Stargirl season 1, episode 11 review: Shining Knight

“I’m looking for a gallant steed with fire in its eyes and victory in its heart.” Minor spoilers for Stargirl season 1, episode 11 follow.

After Henry’s death, Courtney is wrestling with whether she should continue to be Stargirl in the latest episode of the DC Universe series. But before she can make a decision either way, her father – her real father – comes to her door.

Meanwhile, a hero from the past, who has also been present all along, begins to remember who he is.

Courtney’s dad, enter stage right

Well, after ten episodes of Courtney creating the mostly deadly drinking game ever by constantly saying she’s Starman’s daughter, the truth is fully revealed. Her dad is Starman! Wait, that’s wrong. In a surprise to no one, her dad is not actually Starman, but rather who her mom said he was in the first place, Sam Kurtis. With Sam’s arrival into Courtney’s life, this creates one of the most infuriating, anger-inducing episodes of the season so far and it’s executed fantastically.

Without spoiling anything that happens with Sam in this episode, his appearance here is almost identical to the final issue of Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., a series that this writer loves dearly. So, even knowing what’s going to happen due to the source material, what matters is how it occurs on-screen and well, it’s pulled off so well. It makes you feel everything that you need to feel in each scene while never overtly telling you how to feel. There’s a lot of subtext in each scene that slowly seeps its way to the surface of the episode. So much of this subtext leads to one universal feeling across the episode, the need to give Courtney the hug that she so desperately needs.

With Sam entering into Courtney’s life though, it is nice that we get to see her with her parents though, Barbara and Pat. Definitely not Sam. It’s a wonderful progression for the three throughout this episode that allows Courtney, Pat, and Barbara to all be seen as regular people. Imperfect, regular people. Because of this, we also get to see Courtney truly become Stargirl, no longer hiding behind her perceived father’s identity, but ready to forge her own.

A knight of olde

More than just Courtney’s father showing up in Blue Valley, an old friend of Pat’s has entered the fray, Justin, aka the janitor at Blue Valley High, aka the man who wields Excalibur. The show has done a great job of slowly keeping Justin relevant up until this point where he becomes more than just that weird janitor that we sometimes see. It’s been made clear that there’s more than meets the eye with him and we get the clearest picture as to who he actually is.

In fact, how Justin is handled in this episode is much better than his re-introduction in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. The story beats are basically the same when looking at the comic and the show, but where they differ greatly is in execution. Whereas the comic feels pulpier with more of an adventure emphasis, Justin’s introduction is relatively quick compared with the show. Here though, Justin is having a mental breakdown and it’s honestly incredibly sad to watch at times. The show creates a character that is easy to emphasize with so, when he once again takes on the mantle of Shining Knight, it will feel incredibly satisfying.

Brainwave and Icicle

While most of the focus of the episode being on Courtney and Pat, we do get some solid scenes with Brainwave and Icicle though. Knowing who both of these characters are now, especially after Brainwave killing his own son, it creates a new dynamic. Jordan has always felt like he was the one in power, but there’s a dynamic shift in this episode.

Now, with Brainwave back into the ISA fold, it feels a bit that Jordan is almost the figurehead of the ISA and Brainwave is the actual leader. It’s an interesting dynamic for the two to have and great to watch, even if they are villains.

Shining Knight Stargirl Season 1, Episode 11

A+

With plenty of family drama and the full introduction of an interesting new character, this is the best episode of Stargirl yet.

Stargirl streams on DC Universe on Mondays and airs on The CW on Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET. Did you enjoy this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments below!