NOT have him in the group. But doing what she did was over the line and NOT something Ted Grant would approve of. Thus, #NotMyWildcat.

Then there was the family dinner with the Icicles which was…odd. In so many ways. I’m getting a bad feeling that they’re going to try and ship Icicle with Barbara for reasons beyond my understanding (based on things said and shown in previous episodes) and I pray I’m wrong about it. But yeah, very awkward and kind of dumb. The only good thing is that it showed who he was to Courtney and that might lead to something cool…pun intended. But not in this scene.

Speaking of Barbara, she FINALLY finds out the truth next episode! Thank goodness because it was cringe EVERY SINGLE TIME Courtney just HAPPENS to arrive right when Pat tries to tell her the truth and blurts out the dumbest of things to try and cover it up. And based on the trailer, Pat is going to take the blame, and I’m not happy.

In the end, “Brainwave” showed a great look at the villains and what makes them tick. Next episode could be a major one based on the looks of things, but will the heroes finally shine? We’ll find out.

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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!