Stargirl: Wildcat Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of Stargirl, Wildcat, Courtney (Brec Bassinger) is out looking for new recruits to rebuild the Justice Society of America and starts with the traumatized outcast Yolanda (Yvette Monreal).
With Courtney going against Pat’s (Luke Wilson) word, again, and grabbing some the old relics and costumes of the JSA, it’s time to get some new blood to take down the baddies – starting with Yolanda. In some ways, we’ve already been introduced Yolanda and other cohorts that Courtney will eventually recruit, but here we get to see why Yolanda has been relegated to the loser table and being slut-shamed by bullies. As we already know, Yolanda used to date Henry (Jake Austin Walker), the son of Brainwave (Christopher James Baker), and apparently was a pretty popular and positive minded student at Blue Valley High. However, after Yolanda is asked by Henry to send nudes to him and she does, the cookie cutter mean girls of this show send them to everyone. To be honest, it’s kind of modern cliché at this point and the poppy song that plays during this is kind of dumb, but this series adds some freshness to it through fleshing out how it’s impacted Yolanda both in and out of school.
Seeing how Yolanda’s family was with her both before and after the incident is very effective. While they once greeted and supported her with ease, they now barely speak to her and treat her as if she’s an inconvenience to have in their home. It’s left her feeling ashamed of herself when she doesn’t really need to feel that way and the way she’s seen as a disgrace and ridiculed really hits you. Not to mention, there’s a really touching moment with Yolanda opening up about how this incident has left her damaged and fueled her hatred towards other people – especially Henry since she thinks he did it. She even disregards Courtney’s friendship after she defends her again, but she eventually comes around and Courtney lets her in on her secret. Yolanda is actually a really strong addition to the cast as Monreal provides a very genuine performance and there’s a balance of logic and emotion within her that’s lacking in some of the other characters – especially Courtney this episode. Also, she kicks ass when she’s all suited up.
While it’s a tad odd that Yolanda doesn’t necessarily find Courtney befriending a glowing magical staff odd, the sequence of her putting on the Wildcat suit and figuring it out is pretty flawless. The mask looking a tad bulky is kind of funny and the way the oversized suit begins to fit to her when she puts on the helmet is awesome. I loved how they look up facts about Wildcat and his powers through a Wikipedia page as it shows the historic mark the JSA made as well as fit for a more modern time. We are also treated to another delightful training montage with Yolanda testing out her razor-sharp claws, which kind of remind me of Freddy Krueger’s claws, on a toaster and showing her newfound agility with a fun fence walk. I get that training sequences like this are a little cliché for the genre, but it’s something that never gets old for me and the giddy excitement that Courtney and Yolanda have throughout all of this is really fun.
After the training is done, the two decide to take this opportunity and get some more information about the Injustice Society by seeing who has been visiting Brainwave in the hospital. Here, we get a nice sequence of Wildcat climbing the hospital walls and some fun banter between Yolanda and Courtney about their lack of experience. Frankly, Yolanda has the attitude I sometimes wish Courtney would have about things as her gung-ho attitude is making her too oblivious. There’re some decisions that she makes in this episode that really show that she has no idea what she’s doing and has little depth to understand the weight of her decisions. Certain instances here, like her almost shutting off the power to create an easy escape for Wildcat that would also shut down all of the life support machines in the hospital keeping people alive and just casually tossing Thunderbolt’s mysterious pen into a jar of pens after rapidly clicking it to see what it does, really make Courtney look like a dope when she doesn’t need to. Even Pat kind of seems hapless this episode with him not thinking things through and letting obvious connections, like William being The Wizard based on the magician’s stuff in his wife’s car, slip by him.
Regardless, we still get some fun espionage bonding between the two and get some interesting moments for Henry and a surprise character. We get a moment of forgiveness with Yolanda seeing Henry cry next to his comatose father that’s kind of sweet in the moment as well as a shocking appearance from Principal Bowin (Hina X. Kahn) playing a violin for Brainwave that’s left as a mystery for now. Either way, the end sequence with Yolanda accepting that she has personal hurdles to deal with before taking on a new persona as Wildcat is great, even if it’s short lived, and the follow-up of her pleading for forgiveness to her family is really strong and powerful thanks to Monreal’s great performance here. The result is even made kind of realistic, unfortunately, with her older members of the family not hearing her pleas and rather still claiming her as a disgrace. However, it does drive her to officially join Courtney’s cause and suit up as Wildcat once again.
There’s also a brief moment with Icicle (Neil Jackson) talking to a new member of their cause – Dr. Ito (Nelson Lee) aka The Dragon King. While I don’t know much about the character in terms of his role in the comics, I can say that he makes about as great of an impression as the rest of the villains do in this series. His face is kept a mystery, although the holes in his mask for his eyes show that he’s not human, and his intentions are as well. However, there’s something dark and sort of haunting about his presence that even kind of scares Icicle and him delving into the members of the Injustice Society, including a traitorous member known as The Shade, as he looks at their mural is very intriguing. It looks like Icicle has found an evil force that matches his and there’s a strong darkness about to enter Blue Valley. Not to mention, Icicle killing The Wizard’s wife before she’s able to leave shows that he’s not letting any loose ends get in the way of him forming a new America.
Aside from Courtney and Pat’s oblivious nature creating some true head-scratchers, a new Wildcat is on the prowl in Stargirl and Monreal’s strong performance makes her one of the best characters in the series thus far. A brief exchange between Icicle and a new villain also shows that the Injustice Society is growing stronger and that dark things are coming to Blue Valley.