DC’s Stargirl debuted tonight on The CW, bringing a new generation of justice to the network just one day after the series’ DC Universe debut. The series follows Courtney Whitmore, a young girl whose life is turned upside down when her mother remarries, and the whole family moves from California to Nebraska. On top of the challenges of being in a brand-new place, Courtney discovers the Cosmic Staff, transforming into a hero in her own right -- Stargirl. Want to find out how Courtney's story begins? Read on for our spoiler-filled recap of the Stargirl pilot below and please note there are some slight differences between The CW's broadcast and the DC Universe version of the episode. We've included details of those differences at the end of the recap.
Spoilers for the first episode of Stargirl below.
Christmas Eve, ten years ago. The Golden Age of Heroes comes to an end and the episode opens with Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson) racing through the streets of Los Angeles despite Starman telling him over the car's radio not to come to the aid of him and the Justice Society. Pat arrives anyway to find a battle with the Injustice Society raging and witnesses the deaths of many of the JSA heroes. He's about to be killed himself when Starman (Joel McHale) intervenes. He defeats Brainwave (Christopher James Baker), but victory is short-lived. He's impaled by Icicle (Neil Jackson) and while Pat gets Starman out of there, the hero dies a short time later, telling Pat before he does that someone must continue the Justice Society -- just not him.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the city a young Courtney Whitmore waits in vain for her father to show up for Christmas while her single mother, Barbara (Amy Smart) goes to work.
Present day. Courtney (Brec Bassinger) is unhappily packing up her belongings. Her mother has married Pat and now the whole family, including Pat's son Mike (Trae Romano), is moving to Blue Valley, Nebraska. Courtney is not happy about this at all or about her mother's marriage to Pat. As the family starts to move into their new home, Pat gets weird when the movers drop a strange wooden chest and Courtney is suspicious.
The next day, Pat takes Courtney to school and she's upset to discover the school does not have a gymnastics team. Pat opens up his own garage and is greeted by Larry "Crusher" Crock (Neil Hopkins), who owns the gym down the street. Barbara starts her new job at a place called The American Dream. At school, Courtney struggles to fit in and ends up sitting at the "loser" table at lunch. A group of jocks come up to hassle one of the other girls at the table. When Courtney tries to stand up for her, the jocks take her phone and she fights back and is taken away by the principal.
At home, Courtney continues to struggle to find her footing and heads off to the basement to be alone and discovers Pat's JSA history in the process, including Starman's costume as well as the Cosmic Staff, which activates for her. Courtney's been chosen and the Staff soon takes her on an adventure. They end up at the drive-in where Courtney witnesses the jocks from school bullying someone else. Obscuring her face, Courtney and the Staff let the air out of the jock's tires but end up blowing up his car in an altercation.
Pat busts Courtney with the Staff at home and gives her a very basic primer on the JSA and what happened to them, that they died saving the world on Christmas Eve ten years ago. Courtney begins to think that maybe Starman was her father -- who himself disappeared Christmas Eve ten years ago. Pat doesn't think that's the case. Courtney goes to confront her mom, but she soon realizes how hard things have been for her mom, so Courtney backs off. Courtney and Pat later call something of a truce and promise to keep the JSA secret from her.
The jock whose car Courtney destroyed -- Harry King, Jr. (Jake Austin Walker) -- tells his father about the car and the Staff that attacked it. Harry's father is Brainwave. The Staff isn't done with Courtney, though. At the Dugan home, the Staff comes upstairs to find Courtney in her room and takes her on another adventure. They go flying around Blue Valley but are soon attacked by Brainwave. She and the Staff fight him before running away and encounter a giant robot on their way out. It's Pat in S.T.R.I.P.E!
Here is what was cut from the DC Universe version of the episode:
-Before Pat takes Courtney to school, there's a cut scene where Pat goes downstairs and looks over his old JSA things -- including a map that seems to hint that there's some great significance about Blue Valley, potentially for the Injustice Society, thus explaining the significance of the family’s move.
-Pat taking Courtney to school is a longer scene. In it, Pat tries talking to Courtney as a way to connect to her, but she mostly ignores him to text her friend from California.
-In school, Courtney meets Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy) who suggests she should try out for cheerleading and when Courtney dismisses the idea, Cindy is less than pleased.
-After hearing about the Staff from his son, Brainwave calls Icicle to tell him that there's a "new Starman". Despite being told to do nothing, Brainwave suits up and heads out, leading to his confrontation with Courtney.
Stargirl airs Tuesdays at 8/7 on The CW. New episodes debut Mondays on DC Universe.