Stargirl: Unpacking the Return of Starman

Sylvester Pemberton is variety of a large number, isn’t he? It’s arduous to return to some other conclusion after watching him destroy a grocery retailer as he impulsively attacked Sportsmaster and Tigress. This is greater than Starman being a spoiled wealthy boy turned superhero. The man goes by quite a bit, and never simply because final week’s episode of Stargirl ended with him being tossed into the air like a rag doll.

Look, I get it. Sylvester Pemberton is making an attempt to regulate to his resurrection and it hasn’t been simple. He got here again to life, however there wasn’t a life to return again to. His household and his former teammates are lifeless, and his beloved Cosmic Staff has bonded with a brand new hero. Life moved on with out him. He nonetheless has his former sidekick Pat, however seeing him has turn out to be a continuing reminder of how life left him behind. Pat now has a spouse, youngsters and a brand new workforce of heroes. True, they’ve all welcomed Sylvester with open arms, however seeing them solely drives residence the level that issues have modified.

Despite the season premiere’s nice opening montage, it didn’t escape my discover that Sylvester didn’t go on the household tenting journey. As the season begins, the Dugan-Whitmore household returns from a visit to Yellowstone, however we see that Sylvester was left behind. (Fun truth: you’ll find out what occurred on this household tour by trying out the Earth-Prime: Stargirl tie-in comedian.) The household took this journey shortly after defeating Eclipso, which implies that it wasn’t lengthy after Pat and Sylvester reunited.

Think about that for a second. Sylvester lastly returns to Pat after a protracted search and Pat instantly leaves together with his household on a tenting journey. For his half, Sylvester didn’t appear outwardly bothered by this, however I’ve to think about that inside he was hurting. When the Dugan-Whitmore household returns, they’re smiling and laughing, demonstrating a bond that Sylvester missed out on.

There is quite a bit for Starman to regulate to. The former millionaire is sleeping in a basement, and he has to just accept the undeniable fact that his sidekick Pat is now not the pushover he as soon as knew. He’s additionally coping with survivor’s guilt, blaming himself for the slaughter of his teammates. We noticed some of this when he broke down on the sofa in “Frenemies – Chapter Two: The Suspects.” And let’s not overlook the approach the Shade pushed his buttons both. The former Injustice Society villain advised Sylvester that Pat was the just one that got here to his funeral and that no one needed him again. For a person who didn’t have a life to return again to and who noticed everybody transfer on with out him, these phrases most likely felt like the fact.

Having Crusher and Paula Crock stay subsequent door could also be enjoyable for us as viewers, however for Sylvester, it’s probably a bit traumatizing. As followers of the present, we received to see Sportsmaster and Tigress transition from enemies, to allies, to wacky neighbors, making it much less jarring for us. Sylvester didn’t get that luxurious. He didn’t see Crusher awkwardly bond with Pat, or Paula chat with Barbara about how troublesome it’s to lift teenagers. The final time Sylvester noticed the Crocks, they had been murdering his greatest buddies.

Keeping this in thoughts helps us perceive Sylvester’s mindset. Sportsmaster and Tigress are extra than simply villains who reformed—they participated in the slaughter of Starman’s longtime teammates. In Sylvester’s eyes, these individuals are the motive why his life is at the moment in shambles. Not solely are the Crocks strolling round scot-free, however Pat has welcomed them into his residence like outdated buddies. As if the authentic Justice Society meant nothing.

If you had been Sylvester, wouldn’t you be indignant as effectively?

I’m not saying Starman was justified in attacking the Crocks and destroying that grocery retailer. (Although fact be advised, I’m glad he did as a result of that battle scene was epic.) Sylvester’s actions had been tousled and the man is carrying quite a bit on his shoulders. Maybe it’s not the greatest concept to entrust him with one thing as highly effective as the Cosmic Staff. Then once more, taking away one of the few connections he has to his outdated life would most likely ship him spiraling additional. There are not any easy options to Sylvester’s complicated points.

I’ll be trustworthy, I’m nonetheless not 100% positive that that is the actual Starman. Maybe it’s an imposter, or perhaps it’s another person brainwashed into considering they’re Sylvester. I’ve been studying comedian books since childhood, and I’ve realized to at all times be suspicious of resurrections. The 1993 Flash storyline “The Return of Barry Allen” adopted an analogous path. Barry Allen, who had been presumed lifeless, returned however started performing moody and erratic. It turned out he was Thawne in disguise.

I’m most likely being a bit too paranoid right here. Maybe that is the actual Starman. This is an effective time to remind you all that I do know as a lot about future episodes as you do. I don’t know who killed the Gambler, and I don’t know what’s occurring with Sylvester. Heck, till the finish of the most up-to-date episode, Sylvester was one of my suspects.

I’m not making an attempt to excuse any of Starman’s actions this season, however it is crucial for us to know the place they’re coming from. It’s not simple to lose all the things whereas being compelled to hold on. But as Stargirl has demonstrated, Blue Valley is a spot for brand spanking new beginnings. We’ve seen a brand new Justice Society rise out of the ashes of the outdated. We’ve seen villains like Shiv battle for justice. Starman could have misplaced his outdated life, however I feel he has the alternative to construct a good higher one.

Just as long as he doesn’t burn all of it down earlier than he realizes that.

DC’s Stargirl airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW. For all the newest from Blue Valley, go to our official Stargirl collection web page.

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, films and comics for, is a daily contributor to the Couch Club and writes our month-to-month Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed on this function are solely these of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and don’t essentially mirror these of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.


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