Stargirl: Summer School, Chapter Two

The frog was wrong, it is easy being green

What do you do after a major triumph? That’s something Courtney is struggling to answer as both her Stargirl and Courtney Whitmore lives are suffering after dealing with the ISA. High school kids relish their freedom come the end of the school year, especially ones with something they think is important to do. You can imagine how happy she is in dealing with “Summer School, Chapter Two.”

Beginning someplace new, we hear a pop song from the 80’s playing as a woman we haven’t seen before gleefully destroys her kitchen. It’s an odd scene, and we don’t really get a handle on what’s going on until she goes to the door, apparently expecting a ride. Instead, she gets Cindy Burman, AKA Shiv, one of last season’s villains. Cindy has picked up some new tricks and we see her using one as she comes in the door. Then we skip to Milwaukee of six weeks ago, and the Ordway Home for Children. Jerry Ordway was a legendary comic book writer and artist, so the name is a nice touch. Jennie gets very unceremoniously “released” from the home, since she’s of age now, and the woman running the place isn’t up for any kindness awards. Cast out from her only home (at night even, really nice) Jennie goes over her meager inheritance and gets a big surprise when something starts acting strangely.

Last episode ended with a big fight between Courtney and Jennie-Lynn Hayden, AKA Jade, the daughter of the original, Golden Age Green Lantern. Now, there’s wreckage all over and explanations to be made. Also, it seems Courtney’s staff and Jennie’s ring don’t get on, and Courtney has a brief moment of playing disciplinarian that’s fun to watch. Jennie is very nice and apologetic, while Courtney is stand-offish, suspicious, and accusatory. She’s really got the teenager with a chip on their shoulder thing down. Introductions are made, and Jennie is stunned to meet Pat. She knows a lot about Stripesy, and I’m really curious about this. If she’s been in an orphanage for so long, how’d she hear about him? If she was with Alan Scott, the Green Lantern, how’d she wind up in the orphanage? Scott didn’t think to make provisions for his kids with his life being so dangerous? At any rate, Courtney gets moved to the couch, Jennie gets Courtney’s room, and we see both what Jennie’s looking for and that there’s a link between her and the lantern.

Courtney tries to settle in on the couch, dealing with the family dog. Pat, always kind, brings her an extra pillow, and they talk about the JSA and their kids. In the comics, the team Infinity, Inc was made up of the children and protégé’s of the JSA, and it seems like Courtney’s team is roughly following in those footsteps. The fact that Pat talks about “children” makes me wonder how many more are out there. Courtney keeps being suspicious while Pat, as he often does, tries to look on the bright side and provide her with some advice and insight. Unfortunately, Courtney’s not of a mind to listen. We learn that Courtney is not a morning person as she staggers to the kitchen, following voices as the family has gathered. Jennie has been busy, making breakfast and even repairing some of the damage to the house. While it’s an attempt at character development, and I get that, I don’t buy for a moment that in an unfamiliar house, Jennie both made pancakes and did carpentry without waking up Courtney on the couch in the next room with no doors. She hears about plans for the day, and tries to include herself, but gets reminded she has summer school. Which she brought on herself.

With no other options, Courtney goes to class. Surprisingly, Yolanda is there despite her good grades, and, when we find out why, I feel even more sorry for her. A lot of the characters have things to deal with, but Yolanda really seems to have drawn more bad cards than most. Also in class is Isaac Bowen, son of the late Fiddler, another potential villain in the making. The summer teacher is Mr. Deisinger, the art teacher, and I suspect is not going to do well as an authority figure. Not there, but should be, is Rick, who is off doing more of his new nature project. Rick’s foray into the wilderness is interrupted by a phone call from a very excited Beth, who has some news to share, although I don’t know how she knows. Rick leaves, and we get strong hints he’s not alone out there. At the Pit Stop, we see Pat’s new friend/partner/comic relief has been tinkering with STRIPE, with interesting results. Pat brought Jennie there to train, and she makes some impressive progress with guidance from Pat. Pat doesn’t get enough credit on this show. He’s not only a hero in his own right, he’s a natural coach and knows a lot about the hero world.

