Stargirl: How A Chosen Family Is Better Than One Made Of Blood

This week’s Stargirl episode ‘Shining Knight’ teaches us and Courtney a valuable lesson about family when Sam Kurtis arrives and is a flat out a deadbeat.

Courtney got a rude awakening when her biological father, Sam Kurtis shows up and bursts her ‘I am Starman’s daughter’ bubble. Boy, was the dude a deadbeat! He strung his daughter and ex-partner Barbara along and got the one thing he wanted: the locket his child had been wearing since the age of four. However, we’re not actually here to talk about what a terrible person Stargirl’s dad is.

We’re here to talk about how Courtney finds the true meaning of what a family is after realising the notion of who she thought her father was isn’t what she romanticised. It takes Sam being a deadbeat to make her see that those that care for her are all she needs.

Pat: The Paternal Figure

[Credit: Stargirl Fandom]

Since the beginning, Pat has always had Courtney’s back regardless if she wanted his help or not. He’s tried from the start of their relationship to be a paternal figure towards her, knowing he can never replace her biological father. However, when he meets Sam, he tries to give the guy the benefit of the doubt for his stepdaughter’s sake.

Though, this turns out to be all for nothing when Sam shows the qualities of a deadbeat parent even more than before. Pat even takes it upon himself to punch the guy in the face for breaking Courtney’s heart. While he shouldn’t have used his fists, his intentions were obvious.

Since Sam emotionally broke Courtney and didn’t care, Pat took it as an offence. Dugan sees his stepdaughter as if she were his own child and no one hurts her and gets away with it. This shows that despite having been brushed off more than once, he never gave up in trying to form a bond with her. This is evident when he hugs her as she breaks down at the fact her reality of who her dad was in her mind, didn’t the play out in the way she expected.

Mike: The Little Brother Courtney Didn’t Realise She Needed

[Credit: Stargirl Fandom]

On the outside, Courtney and her stepbrother Mike are very different. But on the inside, they share one thing in common; an absent parent. Whitmore with her dad while Dugan is without his mum.

They both share a need for the opposite parent the likenesses appear to stop there. Or does it? Mike wants a full family complete with that one thing he never had before; the sibling. With Courtney he found that, but is conflicted when things he is oblivious to make him suspicious.

When Barbara and Pat have a full on fight and his dad is kicked out of the house, Mike goes with his father to The Pit Stop for the night. He ultimately fears that his new family unit will end with his father and stepmother divorcing. This causes him to lash out at Courtney who never wanted him or his dad around.

Before this, Mike apologises to Courtney when she is hurt in an alleged car crash for how he behaved at the homecoming game when he said he didn’t like her spending so much time with Pat. She tells him that she has already forgotten what he said to her and that he’s her little brother when he tells her that she’s his big sister.

When Sam arrives, it’s Mike who says there’s a guy upstairs looking for Courtney. Only he could’ve said this given his parents and stepsister were in the basement and is far more removed from the superhero game than the others.

Despite seeing Mike as annoying and a little weird, Courtney genuinely does love him as any big (step)sister would. She just finds it hard to connect with him given how different they are.

Barbara: Mother Of The Year

[Credit: Stargirl Fandom]

The only parent Courtney has ever really known is her mother. They’ve only ever had each other. Despite the struggles they’ve had with money, Barbara and her daughter have always remained close. However, their differing opinions of Sam and who he is drives the narrative when they arrive in Blue Valley with Pat and Mike as a family of four.

When Courtney starts believing that Starman and Sam are the same person, Barbara is the first person outside of Pat that Sylvester is not her dad, it causes conflict. Her mother tells her straight up that her father is a deadbeat who abandoned them.

Despite all this, Barbara and Courtney remain close. However, the tension returns when she discovers the cosmic staff. This puts a strain on the mother-daughter duo’s relationship and the Whitemore-Dugan marriage to the point that Pat is forced to spend the night at The Pit Stop.

However, when things begin to calm down a little, Barbara was onboard with her daughter and husband’s superhero antics as she recorded the Mahkent’s conversation. She even joined Courtney and Pat in the basement when her daughter reignites her fighting spirit to having the cosmic staff work for her again.

Friends That Are Siblings

[Credit: Stargirl Fandom]

When Courtney arrives at Blue Valley High, she is forced to sit with ‘the singles’ on her first day. This is where she meets Rick Harris (actually Tyler), Yolanda Montez, and Beth Chapel. As time wears on, the three become a close unit as they become the new generation of the Justice Society of America.

The first member Courtney recruits is Yolanda for the mantle of Wildcat. After discovering Montez’s history with Henry King Jr and how he ruined her life, Whitmore decides that she wants to help her overcome her insecurities.

At first, Yolanda is resistant until Courtney reveals to her she knows what happened with Henry. Feeling she has nowhere else to turn, Montez explains how much her ex-boyfriend hurt her. Feeling she needs to take her life back, she takes up the offer to be Wildcat.

The second recruit is Rick Harris whom Beth reveals via Doctor Mid-Nite’s goggles is actually the son of Rex Tyler, which Pat was not aware of despite having been a friend of Hourman and his wife Wendi.

Rick turns out to be a hothead given his upbringing, but he is incredibly loyal and protective of his friends. He sees them as the sisters he never had. When Courtney is injured by Shiv which is passed off as a car accident, Tyler wants to get revenge for their leader. However, it’s Beth who tells him to calm down and that they need to think their plan through.

Beth Chapel wasn’t Courtney’s first choice to be Doctor Mid-Nite. However, she did get the goggles working. She becomes a massive asset and is the one person who has a level playing field with Rick. She also doesn’t deal with a deadbeat person.

The JSA And Courtney

[Credit: Stargirl Fandom]

The new JSA all have different relationships with Courtney individually, but together they respect her. However, they don’t always agree with what she does. At the end of the day, they will always want to help and protect her.

They’ve all had to put up some deadbeat person in their lives. As a group, they have each other’s backs, no matter what. If one goes down, the others will step up and protect them.

Courtney’s faith in her friends is unyielding. She knows they will back her up when she needs them too, though she comes to realise they need training. Though, Pat is the one that gets the idea through her head as it applies to her too.

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cjhawkings

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She now writes for FanSided and is loving it!

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