Star came into the world with an, er, difficult first season. For me, it was hard to invest in the characters in the same way I immediately connected to Taraji P. Henson & Co. on Empire, Star's sister series. But no one can deny the Lee Daniels-created series wrapped with an impossible-to-forget season finale statement on domestic violence.
In last week's episode, "Saving Face," Star (Jude Demorest) moves in with her football-playing boyfriend Hunter (Chad James Buchanan). As things get more serious for the couple, the athlete's aggressive and controlling behavior starts to show through in more alarming ways. Hunter skips practice to monitor Star's band rehearsals. He demands she doesn't go on tour so she can spend more time with him. Finally, he gets drunk and hits her during an argument, knocking Star out cold.
In the finale, "Showtime," the singer hides the domestic abuse from her loved ones. She lies and says she got her evident bruises during a fight with "some thot" over Hunter, not from him. Star tries to cover up the marks on her head repeatedly, but they keep showing through. Eventually her sister Simone (Brittany O’Grady) tearfully says she knows Hunter is really the culprit.
Star falls into the same trap many domestic abuse survivors have gotten caught in by denying she would “let” a man hit her, intimidating she’s too strong to allow such disrespect. The performer finally breaks when Simone — a sexual abuse survivor herself — claims Star “let someone” hurt her.
“You of all people should know you don’t let it happen,” she counters as her voice breaks.
Still, Star chooses to return to Hunter’s isolated mansion to retrieve her forgotten hoodie, crowbar in hand. When Big Trouble’s toughest member gets to the palatial pad, the FOX musical drama turns into a horror movie.
“Take one more step toward me and I will decorate these walls with the inside of your skull, Hunter,” she says, but the scene fades to black. Viewers find out what happened when a panicked Simone arrives at Hunter’s house after Star goes missing. The football player turns on her too and throws the teenager against a wall and then to the ground. She fights back and knocks Hunter down with the crowbar Star clearly dropped in an earlier attack.
When Simone eventually finds her big sister, she’s locked inside of a closet and bleeding from her nose. A freed Star decides to decide to break Hunter’s playing hand as a poignant form of revenge before running out of the house of horrors once and for all, hoodie in hand. If that’s not enough (spoiler alert) Hunter is accidentally shot to death in the final moments of the season in a separate revenge plot gone wrong.
Although Star loves to live in the fantastical and the soapy, the season-ender proved the FOX drama at its best when it delves into the harsh realities of life — and bashes them with a crowbar.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.