Following last weeks slightly cheesy instalment (yes I’m looking at you Sportsmaster and Tigress) we’re treated to the first part of an intriguing legacy storyline featuring a timely parallel between Cindy (Meg DeLacy) and Courtney (Brec Bassinger). One the daughter of a hero and one revealed as the daughter of a villain, but both striving for the same outcome: acceptance from their father figures. It’s definitely a great setup, with their mirroring paths coming to an exciting crossroads, culminating in an explosive showdown.
After their first fight together ended blunderingly, Pat finally decides to mentor the Justice Society 2.0 in the importance of working together as a team, whilst understanding their foes’ weaknesses. Meanwhile, the ISA hold an emergency meeting to try and work out who the new team in town are, with Cindy overhearing their whole conversation. Rebelling against her father’s strict instructions, the teenager lashes out and suits up, with grave consequences.
With this week’s focus on Blue Valley High School’s resident mean girl Cindy, “Shiv Part 1” proves a compelling and ultimately tragic origins episode. Fans of the Stars and STRIPE comics will have known Cindy’s villainous identity, but with Johns adding the intriguing twist of Courtney potentially unwittingly pushing her towards her dark path, the instalment added a fresh take on Stargirl’s archenemy. No doubt Courtneys decision to ditch Cindy to go to homecoming with Icicle Jr will come back to haunt her, as the cheerleader was teetering on the edge of evil following the rejection of her best friend and boyfriend.
With the reveal of Cindy’s true lineage and metahuman powers, John’s further explores one of the show’s main themes of legacy and taking up the mantle, particularly with Cindy’s mother’s costume hanging front and centre in Dragon King’s underground lair. It’s interesting to note his reluctance to Cindy suiting up and wanting to join the ISA, coming across as surprisingly protective, or is he merely bored of her insistence? It’s hard to know with that mask! As the Injustice Society hold an emergency meeting to try and discover who the new JSA are, Sportsmaster and Tigress raise the point of potentially recruiting their daughter, Artemis, to the cause. With Henry King Jr.’s latent telepathic powers coming to the forefront and presumably Cameron’s soon to emerge, it’s going to be fascinating to see which side the teenagers will align with.
Meanwhile the Dugan/Whitemore family dynamics are further strained, as Pat spends more and more time with Courtney, tutoring her and the new Justice Society of America recruits. As only Barbara (Amy Smart) turned up to support Mike (Trey Romano) at his science fair in last weeks episode, it’s easy to see the young kid’s hurting. As he explains to Courtney at the big pre-Homecoming football match, him and Pat have been through a lot, and he’s a little jealous of how much time they’ve been spending together. Following Shazam!, it’s interesting to see the step family explored further, I just hope Barbara gets a little more to do in future episodes!
Culminating in an action-packed showdown between a suited up Cindy and Stargirl, “Shiv, Part One” sets up an exciting dynamic between the two, particularly as the new villain overhears Pat stupidly revealing Courtney’s secret identity. The latest episode also introduces an intriguing new hero in the form of the school’s janitor, who I’m sure will play a bigger role in the final half of the season.