Stargirl: Shiv Part Two
July 7, 2020 7:28 PM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

After Courtney gets herself into some trouble following an unexpected confrontation, Pat decides they need to come clean to Barbara. Meanwhile, Cindy takes heat from her father after a plan to take matters into her own hands goes awry. Finally, Yolanda, Beth and Rick lead an investigation into one of their own classmates.
posted by oh yeah! (18 comments total)
No! Not the Buick!
posted by sardonyx at 8:34 PM on July 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

In professional wrestling one of the oft-used forms of high praise for a wrestler is to say they "could get a great match out of a broom". Which is to say if you put them alone in the ring with a broom and had them fight it, they could convincingly put on a compelling match against an inanimate object with no outside help. I genuinely enjoy Luke Wilson, but it turns out he cannot get a good scene out of an inanimate Cosmic Staff.

Barbara continues to be be the front-runner for the Superintendent Chalmers Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Credulity Award.

Barbara: So you took Mike and Courtney to the football game?

Pat: Yes.

Barbara: And then partway through the game you left?

Pat: Right.

Barbara: With Courtney, my daughter?

Pat: Uh huh.

Barbara: Leaving Mike, your son, alone at the game?

Pat: Yup.

Barbara: Without telling him?

Pat: Correct.

Barbara: So you could give her her first driving lesson?

Pat: Naturally.

Barbara: At night? On open road? Resulting in a crash that totaled the car and rendered her in need of medical care?

Pat: I guess, yeah.

Barbara: I have no further questions.

Pat: Ok, but there is something going on with Courtney you need to know about and my demeanor when I'm saying this suggests that it's pretty important.

Barbara: Not now; I'm tired.

Someone other than Mike should have something to say about Courtney's stepfather's sudden interest in her life. On a related note, every scene where Beth is talking to Chuck feels like that girl is being groomed by predatory headgear.

Shiv has been fun the past couple of episodes and her transition to capital-V Villain is a much-needed change from the current ISA.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:30 PM on July 7, 2020 [8 favorites]

I am enjoying this a bunch but I just know I'm gonna have to somehow convince myself its believable that a group of villains who successfully wiped out the entire Justice Society of America in one fell swoop without suffering, apparently, a single loss of their own are going to be defeated by a bunch of incompetent teenagers and Luke Wilson. I know it.
posted by Justinian at 10:33 AM on July 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

It's silly, but I also am enjoying it quite a bit. It's a pleasant surprise, for example, that the show didn't string out the thing about Cindy and Courtney not knowing about their aliases. The show is moving quickly, which is a big part of why I'm enjoying it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:06 AM on July 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Does the JSA exist in the Supes/Batguy/WoWo world or in a different earth? I only ask because I feel like the JSA getting wiped out might get them off the golf course or whatever to take care of the baddies who did it. Bonus points if you can answer this without reference to Crisis something or other.
posted by Justinian at 3:42 PM on July 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

No. It's a different earth. If you want the non-Crisis answer, here's the corporate one. This show was developed for a different channel/streaming service than the CW network (even though it also runs on CW).

Starting next season, however, the show will only air on CW. (It lost its digital streaming home.) Something like this happened with Supergirl, which started off on one network and then migrated to CW. Once there, it got rolled into the larger Arrowverse which led to Crisis and all of the Arrowverse worlds merging.

You mention Wonder Woman. She's part of the DC movie universe, not the DCCW TV universe. (There is a super dude and there was a bat guy in the TV one.) That's also why there is a different Flash on TV than there is in the movies. Consider the TV and the movie earths different earths (since movie Flash showed up during Crisis, we'll have to assume both come from the same multiverse).

(I hope I get at least partial bonus points for my answer. I avoided the C-word as much as I could.)
posted by sardonyx at 3:52 PM on July 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

Actually, I should clarify my answer. The JSA that we see depicted in Stargirl is a different JSA than the one in the DCCW. The Arrowverse had its own JSA, but its fate seems very different (and there were different actors playing the roles).
posted by sardonyx at 3:55 PM on July 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

oh my goodness
posted by Justinian at 5:11 PM on July 8, 2020

I mean thanks. So who are the heaviest hitters power-wise in the Stargirl universe? Do we know enough to say? Or are we not sure what other folks exist there yet.
posted by Justinian at 5:13 PM on July 8, 2020

I think it is too soon to tell. So far the new JSA members all get their powers from technology (with a genetic connection in two cases). There's nobody with powers like the Supers, Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern, or the Flash.

