Newly discovered evidence in the Gambler’s murder investigation seems to implicate the Crocks in “Chapter Three: The Blackmail.”
The Gambler’s murder investigation, started in “Chapter Two: The Suspects,” shifts as new evidence points to the Crocks in “Chapter Three: The Blackmail.” While this episode features some great character moments, the highlight is the impressive fight scene that is Sylvester (Joel McHale) versus Crusher (Neil Hopkins) and Paula (Joy Osmanski).
The episode opens with Sylvester exploring Blue Valley. At the diner, he has a conversation with Yolanda (Yvette Monreal). His assertion that Ted Grant, the original Wildcat, would have liked Yolanda is a sweet moment between two characters that haven’t previously interacted much.
As Rick (Cameron Gellman) drives Beth (Anjelika Washington) to school, Beth receives a mysterious transmission indicating that the Gambler was blackmailing the Crocks prior to his death. It turns out that Cindy (Meg DeLacy) is the one sending this information from the Gambler’s stolen laptop, though it remains unclear whether her intentions are completely noble.
Before the reveal of the new evidence, the Crocks continue to try their best to be neighborly in their own way. They show up uninvited to the Whitmore-Dugan house, throw away the waffles that Courtney (Brec Bassinger) made, and substitute healthier tofu bowls for everyone. The dynamics between the Crocks and the Whitmore-Dugans remain the highlight of this season’s “frenemies” arc.
Taking Courtney’s previous advice, Sylvester looks to find a job that doesn’t involve being Starman. He admits that he doesn’t know what value he brings outside of Starman, and both Pat (Luke Wilson) and Zeek (King Orba) are supportive of him. It’s amusing to see Sylvester trying to fit into the world of Blue Valley, and it will be interesting to see how he evolves throughout the rest of the season.
At the school Justice Society of America (JSA) meeting, Beth shares her discovery with the group. Courtney is hesitant to accuse the Crocks of murder, even though the rest of the JSA is convinced of their guilt. Though Courtney convinces the group to not tell anyone until they’re sure, Cindy ignores her advice and tells Sylvester. Even though Cindy tries to convince Sylvester to team up with her, Sylvester tells her he doesn’t trust her and insults her before shutting the door in her face. While Sylvester’s words are harsh, Cindy has a long way to go before she can truly be trusted.
Back at school, Cameron (Hunter Sansone) is acting icy (pun intended) to everyone. Rick defends a teacher from his rudeness and the two get into a tense argument. It’s not clear why the two are this tense toward each other, and hopefully, we will learn more about their past in the future. Cameron walks out of school after the argument and uses his ice powers to puncture the tire of Rick’s car. Cameron seems to have learned to control his newly manifested powers quickly and, combined with his new attitude, that doesn’t bode well for his chances of not becoming a villain.
After Cindy tells Sylvester about the Crocks, he goes to confront them. He finds them in a supermarket and brandishes Cosmo at them in public. What follows is an intense and enthralling fight scene. The choreography and the ensuing supermarket damage are well done. The fight ends outside the supermarket, with Pat arriving in S.T.R.I.P.E. to break things up.
Pat and Courtney confront the Crocks, who admit to being blackmailed by the Gambler. Though Crusher tells them about his visit to the Gambler on the day of his murder, he convinces them of their innocence. Crusher also restores Courtney’s faith in the Gambler’s potential for redemption, telling her that the Gambler paid back all the money he extorted from them prior to his death.
Sylvester arrives home soon after and Pat confronts him about his actions. He explains how Courtney initially thought that Sylvester was her father when Cosmo first lit up for her and encourages him to be a father figure to Courtney and the rest of the young JSA. While the emotional moment is overall satisfying, it seems unrealistic to expect Sylvester to become a full-blown father figure overnight.
Courtney reports what transpired at the next JSA meeting and confronts Cindy about ignoring her request to not tell anyone about their suspicions. Cindy admits that she was trying to prove herself to Sylvester and the JSA, and Courtney warns her she will be kicked out of the JSA if she does it again. Though Courtney’s seemingly unwavering faith in Cindy has caused a lot of friction with the rest of the JSA, it’s good to see her stand up to Cindy.
The other highlight of the episode is the developing friendship between Paula and Barbara. Paula once again shows up at Barbara’s work and tells her that the Rotary Club wants her to make a speech. Barbara is encouraging throughout the episode, even showing up to the meeting to support Paula as she gives her speech. By the end of “Chapter Three: The Blackmail”, Paula confronts Barbara’s boss and threatens him to be nicer to her. The surprising friendship is one of the stronger parts of this season so far.
After ignoring Courtney earlier, Cameron apologizes. The two finally seem to be going on a date, but Cameron runs away as they are about to hold hands. Later, Sylvester goes to investigate the Gambler’s trailer as a mysterious figure continues to watch the multiple installed cameras. An unseen creature attacks Sylvester, leaving him unconscious. The intriguing cliffhanger at the end of “Chapter Three: The Blackmail” will hopefully lead to more answers next week.
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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