Welcome to our weekly column Can’t Miss Episode of the Week! Every Saturday we’ll be spotlighting a different episode of television from that week that we thought was exceptional and a must-see. Check back to see if your favorite show got the nod — or to learn about a new one!
If it’s been feeling like DC’s Stargirl’s sophomore season has been mostly preamble so far, that’s because it has, and this week’s 6th episode, which aired on September 14, is what it’s all been leading up to. The CW’s hopeful teenage superhero show follows Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) who, after discovering the Cosmic Staff, rebuilds the Justice Society of America with her friends and family members in the small Nebraska town of Blue Valley. This season has seen a trifecta of villains facing the JSA, with the Shade (Richard Swift), Eclipso (Nick Tarabay), and Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy). This episode, all three of these forces collide with our heroes in one of the biggest fight scenes of the entire series, and nothing will ever be the same.
Following Pat (Luke Wilson) being attacked and Cindy kidnapping Courtney’s brother Mike (Trae Romano), the big battle between Cindy’s new Injustice Society of America – which includes the athletic Artemis (Stella Smith) and the moody Isaac (Max Frantz), sporting his parents’ magical violin – and the JSA goes down at the high school, and it takes up almost half the episode. What makes it exceptional though isn’t the length. It’s the series of twists that develop over the course of the fight. Teenagers going at each other only has so much juice, and it’s time for the season’s true big bad, Eclipso, the scariest villain the show has ever had, to take center stage. After it looks like the JSA has won, Cindy pulls out the black diamond to use against them, but having grown strong enough, Eclipso takes over her body.
The Shade, who it turns out is not so evil after all, shows up to help the heroes against Eclipso, but after Courtney accidentally shatters the diamond with her staff Eclipso is set free. (One minor caveat: I’m not loving the bad prosthetics and goofy costume that Eclipso is sporting, but he turns into a little boy at the end of the episode which is sufficiently creepy.) The devastation that follows is astonishing. Eclipso consumes Isaac’s soul, drowns Cindy in a puddle of black goo made from a shard of the diamond, and the Shade is significantly injured.
The episode ends with Eclipso escaping, Pat still in the hospital, the robot S.T.R.I.P.E in pieces, Isaac and Cindy dead, and the Shade out of commission for the moment. It’s a significant hole the JSA is going to have to climb out of, but a show is never better than when the heroes are down. We’re also still reeling from the idea that Cindy could actually be gone, and so early in the season too.
Some silver linings are: Artemis escapes Eclipso, giving her character ample opportunity to get that redemption arc she’s ripe for; Mike figures out his contribution to the JSA, which is to follow in his father’s footsteps and build technology that will be helpful to the team; Courtney and the rest of the JSA, who have been a bit at odds lately, are more united than ever against the immense threat Eclipso presents.
Other observations we thought made this episode stand out:
- One of the best episodes this season so far was the fourth one where Tigris (Joy Osmanksi) and Sportsmaster (Neil Hopkins) break out of jail to cheer their daughter on at an important football match, and wind up bonding with Pat and Barbara (Amy Smart). It’s a strange friendship, but also hilarious and adorable. We love the moment this episode when Artemis stops Isaac from delivering Pat a final blow because he’s her “dad’s friend.” It’s just one more reason to redeem Artemis.
- The moment when an eclipse appears in the sky when Eclipso emerges from the diamond is chilling.