At lunch break, Courtney unloads a pile of complaints about Jennie on Yolanda, and she sounds utterly ridiculous. There’s an entertaining bit about Jennie’s cooking, but it really doesn’t work if you think about it. Also, one of Courtney’s ongoing complaints is that Jennie broke in and tried to steal the lantern. Which is exactly what Courtney did last season with pretty much all the gear for the JSA. Maybe her conscience is bothering her? The woman we saw at the start of the show is not having a good day, and is having to both clean up after herself and deal with an intrusive, eerie voice. Out on the roads, a very nice car drives along with dramatic music playing, and we see it pass a sign showing it’s closing in on Blue Valley. The driver gets to the American Dream building and goes in to see Barbara. I guess she’s running the place after the fall of the ISA. The driver identifies himself as Richard Swift, a name at least some comics fans should know, although his appearance should have been a big giveaway. His mission ties nicely back to events last season and the character’s background in general. Barbara gives some non-committal answers and steers him to the town diner.

At the garage, Jennie is making great strides and Beth is impressed. Even the usually sullen Rick is smiling and wowed. Yolanda gets won over as she and Courtney arrive, and Beth says exactly the wrong thing to get Courtney feeling even worse. Jennie and Courtney argue a bit, and then Rick takes Jennie’s side, surprising Courtney. In another interlude with the woman from the opening, she gets more advice and we see some external evidence she’s not just hearing voices. Back at the garage, most of the team talks to Jennie, while Courtney gets more advice from Pat, and she finally admits to what’s really going on with her. Her outpouring of conflicting feelings makes perfect sense, and explains a lot. Just as Courtney is finally listening, Pat gets called away.

Down on the garage floor, Beth rambles on about the team’s powers, and Courtney comes back and interjects. Jennie is clearly uneasy, and Courtney comes clean with her. Courtney’s trying hard, but this time it’s not her fault when things spin out of control. Jennie has some emotional issues that Courtney stepped on without realizing it, and Jennie’s temper causes several problems. Pat goes to the diner to meet Richard Swift, and they have a stilted conversation. Pat might actually have been making progress, but then he sees the kids go by in a great hurry, and excuses himself. Things get very tense in the town square for a few minutes and then there’s a big flare of power and, of course, property damage galore. How no one saw this, even given it’s late at night, is beyond me. Jennie ends up elated with the way things turn out, and the others are impressed. Courtney did a good job here standing in for Pat’s knowledge and maturity.

The following morning we get two scenes to end the episode and set up for more of what’s to come. Courtney wakes up in a much better mood on the couch, and finds her mother. Much of her mood evaporates when she gets an unexpected answer to a question, and I don’t really blame her. Then, Cindy has a run-in with the woman from the opening, and her new friend, and things don’t go at all well. They end up making a big mess.

What I liked: It was nice seeing the live action Jade, as she’s likely going to become. Pat finally got some credit from someone, and he really shone while helping. I’m not entirely sure why Rick is doing what he’s doing out in the woods, but it’s an interesting side to him and a view of more than just perma-sulk. I liked seeing Richard Swift. They did a great job casting and costuming with him. I’m glad Courtney finally listened to Pat.

What I didn’t: Yolanda’s parents are really horrible people, no matter what they think they’re doing. A lot of the little bits they did don’t really make sense if you think about them throughout the episode. I’m not sure what American Dream is doing now, or how Barbara still has her job. The woman at the Children’s Home was about as bad as Yolanda’s parents. I’m curious about the timeline for Jennie and how some of this fits together. How did no one see them in the square?

It was a good episode, although early enough in the season we’re still doing some set up work. I’ll give this one a high 3.5 out of 5.

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