Stargirl – S1 Ep9 – Brainwave Review

Directed by Tamra Davis

Written by Colleen McGuinness

Into the twisted mind of Brainwave!

Compelling character work and exciting revelations were at the forefront of the latest epic installment of DC’s Stargirl! The recently renewed series continues to impress with this Brainwave focused episode that not only dives deeper into Henry King Sr’s past, but sets up an interesting crossroads for his son Henry Jr. In addition, this episode is packed with several other major revelations which includes some details on Project New America. Let’s recap!

This compelling chapter begins with a classic origin flashback. Decades earlier, a young Henry King Sr., a neurologist working on expanding the mind, has his funding cut. Despite this, he carries out his experiment on himself and has since been plagued with intense migraines. Over time, he begins to develop psionic abilities which increase his migraines. One night, as he prepared to leave the lab, he was confronted by a mugger. A panicked King experienced another major headache upon reading the man’s mind. He lashed out with his mind accidentally killing the mugger (and in turn relieved his migraine).

In the present day, Henry Jr watches old tapes of his father concerning his abilities. Jr. uses these tapes to begin to teach himself how to use his own abilities.

Meanwhile, Courtney tells Pat about her latest encounter with Cindy which also involved Henry Jr. (who used his newfound abilities). She believes that he is not like Cindy and the ISA and could be an asset to the new JSA. Pat realizes that they need all the help they can get. He reveals more about his past exploits as Stripesy with Sylvester and another superhero team: The Seven Soldiers Of Victory! They were both members of this team prior to joining the JSA. Pat explains that this group fought against Dr. Ito a.k.a. Dragon King, who proved to be quite difficult to defeat. Now with Ito back in the picture, this new fight just got a lot more dangerous.

At Blue Valley High, Janitor Justin (guest star Mark Ashworth) hallucinates that his mop is the Cosmic Staff! His memories of his past seem to fade in and out.

Elsewhere, Beth, using Chuck, discovers that Cindy’s house is empty and that she has been pulled from school to supposedly study abroad with her mother. In actuality, Cindy finds herself in a cell in her father’s lair. She pleads with him (and even threatens to kill him) to let her out, but he refuses. He gasses her (as he did when she was younger) to stop her pleas.

Meanwhile, Courtney presents her idea to recruit Henry to the rest of the team. Yolanda and Rick are firmly against it, while Beth is receptive.

Elsewhere, Jr. continues to learn from his father’s videos. Sr. explains that (based on the vile thoughts he reads) people are monsters and that each time he kills, he relieves his headaches. Jr. is shocked and appalled at first, but eventually comes around on his father’s stance: People are monsters. He then gets a message that his father’s lawyer wants to meet with him. He then hears his father speak!

Dr. Ito meets with the rest of the ISA and presents his recent findings. Ito realizes that they have not always been on the best of terms, but he assures them that he is their ally. He informs them that they no longer need Brainwave for their plans. They now have his son, who has recently developed psionic powers like his father. With this, they can now power his machine which will essentially control the minds of all active adults in six core states which will allow them to create their New America.

Later, Barbara meets with Jordan and apologizes for leaving early from their business trip. After a sweet conversation about family, she invites him and his family over for dinner.

Pat calls the team over to the Pit Stop for a new mission. Only Beth and Rick show up. He then tasks them with investigating a potential tunnel system in the town. Beth uses Chuck to research while Rick decides to work on decoding his father’s journal. Beth discovers that the seperatist founders of Blue Valley built the tunnels which serve as a great resource for the ISA. They bring this information to Pat, who quickly realizes that the ISA must be planning something.

Meanwhile, Courtney visits Henry Jr. at the hospital. She tries to reach his better nature, but Jr. angrily refuses. He believes that humans are monsters especially after hearing the vile thoughts of everyone he sees. Courtney tries to convince him that people can be good. She pleads with him to look deeper. “Behind the pain and fear, it’s all about love,” she tells him. Striking a nerve, he angrily tells her to leave. Courtney complies, but tells him she is there for him.

Back at the Dugan/Whitmore house, Pat finds Barbara frantically cooking in preparation for Mahkent’s arrival. Pat tries to tell her about the JSA and ISA, but is shut down by Courtney. The Mahkents arrive and are greeted by Courtney. The families bond over dinner, but Courtney becomes suspicious of Jordan. After he touches a scalding plate and is unphased, she believes he is Icicle!

Back at the hospital, Henry Jr. is attacked by Yolanda (suited up as Wildcat). She tells him to leave her and friends alone. He reads her mind and realizes how much he has hurt her.

Following dinner, Cameron thanks Courtney for everything. He hopes to hang out again soon. Jordan thanks her as well. He also lets her know he approves of her and Cameron’s budding relationship.

Courtney rushes to the basement to grab the Cosmic Staff. Pat finds her and tells her not to do anything. While they argue, Barbara discovers them!

In the closing moments, the lawyer visits Jr. in his father’s room. Jr. reads his mind and discovers that he wishes to take Sr. off of life support and is only in it for the money. Jr. lashes out with his powers and kills the man. Shocked at his own actions, Jr. is even more stunned as Sr. wakes up!

This show just keeps getting better and better! “Brainwave” is yet another exciting and captivating chapter in this stellar series. Both Christopher James Baker (King Sr.) and James Austin Walker (King Jr.) shine as their characters are given a truly compelling origin. I particularly found the scene between Walker and Brec Bassinger (as Courtney) to be truly moving. This episode reminds us that everyone has a light and dark side and that behind the pain is someone who simply wants to be loved. In addition, this episode was full of interesting plot development and revelations including, Justin the Janitor (and the Seven Soldiers of Victory) the scope of Project New America and Barbara’s discovery of the Staff!

I cannot wait to see where the story takes us next!

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