If Courtney has an antithesis, it’s Cindy. Where Courtney is a bright and happy person offering an open hand to anyone around her, Cindy is a dark and cynical brat who is mean to everyone just to be mean and, yet, with “Shiv, Part One,” Stargirl makes the strange and lovely decision to show them as quasi-friends, focusing on what makes them similar, rather than showing them as the enemies for life that we know that they are. It draws an interesting parallel between the two that I wasn’t expecting… a parallel that shows that this show is deeper than one might expect.
While Cindy has been primarily the stereotypical “mean girl” of Blue Valley High School, “Shiv, Part One” brings her to the forefront as an honest to goodness villain. It’s always fun to me when stories have a personal connection between the hero and villain and, even though the connection between the two if brief, I couldn’t help but think of that classic line from Star Trek: “In another time, you and I might have been friends.” Perhaps Courtney could have influenced Cindy for the better… perhaps Cindy could have corrupted Courtney for the worse. We’ll never know and, somehow, that unknown is a tragedy as the two come to blows.
What I like best about this first part of a two-parter is that it is honestly self-contained. It doesn’t bait with a cliffhanger and it functioned as its own story. It didn’t even have to be called “Part One” because, quite honestly, the episode has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s something you don’t see in the jungle of long-form binge-television these days and yet, somehow, I think it makes the show stronger. Of course, there will be consequences and carryovers from Part One into Part Two, but for the most part, I don’t feel like I’m overly pressured to see the next episode to see how this particular story finishes. This particular story is finished… a new story begins next week.
I am also happy that this episode wisely decided to sideline the new JSA and make this a personal story for Courtney. While I like the JSA and the characters they’ve introduced, it’s nice to see that the series hasn’t lost track of the fact that this show is about Stargirl and that she’s not being lost in the shuffle.
The fight scenes were great, I really enjoyed the interplay between Courtney and Cindy, and I’m even enjoying the rivalry and bitterness coming up from Mike who as been mostly an amalgamation of every annoying little brother cliche from the Disney Channel. I’ve really enjoyed how the last two episodes has turned him into a deeper character.
Of course, I’m still enjoying this light and fluffy series. It’s all of the superheroics of your average CW superhero show with the teen comedy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I can’t wait for the next episode.