Twinkle, twinkle little star. Courtney Whitmore’s evolution during Stargirl is only about to grow as we venture into Season 2…
She started out as an angry teenager who was waiting for her long-lost father to return. In the end, she came out the other end as more confident and sure of herself. To begin our coverage into Stargirl Season 2, we wanted to go over the star (no pun intended) of the show, Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) and her journey throughout Season 1.
Now, fans of the comic version of the character will be aware that Courtney was created to honour the memory of Courtney Elizabeth Johns, the late younger sister of comic book writer, Geoff Johns. You can read the story of Stargirl’s creation here.
While her story is tragic, the real Courtney’s legacy lives on through the character her brother created. Brec Bassinger’s portrayal of Whitmore is the closest portrayal we’ve seen on screen. The first appearance of Stargirl in live-action came in Smallville Seasons 9 and 10 where she was played by Britt Irvin. The second time she appeared was in Legends of Tomorrow pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths where Sarah Gray took on the role.
There is no right or wrong way to play a character on screen, but Brec’s performance is special. She shows us what it means to play a teenage girl with a lot of angst and abandonment issues revolving around her father’s almost life-long absence. There’s where her journey really begins…
Courtney was born in Valley Village, California to single mother, Barbara Whitmore (Amy Smart). Her father, Sam Kurtis (Geoff Stults) was in and out of her life until Christmas Eve when she was 5. This was when he suddenly stopped showing up. This ultimately lead to her developing abandonment issues and a strong disliking for her stepfather Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson) and stepbrother, Mike (Trae Romano).
As she grew up, Courtney became an expert gymnast and formed a close friendship group which contained childhood best friend, Mary Kramer (Annie Thurman). However, her life is thrown into chaos upon her mother and Pat’s marriage when her new job pulls her back to her old home town of Blue Valley.
While Courtney’s childhood was happy outside of her absentee father, her mother often struggled to keep their heads above water. However, all this changed as she got older.
For years, it was just Courtney and Barbara against the world. The sudden change to include Pat and Mike made the teenager angry and unwelcoming. Before the move to Blue Valley, Barb pulls her daughter up on her bitterness and says she should be upset with her and not her stepdad.
A Hint To Her Future As A Star
A hint of Courtney’s destiny comes in the form of a star clip in her hair the night her father didn’t show up. The clothing she is also seen wearing early in the season is seen to have stars on them.
As stated by her mother in the ‘Brainwave‘ episode, Courtney was the star of the gymnastics team when they were living in California. The Cosmic staff also chose her to be Starman (Joel McHale)’s successor. She didn’t exactly chose it. It just kinda happened against her will.
Everything Courtney does proves that she really does come through as the star of the new Justice Society of America.
Bringing Together The New JSA
When Courtney discovers the Cosmic Staff, she recruits a reluctant Pat to her cause. She wants justice for the death of Joey Zarick after he is killed by Icicle. Against her stepfather’s wishes, she sneaks into the old JSA headquarters and steals several artefacts belonging to the original team.
She recruits Yolanda Montez (Yvette Monreal) first and discovers something disturbing. Her new teammate once dated bully Henry King Jr (Jake Austin Walker) before she ended up in a sexting scandal where nude photos got leaked by her class presidential rival, Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy).
Giving Yolanda the Wildcat mantle allows Courtney to help her new friend move past her struggles. She had learned when she was researching potential teammates that Montez had been caught up in a nude picture scandal three months prior.
Later, Beth Chapel (Anjelika Washington) who had overheard Courtney and Yolanda on their first mission to weed out Injustice Society members at the hospital, finds Doctor Mid-Nite’s goggles at Whitmore’s house. At first, she is denied the place but after discovering what actually happened to Rex (Lou Ferringno Jr) and Wendi Tyler (Kristin Brock), she became Charles McNider (Henry Thomas)’s replacement.
Rick Tyler (Cameron Gellman) was much harder to recruit to the JSA than Yolanda or Beth. Courtney notices the hourglass that she had taken from the old headquarters was working, she realised it would only work Rex’s son which Beth confirms.
