After the spectacular episode last week, I kind of had the feeling that Stargirl was going to treat us to something quiet and introspective this time around, an episode of character development and no costumed shenanigans… you know… boring stuff. It’s kind of a tradition at this point.
In a way, Stargirl did that with “The Shining Knight,” but did it in a way that I wasn’t expecting. For one, the episode is not boring… far from it. This is some of the best character work that I’ve seen from all members of the Dugan/Whitmore family. Barbara was wonderful, Mike was great… but the true heart of the episode belonged to Courtney and Pat and the gradual evolution of their characters from dorky stepdad and teenage brat to a real father and daughter.
This week’s episode centers around Courtney’s biological father coming to town and Courtney’s timid attempts to reconnect with him. Her hopes are built up and then pretty much dashed when its revealed that it’s a con and he was really only after an antique locket that he gave her a long time ago. It’s a very devastating reveal as the father marches triumphantly out of town and, most likely, out of Courtney’s life forever.
Which is why it is oh so satisfying when Pat catched up to him and basically explains in a very mature and thoughtful way why doing what he did was wrong.
With his fists.
Stargirl has always been a show about legacies and this week, upon realizing that her father is actually not Starman, Courtney has to ask herself if she’s even worthy of the title. The show touches on that issue very gracefully… it doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from or what blood runs in your veins… you don’t have to be a legacy, you are a valuable person in your own right.
The more I thought about this, the more I wondered why this episode was called, “The Shining Knight” because, honestly, the Shining Knight barely registers as a plot this week. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that “The Shining Knight” wasn’t Sir Justin, it was Pat Dugan. He is the knight that rode to Courtney’s rescue after her biological father left her, in a sense becoming the dad that he didn’t have to be.