Stargirl TV REVIEW: Eclipso arrives on the best hour of Tuesday night TV


The JSA is ready for a fight

Geoff Johns took many chances with this episode, "Summer School, Chapter 6," and I have to give him a standing slow clap for this bold decision. Oftentimes, it seems as if the CW superhero shows are made from the same mold. The budgets aren’t large, the actors are a bunch of unknowns with okayish costuming, and good enough for the medium direction. We as the audience will watch these shows with an understanding of all this, and can even excuse it if we’re true fans of the series we’re watching. Even though I’ve reviewed Stargirl since it premiered, it took me the entire first season to conclude that yes, I am in fact a fan of this show.


One thing that fans love to see is an overall improvement, particularly with the writing, story, and directing. This makes us know that the creators have been given more creative freedom by their network, in turn giving us more of what we want: genuine comic book action brought to life. What Geoff Johns did with Episode 6 is take a gamble on Walter Carlos Garcia, and damn if he didn’t win the jackpot. Garcia’s career in the industry has been that of a stunt coordinator with an impressive resumé of 51 projects, including Ant-Man, X-Men Apocalypse, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel and our Stargirl. Recently, Garcia decided he wanted to make a change and get behind the camera and choreograph not only the action, but the story itself. Garcia has just pulled a Chad Stahelski and made Stargirl: Summer School S2E6 his television John Wick.

Mike the paperboy facing off with another bully

Over the first season of Stargirl, Garcia had his first hand in the industry directing as the Second Unit Director. Typically they do pickup shots and b-roll, but not the main directing. Episode 6 marks his true directorial debut, with a spectacularly exciting hour of television you’ll be begging for more of. With a background in stunt coordination, Garcia knows the importance of the movement and placement of the body: where it should be, how it should be, and why it should be in a given placement. As comic fans, we should all understand how crucial this is, because every panel is precious and only so much can be shown to us, but it has to be enough to easily guide our imagination to move the story in our head accordingly. Well, Garcia takes his knowledge and experience of this, as well as some horror notes from Geoff Johns, and he delivers an episode you definitely do not want to miss. As an aside, I just want to thank Garcia for making The Shade my new favorite character. He struck that POSE, baby! Ah, have to show love to the villains with style.

The Shade, pun intended

One of my first reviews for this season referenced a Geoff Johns interview where he spoke about wanting to bring to life the true horrors of Eclipso as a top villain. With each passing episode there have been flirtations with horror here and there. A juicy peach fell into our laps last week. Eclipso finally arrived in the flesh, and he is as horrific and powerful as he was depicted in the comics. Even his outward appearance is faithful to the Bart Sears Eclipso comics, where he was re-imagined as a genie-like figure.


Truth be told, we’re now at the midway point of the season and that peach has turned into a hot peach cobbler, with vanilla ice cream on top. Honestly, this episode had me in the first half, not gonna lie, because it started off quite slow, but Garcia's interesting directing was there. It is just a ruse to make the ending all the more impactful. With genuine hopefulness, I manifest that Garcia will come back to direct more episodes either this season or the next.


There is definitely a great shift in the Stargirl story, as well as the character dynamics, all thanks to the evil that looms ever larger over the quaint Blue Valley. This will be a very interesting turning point for everyone, but especially the JSA. Will they be deterred or will they become even more determined in their mission to stop Eclipso? We'll find out more next time.


Watch Stargirl: Summer School Tuesdays on the CW, and streaming the day after on cwtv.com


RECOMMENDED READING:

Eclipso: The Darkness Within (1992)

Eclipso (1992-1994)

 

Ruth Kotsalos spent her Saturday mornings as a kid fully invested in Batman: The Animated Series. Since then, she has been a fan of all DC animated cartoons and movies. Ruth currently works in the nonprofit sector, has a masters degree from The New School, and lives in New Jersey with her husband John, and their German Shepherd puppy, Athena.

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