Stargirl: Icicle Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers for Episode 3*
On this week’s episode of Stargirl, Icicle, we get a deeper sense of the Injustice Society’s plan as Icicle (Neil Jackson) heads back into Blue Valley and Pat (Luke Wilson) teaches Courtney (Brec Bassinger) a valuable lesson about being a hero.
Putting the spotlight mostly on his return, this episode does a great job fleshing out Icicle and his motivations without revealing his full plan. The episode opens with a very different tone than what the last episode ended on with a more humanizing moment of Icicle saying goodbye to his wife. There’s actually a lot we learn about Icicle in this opening scene – he’s from a family of Norwegian immigrants, he’s very attached to his family as he nearly breaks down before entering the room to see his wife, and her dying words inspire him to create a “New America.” It’s a legitimately perfect opening that kicks off an incredibly intriguing look into Icicle and how the values of the Injustice Society have changed over time.
As we see with William Zarick (Joe Knezevich), he’s sort of given up his desires for villainy and taken a liking to being a family man in a small town. Even with Icicle returning, he’s hesitant to return to his calls or take up his wizarding wand for the Injustice Society. Seeing him teach his son Joey (Wil Deusner) magic tricks is really sweet and perfectly symbolizes how he’s become a family man. It’s a great way to show how things have changed for both the heroes and villains over time and how their values and motivations differ from who they were before. Icicle isn’t thinking too differently though, as he’s looking to get right back to work and uncover who is taking up Starman’s mantle and possibly getting in the way of his ultimate plan.
Honestly, Jackson’s performance is flawless here as he shows the bipolar personality of Icicle to great effect. In one moment, we see him almost act like a perfect politician when he talks to the council of Blue Valley about using their town as a stepping stone to rebuild a better America and even acknowledges Barbara’s (Amy Smart) ideas to create a community theater. In some ways, Icicle almost seems like he could’ve had good intentions and possibly been a force for good. However, we quickly get to see his cold shoulder later in the episode when he takes his true icy form, which still looks incredible, and do some really terrible things. From icing up a highway to make a bus crash, which Pat thankfully saves as S.T.R.I.P.E., and pushing Joey an oncoming truck to kill him, Icicle horrifyingly reassures us that he’s a villain and one that isn’t going to have anyone get in the way of his plans. Even seeing his family, outside of his son Cameron (Hunter Sansone), be completely okay with him killing William as he angrily arrives at his house shows how powerful his influence has become and why he’s not one to be taken lightly.
Icicle’s return and immediate actions also play into Courtney learning some harsh realities about being a hero and being inspired to take action. After dealing with Brainwave (Christopher James Baker) and striking up a partnership with Pat, Courtney is keeping her eyes out for any suspicious characters in Blue Valley and actually being a little more heroic in her high school life. The scene of her helping Joey with a magic trick is very sweet and even her trying to console Yolanda (Yvette Monreal) after she’s slut-shamed really shows how she’s becoming a stronger force for good in her everyday life – even if her telling off the popular girls is a annoyingly forced. Even for her daddy issues and still whimsical view of being a hero, it was nice to see Courtney want to be a force for good – even if Pat doesn’t want her to.
While Pat is still acting as a guardian angel for Courtney this week and trying to live a normal life with his family, we see a weaker side to him. Not in the sense that he’s not intriguing or that Wilson doesn’t act like a good dad, but it’s easier to see him both reminiscing and somewhat living in the past. His talk with Mike (Trae Romano) about getting a paper route and his time playing the classic Atari game Paperboy was great, but his talk with Courtney after Joey is killed actually speaks to a weakness he has and sort of why he’s always going to be just a sidekick.
Hoping to make some sense of what being a hero is to a distraught Courtney, we see him take her to the meeting hall of the JSA to show her an important quality in being a hero – understanding failure. It’s a scene that’s very emotional as Pat talks about them like they are in a graveyard, Dr. Mid-Nite’s owl waits for his return that will never come, and Pat essentially tries to scare Courtney to stop being Stargirl. Not believing that there’s a new dawn of heroes coming to carry the torch the heroes that he grew up with lit, Pat is actually shown to have lost hope and not want to see more death come at the hands of the Injustice Society. In some ways, it’s easy to see his perspective given that Courtney is just a kid and doesn’t want to see her die, but his lack of hope and struggles to take action for the greater good kind of shows why Pat is just a sidekick and revels in a past that he can’t let go of.
Up until this point, Pat has always came off like this all-knowing figure, given his experience and romantic views of heroism, but here his fear shows his true colors and makes him look weak in a time that we don’t need. Thankfully though, Courtney’s whimsical attitude actually plays to her strengths here as her desires to rebuild the JSA with a new generation of heroes and take down the Icicle comes off very admirable. Rather than see this empty meeting room as a symbol for the death of a generation like Pat does, Courtney becomes inspired by the pictures of heroes and the tools they used. Being surrounded by the likes of Thunderbolt, Green Lantern, The Flash (the Jay Garrick version), and plenty others, Courtney sees this a time to rebuild and this moment is a perfect passing of the torch moment. It perfectly mirrors Icicle’s views of rebuilding something and gives this series the sense of heroism it needs. Courtney isn’t going to let the Injustice Society rebuild itself while her and Pat stand alone and it’s something that shows how willing she is to fight for the greater good – which I genuinely respect. With her going against Pat’s word, again, and taking some of the tools of the former JSA, including Thunderbolt’s pen that lets off a strange laugh when she touches it, Courtney is going to create a league of her own and it’s really exciting to know that more heroes are coming.
This week, Stargirl gives us everything fans could want and more – including a great look into Icicle’s motivations and Courtney being inspired by the failures of the JSA’s past to create a new generation of heroes. It showcases heroic failure in an incredibly emotional way and sparks a major change that sets the stage for epic moments as more heroes and villains join the fray.