Stargirl: Frenemies: Chapter 7: Infinity, Inc. Part One

Hey, man, I never agreed to be on your hidden camera show. Not cool!

The sadly final series of Stargirl is moving onward, although with little progress to the central mystery of who killed the Gambler. The new JSA has spent a lot of this season bickering and fighting each other, but now we finally get to see some actual teamwork. We see a few old friends come back, a new one turns up, and there’s a name with a lot of history behind it in “Infinity, Inc Part One.”

First appearing in 1984, Infinity, Inc. was billed as the “sons, daughters, and proteges of the Justice Society of America.” Actually, most of this version of the JSA started off in Infinity, Inc. in the comics. The group was originally founded and led by the Star Spangled Kid, later Skyman, Sylvester Pemberton, and later additions to the ranks included this show’s versions of Hourman II, Dr. Midnight II, and Wildcat II. Jennie/Jade was a founding member, as was the late Henry King, Brainwave, JR. Stargirl herself hadn’t been created yet, and was never a member of the team.

The show starts off six months ago at the Ordway Home. Jerry Ordway is a legendary comics artist and was a co-creator of Infinity, Inc. We see once again the night Jennie aged out of the home and was told she had to go (at night? Really?). But, at the same time, her brother Todd got his very unusual date interrupted by a manifestation of his powers at the same time Jennie was finding her father’s ring. And this scene still has unanswered questions for me. Who separated the twins, and how did someone manage to know enough that Jennie was Green Lantern’s daughter and leave her the ring, but not care enough to look out for her? And how did they get the ring after GL’s death?

They’ve also chosen to shortcut a storyline that several people didn’t like. After several years of appearances, Todd, who is also a founder of Infinity, Inc and uses the codename Obsidian in the comics, was rewritten from heterosexual to gay. It was an odd, and somewhat jarring change, especially with a character whose inner thoughts and desires we’d already seen over the years. Here, he just starts off as gay, which I’d argue is a better decision.

Todd, who has been shown as being in Civic City, gets taken in by two cops named Andreyko and McFarlane, named after comic book creators Todd McFarlane and Marc Andreyko. Civic City, for its part, was the first home of the JSA in the comics. Todd is brought to the Helix Institution, taken in by Nurse Love, and led inside the somewhat grim-looking institution. Helix was a rival organization to Infinity, Inc. in the comics, and actually where the Yolanda Montez Wildcat came from.

Back in Blue Valley in the present, our cast of characters is scattered through the town. Following up on Beth’s discovery of all the hidden cameras, the characters are feigning various degrees of nonchalance (some much better than others). There’s a plan in place, largely hinging on Beth’s hacking skills and Starman running around on coms with everyone. Oddly, for whatever reason, Starman never shows up on screen, and is just a voiceover this episode. The assorted groups include The Dugan-Whitmore family at home for dinner; Rick, Zeek, and Jakeem Williams at the Pit Stop for game night; Yolanda at work at the diner; and Beth at home alone (I wonder where her over-enthusiastic parents have gone?). Finally, the plan is started, and various teams leap into action, going around and disabling the cameras that are all over the city.

Among the interesting sidebars are yet another confrontation between Yolanda and her really horrible mother, and some more views of the rasping figure with a thing for jigsaw puzzles who seems to be the one spying on everyone. Hourman and Dr. Midnight team up to start pulling the cameras from the school. We’re definitely starting to see the downside to Rick tinkering with the limiter in his father’s hourglass, and Dr. Midnight is getting rightly worried. She has dubbed this plan “Operation: Blackout Bomb,” which is what the devices the original Dr. Midnight used to make everything go completely dark around him were called.

Down in their basement, Courtney and Pat take out some more cameras and talk about recent events. Courtney shares some of her concerns, and the two are having a nice bonding moment. You just know that can’t last, and, indeed, it doesn’t. Someone we haven’t seen for a while pops in out of nowhere with an odd request. Pat and Courtney are confused, and then, since the visitor isn’t in the mood to wait, all three of them disappear. Yolanda is trying to help out on her end, but has another confrontation with her mother. Things get steadily worse, and there’s an ultimatum of the kind that usually is regretted later on.

While Mike realizes there’s a problem down in the basement, Pat and Courtney appear someplace new, and get briefed on the situation. We get another reunion, and a very odd couple vibe between the two returning characters in the scene. Some rough details are explained, and we see more of a different character having a really bad day. Between them, Pat and Courtney figure out a way to proceed, despite someone’s grumbling a lot.

At the Pit Stop, Jakeem has made yet another wish that didn’t go quite right. Annoyed, he looks through the chaos that’s leftover. Zeek once again shows hidden depths and tells a surprising story, giving some insight on the whole wishing process. Zeek has to be a fun part to both play and write for. Barbara and Mike’s searching the house for their missing family members gets interrupted when there’s a knock at the front door. They get a visitor who has some baggage, and the status quo for at least a part of the show is going to change.

Hourman and Dr. Midnight continue their tour of the school. Among the things that get confirmed is that the force behind the cameras is targeting them (as if there was doubt) and that Rick’s adjustments to the hourglass are problematic at best. They’re going to need to find a way to get him back on track. It’s a storyline that mirrors some of the original Hourman’s problems in the comics, given his powers there came from experimental drugs.

The last bit of the show is back with Pat and Courtney (fair enough since she’s the titular heroine, although she never appears in costume this episode). They and their returned friends find a prisoner, stage a break-in, but find the rescue has several problems, starting with the prisoner’s dire warning about freeing him. Nothing goes as expected in this attempted rescue, and then the group gets separated. During a power flare that seemed to surprise everyone, two of the group were suddenly wrenched away, finding themselves someplace we recognize, and at least one of them not happy to be here.

What I Liked: I enjoyed Infinity, Inc. when it came out, and am really glad to see it getting some recognition here. I was glad to see both characters return, although I certainly didn’t expect it to happen this way. I think I know what’s complicating their lives, but it will be interesting to see what happens with part two. I’m glad that someone changed their living situation; they desperately needed to.

What I Didn’t: I’m not enjoying Rick/Hourman’s story arc here. It’s predictable and I’m not sure is really adding anything. I don’t know where they would have fit it in, but I’ve been enjoying the Barbara/Paula scenes and kinda wish we’d gotten one here. I’m not sure I get why Rick and Beth suited up to go after the cameras, but no one else did, or why they had this complicated plan instead of just taking them out. It was an odd choice to have Starman off camera the entire episode. Did they just give up on Cindy?

It was a good, but not great episode. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. I’m still really saddened this is the last season.


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