DC’s Stargirl season 2 has been hinting at the PTSD that Yolanda is dealing with after killing Brainwave, but in episode 7 it is finally time to dive right into it. There are a few other small things in this one, but it truly spends a lot of its time on Yolanda, which was the right thing to do.
Yes, she is a hero, but she is a teenager too and the fact that she killed someone has been weighing heavily on her for months now. It was important to take the time to flesh it all out, even if the results are devastating for the Justice Society of America.
DC’s Stargirl Deep Dives Into PTSD In This Week’s Episode
The episode starts off with Yolanda at confession with Father Thomas. She is asking him about the devil, if he is real, and if it is ok to hurt him. This is clearly part of her guilt over Brainwave bubbling up to the surface. He seems very concerned when she leaves whispering to herself that the devil is real, and is in Blue Valley.
Throughout the course of episode seven, Yolanda is continuously seeing Brainwave. He is speaking to her and taunting her — much like she dealt with when Eclipso was playing games with her mind. It is distracting her at work, school, and even at church.
Unsure what to do she talks to Courtney about it, who suggests they go to Beth and Rick and clear the air. She is certain that they will be on Yolanda’s side about all of this, understanding that she had no choice but to kill Brainwave during the fight.
It turns out that no one besides Courtney and Yolanda knew the truth about Brainwave’s death. Once told about it, Rick assures Yolanda she did the right thing, and that he too would have killed Brainwave if given the chance. She throws it back at him though, asking why he didn’t kill Solomon Grundy.
When Beth reluctantly confesses that she does not know if Yolanda had no other choice, Yolanda cracks. She realizes then and there she is the only member of the JSA capable of killing, and that she will be stuck as the member that kills over and over. She admits to her friends that she is happy to shoulder this burden, because she does not want them to feel this guilt of knowing they are a murderer like she is forced to.
As if seeing Brainwave wasn’t enough, Yolanda now starts seeing Henry as well. It is obvious that she feels guilt not only for killing his father, but for Henry’s death as well, even though it was not her fault. She never forgave him for the way he treated her, and showed the whole school her photos, and because of that, she is afraid he is burning in Hell. She also believes she will be burning right along with him when she dies.
After a particularly difficult vision, Courtney is there to help Yolanda through it. She says that it must be Eclipso messing with her mind, to which Yolanda replies it can’t be – this has been going on long before he showed up in Blue Valley. She decides she just cannot take it anymore and tells Courtney that she is quitting the JSA. On top of that, she has her mother call her job at the diner and let them know she will not be returning as well.
Poor Yolanda has been dealing with PTSD from the fight with Brainwave for months now and was getting no help for it. She has been suffering alone, afraid to let anyone in. Once she did, she felt like they turned their backs on her by admitting they likely would not have been able to do what she did. Yolanda is afraid that when they find Eclipso it would fall to her to kill him in order to save the town, and that is a burden she just cannot bear again.
A few other minor things occurred like Mike and Pat working to repair S.T.R.I.P.E., The Shade trying to come to Barbara but just dripping blood through the shadow, and Courtney spending time with Cameron, however, they all took a back seat to Yolanda this episode which was important. PTSD is real, and serious, and something that this show very much needed to address considering the circumstances.
There was not much action at all in this episode of DC’s Stargirl, except for during Yolanda’s visions, but that feels like the right way to do it. Yolanda was allowed to really flesh out her thoughts, and viewers are able to take the time with her that they need to really understand her and where she is coming from.
Despite spending almost all of its time on one storyline with very little action, this episode is one of the best of season 2 of Stargirl because it was unafraid to be real, raw, and dive into the world of PTSD and depression.