On the adult ISA side, being able to read and control other's thoughts would make Brainwave very powerful were he not in a coma. Icicle can freeze things at a distance and he's ruthless. Except for the pilot we haven't seen Solomon Grundy in action yet. Dr. Ito hasn't been shown to have powers but he can create clones so he can provide a small army.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:37 PM on July 8, 2020

Lastly, Stargirl's brother is totally gonna end up with the weird pink pen, right?
posted by Justinian at 5:50 PM on July 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

If (and only if) the show is adhering to the comics* the heaviest hitters should all be JSA members. Pretend that the big names you know from the movies (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) don't exist. The JSA is supposed to have brought together the most powerful heroes and united them as a team.

*When I say comics, I'm specifically referring to All-Star Squadron, which was Roy Thomas' attempt to retell WWII and post-war JSA stories but to do so without Supes, Bats, Wondy, the Barry Allen version of Flash, etc. in an approach he dubbed retroactive continuity (a term which is casually misused and misapplied these days). All-Star Squadron essentially redefined the JSA and created the line-up we see on Stargirl.

The original JSA books were the Justice League of their day and featured the Trinity (plus the Jay Garrick version of the Flash) in addition to a host of other characters. During the Silver Age (late 1960s and 1970s), these books and characters were said to have resided on Earth-2, so that the big-name characters could be given cleaner and more modern histories (and so that Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent weren't young adults in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and hence too old to be fighting crime decades later).

When Crisis on Infinite Earths happened in the 1980s, it wiped out the Earth-2 versions of characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman (so there were no duplicate characters or characters with older doubles). Characters that weren't currently in use or big names (like Starman or Dr. Mid-Nite) were allowed to remain as historical (1940s and 1950s characters) and be part of the JSA. There were a few characters (I think, it has been a while) like Doctor Fate and Hawkman that were allowed to exist as both historical and current characters, but their origins and backstories got massively more complicated and messed up--so much so that writers of today are still trying to fix them.
posted by sardonyx at 5:52 PM on July 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

The happy place I eventually came to with regards to comic continuity was to compare it to jazz/pop standards and cover versions. Once everyone knows the tune to My Favorite Things (raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, etc.) either by study or by cultural osmosis, then you can riff on it - MFT, but as a torch song, or as Norwegian Death Metal, or as a honky-tonk.
Now carry that, but to a character, like Sherlock Holmes. You've got Sherlock, but the Jeremy Brett version, or Rathbone, or Downey. Or Sherlock and Watson, but they're two Japanese women, or its a gay love story, or it's set in 2099.

So every author / artist / creator who has taken a shot at the JSA, that's 'their' JSA. In the same way that there's Marston's Wonder Woman, and Gail Simone's, and Linda Carter's, and Gal Gadot's etc.
The franchise reboots and parallel earths and Multiversal Crises are just a device to get around 'how can there be two?' and 'where's Batman in all this?' and 'since when can Wondy fly?' questions.

Therefore, you don't have to be all that concerned with continuity per se. This is the CW Stargirl JSA, which is different from the CW Legends of Tmrw JSA, which are both a bit different from the JSA when Geoff Johns was writing the comics, etc. But important to note about versions is that: Everything that the creators need you to know about this iteration, they're going to tell you themselves as they build their version.

What I can speculate about from other versions is that:
-Grundy is The Hulk, but as a voodoo zombie instead of mr. Hyde. Very smashy-smashy, too dumb to outsmart, and unkillable because he's already dead. So everyone, including the baddies, should be wary of that.
- I have two $10 bets out on the little brother getting the pen, and mom getting a particular costume that hasn't been hinted at yet
- every playground is sprinkled with arguments on who's more powerful / dangerous: someone who can throw a truck at you, or someone who can telepathically convince you you're blind. So that's all debatable. But the show has been doing a pretty good job with signaling things like Sportsmaster will do a backflip and hit you in the face with a 98mph fastball to show off; Icicle will murder you in his living room because he's done with a conversation but you're still speaking. They're telling you which ones you should be afraid of in this version.

