|“||You want to know the truth about your father? Your dad, the superhero, he only came to see you once a year. Until you were five, and then he... he just abandoned us, Courtney.||”|
Sam is the biological yet absentee father of Courtney Whitmore. He mysteriously vanished ten years ago on Christmas Eve, only to reappear a decade later when Barbara's email sparks a reunion.
Sam had a close relationship with his mother. So much so, that she gifted him a matching set of silver lockets that she had received from a high-end jewelry designer. Sam didn't think much of them in his younger days but valued them out of sentiment. In the early 2000s, Sam had a relationship with Barbara Whitmore that resulted in the birth of their daughter, Courtney. He wasn't a supportive father or active presence in either of their lives - he only visited once a year, usually at Christmas.
When she was four, he gave her one of the lockets his mother had given him. He placed a photo of himself in the locket so Courtney would always have him with her. They spent that Christmas together in a slew of fun and childlike games. A year passed and on Christmas Eve 2010, Sam never showed for Christmas or after that. He seemingly vanished as the Whitmore's never saw or heard from Sam again. A distraught Courtney waited for Sam all night with a special gift for him.
When Sam didn't show, Barbara looked for him for a year for Courtney's sake before finally giving up. She was forced to care for Courtney on her own until she met Pat Dugan in 2018, which would result in a new marriage, a new blended family, and a new home in Blue Valley.
When Courtney was fifteen, she discovered a mysterious staff that was only supposed to work for the superhero known as Starman. Because the staff also worked for her, she believed that Starman was her father and Sam Kurtis was merely an alias Starman used. Pat Dugan, the former best friend of Starman and Courtney's new stepfather, assured Courtney that it would be impossible for Starman to be her father. Courtney confronted her mother about her belief but was quickly shot down. Barbara reminded Courtney that Sam was never there for them, and if he was the superhero Courtney believed him to be, he would be with them right now instead of Pat.
Now aware of her daughter's superheroine antics, and aware that Courtney believes Starman is her father, Barbara emails Sam in an attempt to reach him and gain answers she can trust. Her email is simple and just tells him that she and Courtney have returned to Blue Valley. When she is away from her computer, she receives an email from the Sam Kurtis email account.
Sam takes a bus to Blue Valley and arrives at the Whitmore-Dugan house, requesting to see Courtney. He speaks with Mike and explains that he's Courtney's father and wants to see her. When Courtney and Barbara come upstairs they find Sam looking at photos of a young Courtney, and Barbara is shocked to see Sam. She introduces Sam to Pat, who, despite the awkward tension, shakes Sam's hand. Courtney appears and is confused to see Sam, who she objects isn't her father as he can't be. Barbara takes Courtney's shoulders and apologizes for her having to find out this way, but it's true. Sam interjects that he just wants to talk to her as he knows it's been a while. Courtney runs off trying to sort through the emotions of her father reappearing.
As Sam waits for Courtney, he converses with Barbara who pets a growling Max. She wants to know where he's been for the past decade, as she spent a year looking for him after he didn't show at Christmas. He doesn't directly answer her question but apologizes for being absent saying that he drifted around a lot. Courtney interrupts the conversation as she wants to speak with her father, but Barbara doesn't believe that's a good idea as Courtney has to go to school and act as though everything is normal. Courtney objects that Barbara is the one who brought him here she has to at least let her speak to him. Sam stands, claiming that they'll only take a short walk and then he'll take her to school. Barbara reluctantly agrees despite her better judgment.
Courtney and Sam walk through the quiet streets of Blue Valley, with Sam commenting on the differences between Los Angeles and Blue Valley. He asks if she likes it but she doesn't respond, instead, countering with her own questions. Sam states that he doesn't have a good excuse for where he's been but says there wasn't a day where he didn't look at her picture in the locket. He says it was his mother's lockets before he gave one to her, back when she was four. She smiles saying that she wears hers which please him to know she still has it. He reminisces about how they sang Christmas songs and built a snowman the last Christmas they spent together, something she remembers to her shock. He knows he has no right to intrude into her life or say sorry for the things he's done or hasn't done, and if he could go back in time he would do things differently. Unimpressed, she begins to walk away but Sam insists on buying her a quick breakfast before they go home. She is hesitant but agrees to give him twenty-minutes.