Standing Up To Bullies
Courtney’s star really shines when she stands up for her friends against bullies like Cindy. Throughout Season 1, the pair often come to blows over the mean girl’s treatment of Yolanda. When things come to a head during the events leading up to Homecoming, the two high school enemies become adversaries away from the halls of Blue Valley High.
Cindy becomes the supervillainess known as Shiv who beats Courtney to an ounce of her life only for her [Whitmore] stepfather, Pat to find her unconscious in the gym. On Burman’s side, her father Dragon King (Nelson Lee) is far from happy with her for taking her armour without completing her training first.
As time goes on, Stargirl and Shiv come to share the ultimate rivalry which evens out during the final fight with the original ISA in the tunnels under Blue Valley.
Cindy is not the only bully Courtney has taken on and won. During her first day at BVHS, she draws the unwanted attention of Henry King Jr and his pals. They started picking on Yolanda for her nude photos only for Whitmore to stand up for her. This ended up with her getting detention when she dumped food over the jocks.
Courtney is what some might call a social warrior and feminist because of her views on Cindy’s slut-shaming of Yolanda.
Courtney catches the attention of classmate Cameron Mahkent (Hunter Sansone) when she lies to Joey Zarick (Will Deusner) about how he did with his card trick.
Later, Courtney notices the word ‘slut’ that had been spray painted on Yolanda’s locker had been covered over with paintings of flowers. In her Algebra class, she noticed the boy sitting in front of her is doodling flowers in his notebook. After a short introduction, their conversation is cut short by their teacher.
Over a period of time off screen, Courtney and Cameron come to know each other to the point their relationship enters crush territory. When Homecoming rolls around, Mahkent wants to ask Whitmore out, but doesn’t know how to so he goes to his father, Jordan (Neil Jackson) for advice.
Courtney says yes to going to Homecoming with Cameron, but she has to cancel her hang out with Cindy, which doesn’t go down too well.
Fast-forward a few days to after Cindy’s attack, and Courtney attends the Whitmore-Dugan-Mahkent despite her injuries which everyone outside of Pat and the JSA to be from a car accident. Cameron sits next to her and they get to know each other’s families better.
However, when it becomes apparent to Courtney that Jordan is Icicle, she calls Pat over and questions whether Cameron is like his dad. This new revelation prompts an awkward exchange between the teens before the Mahkents leave.
The Sam Relevation
A couple of mornings later, a man arrives in Blue Valley and arrives at the Whitmore-Dugan house. This individual is revealed to be Courtney’s biological father, Sam Kurtis.
Courtney rejects that Sam is her father at first, but her mother tells her what she doesn’t want to hear; Starman is not her dad like she forced herself to believe. Sam insists that all he wants is get to know her again so they spend part of the morning together before she goes to school.
As the morning wears on, Courtney realises that Sam isn’t actually there for her. He doesn’t care about her and he never did. Before he leaves, she gives him her locket which he is what he wanted the whole time because it’s ‘priceless’. As he gets up to go, he gives her empty promises which she sees coming a mile away.
After Sam’s departure, Courtney goes inside and breaks down in Pat’s arms. Later at school, Whitmore tells her friends that she’s not Stargirl anymore because the cosmic staff knows she’s not Starman’s daughter. The JSA do their best to comfort her with Rick telling her that the staff is stupid if it thought she was Sylvester’s legacy.
When she gets home, Courtney runs down to the basement and begs the staff to work for her. She calls down her parents, knowing she needs them with her if she is to restore the faith within herself. When she does, the weapon lights up, almost blinding Pat and Barbara.
The War With The Injustice Society
With the ISA on the verge of victory, Jordan sends Tigress (Joy Osmanski) and Sportsmaster (Neil Hopkins) to take out the Whitmore-Dugans. When Paula attacks the house, Courtney is forced on the defensive as she and her mother struggle to escape. Using the staff and her newfound courage, our little Star barely gets the upper hand on her opponent while also impressing her mum with her skills.
