Stargirl Season 1 Episode 11 Review: Shining Knight

Oh, Courtney.

Who else wanted to just give her a big hug after everything she went through on Stargirl Season 1 Episode 11?

It was just so heartbreaking to watch Courtney go through the process of learning Starman wasn’t her father, being let down by Sam again, and then thinking the staff had forsaken her because of her parentage.

However, with the love and support of her friends and family, she got through it.

Brec Bassinger absolutely killed in every scene.

From Courtney’s denial about Sam to being heartbroken when he asked for the locket back and despondent when she thought the staff didn’t want her anymore, Bassinger nailed every second of this episode.

Weirdly, though, meeting Sam may have been the best thing that could have happened to Courtney.

No one liked seeing her that heartbroken or despondent, but learning the truth helped clarify some things for the series’ protagonist.

First and foremost, it made her realize that being chosen had nothing to do with her parentage.

The Cosmic Staff always knew she wasn’t Starman’s daughter, but it still chose her because she was worthy, just like Starman told Pat it would before dying.

Courtney: It doesn’t want me anymore. It knows I’m not Starman’s daughter, and it doesn’t want me.
Pat: Court, that’s just not true.
Courtney: Yes, it is. The staff chose me because it thought I was someone else.
Pat: The staff didn’t choose you because of who your father is or isn’t.
Courtney: It knows all of my mistakes. It knows my dad isn’t Starman.
Pat: I don’t know a lot about the staff – it’s always known more than I did about almost everything – but it always knew your dad wasn’t Starman, Court. It chose you because it believed in you. It’s just waiting for you to believe in yourself again, that’s all. Heroes can come from anywhere.

By accepting this, hopefully, Courtney will realize what Pat said is true: Heroes can come from anywhere.

It doesn’t matter who her father is or isn’t; it just matters who she is.

And while the staff did work for Courtney at the end of the episode, it may still take some time for that to sink in fully.

Being Stargirl because Starman was her father was a big part of her identity as a superhero, so it’s likely as the series heads into the final two episodes of the season, viewers could see a shift in Courtney’s approach to carrying on the mantle. 

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as this episode also saw Courtney questioning everything she’s done as Stargirl since Stargirl Season 1 Episode 1.

Upon meeting Sam, Courtney instantly began spinning out, wondering what exactly she has been doing this whole time.

Presuming that she was Starman’s daughter essentially gave her a license to do whatever she wanted in her mind, as she was simply carrying on his legacy.

However, upon learning she wasn’t, Courtney was forced to reflect on her actions and how they negatively affected those around her.

She is in no way responsible for Henry and Joey’s deaths, but she began to wonder if she somehow, unintentionally had a hand in how things played out.

It’s unfortunate it had to come to this, but this may finally be the thing that forces Courtney to heed Pat’s warnings and be more cautious as she and the new Justice Society of America move forward.

Courtney: I’m not Stargirl.
Beth: Yes, you are.
Courtney: No, I’m not Beth. My dad wasn’t… he isn’t Starman. He was just some jerk.
Yolanda: My dad isn’t Wildcat, but I am now.
Courtney: This is different Yolanda.
Yolanda: How?
Beth: Yeah, how? I never met Dr. Mid-Nite, but I’m the new one.
Courtney: Because the staff won’t work for me anymore, OK.
Beth: Why not?
Courtney: Because it knows I’m not Starman’s daughter.
Rick: Courtney, the staff is stupid then.
Courtney: No, it’s not. I used it when I wasn’t meant to, and now I know for sure. It was my fault Henry died, and it was my fault Joey Zarick was killed. I can’t have anyone else get hurt because I thought I was… because I thought I was someone I’m not.

Even though this belief is a bit — or very — repetitive at this point, having the rug pulled out from under Courtney shook her in a way viewers have never seen before.

There have been moments of caution along the way after something terrible happened, but it’s never been permanent.

Not even the most severe offenses — nearly dying after fighting Cindy, her family’s safety — have been enough for Courtney to reconsider how she approaches being a superhero.

All that mattered to her was getting justice for the Injustice Society of America’s killing her “father.”

Now, though, stopping the ISA isn’t just about avenging her dead father, like it is for Rick.

It’s become something bigger than herself, as she has to carry on this fight not just for her and her family, but for all of Blue Valley.

With this clarity, Courtney can approach things as a more level-headed leader, one who isn’t solely driven by getting justice for Starman or living up to her dead father’s legacy.

She can finally become the remarkable and capable leader the new JSA needs if it is going to have any chance to stop half the country from being brainwashed.

Another unexpected thing that may come from Courtney meeting Sam is now she may be willing to accept that Pat has been her true father all along.

Pat could never compare with Courtney’s idealized version of Starman: A father who didn’t abandon her and her mother but rather one who didn’t show up because he was killed while fighting evil.

He’s gone, huh. Look, if you need to yell at someone, if you need to let it out, I can take it, OK. Whatever you need, Court, I’m here, all right.


