Stargirl season 2, episode 11 review: Summer School: Chapter Eleven

DC's Stargirl -- "Summer School: Chapter Eleven" -- Image Number: STG211fg_0002r.jpg -- Pictured: Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
DC's Stargirl -- "Summer School: Chapter Eleven" -- Image Number: STG211fg_0002r.jpg -- Pictured: Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

“Where is here, exactly?” Spoilers for Stargirl season 2, episode 11 follow.

Trapped in the Shadowlands, Courtney must attempt to escape Eclipso’s grasp, with the help of some unlikely allies along the way.

She is short on time though as the Shadowlands prey on her fear. Thankfully, she has people fighting to get her back on the outside.

Here’s what happened in Stargirl season 2, episode 12 “Summer School: Chapter Eleven”.

Black and white

This one starts off with such a bang as we transition immediately to the black and white world of the Shadowlands. Having most of this episode be in black and white was such a brilliant idea as it does one thing, throw the audience off-balance. This is a series that is saturated with bright colors and to see all of that drained away, it creates an immediate uneasy feeling while watching. Also, it’s just shot really well because black and white is often hard to shoot and edit, especially on digital, which is what this show is almost assuredly shot on.

Beyond that, Courtney’s immediate horror at seeing her surroundings and, eventually the Zarick family, adds onto the unsettling atmosphere even more. The first scene alone where she relives her first encounter with Joey Zarick is haunting. We feel the pain and fear of these lost souls that Courtney feels when seeing them and it makes the scene hurt even more.

Then, moving on, when we see Courtney interacting with the shadow realm version of Barbara, we get to see an underlying fear that Courtney has, probably something she hasn’t even admitted to herself. She’s afraid that she wasn’t wanted. Her biological father didn’t want her, so why would her mother? However, seeing Barbara beg The Shade to help save Courtney from the Shadowlands highlights how unfounded that fear is. Barbara loves her daughter more than anything else in the world.

But even amidst the fear that Courtney has felt in the Shadowlands, even with Eclipso manipulating her, she continues to run into the darkness to save Cindy. That’s just who she is. She runs into the darkness and is not consumed, but pushes it away, lightening the world around her, even if, momentarily she also falls into that darkness.

Lost Sin

As for Cindy though, this is the first we’ve seen of her in six episodes and she’s pretty much the same as she’s always been: Cruel and sadistic. However, the Shadowlands have changed her. Sure, she’s still as angry and psychotic as ever, but the fact that she doesn’t kill Courtney immediately shows that she has changed. Not completely, but enough.

We also get to see the thing that Cindy regrets the most: The death of her mother. Seeing her actually be human, even just for a minute works so well to humanize her and make her a sympathetic villain. She never chose this life, but even because of that, she can only see herself one way, a murderer. It immediately makes her feel much more three-dimensional.

What Courtney and Cindy’s parts in this episode highlight is why Courtney was able to fight back Eclipso and Cindy wasn’t able to. There’s darkness in everyone, but the good recognize that and constantly try to overcome it. The bad embrace it. Thus, Courtney fights against her darkness while Cindy embraces it, which is what ultimately feeds Eclipso.

Dr. Mid-Nite returns in Stargirl season 2

Finally. Finally! The original Dr. Mid-Nite appears in the flesh in this episode and seems to be playing a role moving forward as he escapes the Shadowlands with Courtney and Cindy. It’s so great to see him and the dichotomy of the calm veteran and the near manic at times rookie is a lot of fun for such a dark episode.

As for the current Dr. Mid-Nite, Beth maybe has the most emotional scene of the episode as she’s mourning Courtney before Charles contacts her. The line “My goggles are filled with tears, but I’m afraid to take them off,” could have been so incredibly cheesy and yet, it hits right in the heart thanks to Anjelika Washington’s phenomenal performance.

A.  <em>Stargirl</em> extends its wining streak as it has yet another great episode in what is shaping up to be yet another wonderful season. Hopefully it will stick the landing.. Stargirl. S2E11. Summer School: Chapter Eleven

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Stargirl season 2 returns to The CW next Tuesday, October 26, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

What did you think of Stargirl season 2, episode 11? Let us know in the comments below!