Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched Stargirl's Season 1 finale.
Though there were plenty of heartwarming and inspirational moments to be found in Stargirl's Season 1 finale, "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part 2," but the episode was also ripe with darkness and death, or presumed-death-until-proven-otherwise, in some cases. The one inarguable fatality was that of Henry "Brainwave" King Sr., who got his throat clawed open by Wildcat after first appearing to her as Henry Jr. That bloody outcome was clearly worse for Brainwave, but it was also a pretty huge moment for Yvette Monreal's Yolanda Montez, and not necessarily a celebratory one.
Considering Yolanda is still a teenager who hadn't been acting as Wildcat for that long in the scheme of things, she is definitely not conditioned to engage in careless murders. She had only recently spoken against killing others, villains or otherwise, and Yolanda ended up being guilty of just such an act. Stargirl's Yvette Monreal was kind enough to answer CinemaBlend's finale questions via email, and when I asked her how Wildcat would be affected by killing Brainwave, here's what she said:
Yolanda watched him die! it was quite a turn of events. At the end, you see Yolanda on the bleachers; surely she is still very pensive about everything that just happened. I personally think it’ll definitely take its toll on her. Especially killing someone and how that goes against her religion – so many factors to think about moving forward. I’m not sure how it’ll all play out, but I hope my character can find peace within herself. Curious just as much as everyone else to see how Season 2 unfolds!!
Yolanda's stance against murdering others isn't such a foundational element of her character as it is with someone like Batman, but she does come from a Catholic family that had already basically shunned her after the whole sexy picture scandal. Even beyond the notion that killing someone would bring more shame to her family – which they deserve for other reasons – Yolanda also practices her faith, so she's likely going to carry that feeling of guilt for years to come.
Hopefully it won't be all guilt, though. Because even though she did rip a dude's throat open, it definitely means something that the dude was a bonafide supervillain that was trying to control the minds of large swaths of the population. Her negative feelings should be balanced by all the people and brain cells that she was able to save by putting Henry out of his telepathic misery. But when I asked Yolanda if she would be feeling any relief or any inner peace after killing Brainwave, she said:
It’s hard to say! Like I said, I’m just as much in the unknown as everyone else! Inner peace might be a stretch. Even though the physical problem is gone, I would think that some PTSD would come along with everything. In the underground tunnel, I had just lectured Hourman on how killing is wrong. And how my faith has taught me that. I can only imagine what she might deal with mentally.
Even though Yvette Monreal isn't fully up to date with all the ideas that Geoff Johns has in mind for Season 2, she can make her own assumptions based on what she knows of the character, and what she knows Goeff Johns' storytelling is like. The actress thinks would it be within reason for him to give Yolanda some psychological issues like PTSD to deal with in upcoming episodes, on top of her more generalized feelings of guilt.
Interestingly enough, audiences weren't required to watch Wildcat battle those guilty feelings, since the episode's events jumped ahead six weeks after we saw Cindy's big Elicpso tease. I asked Yvette Monreal if she was relieved that the time jump meant she didn't need to be shown in hardcore grieving mode, and here's how she answered:
I think it was smart to hint at the time jump! It definitely helped move things along, but I don’t mind portraying grief if it helps the storyline. I’m excited to see the progression and storyline develop given everything that’s happened!
Fans no doubt have questions about the episode's actual ending, which featured the return of Joel McHale as a character that appeared to be Sylvester "Starman" Pemberton, but it's unclear if that's how things will actually turn out. Here's hoping Yolanda is able to move past her mental woes in time to face the next set of problems when Season 2 arrives. Something tells me it's not going to get any easier for her.