DC’s Stargirl 3×13 Review: “Chapter Thirteen: The Reckoning”

Chapter Thirteen: The Reckoning
The Justice Society of America (JSA) in “Chapter Thirteen: The Reckoning.”

The JSA and the ISA face off against each other one last time in DC’s Stargirl’s series finale “Chapter Thirteen: The Reckoning.”

With DC’s Stargirl’s unfortunate cancellation, “Chapter Thirteen: The Reckoning” has to pull double duty as both season and series finale. Overall, the episode rises to the occasion, as it provides satisfying resolutions while leaving the door open for more adventures for the Justice Society of America (JSA). With the Ultra-Humanite reveal in “Chapter Twelve: The Last Will and Testament of Sylvester Pemberton,” the JSA has a tall task of facing three members of the Injustice Society of America (ISA) in the series’ final battle.

Before the final showdown, a flashback shows the process of transplanting the Ultra-Humanite’s brain into Sylvester’ (Joel McHale) body. The process took place after the ISA’s defeat in the season one finale and surprisingly Sylvester was dug up and revived for the procedure. It’s distressing to hear the real Sylvester ask about Pat (Luke Wilson) in his final moments. However, the timeline of this occurrence raises questions about what the ISA was doing during Eclipso’s reign of terror.

In the present, Jordan (Neil Jackson) tells Cameron (Hunter Sansone) that the Ultra-Humanite killed Pat and has him lure Courtney (Brec Bassinger) and the JSA to meet him. The JSA shows up at the junkyard, and the entire Mahkent family and “Sylvester” are waiting for them. They tell the JSA that Pat is dead and try to convince them that teaming up is the only way to stop the Ultra-Humanite.

“Sylvester’s” ruse is revealed when Pat, who has dug himself out of the ground, arrives in a rapidly reconstructed S.T.R.I.P.E. and reveals the Ultra-Humanite’s identity. “Sylvester’s” angry reaction to Pat being alive confirms this and the battle between the two sides commences. It’s a relief to see Pat survive being buried alive, though the feat of digging himself out of the massive grave by himself seems a little too miraculous for someone with no special abilities.

In a callback to the fight at the Mahkent mansion earlier in the season, the matchups end up being nearly the same. Rick (Cameron Gellman) goes after Cameron, Yolanda (Yvette Monreal) clashes with Lily (Kay Galvin), and Beth (Anjelika Washington) matches up with Sofus (Jim France). In addition, Courtney fights Icicle and Pat spars with the Ultra-Humanite. Unlike the previous fight, the satisfying character moments are more of a focus than the fight choreography.

Beth and Sofus agreeing that they don’t actually want to fight each other is an amusing moment of the battle. As Lily shoots ice blasts at Yolanda, a missed shot loosens up a car from overhead. The car lands on Lily, killing her on impact. Courtney gets a surprise assist from Barbara (Amy Smart) who uses what she learned from Paula’s crossbow training to attack Icicle. Though it was obvious that Paula training Barbara would come into play by season’s end, the moment is still awesome.

Stargirl (Brec Bassinger) in “Chapter Thirteen: The Reckoning.”

In the episode’s most epic moment, Courtney wrestles Cosmo from the Ultra-Humanite by declaring him unworthy of the staff. Cosmo then flies into her hand as she declares herself the one who is actually worthy. The moment is very reminiscent of Captain America summoning Mjolnir in Avengers: Endgame and is equally effective. With the staff firmly in her possession, the Ultra-Humanite is no match for Stargirl.

Pat is the one who ultimately finishes off the Ultra-Humanite, hitting his skull with a rock. Meanwhile, Jakeem (Alkoya Brunson) unleashes the full power of Thunderbolt (Seth Green) by asking him to help protect Cindy (Meg DeLacy) from the Dragon King (Nelson Lee). It’s great to see Jakeem fully embrace the Thunderbolt, and the Dragon King getting turned into a small stuffed plush of the albino gorilla is yet another hilarious way to dispatch a villain.

Icicle tries to get Cameron to fight Courtney and Barbara, threatening to kill him like Brainwave killed his son. Though Cameron is conflicted throughout the fight, the threat officially turns him against his father. He unleashes his powers, banishing Jordan in some sort of icy teleportation blast. Cameron then tells Courtney that he wants no more part of this and teleports himself and Sofus away. Though the new addition to Cameron’s abilities somewhat stretches plausibility, it’s still fun to see him finally take on his father and turn the tide of the battle.

The aftermath of the thrilling battle features several satisfying character moments. Courtney tries to tell Pat about how she defended him in the last episode, but Pat reveals that he heard every word. Rick apologizes to Beth’s parents (Kron Moore and Gilbert Glenn Brown), and Beth asks them to help her with Dr. Mid-Nite as “sidekicks.” Courtney delivers the Gambler’s letter to his daughter, and Mike (Trae Romano) meets his birth mother before calling Barbara “Mom” for the first time after the meeting. Even Grundy comes back to life as Rick visits his burial site.

The most disappointing ending is Yolanda’s. After reaching out to her mother previously, she calls her mother again and tells her that she wants to be honest with her. While the reconciliation between Beth and her parents is earned, this one is not. Yolanda’s mother is the one who needs to apologize to Yolanda, and this forced reconciliation feels like an afterthought rather than a satisfying conclusion for Yolanda. It’s also very disheartening that the finale didn’t feature one last moment between Courtney and Yolanda, one of the main dynamics that made me become invested in this show from the beginning.

While the previous season finales have featured great moments of the JSA hanging out together as a group, the series finale’s moment falls flat. Though everyone, even Cindy, is at the Whitmore-Dugan house for dinner waiting for Courtney, we never get to see the group together one last time. Seeing Beth, Rick, Yolanda, and Beth’s parents talking is fun, and Cindy’s smirk at seeing Buddy the dog ripping into the stuffed animal of her father is the episode’s funniest moment, but the scene doesn’t reach its full potential.

The show instead chooses to end on Courtney standing in front of the Mahkent house as Cameron returns, asking for Courtney’s help. Though the reunion hug is sweet, the decision to have this moment instead of rather than in addition to a JSA moment is frustrating. It’s the last time we see all these characters on screen in this episode and seeing them together one more time would have been a far better final image.

Despite this present-day ending, the series finale has more reveals in-store via time jumps. Three months later, Artemis (Stella Smith) tracks down Icicle, using her father’s weapons to burn him and avenge her parents’ deaths. It’s nice to see Artemis get justice for the Crocks’ tragic deaths, and to see another loose end tied up.

Ten years in the future, the Shade (Jonathan Cake) gives a tour of a museum devoted to the JSA. In this epilogue, we learn about unseen JSA adventures, that Courtney is now going by Starwoman, and that everyone has joined the JSA by that point, even Jennie and Todd. The Shade even mentions that he will be officiating Beth and Rick’s upcoming wedding. Though it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to see Rick and Beth’s slow-burn romance make a lot of progress in the present, the mention that they do end up together is still satisfying.

Though we, unfortunately, don’t see any of the JSA members outside of exhibit photos, the confirmation that everyone is still friends in the future is a perfect way to end the series. Jay Garrick’s Flash (John Wesley Shipp) interrupts the tour, telling the Shade that he needs the JSA’s help. A final title card, “Never The End” adds to the series’ excellent conclusion.

Though “Chapter Thirteen: The Reckoning,” wasn’t intended to be the series finale, it is still a successful conclusion to DC’s Stargirl.

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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