Stargirl season 3, episode 1 review: The Murder

DC’s Stargirl -- “Frenemies: Chapter One” -- Image Number: STG301_0022r -- Pictured (L - R): Trae Romano as Mike Dugan, Amy Smart as Barbara Whitmore, Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore / Stargirl, and Joel McHale as Sylvester Pemberton / Starman -- Photo: The CW -- © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
DC’s Stargirl -- “Frenemies: Chapter One” -- Image Number: STG301_0022r -- Pictured (L - R): Trae Romano as Mike Dugan, Amy Smart as Barbara Whitmore, Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore / Stargirl, and Joel McHale as Sylvester Pemberton / Starman -- Photo: The CW -- © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

“You’re the future. Not me. And I know that. But I can train you.” Spoilers for Stargirl season 3, episode 1 follow.

Summer is over which means Stargirl and the JSA are entering a new season of their lives, as well as heading back to school.

It’s not long before something heinous shakes up the community of Blue Valley though and the Justice Society of America must figure out what happened.

Here’s everything that happened in Stargirl season 3, episode 1 “Frenemies: Chapter One – The Murder”.

Stargirl season 3, episode 1 recap and review

Coming to America

This show really knows how to reintroduce us to the golden vibe that it will immediately shatter very well. Stargirl season 3 starts by introducing us once again to Blue Valley and we are immediately confronted with the nice, picket-fence, classic American dream vibe. But, if anything over the past two seasons have shown, this classic American dream vibe is quickly about to be shown to be a facetious lie. Which absolutely happens within the final moments of the episode.

Season 3 kicks off after the Whitmore-Dugan family returns from the vacation featured in Earth-Prime: Stargirl #4, which you should read, it’s very fun. But now that Courtney is back from vacation and summer’s over, the JSA is back in school. That means they are going to have team meetings during lunch again, which are obviously tense with Cindy joining the literal round table. Yolanda and Rick are much less keen on forgiveness than Courtney and Beth, which makes for some humorous, yet very tense scenes between the group. And honestly, this is way better than the entire group just letting Cindy join the JSA without any pushback. It works for the characters as well as already making the season even more interesting. The themes of this season are already being laid out on the table and those are forgiveness and reformation, so it will be interesting to see how the show handles it.

As for the first real JSA action of the season, it feels very small, with all five of them trying to stop a robbery. However, just before they jump in, Artemis comes and knocks all of the bad guys out, mixing the fighting styles of both of her parents. It’s a nice surprise and does a good job of setting up Artemis joining the team in future episodes.

Buried Alive

As for Starman, we have now found out at least why he’s back around. He was actually dead, but came back to life, seemingly once Courtney found the Cosmic Staff and it managed to somehow revive him. Obviously, there’s more to this story than is being presented right now, but for the time being, it’s a good enough explanation.

While there’s not a ton of Sylvester in this episode, the scenes between him and Pat are so incredibly sweet, kind, and heartfelt, but there’s just something that feels off about him still. Like he’s being controlled by Mister Bones, which would make sense as to why there are now cameras in the Whitmore-Dugan household, but hopefully it’s just a misdirect. Joel McHale is wonderful in this episode as Sylvester and really shows that he has so much more range than simply being Jeff Winger from Community.

The real pain comes from Sylvester breaking Courtney’s trust and taking out the Cosmic Staff without her permission. And then hearing that Sylvester came back for the Staff? It hurts and Brec Bassinger plays the pain that Courtney is feeling wonderfully. But then Courtney makes a very Courtney decision: To share the Staff. Obviously, this will lead to trouble as the season goes on, but for now, it seems like a way to present a non-generic power struggle between Courtney and Sylvester for control of the Staff.


The Crocks now live across the street from the Whitmore-Dugan family and that’s gonna be a recipe for fun and/or tension throughout the season, which is pretty great. We could tell that this was how it was going to be at the end of season 2, but to see it paid off so quickly in Stargirl season 3 is great. The fact that Crusher breaks into their house – well, walks through the unlocked front door – at 5:30am to try and make breakfast for Pat, but to also try to figure out what The Gambler was up to, it was charming while also building tension between the several characters that are seemingly going to be heavily featured this season, even without them in the same room.

Plus, there’s the scene of Paula coming to Barbara’s office and asking her to talk with Courtney about letting Artemis into the JSA. It’s tense, yet funny hearing Paula basically beg, yet threaten Barbara to let her daughter in while also barely even being able to say “JSA.” The dynamic between the Crocks and Whitmore-Dugans is really gonna be great this season.

As to what The Gambler seems to be doing, he’s making amends for his past deeds. But Pat and Courtney don’t immediately take kindly to his sudden reappearance and change of heart. He seemingly is doing this just to get into the good graces of his recently discovered daughter.

But not everyone is as nice in their reaction as Pat and Courtney. The Shade immediately takes his distrust of The Gambler and basically tells him to get out of town before he takes matters into his own hands. However, before The Gambler is able to anything that he wants to do, he’s murdered, kicking off the story of the season.

Stargirl starts off its third season with a lot of fun, yet provides a lot of tension that perfectly services the themes and story of the season.

Stargirl season 3 airs new episodes on Wednesday nights on The CW at 8/7c.

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What did you think of the Stargirl season 3 premiere? Let us know in the comments below!