This Stargirl article contains spoilers.
Stargirl Season 2 Episode 7
Since its premiere last year, Stargirl has introduced a group of young heroes we can root for. Stargirl (Brec Bassinger), Doctor Mid-Nite (Anjelika Washington), Hourman (Cameron Gellman), and Wildcat (Yvette Monreal) have been keeping Blue Valley safe. But it hasn’t been easy.
During the season one finale, Yolanda (Wildcat) was put in a terrible position. As they faced off against Brainwave (Christopher James Baker), he used his mind control powers to make himself look like his recently deceased son Henry Jr (Jake Austin Walker). It was a heartbreaking moment for Yolanda, who was once dating the villain’s son, and it inspired a rage in her that she couldn’t control.
In that moment she did what she needed and killed Brainwave, saving Blue Valley from his evil schemes and avenging Henry Jr. But it’s a choice that has haunted her ever since, and in Stargirl episode seven it all comes to a head.
For Yvette Monreal, Stargirl season 2 episode 7 was the culmination of a lot of emotional preparation. Taking on the trials of a young woman who has done something justifiable but terrible in her own eyes meant working with an acting coach as well as bringing the personal to the work. “I was tying in my own losses and the things I’ve been through to Yolanda,” Monreal tells Den of Geek. “I just needed to show that emotional truth. I was able to get there and I’m pretty pleased with the episode.”
That powerful entry into Stargirl canon sees “Summer School” take a dark turn as Yolanda struggles with her own terrible guilt. As an audience we don’t know whether what she’s experiencing is actually Brainwave returning, Eclipso exploiting her own weakness, or a violent manifestation of her anxiety and pain over her actions. But Monreal has her own reading.
“She thinks it’s God’s punishment,” she explains. “She feels like this is her going crazy and God is doing this because of her actions. She knows it’s morally wrong to try to justify it, but she can’t. And she can see from everyone else’s eyes that they don’t feel like it’s 100% okay, so she sees all of this as her own wrongdoing. It’s her punishment.”
Since Yolanda made that fateful decision, Stargirl has offered up an intriguing look at what it really means to be a hero and the sacrifices that you make. Here, she’s struggling with not only the murder she’s already committed but with the role it’s given her in the group. Yolanda has become their de facto executioner and that’s something that she’s not sure that she can face.
“She knows that she’s the one who executes things in the group. So to continue this path with the JSA, with Eclipso being here, it’s a catch-22. She has this newfound family she loves so much but she knows her role in the group. That’s really hard on her mental health and her psyche. She tries to find justification. She 100% knows that Eclipso needs to go, but she also knows what she’s going to have to execute.”
To explore that journey, Monreal researched PTSD and also drew on her own experiences with trauma.
“I’ve dealt with that in my past, so I used substitution for that to make it as real as possible,” she says. “There’s just some things that I went through when I was younger that made me feel like I could bring that truth into this emotional truth I have to tell on screen.”
This internal struggle leads Yolanda to have to make a terrible decision. After weeks of battling herself and her guilt, looking for answers from her faith, and friends that don’t deliver, she cuts out those around her. That means not just Courtney and her crew but also her job at the diner. While fans might’ve been worried about what this meant for Yolanda, Monreal explains it’s a necessary moment for the character. “She takes a little time for herself and she feels like, ‘I need to walk this path alone, for my own sanity and for my own clarity.'”
And as to whether or not fans will see Yolanda return to the fold, Monreal had one thing to say, “If Yolanda does come back it’s going to be on her terms and in her own time.”