“Icicle” takes some time to flesh out the Injustice Society in a welcomely character-driven episode of DC Universe’s charming new superhero show.
This recap of Stargirl season 1, episode 3, “Icicle”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
After laying the groundwork for a new, charming superhero show, DC Universe’s Stargirl takes some time in its latest episode to ease off on the setup and instead allow these characters – both Stargirl and Pat, and the villainous Injustice Society of America – to settle in. There’s a looming, presumably world-ending plot percolating in the background, but there’s no rush to do anything about it “Icicle”, which is lighter on the superheroics and feels better-paced as a result.
Naturally, a lot of the focus is on Courtney in Stargirl episode 3, who’s riding high on her victory over Brainwave and wants to take on the rest of the ISA one at a time – much to the chagrin of Pat, who cautions her against such impulsive behavior. The juxtaposition of Courtney as a superhero and a high-schooler also continues to work well, and we get to see some of her nice-girl personality here, which is a welcome change after her surly attitude in the first couple of episodes.
Courtney’s understanding of her new powers, or at least the new powers of the Cosmic Staff, helps her to find herself in the school setting, standing up to bullies and such; it isn’t a particularly imaginative metaphor, but an effective one nonetheless. But the villains continue to scheme in the background, taunting Courtney with frozen fields, leading to a confrontation with Icicle that results in carnage.
Since calamity always seems to ensue from Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E.’s attempts to thwart evildoing, and that calamity always threatens to expose what they’re up to and put them and their loved ones in further danger, Courtney reasons that some new recruits in the fight against the ISA wouldn’t hurt. It’s tricky, though, since everyone seems to be related to everyone else. Even Courtney’s friendships threaten to cause long-term problems, which I suppose is only right in superhero show that’s doubling as a coming-of-age drama.
But the promise of recruitment is nonetheless where Stargirl season 1, episode 3 ends, and the season overall feels stronger for “Icicle” and the character work that was done within it. What at first blush appeared to be archetypes are quickly revealing themselves as more layered characters with surprising connections to each other, and the balance between a light teen-focused show and something darker, with real consequences, has been handled well thus far. Stargirl is very good at providing just enough of everything that you can’t help but keep watching, and if it continues along these lines, it’ll end up being one of a traumatic year’s most pleasant surprises.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.