They sit in a booth at Richie's Diner, and an awkward silence falls between them. Sam awkwardly explains that the last few years he's been chasing business opportunities but they never panned out. He presses that even though he's a stranger to her, he wants her to stay in California with him over the Summer. He plans to buy a larger apartment and they can go shopping or hang out, he finishes his speech by saying it's all that he wants. Courtney, lost for words, is nudged by Sam whoa asks if she would like that. She smiles slightly and just says that she would like that sometime. Sam's confident they can figure it out together, the three of them. A waitress comes to ask for their order, and Courtney orders a waffle with jam which Sam also orders.
After breakfast, they return to the Whitmore-Dugan household where they sit on the porch steps. Sam brings up their lockets which makes Courtney excited as she loves her's so deeply. He notes that his mother had the lockets made by a designer, telling Courtney to think Hollywood stars wore her designs. He explains if he gets the second locket, he can put down a deposit to get a better place for when comes to visit. As he makes his offer of promises she becomes crestfallen, and in a defeatist move, she hands him the locket. Sam takes the lockets and smiles, thanking her for being so understanding. He pockets the necklaces and stands up, gathering his belongings now that his true reason for returning is passed. He tells her goodbye and she returns the sentiment, but calls him "Sam" instead of "Dad". He nods claiming that he'll see her later as he walks off. Courtney, however, goes inside where she breaks down in Pat's arms over the disappointment she feels from her father and the loss of her beloved locket.
Sam walks down the street with a smirk as he looks at the matching lockets. Pat runs up behind him, shouting for sam to wait. Sam turns and tucks the locket into his jeans. Pat asks what he's doing, prompting Sam to say that he's going home now. He apologizes if he was an inconvenience for his family. Pat loves Courtney and reminds Sam how much she loved that locket and is devastated by its loss. Sam brushes over it that he'll buy her a necklace or something to make up for the loss. Pat sternly tells the man to never return to Blue Valley and stay out of their lives. Sam retorts he wasn't planning on returning anyway. Pat scoffs and begins to walk away when Sam snidely tells him to tell Barbara goodbye, and that she looks good but not as good as when he had her. Pat whirls around and punches Sam in the jaw, sending the man falling to the pavement below. Sam grips his jaw as Pat tells Sam that he's lucky Pat's busy. Sam stays on the ground as Pat goes home.
Before his physical debut, the flashback in the pilot and Barbara's clear ill will after a scornful confession to her daughter tells it all. While how close he and Barbara were before they conceived their daughter is unknown, her feelings for him soured by the time Courtney was born, evidently as Barbara had her daughter take her last name. Sam could not handle the responsibility of being an active co-parent, as he failed to financially support his partner or see his daughter on a regular basis, minimizing his time with his child to the bare minimum of once a year. When he mysteriously disappeared ten years ago, Barbara confirmed her perception of him as a lowlife who abandoned them where they needed him the most.
When Sam came to Blue Valley, he put on a facade of a remorseful man looking to come back into his daughter's life in some way, guilty for having left his child without a word and wanting to form a bond with her before it's too late. He's an excellent charmer and a gifted persuader, successfully tearing down her guarded walls with tearful confessions and reminiscent memories of their limited past together. However, his daughter successfully saw him as what he is when he asked for the locket back as he told empty promises. He's a selfish man filled with greed and ambition who chases after whatever money comes his way, with no sympathy for other's feelings, be it his own daughter, and shamelessly told his ex-girlfriend's new husband she looked better when she was with him.
Sam was an attractive man with sandy blonde hair and pale skin. Courtney believes he shares a resemblance to Sylvester Pemberton.
Notes and Trivia
- Courtney has tried finding Sam online, yet she can't find a single picture of him. This is what led her to believe that Sam was an alias of Starman.
- The email address Barbara uses to contact Sam is firstname.lastname@example.org, revealing she knew a method to contact him as a last resort albeit reluctantly, presumably based on the situation she was in.
- Sam Kurtis makes his official appearance in this "Shining Knight". Prior to this he was only mentioned and seen in a photo.
- In the comics, Samuel "Sam" Kurtis grew up an ambitious man looking to score big, but only ever amounted to a drifter and gambler by the time he married Barbara Whitmore and fathered Courtney. Eventually, Barbara has enough and left him - he gave Courtney a locket with a picture of his face on it as he took an identical one with their faces on it. Over time he moved from place to place and became a petty criminal, so much so that he succumbed a debt, one that could only be paid with the price of both lockets. Thus, he tracked his daughter down and heartlessly conned her out of it. Eventually, his crimes landed him in jail, where he was found by the Royal Flush Gang and made the low-ranking member, the Two of Clubs. He would have a confrontation with Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E. and recognized his daughter, but still attacked her nonetheless. He would plead for her to let him go, but she sent him back in jail.