Review: ‘Stargirl’ Series Finale

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After three seasons and 39 episodes, DC’s Stargirl has reached the end of her journey on The CW. It feels like Courtney Whitmore’s story had only just begun, with too little time spent with her and the rest of the Justice Society of America. Although we may not see Brec Bassinger’s Courtney Whitmore again on our screens, her final chapter might be one of the best superhero stories on television. Stargirl season 3 took some big risks, with a tonal shift once again as these young superheroes continue to find themselves and the truest definition of what being a hero is.

The finale, titled “The Reckoning”, was explosive in so many ways, with moments that caused me to yell in excitement and also break down in tears. Geoff Johns continues his pattern writing the opening and closing episodes of each season, as well as serving as the showrunner of the series and the one responsible for bringing Stargirl to our television screens. Walter Carlos Garcia, who has served as stunt coordinator on the show for 31 episodes, returns as director bringing Stargirl to a triumphant conclusion.

[Warning: Spoilers from the Stargirl season 3 series finale are below]

Penultimate surprises

Before we can dive into what came in “The Reckoning”, we have to discuss the huge cliffhangers in the penultimate episode “The Last Will and Testament of Sylvester Pemberton”.  As the episode reached its climax, the JSA discovers that Sylvester Pemberton (Joel McHale) has been one of the villains behind this season’s mystery, teaming up with Jordan a.k.a. Icicle (Neil Jackson). It was a bit of a shock that Icicle was alive, after his death by a rusted truck in the season 1 finale, but it paled in comparison to Pemberton’s turn to the dark side. 

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Joel McHale as Sylvester Pemberton a.k.a. Starman. (WB/CW).

Pemberton’s betrayal shook the entire team to the core, though no one quite so much as Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson), who had been Starman’s sidekick and friend for many years. Although, Pat doesn’t have much time to process the betrayal before Starman is burying him alive. This is where those behind Stargirl left us for a week, leading into the finale. It was a tough week of waiting, as I needed to know how Stargirl was going to wrap everything up, especially with Pat’s fate hanging in the balance.

Epic battles and heartfelt conclusions in the Stargirl season 3 finale

This series finale was the equivalent of the third act from Avengers: Endgame. Most of the hour was dedicated to the battle between the JSA and the Injustice Society, with the latter consisting of Icicle and the rest of the Mahkents, along with Starman. The lead-up to and the fight itself was absolutely epic, with some of the best fight choreography I have seen in a television show. There were several times I gasped loudly or screamed at the television because the action was ratcheted higher than I could have dreamed up.

While the action during the fight was fantastic, some of the more heartfelt moments in the midst of the battle were the best parts. And there were plenty of them that made me tear up. 

The reappearance of a dirt-covered and completely pissed Pat at the junkyard moments after Courtney and the rest of the JSA are told he was dead by Starman stuck in my head long after the episode ended. Seeing Courtney’s face, the horror, and sadness at the thought of a world without Pat broke my heart. I could see the panic set in, so when Pat shows up just seconds later in S.T.R.I.P.E., ruining the villains’ plans, I couldn’t help my whoop in happiness. Courtney experiences a huge sense of relief, and I think it cements her relationship with Pat.

Another stand-out moment is when Barbra (Amy Smart) convinces Courtney to fight for the Cosmic Staff, which Starman had taken from her the episode before. It’s a heartfelt moment between mother and daughter about being worthy, which led to a fantastic hero speech from Courtney to Starman. In that speech alone, audiences could tell how much she has grown and how her relationship with Pat has transformed from stepdaughter and father to actual daughter. I had tears streaming down my face by the end.

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Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore. Stargirl (WB/CW).

The battle ended with an incredibly powerful moment when Cameron (Hunter Sansone) stood up to his father, protecting Courtney from an icy attack and seemingly destroying his father in the process. While the growth was quick, having been chasing his father’s approval over the past couple of episodes, it was fantastic to see Cameron grow into his own hero. As Dumbledore once said, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” What Cameron did was the biggest sacrifice, but it showed that in his heart of hearts, he’s a hero.

The end is never the end

After the dust had settled and the battle against Jordan and Starman, who actually had his brain switched out for a villain, life had settled back into a normal pattern for the heroes of Blue Valley. At least, as normal as heroes’ lives can get. Everything is seemingly wrapped up in a pretty bow, but the series finale took its step further, making a worthwhile and satisfying ending. There’s a flash forward ten years in the future, where we learn what happened to our heroes. 

We didn’t see what our heroes look like at that point, but through a tour of the hall of heroes, led by The Shade (Jonathan Cake), we get updates about each of our heroes. Stargirl is now known as Starwoman, Beth and Rick are to be married, a relationship I completely missed out on over three series, and new heroes have joined their ranks. The entire scene was the cherry on top that I didn’t know I needed, but made the series finale jump from great to phenomenal. I liked that the series showed audience members that these heroes’ stories didn’t end just because the show did. Instead, they continued to have adventures and will do so for as long as they can.

Final thoughts on Stargirl

I cannot praise Stargirl enough for what it did. There isn’t a single actor on that show that didn’t throw their entire heart and soul into every ounce of the series. Brec Bassinger is the embodiment of Courtney Whitmore through and through. She brought a certain energy and grace to Stargirl throughout the entire series, but season three truly allowed her to show off her acting chops. I know Bassinger will excel in any role she’s given from this point on, but I also hope this isn’t the last time we’ve seen her as Stargirl.

Luke Wilson was also a standout as loveable dopey Pat, who wants nothing more than to protect his family. As I’ve stated in some of my other reviews of Stargirl, the dynamics between Pat and Courtney are some of the strongest driving forces for this show. That was once again exhibited in Courtney’s speech to Starman, about how she had a father in Pat, someone who has been at her side throughout this entire hero journey. Wilson’s performance in these final episodes was some of the strongest of his career and I’m so excited to see what he goes onto next.

Amy Smart really had an opportunity to shine this season, with a storyline that focused on Barbra’s friendship with Paula Brooks a.k.a Tigress (Joy Osmanski). This storyline felt like such an integral part of this season and one of my favorite ones to follow. I’m glad Smart had the chance to be a bigger part of the hero’s life, as well as being a fantastic mother. There’s a scene in the finale between her and Mike (Trae Romano) that broke my heart and made me fall in love with Barbra even more.

While the Stargirl series finale might be the last time we see Courtney and the Justice Society of America for a while, it certainly was the perfect way to close that show out. Stargirl has been one of my favorite DC shows from the beginning and the finale itself reminded me of every single reason why. It has such a big heart with a focus on family, something that we don’t always see in a lot of television shows today. If you’ve fallen off of Stargirl in the past three seasons, I strongly urge you to pick it up once again, the last episode alone is worth every second of the ride.

The Stargirl series finale is currently streaming on The CW App. Have you watched it yet? Let us know on Twitter your thoughts about the finale. And if you haven’t already, check out my review on the season opener!

Review: Stargirl Season 3 Premiere and Look Ahead

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