“Brainwave” has a potential villain (or hero) teetering on a razor’s edge on ‘Stargirl.’

What makes a villain? What makes a hero? Astonishingly, it’s pretty much the same thing. I mean, think about it… Bruce Wayne could have easily taken his trauma and made himself a supervillain, rathern that Batman. Superman could have easily decided to become a dictator rather than the benevolent protector we all know and love. The problem is, it’s always fairly obvious where the character is going to go from the beginning.

That’s why I love this episode. We’ve got Henry… kind of a jerk who has done some pretty terrible things in his part, suddenly hobbled with astounding mental powers to read minds and move objects with his brain. He knows who Courtney is and Courtney, admittedly taking a chance, decides to open her hand to him and ask him to join the JSA. The Dragon King, however, recognizes both Henry’s potential and his lineage since his father was in the Injustice Society, and seeks to recruit him as well.

I have to hand it to Jake Austin Walker. His performance really cements that his character could easily fall on either side of the good/bad line. Upon learning of his father and his father’s deeds as well as those of the ISA, his reactions run the gamut of joy, elation, and wonder to horror, disgust, and fear. This episode represents his journey, not only to come to term with his new powers, but also the person he is and the person he wants to be. This is a guy that not only has to deal with a new world of superpowers, but also his past sins and the sins of his father.

I do enjoy that Stargirl has allowed this character time to deal with his powers. On shows like The Flash, as soon as someone is gifted with abilities beyond those of normal humans, they often choose a side right away. Henry is definitely dealing with a lot of personal fallout and, let’s be honest, a lot of that comes from a potentially toxic superpower. I can’t tell you how many terrible thoughts go through my head every day that never make it to my lips… I imagine if I were hearing that nonsense coming from every person around me and couldn’t shut it off, I would have a rather low opinion of the human race as well.

I loved Courtney’s appeal to Henry. It was very well written and very well acted. Courtney used logic and intelligence to break through with him and didn’t push incredibly hard when he started cracking. I do like that this series is showing young people with intelligence and depth… it was one of the things that I enjoyed about Teen Wolf as well, that the characters were all intelligent, thinking people and not caricatures of what a 40 year old writer thought teenagers are like.

Likewise, I’m enjoying the continuity of this series as well, specifically, how Yolanda cornered Henry, confronting him with circulating her racy pictures after she trusted him. While probably not the smartest move in retrospect, it was completely understandable and, to be honest, a darn good scene. I’ve already praised Jake Austin Walker before in this review, but I loved that he genuinely felt remorse for what he had done to her when he could feel her hurt reflected back at him in his head. He is not beyond saving at this point.

Finally, although sidelined for the foreseeable future, I really enjoyed Cindy’s scene where she went from trying to reason with her father to begging him and then finally threatening him. She’s so wonderfully evil. In a world colored in shades of gray, it’s kinda nice to have a character so firmly clad in black and white.

Great episode, great story, great cliffhanger. Stargirl continues to be such a wonderful, enjoyable series.

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