TV SERIES Review: Stargirl S1E12 – Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E Part Two ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Grundy vs. S.T.R.I.P.E is just one of many battles in this epic finale episode of Stargirl season 1

Season 1
DC Universe / CW
August 9, 2020 @ 9:00pm PT (GMT-8)

Episode 13 – Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E Part Two

Every Sunday night on the west coast in the United States at 9pm PT, a new episode of Stargirl!

Opens with the Blue Valley High football field being opened up and displaying the Injustice Society’s world domination plan: a satellite system amplifying Brainwave’s message to adults in the world everywhere.

1 in 4 will die, because they fight back mentally, but the other 75% will be brainwashed into the Injustice Society’s world vision.

Doctor Mid-Nite fights to thwart The Gambler’s security system while the Justice Society goes underground to bring the fight to the Injustice Society. Shining Knight and S.T.R.I.P.E want to join them but first that security system needs to be taken down and the blocking sensors enabled, so they aren’t affected by the worldwide broadcast.

One of the better showdowns occur between Hourman and Solomon Grundy. Grundy first wars with S.T.R.I.P.E, literally ripping him to pieces and is going in for the kill when Hourman says, “my turn!”

The battle is on. Who will be victorious? Will the satellite system be taken down in time before the world becomes mental slaves to the Injustice Society? Who will perish and who will survive?

Tune into the final episode of Stargirl Season 1 to find out these answers and more.

Summary

While it took too long to get to this epic battle, this episode mostly delivers what we were hoping for. Could there have been more fighting and battle throughout Season 1? Yes and yes. This episode has no more character backstory, it’s all race against the clock action, great stunts and live action comic book hero vs. villain fighting. If you’re into that, if this is what you tuned into Stargirl to see, then this will be your favorite episode of the season.

For me, it’s a little bittersweet because I felt like we took too long to get here. Maybe five episodes too long. This delivers a satisfactory resolution to everything that came before. Had a lot of fun watching this episode.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Evaluating the entire season may sound harsh. It’s barely, and I mean barely a 3 star affair for me, it was entertaining enough at times to keep me interested, but I wasn’t overall blown away by the first season. As mentioned numerous times, there was just too much backstory and boring character setup and not enough action along the way.

It’s like the last 5-10 minutes of most episodes were what kept you wanting to watch next week. The other 45+ minutes you kept waiting and watching hoping to see more happen.

Characters that should have been explored more were Mike and Barbara, but they were mostly left as bit players. They could have been put in peril much, much sooner and the story would have provided opportunities for the Justice Society to save them. I realize it’s Stargirl’s show but how much did she develop from episode 1 to the final 13th episode? Not too much. Yes, her relationship with Pat improved, her ability to become Stargirl and work the magic staff, but how did all these events change her?

We never got to see her selfishness changed, even in the last episode. She never brings in the rest of her team the way she could, it’s more like the rest of the team just show up and help out, but not because she seeks out their support. She’s a solo fighter and the others tag along instead of being like the Fantastic Four or X-Men … maybe that’s how the comic books stories work, too, I don’t know because I haven’t read them, but this weakened the overall character to me. Stargirl isn’t Superman or Batman. She’s presented more of the leader of a team, but I never really got the sense that Courtney was a good team player. I didn’t even see her as a team player at all. This hurt the dynamic and overall show.

The acting was good, not great. Again, wanted to see more of Amy Smart than she was used. The boy who played Mike might as well not have been there. The family dog had as much character as, maybe more than, Mike. Pat’s character was probably the most well-rounded. Luke Wilson kept this show professional. Geoff Johns and company were smart to cast him and give him enough meat in the script to hold it all together.

Brec Bassinger? She was just OK for me. Didn’t seem to be fully into her character at times. Sweet young lady, definitely, but a bit plain and uninspired in some episodes. Like she was begrudgingly playing Stargirl. Like she never really embraced it until maybe the last 10 minutes of episode 13. Does that mean the story worked by making her character unconvincingly owning it until those final few scenes? We want the stories tied up and it seems like they did tie everything up. I don’t think Bassinger proved she’s an amazing actress with her performance, however. Maybe some of the problem is the script and what she had to work with, but Luke Wilson did more with his much lesser role than Bassinger. Don’t miss the end of this post, if you’re a Bassinger fan.

