Stargirl: Summer School, Chapter Seven

I know it’s your show, Courtney, but it’s my episode this week.

Stargirl and her new JSA are having a rough summer. Not only do two of them have to go to summer school, which no teen wants, but they’ve dealt with malicious teachers, a powerful demon on the loose, a rival team being put together, and an enigmatic 19th century visitor. In addition to this they have mysteries involving their predecessors, complicated love lives, crushing guilt, and a lot of pressure as the stakes are constantly being raised. Things get even more difficult in “Summer School, Chapter Seven.”

The episode opens in church, with a lot of bell-ringing. Yolanda, as we have seen several times, is spending a lot of her off time talking, or at least sitting with, the priest here, Father Thomas. Tortured by things she’s seen, and things she’s done, Yolanda’s talk with the Father is very confusing for the poor man. It’s perfectly understandable if he’s worried for his young charge. After Yolanda leaves, we see that Blue Valley is preparing for the big holiday on this July 3rd.

Feeling not at all festive, Pat and Courtney are down in the basement. The Cosmic Staff hasn’t recovered from its run-in with the freed Eclipso, and Courtney is worried about it. She also wonders where the villain has gotten to. She and Pat discuss the few scant hints they have, and it’s not looking great for the heroes at this point. Having a better day, Barbara faces down Janet, who seems to be the new head of American Dream, and forces her into a more moral, if less business-savvy, decision. Afterwards, she contemplates the portrait of the late Jordan Mahkent, but gets interrupted by a possible visitation of a very strange sort. At the diner, Yolanda struggles through another shift, then sees something very strange from her coworker Maria. In the chaos, there’s an appearance by a young boy we know from last episode, who acts creepy and then disappears.

Courtney and Beth confer about trying to track down Eclipso, or find the original Dr. Mid-Nite, who may be alive after all. I have a few theories about this, but I’ll save them for spoiler concerns. Done with her call, Courtney has an unexpected and surprising meeting with Cameron, and the two of them go off together after some awkwardness. Pat and Mike work on trying to repair STRIPE, and Mike isn’t pleased with the pace or direction of his training. Continuing to have a really bad day, Yolanda is hearing voices, sees Courtney go off with Cameron and feels abandoned, then retreats to her sanctuary, the church, where her incredibly unpleasant mother is waiting. Father Thomas does speak up for Yolanda, but it doesn’t make much of a difference to the overbearing Mrs. Montez. Yolanda leaves after seeing someone, or thinking she did anyway.

Just when the kids thought summer school couldn’t get much worse, Principal Sherman takes over teaching and proves to be fairly inept at it. Yolanda has some very disturbing dreams or visions, with people she’s lost tormenting her, before fleeing the classroom. Courtney finds her later and does her best with a pep talk and reassurance. A shaken Yolanda isn’t feeling very receptive to either. Back at the Pit Stop, Mike continues to not like his training, but then has a much worse experience as he has his own brush with some of Eclipso’s power. Pat manages to snap him out of it, and we learn some of what Pat’s trying to do.

The Junior JSA meets up and Yolanda shares what actually happened to Brainwave in season one’s climactic battle. The others are surprised, but Rick does his best to assure her he’d have done the same. Yolanda scoffs, given some of what Rick has done lately. Beth gives a much less helpful answer, and the Yolanda ends up leaving. Hurting and alone, Yolanda returns to the church, but instead of finding comfort, is confronted by an old enemy. It’s a really interesting scene, because there are several different explanations as to what’s actually going on, and there’s no way to tell yet which one is the real one. Or even if it’s only one of them. Courtney finally arrives, a bit too late to help, and Yolanda makes a tearful decision and runs out of the building. Yolanda is getting a lot of fast exits this week. Later that night, Courtney tries to reach out to her hurting friend, but once again, Mrs. Montez seems to be going out of her way to make sure Yolanda is just as miserable as possible. This series has a lot of bad parents, and many of them seem to keep competing for absolute worst. This episode, at least, Mrs. Montez wins, hands-down. Just to make sure she’s as isolated as she can be, Mrs. Montez then calls the diner and tells them Yolanda won’t be working there anymore. Maria is sorry to hear this, but Mrs. Montez isn’t really interested in talking or explaining.

The Whitmore-Dugan household is very somber as Courtney joins the others at the dinning room table. She’s shaken and worried about her friend. Courtney has no idea what to do, and no one else there does, either. Suddenly, Mike blurts out something about his own chaos from last season’s finale, which seems to be weighing on him since he brought this up recently in another conversation. Courtney tries to find some bits of hope to cling to, and Barbara is honest if not encouraging. At her place, Beth seems to be having nightmares, and a camera pan outside gives us a pretty good idea as to why that might be. It’s a disturbing note to end the episode on.

What I liked: It makes sense that Yolanda is troubled by what happened with Brainwave. That would be traumatic for almost anyone, but she also has a large helping of Catholic Guilt ™ to deal with, and it’s making everything worse. I’m intrigued as to what is actually happening to her, and wonder how that will end up spinning out. The scene with Barbara at her office shows her strength and determination to do the right thing, and offers some hope for a character I really like.

What I didn’t: I’ve thought of Beth as the weak link on the team since Courtney randomly began handing out legacy costumes and equipment to people. This episode, to my mind, reinforced that. She needs some real training or to get out of this business. I’m worried about the team, given some of what we learned and at least one decision made. They have a lot to deal with, very few allies to call on (and don’t know how to get in touch with them), and things are looking bad for the good guys.

I thought this was one of their better episodes, if not exactly a happy one. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. Blue Valley is going to need some help to get through what’s coming. I hope the JSA are up to the task.

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