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The Best Episodes Of Stargirl, According To IMDb

Stargirl began its journey as both a part of the slate of DC Universe streaming shows and The CW, but it's moving exclusively over to The CW for its second season. We already know that Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) and the rest of the new Justice Society of America are due for their first, small crossover with the former Arrowverse when John Wesley Shipp has a flashback cameo as Jay Garrick, aka the Flash. We've seen Shipp as both Garrick and Barry Allen's (Grant Gustin) father Henry on The Flash, but he's set to appear as a member of the original JSA on Stargirl when the series returns sometime in 2021.

However, we've already had a full season of Stargirl that didn't need any connection with the rest of the DC shared universe on The CW. Those first 13 episodes introduced a lot! Not only does Courtney find and bond with the former Starman's Cosmic Staff, but she goes on a quest to unlock her and its true origins all while fighting the Injustice Society of America and building a brand-new JSA. And like so many shows from both The WB's and The CW's past, she does it all while still having to go to high school.

What are the best episodes of the show so far? Let's look to IMDb for the five episodes with the highest user ratings and break down what makes each of them so noteworthy.

Season 1, episode 8: Shiv Part Two

The "Shiv" two-parter formalizes the ongoing rivalry between Courtney and mean girl Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy) by taking it out of the high school and putting it on the super stage. And while the first part establishes that Cindy is physically powerful enough to take out Stargirl one-on-one, it isn't until part two where things really heat up.

The two-parter sets up the idea that Courtney and Cindy could be friends in real life while being nemeses as their alter-egos Stargirl and Shiv. On another series, there might have been a slow burn, but Stargirl wastes very little time. Right from the start of "Shiv Part Two," Cindy visits Courtney to tell her she knows Courtney is Stargirl and that she will kill Courtney and her JSA friends.

That's not the only revelation in this packed episode. Pat (Luke Wilson) and Beth (Anjelika Washington) team up to find out that Cindy's father is none other than Injustice Society member Dr. Shiro Ito (Nelson Lee). This is also the episode where Brainwave's (Christopher James Baker) son Henry (Jake Austin Walker) finally acknowledges and manifests his own psychic abilities.

"Shiv Part Two" is when the stakes for the new JSA become clear. It may end with Ito locking his daughter away, but that only serves as proof of just how dangerous the ISA really is. Cindy easily defeated Courtney, and her father banished her with little effort. What hope does the JSA have against that?

Season 1, episode 6: The Justice Society

The original JSA is long gone by the time Stargirl begins. We get a glimpse of them in a flashback, but at this point, the only person close to the original lineup who remains is Pat — and he was just Starman's sidekick. However, there's no shortage of ISA members still alive and kicking in Blue Valley. They may be older, and some of them may even be parents, but that doesn't mean they aren't still dangerous.

And while the first five episodes of Stargirl deal with Courtney finding the Cosmic Staff, stealing a bunch of JSA equipment, and giving it to her friends, "The Justice Society" is the episode where the new JSA tries to fight the bad guys together — and they get completely roasted. It's only with the last-minute help of Pat in his giant S.T.R.I.P.E. mech that the new JSA prevails.

The ones doing the beating primarily are the husband-and-wife duo Sportsmaster (Neil Hopkins) and Tigress (Joy Osmanski). And while these two characters are fun, they are the flunkies. So if the new JSA can't handle them, they certainly aren't ready for the big time.

This is a turning point for Stargirl. After several episodes of establishing each team member and watching them find friendship with one another, this is the first time they truly falter, and it sets up renewed doubt and conflict within the JSA. At one point, Courtney even tries to get the team to return their gear and give up their dreams entirely. They can overcome this bump in the road, but, just like fighting Sportsmaster and Tigress, it won't be easy.

Season 1, episode 12: Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One

The two-part finale "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E." brings forth a pretty chilling endgame for the JSA. It's not that they're fighting against some kind of nuclear annihilation — this isn't a traditional end-of-the-world scenario. The Injustice Society simply wants to rewrite people a little bit. Specifically, it wants to rewrite the adults. In a way, their plan, Project: New America, doesn't sound terrible: In theory, the "brainwashing" would bring an end to global warming, war, and discrimination, but it would also result in 25 million deaths since the system isn't perfect. Additionally, who's to say that an organization with "Injustice" in its title is going to excel at creating more caring humans?

Part one is another episode where the JSA tries but comes up just short of the goal. And while they try their best to prevent New America from happening, the ISA's synaptic amplifier, which enables the process, is activated, leaving every adult human under ISA control.

In the final moments of the episode, Courtney finds herself in the unenviable position of not only having to fight but having to fight a brainwashed Pat inside his S.T.R.I.P.E. mech. Not only does being inside a giant robot make Pat a difficult adversary, but he's also the closest thing Courtney has ever had to a father, making this battle her most painful yet.

Season 1, episode 13: Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two

If the first part brought everything season 1 of Stargirl was working toward to a head, then "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two" is what brings (most of) it to a resolution. In the beginning, we were asked to accept that Courtney Whitmore was destined to be Stargirl by birthright. Then, after watching her succeed and fail in equal measure, we learned that she is not the daughter of Starman but simply the child of a petty crook. From there, she has to prove to herself that she deserves the Cosmic Staff because she is the right person to wield it.

The rest of the JSA struggle, too. Beth Chapel needs to find the confidence to be the new Doctor Mid-Nite, Rick Tyler (Cameron Gellman) has to wrestle with his rage to become Hourman, and Yolanda Montez (Yvette Monreal) needs to overcome self-doubt and bullying to find the power to be the next Wildcat.

In the end, the JSA is triumphant. New America is stopped before it can hurt anyone, several members of the ISA die in the attempt to control humanity, but all our heroes survive. There are lingering questions, of course. Yolanda kills Brainwave, leaving her in a morally gray place. The chaotic Eclipso gem gets stolen by Cindy, the Seven Soldiers of Victory get a name drop, and it would seem Sylvester Pemberton, aka Starman (Joel McHale), might not be dead after all.

The season ends with a lot more for the JSA to deal with, but it also ends with the Whitmore family and their friends united, ready to face it.

Season 1, episode 10: Brainwave Jr.

The finale may have been amazing, but the best episode of the season, according IMDb users, is episode 10, "Brainwave Jr." With all the new JSA heroes vying for attention, it was a very unlikely character who wound up drawing focus: Henry King Jr. Henry was the guy who caused Yolanda to get bullied, he is the son of Brainwave, whose mind powers were used to try and enslave the planet, and he spends the beginning of the season being cruel in general.

Yet somehow, Henry gets an incredible face turn when he discovers his father killed his mother and, instead of hating him, genuinely believes he can help his father become better. Henry is wrong about his dad, and it results in his father killing him, but Henry's hope and faith in people lives on through the JSA.

Before Courtney watches Henry, a man who she fought to help despite everything, die, she nearly loses everything. After Pat and Courtney finally come clean to her mother Barbara (Amy Smart), she decides to leave Pat and Blue Valley behind. As happens with superhero stories, there is a massive consequence to keeping secrets, even if they are well-intentioned secrets. Despite her anger, though, it's Barbara who finds out about the ISA's machine and helps the JSA discover the entire, evil plan.

What makes "Brainwave Jr." exceptional is that it's a nuanced view of how love in a family can bend people back together in times of struggle or break them apart entirely.