Regrouping with Pat, Mike, Sir Justin (Mark Ashworth), and her friends, Courtney and Barbara help the group formulate a plan to stop the ISA.
Courtney goes with Pat (who is piloting S.T.R.I.P.E.) into the tunnels that are littered under Blue Valley. However, Brainwave (Christopher James Baker) brings his brainwashing of the adults, including Barbara and her husband.
Realising something is not right, Courtney does her best to snap Pat out of his daze. After being alerted by Beth that if she does this, it could kill him, she coaxes her stepfather back in such a way where the brainwashing wears off after some assistance from Doctor Mid-Nite and Chuck (voice of Henry Thomas).
During this struggle, Courtney refers to herself as Pat’s daughter. After everything that happened with Sam, she realises now that her mother was right. Her stepdad truly is the closest father figure she has. He has been there for her in ways, her bio dad never was and he actually loves her like his own child.
Upon snapping out of his trance and almost trying to kill her, Pat tells Courtney he heard every word she said. Together, they join the JSA in their battle against what remains of the ISA.
The fight is long and Courtney faces Icicle in proper combat. She also goes up agains Cindy again and gives her a taste of her own medicine.
One Final Fight With Jordan
When Jordan returns to the American Dream, he finds Barbara and Beth in an office trying to stop the takeover. Barb casually tells her daughter over the comms that Icicle is there.
Courtney becomes frantic for her mother’s safety. Beth does her best to protect her friend but Jordan destroys Chuck. Elsewhere in the tunnels, Rick defends Pat and orders him to protect his wife and that he doesn’t need S.T.R.I.P.E.
Pat gets to the roof just as Jordan is about to throw Barbara and issues just enough of a distraction for Courtney to swoop in. Stargirl and Icicle engage in one final fight as the teenager’s parents watch on.
Finally, Jordan is defeated when Mike runs hims over with Sir Justin’s truck.
With the danger gone for the time being, Courtney checks in with her family and friends. She embraces Mike for the first time in a hug while their parents share a kiss from their perch on the clocktower. The group then see Sir Justin off as he goes looking for the Seven Soldiers of Victory.
Pat Becomes Courtney’s Dad… Sorta…
Six weeks after the defeat of the ISA, Courtney celebrates her first Christmas in Blue Valley with her newfound family. The JSA has joined the Whitmore-Dugans to celebrate.
The realisation that she had a father the whole time as finally set in for our favourite little star. So much so that Courtney decides to give Pat the present she had intended to give Sam all those years ago; a World’s Greatest Dad mug with a picture she drew at the age of five.
Giving the mug to Pat gives Courtney closure on the part of her life that gave her nothing but grief. She has a good relationship with the man who thinks of her as his daughter which is a mutual feeling for her. There is no longer any anger that she feels towards him. Instead, she feels gratitude to have found the one adult male influence who is not going to to turn his back of her.
Along the way, she also finds friends who will always have her back.
Yolanda will always help her stand when she falls.
Beth will always give her advice when she needs it; regardless if she wants to hear it.
Rick will always jump in to defend her like any big brother would.
Then, there’s Mike. Oh, sweet Mike. He might be annoying but his heart will always see her as his big sister.
Where Courtney’s Journey Might Head In Season 2
We’re still a ways off from getting any promo material for Season 2. But it never hurts to begin speculating where Courtney’s journey could take her next.
Then, there’s story points that weren’t closed off last season. Courtney’s relationship with Cameron is going to be pretty dramatic since she saw Mike run down Jordan. Also, Cindy is still running around but she now has a new ally; Eclipso.
She will also have to deal with everything going on with the team too. Yolanda is spiralling after what she did to Brainwave. Beth will struggle without Chuck. Rick won’t be as angry now he has avenged his parents. Not to mention, her relationship with her family will much better given she now accepts Pat as her father and Mike as her brother.
Finally, our question is this. Will Courtney be touched by the darkness and become a target for Eclipso?