The last few episodes of DC's Stargirl have seen young hero Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) deal with several challenging and painful experiences. Soon after discovering that Henry King, Jr. (Jake Austin Walker) was her "cousin" and wanted to fight on the side of good, she and the rest of the Justice Society of America watched in horror as the young man was murdered by his own father, Henry King, Sr./Brainwave (Christopher James Baker). Then, as if that trauma wasn't enough, Courtney discovered that her father really was not Starman and was instead a deadbeat named Sam Kurtis (Geoff Stults) who returned to her life only for her valuable locket. It was enough to make Courtney lose faith in herself, but she ultimately rallied, came into her own power as Stargirl and is ready to take on the Injustice Society of America who not only now knows who she and her family are, but are inching ever closer to launching their nefarious plans for the country: a brainwashing program called Project New America. This week, with time running out, everything begins to come together as the two sides face off -- with the ISA determined to take Stargirl and her allies out of the game forever. Read on to find out what happens next in our spoiler-filled recap of this week's episode "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One".
Warning: spoilers beyond this point for this week's episode of DC's Stargirl, "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One".
The episode picks up with the ISA's countdown to Project New America showing just over 11 hours to go. Brainwave briefs Jordan on where things sit with all of the plans. Sportsmaster and Tigress are sent to kill the Whitmore/Dugan family. Dragon King is preparing his machine. Gambler is readying a nationwide communications blackout that will be blamed on Russia so that the ISA broadcast can go off smoothly, which includes the brainwashed citizens in the impacted area being willing to fight for the ISA's values as the secede from the rest of the country.
At home, Courtney and Barbara hurry to pack and leave while Pat gets Mike, but after they have a disagreement, Pat discovers Crusher Crock in his shop and slowly discovers Crusher is Sportsmaster is attacked. At the same time, Tigress tries to take out Barbara at home, but Courtney -- with her Staff -- fights her off. At the garage, Mike attacks Crusher with a drill, allowing Pat to knock him out while at home, Barbara assists by hitting Tigress over the head with a potted plant, giving Courtney enough time to knock out the villain so they can escape.
Jordan is informed that Sportsmaster and Tigress failed so he calls Anaya Bowin who is at the school and discovers that her son has been bullied -- and suggests he uses violence to stop the bullies. The Whitmore/Dugan family meets up with the rest of the Justice Society at the cabin and are joined by Justin who shows up with fried chicken. S.T.R.I.P.E. also arrives, having flown in on autopilot. At the ISA lair, Dragon King has Brainwave test the machine and while it is clearly harrowing for Brainwave the test is a success.
At the cabin, Rick continues working with his dad's journal. Justin takes a look with him, though it's Pat who helps him figure it out. The missing number they need to unlock the code is 1966, the model year of his Mustang. Mike goes to talk with Courtney and tries her Staff, but it doesn't light up for him. He remains hopeful he can still someday be in the JSA. At the Whitmore/Dugan house, Anaya shows up to deal with Tigress and Sportsmaster's failure. For round two, the plan is for her to use her violin-playing to freeze Courtney and the others in place so the violent pair can't fail, but when Anaya calls them unfit parents, Tigress kills her.
With the formula unlocked, Beth scans it and gets the map of the ISA tunnels and discovers that they've built a synaptic amplifier, thus figuring out the ISA's brainwash plan. Courtney begins to develop a plan for how they'll attack, and Beth says she'll handle the computer side of things. Barbara will go with her. Mike is assigned to watching the dog. Everyone goes off and the mission begins.
Beth finds the countdown as well as the ISA's manifesto -- The New Constitution -- and on the surface, their manifesto is full of really good things. Elimination of discrimination, the embracing of universal healthcare, and even measures to combat climate change. The problem? It only impacts adult minds and those who right the programming too much will die -- 25 million people in all. Gambler hacks Beth's hack and they discover something else: the process of brainwashing has already begun. Barbara and Justin begin to be affected and chillingly so has Pat. Brainwave, controlling Pat, has S.T.R.I.P.E. attack Courtney.