In Stargirl, Beth Chapel finally takes over from Doctor Mid-Nite and discovers a new power to use in the fight against Eclipso.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Stargirl Season 2, Episode 8, “Summer School: Chapter Eight,” which aired Tuesday on The CW.
Star girlThe latest episode of ‘puts two members of the Justice Society of America to the test, as Eclipso torments Rick and Beth with terrifying visions of their greatest fears of breaking their wills. Rick receives evidence that Solomon Grundy killed a young girl. This would mean that Rick was incorrect in his decision to spare Grundy’s life at the end of the show’s first season, even if Grundy was the one who orphaned Rick in the first place. This revelation drives Rick into a bloodthirsty rage, and he nearly beats his uncle to death before Courtney can knock him out and reveal that it was all just an illusion. Rick breaks his hourglass in disgust and the episode ends with his imprisonment.
Beth’s test is also a glove of her worst fears, as Eclipso plays on the anxieties surrounding her parents’ relationship and makes her question whether or not she truly deserves to be a member of the JSA. He’s also fiercely racist, telling Beth she’s the “wrong age, wrong sex. [and] wrong color. ”Beth actress Angelika Washington explained the need for this dynamic in an interview with CBR, explaining that it reflected how Beth is“ a black superhero in this world, living in Nebraska, where she doesn’t always feel appreciated or seen. “
This undervalued perception of Beth Chapel also matches how she was presented on Star girl up to this point. The rest of the JSA are fiercely martial and athletic in varying amounts. Courtney has been chosen by the Cosmic Staff and uses her as a powerful weapon in conjunction with her gymnastic prowess. Yolanda is a trained boxer and performs daredevil acrobatics using the Wildcat suit. And Rick is by far the strongest physically on the team, acting as their heavyweight and anchor. This leads Beth to be eclipsed simply because of her talents located elsewhere. She’s kind, compassionate, and possessed of a keen intellect, fixing Doctor Mid-Nite’s glasses without any help.
And it is this gentle heart and this lively mind that asserts itself at the end of the Star girl episode, as Beth retrieves her Eclipso glasses and puts them on, discovering with a start that they let her see through her illusions. It also leads her to reconnect with Dr. McNider, who explains what’s going on and even warms up a bit with her. There is a particularly poignant moment when she asks who Beth is and she states that she is the new Doctor Mid-Nite. While Courtney, Rick, and Yolanda didn’t hesitate to go back to their old superhero coats and names, Beth always seemed a little uncomfortable referring to herself as Doctor Mid-Nite. This new resolution fixes that and even ends with McNider entering it into the JSA database.
The greatest power of Eclipso on the last episodes of Star girl was sown in its ability to torment and play on the hidden fears of the JSA. His dark machinations helped cause Yolanda to abandon Wildcat’s mantle, and the visions he gave Rick led the new Hourman to destroy his own powers. Beth’s conviction and determination to overcome her inner demons is what enabled her to triumph over Eclipso, and it is this same conviction that will help push the JSA to victory.
The glasses’ ability to see through hallucinations created by Eclipso is a big deal, but Beth never could have discovered this ability if she hadn’t fixed them in the first place. She didn’t even fix them because she thought they were helping fight crime – she did so out of compassion and a desire to resurrect the AI ”Chuck” that had inhabited them throughout the premiere. season. Chuck ultimately turned out to be beyond his remedial abilities, but this urge to help him is what made the JSA stand against Eclipso. In short, the new Doctor Mid-Nite’s superpower isn’t her glasses, costume, or even her wit – it’s the courage, kindness, and generosity with which she approaches the rest of the world.
Stargirl airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET / PT on The CW.
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