I will say that of all the CW super shows, Stargirl so far has done the best job of making a show that does not count on the viewer knowing / liking / bringing any prior knowledge to the table. It's hard for me to know for sure, since I can't un-read / un-know the things I do. But I think this is the one where you're not missing out or unable to relate because of something valuable to be found in another text.
To leap franchises, it's a bit like Wrath of Khan; among all the Star Trek films, it's the only one where a viewer can go in blank, never having seen the show or heard a catchphrase. The movie tells you everything you need about who everyone is and what they are to each other and why you should care. As opposed to all the other films, which make little sense unless you're already a fan and you would be buying a ticket anyway.
So don't sweat not having researched the JSA; this show is doing a great job of not just show-dont-tell, but pretend-you've-never-heard-of-comics storytelling.
posted by bartleby at 6:51 PM on July 8, 2020 [6 favorites]

Absolutely, bartleby. Dead bang on. Also, I suspect your betting money is pretty safe, although your second bet may take a bit more time to pay out than the first one.

Look, there is no way that this show, which is geared towards a younger (and female) audience is going to expect that the viewers have any knowledge whatsoever of the fact that a power ring charged by a green lantern has a weakness against wood (for example) or that eliminating a belt from a costume may not be the best idea in the world (although having a staff kind of balances out that issue) because a) that's a great way to limit your audience and b) because young girls are dumb when it come to sci-fi and comic book stuff even though right now is the easiest time in history to get your hands on comics and especially back issues. (Believe me, I know girls aren't actually dumb about this stuff--at one point in my life I was a young girl who read comics--but we all know old prejudices and assumptions are hard to kill.)

I like the jazz standard analogy, even though I never thought of comics in that way. I usually likened comics continuity to baseball. If you want to go watch a game and enjoy an afternoon at the ballpark (or in front of the TV) that's great. If you're interested in the sport, you can get familiar with either your home team or the division it plays in or all of the teams in the whole league. If you want to round out your experience, you can take a deeper dive into the numbers behind baseball: you can record balls and strikes and/or you can start to compare current stats with older ones. Sure, you'll never see the (pick a random team and year) 1932 Yankees actually play a game, but you can appreciate the history behind the team. While you can debate until you're blue in the face whether that same 1932 Yankee lineup could beat the 1993 Blue Jays, you know it's strictly hypothetical, it doesn't really matter, and that the game has changed so much over the decades that there really is no way to say this this era or team or lineup is better than one from a different period in time. It's just nice to be able to have the full historical perspective, if that's the kind of thing you enjoy and if that gives more depth to your viewing experience.

For some people, that kind of statistical analysis would drive them crazy and keep them from enjoying the actual action of the game, so there is no need for them to bother with the numbers. Either way, you're a baseball fan, and only the louts and the blowhards and the guys (because it's almost always guys) who have tiny little egos themselves will tell you you're doing baseball wrong.

As for myself, I've said it here before (or in the Arrowverse threads) my comics knowledge is pretty out of date, teams were never my strong suit, the JSA and war comics in particular really weren't my cup of tea. I missed the the Gold Age, caught a tiny bit of the Silver Age (in reprints) and really came into comics during the Bronze Age. I was much more of a street-level-hero reader (on the DC side) with the Bat Family as my main focus (which eventually led to getting a pretty good sense of overall Bat history). What all that means is I'm all over the map with JSA stuff. Some characters, I have a decent familiarity with. Others, I only know by name or by reading their encyclopedia-like entries in Who's Who or seeing the in cameos in major events like Crisis.

For Stargirl, it means I'll catch some of the Easter eggs and early hints about characters and I'll totally miss other cues and blatant references (including secret identities of the villains). In some ways having less knowledge makes it easier to watch because then I'm not nitpicking all the changes in continuity or the liberties that, say, Arrow took with the Batman canon (and believe me, there were so, so many). I can just watch a new-to-me story.

All that said, the list of depicted JSA members is: Starman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Hourman, Wildcat, Green Lantern, Sandman, Johnny Thunder, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Dr. Fate and the Flash. At least those are the people pictured in Pat's photo. (The list sounds about right, but I didn't go back and rewatch the video. I just pulled the information from the Internet.)