Shining Knight, I feel, was completely underdeveloped. His episode could have been way more interesting showing some epic battles he had in the past, but it seems perhaps for budgetary reasons, he was presented mostly as a confused janitor with a sword.

Shiv was the most developed Injustice Society character and she has a pretty good arc. Again, it took too much time to get what was a pretty simple story across, but she could be one of the standout villains in the future.

Brainwave was very one-dimensional. I liked Brainwave Jr. more. In fact my favorite episode of the entire first season featured Brainwave Jr. in episode 10. That, in many ways, was the pinnacle of the first season for me, sans the inevitable final boss battle in episode 13.

The other actors were serviceable, but not great. Again, they tried to do what they could with the scripts they were given. At the end, I’m not sure if it was interesting and entertaining enough for me to want to watch season two. Again, it did enough to hold my interest for 13 episodes. That’s not a huge vote of confidence. There were episodes that I liked a lot, including this last one. I just felt the way you do about an ice cream cone that’s melting all over your hand. I wanted to eat it faster while it was still whole. This story could have been told better in fewer episodes. Faster, tighter plotting and pacing is my biggest complaint. Just because you have 13 episodes to fill, doesn’t mean they should be lined with 7-8 episodes of filler.

There were strong, stand out episodes here and there throughout the first season that pulled me back in as I was starting to get bored, or I might not have finished the season.

Do I recommend watching the first season? If everything I’ve mentioned sounds still appealing and/or you’re a huge fan of the comics and will take any sort of Stargirl you can get in live action, sure, it’s recommended. For everybody else? You must watch episode 10, 1 and perhaps a few other episodes. Take my top 5 episode picks ranked below and you’ll be good to go. Then you can pick off watching the other episodes to get the backstory, if you really want to learn more about the individual characters. I wonder if when they story boarded the season, they realized the most interesting episodes were the ones I’ve picked out and decided to space them accordingly to maintain overall viewer interest? We may never know.

Overall Season 1 rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

All Season 1 Episodes Ranked & Reviewed

Here’s how all episodes in season 1 are ranked from most to least entertaining, click on the title link to read the spoiler-free review:

  1. S1:E10 – “Brainwave Jr.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. S1:E1 – Pilot ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. S1:E13 – “Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E Part Two” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (this episode, see above)
  4. S1:E12 – “Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E Part One” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  5. S1:E6 – “The Justice Society” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. S1:E2 – “S.T.R.I.P.E” ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  7. S1:E8 – “Shiv Part Two” ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. S1:E7 – “Shiv Part One” ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  9. S1:E3 – “Icicle” ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. S1:E4 – “Wildcat” ⭐️⭐️½
  11. S1:E5 – “Hourman and Doctor Mid-Nite” ⭐️⭐️
  12. S1:E11 – “Shining Knight” ⭐️⭐️
  13. S1:E9 – “Brainwave” ⭐️½

LIVE Brec Bassinger at DC Universe – Ask Brec question 8/10/2020 @ 11am PT (GMT-8)

Nevermind the misspelling of Bassinger’s last name, this chat is official

DCU did a Q&A chat with her at the start of this season and they are finishing with another chat here: https://community.dcuniverse.com/t/live-q-a-with-brec-bassinger-stargirl-of-stargirl-mon-8-10-11am-pt-2pm-et/1279441 — it’s a LIVE event scheduled for today 8/10/2020 at 11am PT (GMT-8) about three hours from this post, just in case you are reading this.

If the time has passed, you can still pop into the Q&A at the link above and read Brec’s responses. The questions the DCU members ask are usually good in these Q&A events. I don’t believe you need a membership to read, but if you do, it’s FREE to join the DC community.

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