Eclipso’s rampage in Blue Valley continues. Stargirl’s new JSA has been pretty much taken apart, and now there’s a lot of strain among the members who remain. We see family tension, a few different ideas of ways to help, and an unexpected visit among other things in this episode. Courtney Whitmore continues to have a busy summer in “Summer School, Chapter Ten.” While the title continues, the actual summer school plot seems to have been dropped.
The episode opens with another flashback from “decades ago,” as Starman comes to talk to Pat in the aftermath of some of the JSA killing Bruce Gordon, the mortal host for Eclipso. Starman talks about their shared past, how important Pat is to him, and gives a passing reference to another character from DC Comics’ early days. Sylvester even apologizes to Pat, which really almost the entire JSA needs to do. They end with toasting to chosen family. Interestingly, this is at least the second time Wildcat’s son has been mentioned, but that’s a second generation character there’s been no other reference to on the show. In the present, Courtney lays into her parents about not telling her the whole truth about what happened with the JSA and Eclipso. I feel like I ought to point out that, as she started her career, Courtney was doing a fair amount of lying and hiding things, and maybe ought to cut them some slack. The argument gets interrupted when the Shade suddenly crashes into the kitchen, still wounded from his attempt to help them fight Eclipso, and at least gets off a good line.
Definitely the worse for wear, Shade pretty much collapses on the couch as Courtney has a lot of questions about his supposed immortality. The enigmatic man also offers some advice about how to deal with Eclipso and the shattered black diamond. Pat is very mistrustful of their guest, and Barbara speaks up for him, about his help with her Icicle problem. Courtney tries to follow up on Shade’s advice, but the staff isn’t up to the challenge. Pat gets an idea, but doesn’t share a lot about it. Beth has a very awkward scene with her parents, and while she worries them a bit, she makes some good points and stands up for herself against them for the first time I can remember seeing. It was a good moment for her.
Pat and Barbara talk about his idea as he prepares to leave, and worry about the damage that’s been done to their relationship with Courtney. Well, she mentions Mike, too, but he doesn’t seem to care as much. Courtney and Mike talk about what’s going on, and Courtney’s complaints illustrate the exact reason Pat is withholding information. At least Courtney isn’t just sulking, and she’s made some arrangements to help Barbara and Mike keep an eye on Shade while she and Pat are gone.
Pat and Courtney’s trip goes badly, with a lot of silent tension at first. Finally, she berates him for holding things back and for going along with the JSA killing Gordon. Clearly, Pat has once again done a bad job of explaining his role in things. I recall this happening in season one at least once as well: Pat seems content to let people think the worst of him rather than correct them. I’m not sure why that is. Guilt from this mess with Eclipso and/or being one of the few JSA survivors, maybe? This rather heated discussion continues for a while, about the JSA and how Courtney sees Pat, which probably hurts him worst of all. Next up is a short scene of Rick, no longer Hourman, at the Police Department in a holding cell. His depression gets interrupted by some unexpected gifts from outside. As an aside, when a character is briefly not on a show, say for an episode or two, they are generally listed as (credit only) on the IMDB page for the episode. Yvette Monreal, who plays Yolanda/Wildcat, doesn’t even get that listing for this one. I’m hoping she’s not off the show for good, but I haven’t found a conclusive answer one way or the other. Beth manages to make brief contact with Dr. Midnight again, and Mike gives Buddy the dog some instructions as he leaves on what he feels is an important errand. Yep, big crisis going on with potentially deadly people lurking about, sneak out without telling anyone. Great plan, kid.
Courtney continues to demand answers from Pat, and at this point, there’s really no reason not to tell her. He hands over some files that make it look like Jennie has been causing some chaos in Civic City. One of DC’s least developed fictional cities, in the comics, Civic City was the initial home of the JSA until they eventually migrated to New York. This is where they go now, Pat remarking that the garage they end up in is the workspace that he and Starman shared, and that each member of the team had one. That seems like an odd choice, as many of the JSA weren’t tinkerers or mechanics or inventors of any sort. At any rate, they find evidence that Jennie has been here. Beth manages to get some more information from the missing Dr. Midnight, and learns several surprising things, including the Shade’s origin. Barbara tends to the Shade, hears him babble a few things, and then Beth gets a lot of homework.
While Courtney and Pat find a few more clues, Mike goes to the Pit Stop and works on STRIPE. I’d venture that Pat’s mechanical genius isn’t hereditary, although I give Mike points for trying. He does get the scanners working, and hears a news story that leads him to abandon the big metal suit to go look into something else. Pat and Courtney arrive at the Helix Institute, and anyone who read Infinity, Inc., which was essentially the second generation of the JSA in DC Comics, knows that’s a worrying name. They meet Nurse Love and finally find Jennie, who is trying to track down her missing brother, Todd Rice. In the comics, Todd is her twin and the superpowered hero Obsidian. During their tour of the place, there’s an offscreen voice billed as Sonia Sato in the credits. Sato, in the comics, was one of the heroes to use the Judomaster identity, and her power was a field that wouldn’t let any attack directed at her actually hit, although I think that was limited to living beings, not, say, robots. I also found it amusing that, while she’s still so clearly upset at Pat, Courtney expects him to know almost everything, like what a building is he’s never seen before. The pair do manage to find Jennie and they catch up on what’s been going on. As they leave, Nurse Love places a call to another name that’s ominous for readers of DC Comics.
Mike makes a series of surprising discoveries that lead him to a house that’s probably not up to building code at this point. In a series of cuts back and forth between scenes, Jennie, Pat, and Courtney work on a problem while Beth does more research. Beth finally learns something, but it’s too late. There’s an unexpected recovery, a surprise disappearance, and a nasty surprise that ends the show with one of the heroes in a lot of trouble.
What I liked: It was nice to see Starman actually apologize for some of his actions towards Pat. I’m amused by Courtney’s contradictions in how she’s treating Pat, and they’re very believable for a teen, superhero or no. Beth’s discoveries were interesting and put a new spin on things. I liked seen Jennie again. Mike’s on the trail of possibly finding them some more help. While some of what the Shade did was certainly not nice, it was wholly in character and believable. Mike isn’t getting very far in what he’s trying to do, but he gets points for effort. I’m very interested by them bringing in Helix.
What I didn’t: I’m a bit worried with what I learned about Wildcat. I’m hoping they find a way to free, clear, and repower Rick. Wasn’t there a big storm brewing over Blue Valley that was supposed to be really bad and dangerous? Where’d that go?
I thought this was another good episode, and the Eclipso war is gaining momentum. I’ll give this a solid 3.5 out of 5. I have some ideas about how this is going to wrap up, and I’m curious to see if I’m right.