Justinian, you had a question about heavy hitters. Dr. Fate, as a very powerful magical entity should be near the top of the list. Green Lantern should also be considered pretty powerful (even though the Alan Scott JSA version isn't really comparable to the Hal Jordan, Green Lantern Corps member of the Ryan Reynolds film). The Hawks can fly and hit things with their maces--I wouldn't expect to see much of them on this show. Johnny Thunder definitely had power. Like Green Lantern, the JSA Flash isn't quite as formidable as his Justice League counterpart but he's still a very major player. Sandman could be interesting. There are all sorts of ways to take that character. I suspect if they get around to him, his replacement be more akin to Beth than Courtney.
posted by sardonyx at 8:26 PM on July 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Baseball's good. I know the game but don't follow any particular team vs. I only follow this one team but I know ALL about them vs. I can name every 3rd baseman who ever hit a grand slam in the postseason.

I find it really helpful to get people calibrated via some other set of genre conventions that overlap. Like "do you like heist movies? Well this one's the Brains, this one's the Muscle, this one does Gadgets, etc." Or 'the guy with the wings is a Barbarian/Fighter minmaxer with all the melee weapon proficiencies, the guy in the gold helmet is a lvl 20 lawful neutral Warlock whose patron is the Lords of Order, the guy in the gas mask is a Divination mage with a sleep gas gun".
Oh thanks, now I know all I need to, in order to place everybody in the narrative!

I think that maybe the Atom was (very small) in that painting too? I'd have to go back and look. In which case he'd be 'Not the Legends Atom, which was an Iron Man suit that can also get small - which is NOT like the comics. More like Marvel's Ant-Man, but without the insect stuff? Oh, and he's smart but nice like the Legends one, not a goof like Paul Rudd.'

-Ok, so Shrinky Science Guy, Bird Wings, and Magic Green Fire Ring have to go fight Ice Daddy, Violin Hypnotist, Immortal Caveman, and Psychic Gorilla.
÷You got it! See, comics aren't impenetrable.
-But this is not the same Psychic Gorilla from the Flash show?
÷It's the same character with the same name, but they're playing it a little different. Two brands of orange soda, still both orange soda.
- But why?
÷Because sometimes you want them to be a science experiment gone wrong, and sometimes it works better for the story if they're from a magic island instead. But either way, everybody loves a telepathic gorilla, right? And the name is fun to say. GORILLA GRODD!
posted by bartleby at 9:42 PM on July 8, 2020

Oh, that marriage. Barbara's husband is secretly training her daughter to risk her life and lying about her injuries? Um, red flag.
posted by amtho at 12:32 AM on July 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

As it turns out I have a much higher tolerance for CW writers' inevitable tendency to make their main character do obviously foolish things just to advance the plot when the character in question is explicitly and intentionally an inexperienced teenager. I was a dumb teenager once, too.

Still, it works because it's, at least in theory, the start of an arc for the characters -- one that will see them wise up and see them get better at working as team, functioning as superheroes, and just functioning as adults for that matter.

I agree that one of the strengths of the show has been that it keeps the plot moving along at a pretty zippy pace, but that character growth has not been moving along so quickly. A few super-suits have been handed out, but emotionally/intellectually all the characters are in nearly the same spot as they were episode 1 (Pat has shifted his position the most but he's still basically a wet blanket; I do appreciate, at the very least, that "the person who insists [engaging with the plot] is bad and dangerous and to be avoided" is traditionally a female character and the genderswap of the roles is nice to see).

But it remains to be seen whether the writers can actually bring themselves to let go of the idiot ball and show teenagers slowly growing into maturity and superhero-ness over time. The Flash had the same promise in the beginning, too - Barry was kind of a dumbass who got by on the sheer strength of his powers, a fact that Oliver called pointed attention to in their very first crossover. The implication was that Barry would grow smarter and more experienced over time, but alas, six seasons later he's only grown more mopey. I hope for better things from this show!
posted by mstokes650 at 1:23 PM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I gotta love that Cindy has no genre blindness and figured out who Courtney was right off. That's a rare thing to see.

"I genuinely enjoy Luke Wilson, but it turns out he cannot get a good scene out of an inanimate Cosmic Staff."

Hahahahaha, true dat.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:59 PM on November 5, 2020

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