Beth and Rick get the spotlight and become the targets of Eclipso’s latest attack in “Summer School: Chapter Eight.”
The Justice Society of America (JSA) continues to fall apart thanks to Eclipso’s (Nick Tarabay) efforts to terrorize them in “Summer School: Chapter Eight.” While Yolanda’s (Yvette Monreal) decision to quit the JSA in “Summer School: Chapter Seven” is already a big blow to the group, Eclipso puts the JSA in further jeopardy as he sets his sights on Rick (Cameron Gellman) and Beth (Anjelika Washington).
While Yolanda doesn’t appear in the episode, her absence is felt as she returns the Wildcat costume to Courtney (Brec Bassinger). Courtney’s heartbreak over the loss of Yolanda is palpable, and her desire to continue to try to make things better for her best friend continues to show the strength of their bond. Her sadness also encompasses her ailing staff, who she decides to name Cosmo after it lights up upon being called a friend. The moment is sweet, and hopefully Courtney can get all her friends back soon.
After being pushed to the background for much of this season, Rick gets much more focus in the episode. Miss Woods (Deborah Bowman) finally seeing potential in Rick is great, and she has redeemed herself from earlier in the season when she accused him of cheating on his test. Unfortunately, Rick’s uncle, Matt (Adam Aalderks) ruins the moment by tossing Woods’ research for college and telling Rick he’s more likely to end up in jail. Matt is easy to dislike and is another example proving that Courtney has the only consistently decent parents or parental figures of the JSA.
Frustrated by everything, Rick goes to the woods and has a breakdown. While the breakdown feels a bit exaggerated with Rick yelling everything that he feels into the emptiness of the woods, Rick’s struggles are understandable and compelling. Rick soon comes face to face with Solomon Grundy, and the two find themselves sitting on a log and eating apples together. While Grundy doesn’t talk much, the unexpected bonding between the two is surprisingly sweet. Soon after, Rick hears on the radio that hunters have gathered in the woods to hunt a “bear.’ This leads to him calling Pat (Luke Wilson) for help as he rushes to save Grundy.
As Rick rushes around the woods, Beth has her own struggles. She seemingly has her long-awaited talk with her mother (Kron Moore) and father (Gilbert Glenn Brown), but it’s clear that Eclipso is behind it as her parents outright blame her for their divorce. The situation grows as Beth seemingly goes to Courtney’s house and finds herself confronted by both Eclipso’s adult form and child form (Milo Stein). While the confrontation in the dark house contains a few jump scares, the most terrifying aspect is Eclipso’s racist attacks on Beth and the mocking of her insecurities.
While Eclipso has been terrifying and the epitome of evil up to this point, his racist comments make him even more reprehensible. Through his words and conjured up images of the former JSA, Eclipso insists that Beth doesn’t belong in the JSA and tells her that she can’t be a hero because she’s scared of him. While the sequence is heartbreaking on its own for Beth, the fact that many of Eclipso’s comments echo the things that have been said about Beth and to Washington by fans gives the situation a whole new perspective.
Thankfully, Beth stands up to Eclipso in an empowering moment. She declares that she is Dr Mid-Nite, causing Charles McNider (Alex Collins) and the goggles finally recognize her. Her declaration that she is proud to be a Black superhero makes the moment even more inspiring. The revelation that the goggles can block Eclipso’s illusions is interesting and will likely prove crucial in the final showdown with Eclipso.
Back in the woods, Rick comes across a group of hunters that tell him that the “bear” has killed a girl. He denies that Grundy is responsible but becomes furious upon finding Grundy with bloody hands and body floating nearby in the river. Pat and Courtney come across the scene, which is soon revealed as a trick of Eclipso. Rick chases Grundy to a farm and uses his hourglass to attack Grundy at full strength. Courtney snaps Rick out of his trance with a blast from her staff, but he realizes that he has been tricked and is attacking his uncle instead of Grundy. The realization leads to Rick smashing his hourglass and surrendering himself to the police. The whole sequence is tragic and it’s unfortunate to see Eclipso win yet another battle.
The episode closes with a nice moment between Mike (Trae Romano) and Barbara (Amy Smart) as they agree that they need to be there for Courtney and Pat. While Beth was able to triumph over Eclipso, at least for the moment, Rick’s arrest and the destruction of the hourglass puts the JSA in a precarious situation. While convincing Yolanda to come back to the JSA was already going to be a challenge, getting Rick back into the fold, and restoring the hourglass is seemingly impossible. While Eclipso’s efforts to destroy the JSA have been overall successful, it will be exciting to see the group reunite and finally find a way to stop him.
Author: Jessica Wolff
Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.
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