Director – Greg Beeman
Writer – Geoff Johns
Following the high bar set by the pilot episode, Stargirl had a huge task on its hands to measure up with episode 2. Having watched the episode, it is my humble opinion that this is a show that has all its ducks in a row. “S.T.R.I.P.E” was a superb episode, delving further into the DC lore and laying the groundwork for where the season is going to be heading. Introducing a plethora of villains into the modern day setting, expanding on the principal character’s backstory and providing an action-strewn sequence that pushed the show’s cgi budget to its limit, this episode had a bit of everything.
Picking up directly from where last week left off, we were treated to several scenes featuring Pat Dugan’s creation, S.T.R.I.P.E. Quite often on shows of this ilk, cgi creations can often look wonky and ill-placed. Whilst not a multi-million dollar creation ala Thanos, this iteration of the character looks perfectly fine within the context of the show. Creating a practical version of the robot to be used in the less kinetic sequences is a masterstroke too, as it makes the Special Tactics Robotic Integrated Power Enhancer seem more tangible and real. Destined to be a recurring feature in the show, it is a fanboy’s delight to see relatively unheralded characters get their time in the sun. The interplay between Luke Wilson and Brec Bassinger was again a highlight of the show, with the dynamic between the two a strange one. On one hand they are a stepfather and daughter figuring out their relationship and on the flipside they are a superhero and sidekick starting out on their heroic path. The casting of these two roles has been spot on, with both actors personifying the qualities needed to bring the characters from the page to the screen.
As well as getting to see S.T.R.I.P.E in all its glory, we also got the full debut of the Stargirl costume. Totally comic book accurate, it was nice to see Courtney adapt the existing Starman costume, bloodstains and all, into an ensemble for herself. The durability of the costume was highlighted via a room full of smoking sewing machines, an example of the show’s knack for light comedy.
Geoff Johns’ world building in this episode is a real feat. The cast of villainous characters that are revealed to be active in Blue Valley is extensive. Without wishing to spill the beans for viewers that aren’t as familiar with the alter egos of the pantheon of DC villains, all I will say is keep an eye on the gym owner, Lawrence Crock and his wife Paula. In addition to the multitude of rotters that are brought to the fore at the end of the episode ( was that Grundy in the cage?) there are plenty more members of the Injustice Society ready to take their bow. The clues are in the portrait at villain HQ….
Overall, S.T.R.I.P.E. was an excellent episode. Johns has deftly plotted the course of the show so far to make it instantly accessible to new fans and full of treasure for the old school fans. Expertly leaving on a hook for next week, events are about to get very cold….