Stargirl – Season 3 Episode 4

Sep 24, 2022 | Posted by in TV

“Chapter Four – The Evidence”

Stargirl introduces a surprise new suspect in its murder mystery and demonstrates how dangerous emerging and unpredictable powers can be.

There comes a time in every murder investigation where accusations and recriminations need to be backed up with quantifiable material that definitively points towards guilt, like the kind of stuff to which this episode’s title alludes. While there is a small piece of such material introduced, it’s a while before we get to its significance.


A vision of the future?

Instead, we begin with Cameron, who after having been intermittently forgotten about for the last two seasons, is continuing to receive his due attention. He’s seen in a roomful of snow globes, one containing a blonde girl who becomes trapped in the freezing liquid as his emotions get the better of him and his powers come out. The symbolism is a little heavy-handed, but it serves to demonstrate that his feelings for Courtney are affecting his self-control, along with his fear of inadvertently hurting her ironically boosting the risk of actually doing so

The scene is somewhat reminiscent of a Disney movie, a seemingly innocuous scene soundtracked with music evoking emotions of contemplative serenity making way for something sinister, in this case being both the dread of what his growing powers might do to those he cares about and in a more literal sense his grandparents, who are still doing little more than haunting the fringes of scenes with ambiguous glares and knowing smirks.

It’s frustrating just how many teasers there have been about Lily and Sofus telling Cameron the “truth” about their family, but little in the way of detailing exactly what it is they’ve told him. The notion of their family using their cryokinesis powers to help people is all well and good, but exactly how they’re supposed to have done this is vague at best, especially when it’s been made clear how familiar and unfazed the family is with killing. It’s a popular aphorism that every villain is the hero of their own story, but after everything Icicle and his cohorts did it’s a tall order to take such a notion seriously. Okay, the Injustice Society’s ultimate goal was to create a better future for the US by transforming the nation into a socialist utopia but intended to do so via a decade-long scheme to instigate mass brainwashing that would cost of millions of lives. If we’re supposed to believe that the Mahkents have a history of altruistic benevolence then this needs to be expanded upon, or at the very least have Lily and Sofus do something other than co-ordinate portentous declarations like geriatric outcasts from Village of the Damned.


Losing control

Although Cameron seemed to know what he was doing last week when he shot an icicle into the tyre of Rick’s car, this was done with the focus of anger, and it now seems that situations where he’s dealing with conflicted emotions can lead to unexpected bursts of cold power exploding from him. Situations like sitting in emotional turmoil over being unable to do the one thing from which he received any measure of joy while the girl he fancies keeps pushing him to open up. To her credit, Courtney doesn’t immediately bolt, and it’s not that far-fetched to suggest she’d have remained by him even without her previous experiences inuring her to the sight of metahuman abilities. Her compassion has always been her defining character trait, and even at the prospect of dealing with further dangers she considers them secondary to not letting someone’s troubles define him.

Part of Cameron’s turmoil is now knowing that his father’s demise was not an accident but also not knowing what to do with the information, and there’s a non-zero chance that he will first discover Courtney has abilities of her own, and subsequently the part she played in the death, which may well be what pushes him over the edge into villainy.

As for the episode’s title, it’s of course far too early in the series for any definitive answers pointing towards unassailable guilt, meaning it was always going to be relatively minor, but is still key in progressing things forwards. The evidence in question is a single skin cell found in Gambler’s trailer, and we are presumably to quietly ignore how unlikely it seems for something so tiny to be found isolated when no other trace of an intruder was present since it’s more dramatic this way. The true purpose of the episode earlier drafting in Doctor Mid-Nite was not just to identify Sylvester as being able to regenerate via the Staff’s cosmic energy (and also for the first real time this season giving Beth something to do), but also to recognise the unusual makeup of the cell and provide an unexpected new suspect in the killing.


