Monday, June 8, 2020

Stargirl - Wildcat

Courtney Whitmore's (Brec Bassinger) search for allies begins in "Wildcat" which is also the first episode of the series to devote a large section of the story to someone other than Courtney or Pat's (Luke Wilson) point of view by filling in the recent past of Yolanda Montez (Yvette Monreal) teased earlier in the series. A flashback offers us a look at more confident and happy Yolanda whose decision to send a sexy selfie to her boyfriend (Jake Austin Walker) has disastrous consequences both at school and home. Exposed and slut-shamed by both family and friends, it becomes obvious fairly quickly why the Yolanda walking the halls today bares little resemblance to the one Courtney finds in the school yearbook. The episode handles the subject matter well, especially in showing the stark difference to Yolanda's family life as well as her reputation and standing at school.

Unlike the comic character, Yolanda has no meta-human powers nor (as far as we know) any connection to Ted Grant. Instead, the series decides to make the fallen hero's costume the source of Wildcat's powers which quickly adapts to the reluctant Yolanda. She does have an interest in boxing, however, and a chip on her shoulder which Courtney latches onto in her somewhat haphazard quest to fill in the other spots of the Justice Society of America. Along with forging a friendship between the two young women, the episode also gives us their first mission together in infiltrating the hospital in search of other members of the Injustice Society of America. Reminding us how raw both characters are to super-sleuthing, there are some fun moments here of the pair growing into new roles and gaining confidence while also making some rookie mistakes. The mask also provides Yolanda with a new outlet to break out of her current malaise and tap into a part of herself that has been hibernating since a single mistake devastated her life several months ago.

Little of the episode is wasted, as even the scenes not featuring Coutney or Yolanda help introduce new characters or build on the show's existing foundation. While the mission doesn't exactly go as planned, Stargirl and Wildcat do notice some suspicious behavior from Principal Bowin (Hina Khan) whose taste in friends and musical instruments suggests the heroes have found the Fiddler. Pat's interactions with a frightened and distraught Denise Zarick (Cynthia Evans), along with a big clue left in the city's junkyard, also offers the sidekick a lead on another member of the Injustice Society (albeit a dead one). And, finally, a third member is introduced as Icicle (Neil Jackson) brings in Dragon King (Nelson Lee) to accelerate his timetable.

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