That belief immortalized Starman as the epitome of a superhero, and by extension, a parent.

So it never mattered what Pat did or what lengths and risks he went to help and train Courtney; it was always going to pale in comparison to Starman making the ultimate sacrifice to protect her and Barbara.

Now that she’s met her biological father and seen for herself just how much of a con artist and letdown he truly is, it opens the way for Courtney to accept Pat as the father she deserves.

She’s already making progress on this front, as when Sam randomly showed up on their doorstep, Courtney sought comfort in Pat rather than Barbara.

Pat continued to be his usual, supportive self, but it truly resonated with Courtney just how much he does and cares for her, especially in direct comparison with Sam.

Courtney is finally starting to see Pat for everything he is, as opposed to everything he isn’t, and that’s a great place to be.

She may not be ready to call him ‘Dad’ anytime soon, but she is just now realizing how much of a parent Pat is to her, as she needed both her parents — Barbara and Pat — to be there for her when she went to pick up the staff.

And it’s just in the nick of time because the new JSA has about 12 hours until Dr. Ito’s machine goes live and half the country is under the ISA’s control.

Then, there’s also the issue of Icicle giving Brainwave the OK to kill the entire Whitmore-Dugan family. Hence, things are about to kick up into overdrive during the final two episodes.

Justin: Stripesy.
Beth: Oh, that’s our janitor. Hey.
Rick: Why the hell is he carrying a sword?
Pat: I don’t know.

The good news is the new JSA has found itself an ally in the school janitor, Justin, better known as the Shining Knight, who fought side by side with Pat and Starman during their days as part of the Seven Soldiers of Victory.

The bad news is Justin doesn’t seem to be all there due to Dr. Ito’s brainwashing.

Though the series didn’t fill in all the blanks, Justin came to Blue Valley after the Seven Soldiers of Victory disbanded because Dr. Ito still needed to be stopped and was somehow captured and subjected to brainwashing.

While the series doesn’t elaborate beyond that, the comics do offer some additional insight into Justin and his relationship with Dr. Ito.

In the comics, Justin went after Dr. Ito upon learning Dr. Ito had slain his true love, Firebrand.

Like in the series, Justin was defeated and brainwashed, leaving him as an amnesiac who took a job as a janitor at Blue Valley High School.

Justin clearly wants to help the new JSA, but it is still a question of whether they can trust him to have their backs when they go to fight the ISA.

Justin wouldn’t hurt any of them on purpose, but he has a hard time distinguishing reality from fantasy, as evidenced when he confused Pat, Beth, and Rick for Dr. Ito and his minions.

Justin: I was but a lowly yet loyal page, cleaning the horses’ stables, yet King Arthur himself bestowed to me his sword upon his deathbed. He told me heroes can come from anywhere.
Beth: Wait, are you like from the past?
Justin: From the time of knights and dragons.
Rick: Pat, do you seriously believe that?
Pat: Yeah, I actually do.

That makes him unpredictable in a fight, and the new JSA has enough to worry about without Justin possibly impeding their efforts.

It’s heartbreaking because all Justin wants is to get his memories back, and fighting the ISA or taking down Dr. Ito could be what turns the tide.

It just becomes a matter of whether the new JSA is willing to take that risk.

Some stray thoughts:

  • Though Icicle is the de facto leader of the ISA, Brainwave may be the eviler supervillain. Brainwave had no remorse over killing Henry and even seemed glad it happened as it enhanced his psychic abilities.

    Icicle, on the other hand, had second thoughts about killing Courtney and Pat, people who put the ISA’s entire plan in jeopardy, because he has feelings for Barbara.

    Sure, he eventually agreed to let Brainwave kill the entire Whitmore-Dugan family, but he did have qualms, which is more than can be said from Brainwave, who didn’t bat an eye at killing his wife and now his son.

  • Beth not even blinking an eye when the school janitor showed up to Pat’s autobody shop with a sword had been laughing. She’s so innocent and pure, and that random occurrence didn’t even phase her.

  • The series sort of glossed over Pat and Barbara’s marital woes, but I guess mass brainwashing tends to put things into perspective. I would like to see this issue revisited when things have settled down because I think there is still some more that needs to be explored between the pair.

    I liked that Barbara is being included in everything moving forward. Supporting Courtney’s decision to continue as Stargirl was a great parenting moment, as she realized other families in Blue Valley needed their help.

  • I wonder how difficult the process of casting Sam Kurtis was. Obviously, the writers needed someone who looked like Joel McHale, so they could reason why Courtney thought her father was Starman based on the picture in her locket. Geoff Shults was a decent lookalike, so kudos to the casting department.

  • Pat punching Sam was epic. That is all.

So what did you think Stargirl Fanatics?

Will some good come from Courtney meeting Sam?

Is Courtney ready to accept Pat as her dad?

Can they cound on Justin?

Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the latest episode, remember you can watch Stargirl online at TV Fanatic.

Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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