The JSA opens their investigation of the Gambler’s murder as Sylvester returns to action as Starman in “Chapter Two: The Suspects.”
After the Justice Society of America (JSA) finds the Gambler (Eric Goins) murdered at the end of “Chapter One: The Murder,” they begin to assess the possible suspects. An extended opening shows the Gambler hours before his murder, revealing that the Shade (Jonathan Cake) visited him, and Crusher (Neil Hopkins) briefly watched the Gambler’s trailer from his car before driving away. However, Cindy (Meg DeLacy) is the prime suspect after being found standing over the Gambler’s body holding his gun.
The JSA, sans Cindy, convenes to discuss the suspects. Yolanda (Yvette Monreal) and Rick (Cameron Gellman) are adamant that Cindy is the murderer, but Courtney (Brec Bassinger) and Beth (Anjelika Washington) believe Cindy’s defense that the Gambler was already dead when she arrived and that the gun in her hand fired accidentally. Though the JSA is not on the same page presently, this episode featured too little of the non-Courtney JSA members.
The gun’s accidental discharge is corroborated after tests reveal that the Gambler died from a stab wound. Yolanda still believes that Cindy is guilty, and Cindy is upset that the rest of the JSA met without her. Courtney calms everyone down momentarily, believing that finding who took the Gambler’s laptop from his trailer will solve the case. While I don’t think that Cindy is the murderer, she clearly isn’t completely innocent. She seems to be up to something, as she has the Gambler’s laptop and concocts a mysterious potion in the episode.
Courtney is the one most interested in finding the Gambler’s killer and is the only one that seems to believe that the Gambler was sincere in his desire to redeem himself. She finds herself reading the letter that the Gambler wrote to his mysterious daughter before the murder, wishing that her own father would express such heartfelt regrets to her. Courtney’s own issues with her father was a compelling plot line in the first season, and it’s interesting to see her struggles return after not being a focus last season.
Paula (Joy Osmanski) visits Barbara (Amy Smart) once again at work. She insists that nobody in her family murdered the Gambler, humorously arguing that they wouldn’t leave the body in the open. After discussing all the ways that she and her family are trying to redeem themselves, Barbara offers to help Paula bake a cake for one of her clubs. Though the subplot doesn’t really go anywhere in this episode, it’s interesting to see Barbara and Paula begin to bond as the Crocks become more involved with the Whitmore-Dugan family.
Meanwhile, Sylvester (Joel McHale) and Pat (Luke Wilson) begin their own investigation. They interrogate the Shade at the diner, and it’s clear that Sylvester’s return to being Starman is also a return to him being a jerk to Pat. Sylvester’s questioning of the Shade goes terribly and Pat finally stands up to Sylvester, telling him that he’s no longer just his sidekick. It’s satisfying to see Pat defend himself and their talk inspires Sylvester to try a new tactic in his investigation.
Before the investigation continues, Sylvester drops by school and convinces Courtney to skip the rest of the day. The two begin training with the staff, and Sylvester teaches Courtney a powerful move that causes her eyes to glow and for her and the staff to blast into the sky with a trail of fireworks. The training session is fun and watching Courtney tap into the right emotion to pull off the move with a stirring montage of her friends and family is as delightful as it was in last season’s finale.
Inspired by Pat, Sylvester and Courtney visit the Shade to apologize for the previous diner interrogation. Sylvester’s good intentions don’t last long as he ends up getting into another fight with the Shade. After a talk with Pat and Barbara, Sylvester admits that he is misplacing blame on the Shade to assuage his own guilt regarding the breakdown of the JSA. It’s a moment of remarkable growth from Sylvester, capped off with a heartfelt moment of Courtney encouraging him to try to find a life outside of being Starman.
Though Sylvester concludes that the Shade did not kill the Gambler, he clearly is struggling with something. He appears where Rick and Beth are hanging out together, tells them that he needs to take care of something before disappearing into the shadows. It’s unclear what’s going on with the Shade, but hopefully he won’t be gone for long.
Seeing Rick and Beth hanging out together is another great, though brief, moment of the episode. Rick and Beth have always had a great dynamic, and hopefully that will continue to develop this season. As he attempts to fix the hourglass, Rick admits that the hourglass now only works for a varying, unknown length of time. This inability to fully fix the hourglass will likely impact him at some point this season, and hopefully he tells the rest of the JSA sooner or later.
Elsewhere, Cameron (Hunter Sansone) struggles with his emerging ice abilities that prevent him from holding a paint brush. Cameron’s struggles are unfortunate, but his grandparents brushing off his concerns and telling him that he’s destined for greater things makes the situation even more distressing. Despite Cameron’s good nature, it seems likely that he will end up on the same villainous path as his father.
Mike (Trae Romano) and Jakeem (Alkoya Brunson) add some comic relief to the episode as they attempt to solve the Gambler’s murder by wishing for Thunderbolt (Seth Green) to reveal the name of the killer. Despite their attempt to ask the right question, Thunderbolt doesn’t make it easy for them or the audience. He reveals that the killer has multiple names, which raises even more questions.
Though it doesn’t seem like any of the current potential suspects in “Chapter Two: The Suspects” killed the Gambler, they all seem to be hiding something. At the episode’s end, Crusher tells Paula that “they” will likely find out about something soon. It’s unclear what Cindy intends to do with the Gambler’s laptop or the potion’s purpose. What is going on with the Shade’s powers and what business does he need to take care of? The end of the season is supposedly unexpected, which potentially points to a suspect not already being considered.
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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