Wherever you walk its eyes follow you

In all honesty, the notion of Dragon King still being alive came so out of left field it’s actually brilliant. Although there was previously no hint of his having survived his daughter both figuratively and literally stabbing him in the back, the return of characters thought dead has a precedent in Doctor Mid-Nite, and you can even go one step further with the presence of Sylvester establishing the possibility of full-on resurrection, albeit in singular circumstances. There’s repeated mention of him possibly hiding in the tunnels beneath the town, and along with tacitly invoking the urban myth of Alligators in the Sewers, it also ties in with the mysterious figure seen lurking in a somewhat subterranean-looking hideout watching the feeds of spy cameras seemingly hidden in every location where something significant either is said or takes place, as if you recall Dragon King had a similar setup he used for constant surveillance.

However, as compelling a notion as this is, especially considering what might happen should Cindy encounter her father again after the character development she’s received since the last time she did, it’s unlikely this is actually what’s happening. As I’ve previously said, in a mystery if something is to be taken as definitive fact it will be visually confirmed to the viewer after being put forward as a theory, rather than continuing to be alluded to without any official verification. There’s also the issue that whoever or whatever attacked Sylvester (and presumably totalled Gambler’s trailer) seems to be about fifteen feet tall, meaning that Dragon King’s metamorphosis must have grown wildly unstable for it to have mutated him to such an extent. He also doesn’t quite tally with the “many names” requirement the Thunderbolt scrawled in magical glitter glue on the school bathroom wall (now altered to a Your Mom joke because of course it has been), seeing that as far as we know he only had the standard two. It’s possible he took on various identities over the years to disguise his unnaturally long life, but in all honesty, this is probably a red herring designed to throw us off the scent.

Elsewhere, Sylvester is slightly humbled after recovering from his attack, it having taken blundering into an ambush for him to realise that he’s not quite the hot stuff he once was and thinks he still is. While it shows he’s actually capable of growth, it still seems that he’s yet to fully move beyond trying to re-establish the dynamic he and Pat previously shared, seen when they’re sitting watching The Outlaw Josey Wales and he insists on being the only one allowed to growl along with Clint Eastwood like he’s an older sibling telling his little brother what he is and isn’t allowed to do because he’s younger. Despite this, Pat is still determined to encourage him to be better (or “find balance” as states the season’s over-repeated mantra), firmly demonstrated by gifting him a recreation of his Starman costume to encourage him to not fully give up on trying to be a hero.


Winter wonderland

There’s also another wonderful scene with Barbara and Tigress where the latter thanks her for all her help with the gift of a stuffed racoon she made herself, just like Barbara explained all the most thoughtful such items are without realising the excess to which the sentiment would be taken. The fact that she evidently sees no difference between a chocolate cake and a horrifying piece of taxidermy is actually kind of sweet in a truly disturbing way.

Finally, we learn that Cindy is undergoing some painful metamorphosis, growing reptilian scales on her arm that are heavily suggested to be the source of the odd skin cell. She is likely undergoing the same process her father did as a by-product of experimenting on himself to increase his strength, speed, agility and lifespan that made his villain moniker somewhat more literal. More to the point, it reinforces the idea that she stole Gambler’s laptop in the hope of finding notes of exactly what her father did to her throughout her childhood and reverse what’s happening to her.

It does raise the point that even if she wasn’t the one to kill Gambler, her theft means that she nevertheless might well have already been on site when he was, meaning she knows a lot more about what happened than she’s letting on, and when the truth comes out that she’s been hiding things from the team the omission will make her look even more guilty.


Re-enter the dragon


“The Evidence” is slowest-paced episode this season, but still engaging enough to hold your attention. While the theory it proposes will likely turn out to be incorrect, it nevertheless adds another viable suspect to the already fairly wide pool and facet to the scope of the constantly developing mystery.

  • 7/10
    The Evidence - 7/10


Kneel Before…

  • Courtney’s compassion dealing with Cameron’s powers
  • Beth actually having something to do
  • the surprise suggestion of Dragon King still being alive
  • Sylvester learning some humility


Rise Against…

  • Lily and Sofus being irritatingly cryptic
  • the unlikelihood of a single skin cell lying solitary on a table
  • Sylvester still trying to control Pat’s behaviour


What did you think? Select your rating in the “User Review” box below

User Review
7.5/10 (1 vote)

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