The following contains major spoilers from the Season 1 finale of DC’s Stargirl.
The JSA and the ISA faced off in the DC’s Stargirl Season 1 finale, all as the clock ticked down to Brainwave fully brainwashing millions.
With all the gr’ups in a trance and Pat being commanded to strike out as S.T.R.I.P.E. against stepdaughter Courtney, Beth and “Chuck” scrambled to jam Brainwave’s signal, partly by distracting the Gambler by transferring his personal millions to charity. Once the jammer was switched back on and Pat snapped out of it, S.T.R.I.P.E. joined the fight, as Stargirl, Wildcat and Hourman threw down with Icicle, Dragon King, Sportsmaster and Tigress. Along the way, Cindy got free and joined the melee, first by running through Daddy with her shiv, while the Gambler set Solomon Grundy loose to go whatever a roboto with S.T.R.I.P.E. and then Hourman.
After besting Tigress, Wild Cat made a beeline for the transmission tower, only to run into (but clobber) a herd of Dragon King’s hooded minions. One, though, remained standing — and revealed himself to be an alive Henry Jr.! Except… it wasn’t; it was Sr. tricking Yolanda. The trick was ultimately on him, though, as Wildcat’s got claws, which she impulsively used to slash the baddie’s throat.
Wild Cat and Stargirl raced to the giant transmission tower jutting out of the high school football field, which the latter handily sliced and diced using her Cosmic Staff. Icicle meanwhile kidnapped Barbara and dragged her to the roof of the American Dream building, where he reiterated his bonkers world view and even more crazily suggested they run away together. Pat, though, arrived to intervene, after which Stargirl and Icicle got into it again, with him eventually getting lobbed onto the street below. And just as he came to and aimed to start zapping again, a pickup truck — driven by Mike (still watching the dog, though!) — came barreling down the street, plowing the frozen foe into ice cubes.
In a series of epilogues, The Shade materialized inside the ISA lair, scoffing at the failure of his colleagues’ brainwashing folly… Cindy rummaged through The Magician’s storage locker, looking for a diamond shard inside of which seems to be the villain Eclipso… the Whitmore-Dugans celebrated Christmas with the whole gang, during which Courtney gave Pat the “World’s Best Dad” mug (sniff!) she had made for her own father all those years ago… and, finally, a man played by Joel McHale show up at Pat’s old apartment complex in North Hollywood, introducing himself to the curious manager as Sylvester Pemberton?!
TVLine spoke with Stargirl creator and series EP Geoff Johns about Season 1’s highlights, several of the finale’s bug twists, and at least one of Season 2’s new Big Bads.
TVLINE | Season 1 was so well-made, so well-cast, and people really took to it in a way I haven’t seen in a while. What are you most proud of?
Well, I’m really happy that people responded to the show. And I’m happy that we have such an amazing cast. I just think I’m really thrilled that we had such a fun time making this show, and we all get to do a second season. I guess I’m most proud that people embraced the characters — especially since we took some characters that are off the beaten path and we put them front and center. It’s fun to see people say, “I love Dr. Mid-Nite!” [Laughs] It’s so cool, because as a comics fan you want people to validate your favorite characters, and mine have always been these obscure guys.
TVLINE | And on a more superficial note, any stunt sequence or visual effect?
You know, I really love how the [cosmic] staff turned out — the personality, how it kinda found a life of its own. It never had a personality like that in the comic books, so bringing it to life gave us so many opportunities — from Josh Stern, our gaffer, who really helped create this “glow stick” that ended up being the staff; [visual effects supervisor] Andrew Orloff at Zoic and his team brought it to life visually; and then Walter Garcia, our stunt coordinator, who figured out a cool way to use it in action that was unique. So the staff is probably my favorite thing. I didn’t realize it was going to be such a big, important, fun character. Brec [Bassinger] didn’t, either; it took a while for her to figure out, “Oh, it’s alive!” It was over the course of the pilot and the early episodes that we suddenly realized how special that staff really was.
TVLINE | Coming out of the finale, I feel like one of the heaviest moments involved Yolanda (played by Yvette Monreal). She seems to be in a dark place now, clearly having trouble processing that she took a life.
Yes, very much so. That’s going to be a big part of Season 2, her struggle with that. You see it when they’re sitting on the bleachers. You see this relief on Rick’s (Cameron Gellman) face, you see that he found peace — I love that moment where Courtney says, “Are you OK?” and he says, “Yeah,” because there is so much in that “yeah” for him. He’s starting to kind of turn a corner, whereas we see Yolanda turning the other way, as she is sitting a bit distant from the other kids. She’s lost in her own world, thinking about what she has done. That’s definitely something that will play a major role going into Season 2 — how is she going to deal with what she’s done? It’s not just, “Oh, she took out a villain.” It’s, “Oh, she killed somebody.” Rick was ready to [kill someone], and she was not.
TVLINE | That was a pretty cruel thing you did there, making Yolanda, and us, think for a second that Henry (Jake Austin Walker) was back. Were you counting on the fact that fans were quite vested in that character somehow returning?
One-hundred percent. One of the things we always knew when building the season — and Jake knew this from Day 1 — is that Henry had a finite story. Henry was going to go from this almost unlikeable bully to possibly a redeemed hero, and then ultimately die protecting his new friends when facing his father, while also learning a lesson that Courtney imparted on him and apologizing to Yolanda….. For us, it was a really beautiful arc, and I sat down with Jake before he signed on and talked about the story — because Jake is such an amazing actor — and said, “This is what his story is throughout the season.” And that bit in [Episode] 13 was playing to the superhero trope of “Nobody ever dies” and then subverting it.
I can’t tell you how many people are like, “I hate Brainwave!” They like the actor (Christopher James Baker), they like the character, but they hate him; he’s kind of become the main villain because of how cold and cruel he is and what he does to his own son, so we wanted to make sure that the payback was fairly vicious. His cruelty came back to him, tenfold.
TVLINE | The “manifesto” that Beth came across — was that a misdirect, or was the ISA really looking to brainwash everyone into becoming Green Deal-loving supporters of universal healthcare?
It’s partially true, but there’s much more to it that they were going to do, as each one of the villains certainly has their own agenda. We’ll see a little bit more of what the surviving villains wanted, and want still, in Season 2, but yeah, Icicle’s view of the world is strange. In his mind, he thinks [his POV] is perfect, as he says, “What if you could cure cancer but it would take 500,000 lives right now? You’d have to kill half a million people but cancer is gone forever, would you do it?” I think it’s a really interesting question for a villain to pose.
TVLINE | But Brainwave, definitely?
Yeah, he’s dead.
TVLINE | As far as the assorted threats you teased for Season 2, you gave us The Shade… Shiv (Meg DeLacy) and Eclipso… whatever Isaac the “tuba turd” does next, with or without his mother’s leftover violin case… and whomever/whatever Joel McHale is playing in that very final scene.
Eclipso is one of my very favorite villains in the books, and he’s somebody who in the comics actually killed Beth Chapel and Yolanda Montez — and they never came back, until recently. They were dead before I ever got into comics in the ’90s, but I brought them back at the end of Doomsday Clock. Eclipso is a really interesting character because he embodies darkness and corruption. The Shade, we obviously set up. And there are more character and other surprises we haven’t even hinted at yet for Season 2.