Heroes and villains attempt to coexist after the battle against Eclipso, but the peace won’t last for long in “Chapter One: The Murder.”
After teaming up to defeat Eclipso in “Summer School: Chapter Thirteen,” the dynamic between the Justice Society of America (JSA) and the former Injustice Society of America (ISA) has been shaken up in the show’s third season, subtitled Frenemies. “Chapter One: The Murder,” provides a glimpse into how life in Blue Valley has changed while setting up a season-long murder investigation.
The premiere opens with a fun montage showing what everyone has been up to since the battle. As the Whitmore-Dugans return from vacation, the former ISA members attempt to redeem themselves. Yolanda (Yvette Monreal) remains skeptical of Cindy (Meg DeLacy) who tries to be a better person by helping an old lady. Beth (Anjelika Washington) deals with her doting parents as Rick (Cameron Gellman) repeatedly buries Grundy. The montage signals a return to the lighter tone of the first season, thankfully leaving the horror tones of season two behind.
As the Whitmore-Dugan family returns home, they find that Sylvester (Joel McHale) has gone above and beyond to take care of their home, even building a case for Cosmo the staff. It’s weird to see Sylvester acting so nice after so many flashbacks of being a jerk. Courtney (Brec Bassinger) is concerned that Sylvester wants the staff back, but he assures her that his Starman days are over.
Later, Sylvester gains a new appreciation for Pat (Luke Wilson) upon seeing S.T.R.I.P.E. He takes Cosmo as the two go for a ride together, which Courtney is initially upset about. After a heart-to-heart, Courtney agrees to a shared custody agreement with Sylvester. Though the moments between Sylvester and both Pat and Courtney are nice, there is no way that sharing Cosmo will ultimately work out for them.
The former ISA members appear to have committed themselves all to redemption. Both Cindy and Artemis (Stella Smith) want to join the JSA. Crusher (Neil Hopkins) and Paula (Joy Osmanski) try to be good neighbors in their own, misguided way. Crusher breaking into the Whitmore-Dugan house at five-thirty in the morning to make Pat a smoothie is a humorous sequence, though it’s easy to argue that breaking in and waking anyone up that early for no reason is villainous.
Even the Gambler (Eric Goins), not seen since season one, is eager to redeem himself for a daughter that he just learned about. Everyone is skeptical about his desire to change, JSA and ISA alike. All these attempts for the former ISA members to redeem themselves cause a lot of debate among the JSA members. Courtney is filled with optimism, while many of the others are rightfully skeptical. Much like Sylvester’s over-the-top niceness, all these villains trying to be good people at once seems too good to be true.
Courtney, so optimistic about seeing the good in everyone, invites Cindy to join the rest of the JSA at school. Yolanda is not thrilled about the idea and points out that the vote was split evenly between her and Rick versus Courtney and Beth. It feels like Courtney should have been more considerate about inviting Cindy into the group after her role in Yolanda’s past, particularly after what happened with Henry back in season one. The JSA didn’t reunite until the end of last season, and it’s unfortunate that the group will once again be at odds again with each other so soon.
For me, the question isn’t whether Cindy should have the chance to redeem herself. She’s clearly trying to be a better person, and we’ll see if she can stick to it. The real question is whether she should join the JSA, and the answer, for now, is a resounding no. She seems to have no intention of apologizing to Yolanda for what she did, telling her to get over her trauma. She is rude to everyone and seems uninterested in doing anything with the team other than fighting bad guys. Her presence messes with the chemistry of the JSA and she clearly has no respect for its members.
The episode’s lone action involves Artemis intercepting the JSA’s attempt to fend off a criminal gang with ties to the Gambler to “audition” for the JSA. Despite the happy exterior, there is clearly something sinister happening in Blue Valley. Someone has put cameras in everyone’s homes and hangout spots and is watching them from afar. This likely has something to do with last season’s tease of Mr. Bones and the Helix Institute.
Just as pressing, “Chapter One: The Murder,” ends with the Gambler’s murder, setting up the season’s murder mystery. Though the prime suspect is Cindy, standing over the Gambler with a literal smoking gun, she denies being the murderer. There is clearly more to the story, and it will be interesting to see how the investigation unfolds over the course of the show’s third season.
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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