Stargirl – Season 3 Episode 9

Nov 5, 2022 | Posted by in TV

“Chapter Nine – The Monsters” 

Stargirl gets its main plot back on track with related fears and revealed secrets, taking us closer to uncovering the truth. 

You’ll have noticed a certain theme in this season’s episode titles, each named after an aspect of the mystery being gradually unfolded with little ambiguity over what it refers to. This one is slightly different, with the notion of monsters varying depending on the perspective, be they villains vengeful of a past wrong, heroes knowing what villains have done, heroes gradually becoming something less than heroic, or even a surprise appearance right at the end.



Courtney and Yolanda reuniting after the former’s return from Civic City manages to erase the animosity between them with the more pressing issue of the latter being kicked out by her mother. It shows that even though the two of them have been at odds over Courtney’s decisions about Cindy and Cameron, she’ll still be there for her friend when she needs her. The notion is extended during the next school cafeteria JSA meetup, where even though Rick is still adamant that telling Cameron the truth is a mistake, he’ll still back Courtney with what she wants to do. It’s becoming clearer that the hourglass is continuing to affect him emotionally, although it remains to be seen if the events of this episode will make him truly realise this.

It’s been firmly established that Pat and Barbara have the kind of relationship where they don’t hide anything from each other, and Barbara asking what Pat’s Shadowlands father said rather than what happened demonstrates how well she understands her husband’s childhood, and telling Pat how much like him Mike is becoming suggests she understands him better than he himself does. The previous statement of Mike’s mother abandoning him was presumably to be taken as her simply leaving him with Pat and taking off, but revealing her to have been a junkie who literally dumped him in a shelter goes a long way to explaining the boy’s constant need to be seen as worth people’s time and attention.

The subplot is continued with Pat searching for his ex Maggie, prompted by Barbara’s suggestion that seeing her will give him the same closure Courtney received upon learning what a loser her own biofather is, and while it’s pretty unlikely that plugging a not particularly distinctive name into a search engine will immediately pull up their home address, not to mention being a little scary from the perspective of personal privacy, we’ll let it slide for the sake of narrative expediency. An interesting development comes from another appearance of Sportsmaster genuinely wanting to hear about Pat’s woes. He’s been a pushy presence, acting like his sudden reformation and intrusion on people’s lives is perfectly normal, but this is the first time he’s acted like an actual friend. Similarly, a later scene in the gym seeing Tigress teaching combat techniques to Barbara (with quite valid reasoning of having them available to use against a voyeuristic killer) and Barbara directly stating her to be a friend clearly means a lot to her, and makes you wonder what kind of life she must have led before becoming a supervillain if this is genuinely the first time someone has ever described her as such.


Adult interaction

Events in the Mahkent house are far more prominent this week, first seeing Lily pouring over a book looking morose and regretful at the old-timey photos depicting suffering and violence, while sound effects of peasant mobs and immolation play in faded echoes. It efficiently suggests a history of brutality the cryokinetic metahumans of their family have fought against that goes some way to explaining the legacy she and her husband seem proud to uphold despite having seen little of their own actions beyond using their powers to kill people. It also acknowledges that even though she and Sofus are unrepentant killers believing in the fallacy of the greater good they’re still also an elderly couple who’ve lost their son and now only have their grandson to give meaning to all that they’ve done throughout their lives.

The brief appearances of the aging spouses in the first season suggested they were largely of one mind when it came to correct course of action, but after the death of Icicle it’s seemed that Lily has become hardened towards those she blames for taking her son, while Sofus recognises what led him down the path of hatred and murder that resulted in his death, and doesn’t want Cameron to repeat the same mistakes. Just as an aside, since the recap of Icicle’s demise reminds us his body was shattered into countless chards of ice, it once again raises the question of exactly how his death was acknowledged to both Cameron and the public at large who have little idea of the extent of the superpowered shenanigans playing out just beyond the scope of their capacity to observe it.

However, whatever sympathy we might have felt for the pair is soon removed after the arrival of Mr Deisinger, his introducing himself to them almost seeming to also be for the benefit of the audience. Although only appearing in a handful of episodes over the last couple of seasons, he’s not had an easy time of it, first being transformed by a malevolent fear demon into a conduit to some Lovecraftian realm of madness before being driven insane and committed, then recovers partially crippled by the ordeal, only to now be murdered by a spiteful old woman because he dared to express concern about her grandson’s wellbeing. While it serves well in re-establishing both Lily’s ruthlessness and how ill-equipped anyone is to enter this superpowered world when they lack the knowledge, specialised abilities or equipment to properly navigate it, his death nevertheless seems a little mean-spirited.


Anger vs ice

Things come to a head when it’s identified that their home is the source of the spy cameras’ signals, but it’s worth pointing out that no point was it actually confirmed that the Mahkents were the ones doing the spying, and if they were they wouldn’t feel the need to do so from a claustrophobic underground lair and not just a secured side room in their opulent mansion. Anyway, the team arrive to confront them right as Courtney is about to make her big confession to Cameron, but is interrupted by Lily’s refusal to hear anything bad said about her son, closely followed by Rick smashing through the wall, which kicks off a surprisingly effective action set piece. While a fight between a group of physically fit superheroes against a pair of septuagenarians and an untrained teenager might not seem particularly balanced on paper, what the creepy Norwegians lack in imposition they more than make up for with their decades of experience in wielding their abilities, while Cameron’s anger towards Rick at putting Courtney in danger makes him a dangerous opponent. The variation in the skirmishes, with physicality pitted against offensive and defensive use of ice powers, makes it one of the most engaging fight scenes the series has thus far produced, and continues to demonstrate how inventive its choreography can be when it pulls out the stops.

Having Artemis turn up was a nice surprise since she’s been woefully underused this season, but it feels more like an acknowledgement of her existence rather than an organic use of her since her periodic cameos have left it clear the writers have had little idea of what to actually do with her. Then there’s the “combat mode” of Beth’s Doctor Mid-Nite costume that allows her to properly enter the frozen fray. Okay, I’ll concede it’s a good thing that she’s being afforded some physical effectiveness to prevent her from being sidelined in fight scenes that doesn’t run counter to her lack of athleticism, but dropping in such a major development without even the vaguest hint that such a thing even exists even as an untested beta version, as well as the contrived way it was related, is simply just really bad storytelling. This is extended when the handy defibrillator pads in the gloves save Sofus after he has a heart attack, and tacitly highlights the danger of overusing such a technological Swiss army knife that could easily turn Beth into a walking deus ex machina if sufficient care is not taken.

Meanwhile, Mike and Jakeem spend the episode trying to track down Cindy, now at least acknowledging that it’s partly due to their teenage infatuation with her. Finding her list of innocuous locations Dragon King hid his various mad science labs takes them to an old farmhouse where they’re met by the sudden appearance of a talking gorilla whose promise to kill them all almost certainly confirms him as the murderer being searched for. Fans of the comics (and/or Young Justice) may recognise him as Golden Age villain the Ultra-Humanite. After Grodd from The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, Charlie from Peacemaker and Monsieur Mallah from Doom Patrol, it marks the fifth time a CGI gorilla has featured in a live-action DC show, with a sixth coming from this season of Titans seemingly set to have Beast Boy transform into one. Let it never be said the publisher doesn’t love indulging in certain themes. Intriguingly, there’s an aspect of his backstory with a thematic connection to Cindy’s current condition that might explain his presence where she was thought to be found, which we might get into next week.


Simian stalking


“The Monsters” goes a long way to getting this season’s meandering story back on track, tacitly querying to whom such a title most accurately applies. Its climactic fight scene reminds us how intense the show can get when things get heated, and the final reveal of what may well become its primary villain makes you excited for where it’s going to go next.

  • 8/10
    The Monsters - 8/10


Kneel Before…

  • the suggested history of Lily and Sofus
  • the strength of Pat and Barbara’s relationship
  • the explanation of Mike’s insecurities
  • Sportsmaster and Tigress acting like genuine friends
  • the inventive and varied choreography of the Mahkent house fight
  • the surprise of the Ultra-Humanite


Rise Against…

  • the sudden revelation of the Doctor Mid-Nite costume’s combat capabilities
  • Artemis’ appearance highlighting how underused she’s been


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User Review
9/10 (2 votes)

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