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S05.E15: Reality Bytes

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Nia’s roommate is attacked by a man targeting Dreamer because he doesn’t like that Dreamer is transgender and wants her to quit being a superhero. Determined to protect her community from additional harm, Dreamer refuses to give into his threats and puts herself in the line of fire to stop him. Alex, J’onn and Kelly attempt to rescue a man stuck inside a virtual reality escape room.

 

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Okay, I kind of wish I had started at the beginning and counted how many times they said "community." It would've made a good drinking game. Although I admit, upon searching thesaurus.com the only one on the list that wouldn't have sounded weird was "people." Good acting, although I feel I wasn't supposed to laugh at "I almost murdered somebody...I still kind of want to," but I did. I just really didn't think she'd word it quite that way. I did like how they tied it back to her mom's death and how she doesn't think she's getting full use of her powers. Actually, while we're at it, I don't understand the weird lasso of light aspect of her powers. This connects to psychic visions how? Also, that idiot thought it was a good idea to go at a superhero with a Swiss Army knife? C'mon, dude, you at least bring a switchblade or something.

I don't know how they keep thinking thinking this virtual reality tech is a good idea. It's the freaking Matrix. 

I did not miss Lena and Lex at all. It's been so long since we heard from Dean Cain I honestly couldn't remember what had happened to his character since the last time we saw him. In season one finding her dad was a much bigger focus of Alex's. but I can't remember the last time she mentioned him.

Hmm. Very light on the Kara. Easing Melissa into maternity leave I guess? I thought she might have started to show when they showed her in suit from far away and then did a closeup. And the scene after that where she was wearing what looked like a pajama top. But when she had on her purple shirt (against her sister's advice!) and later on she looked completely normal to me. 

Edited by bettername2come
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Good epi... It really was.. And I was scared.. Not because I'm scared of preachy episodes.. Mainly because it had been so long since they gave Nia anything substantial.. But they pulled it off for the most part... I appreciated Nia letting Kara know that her usual Pollyanna nonsense wasn't totally gonna fly this time.. Kara tends to forget her privilege from time to time.. Like last season when she was so surprised by anti-alien backlash.. Forgetting she doesn't present to the world as an alien 

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39 minutes ago, bettername2come said:

Hmm. Very light on the Kara. Easing Melissa into maternity leave I guess? I thought she might have started to show when they showed her in suit from far away and then did a closeup. And the scene after that where she was wearing what looked like a pajama top. But when she had on her purple shirt (against her sister's advice!) and later on she looked completely normal to me. 

I would imagine because she wouldn't have been far along when they filmed the episode, so no need to hide anything yet.

I really liked the episode. Why? Well, first off, no goddamn Luthors. Who knew that taking a full break from the Luthors would elevate the episode so much for me?

But also because we got to focus on a character that's been sorely underused all season (hi Nia!) and we got a good subplot with Alex/Kelly. 

The Nia plotline was pretty well done. I don't think they could have done it any better, honestly. It's an important message to share and not a lot of shows get the chance to share a message, especially in this way. Plus, I think they found a good balance with how they delivered the message to the audience. I really like Yvette and I'm glad we got to see her return. I genuinely forgot that Nia had a roommate. I like Kara's role here as well. She wasn't JUST a supporting character for Nia, because she got to play her own important part here. 

The only negative? Sorry William, but you STILL bore me. 

The Alex/Kelly plot was pretty good at starting to really establish how Obsidian could be taken down. They showcased, FINALLY, how Andrea's tech can actually be really dangerous. At the very least, they've had other characters start to realize how dangerous the tech can be.

Hi Corbin Bleu!

I'm gonna be honest; I thought Jeremiah was already dead. But I guess he was just missing? Nonetheless, I can't say that I felt anything for it, just because it's been so long.

Great episode, truly. This is just behind the Winn Saga this season for me.

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Heavy-handed episode that ends with a cover of "Everybody Hurts" . . . and yet, they're not connected to each other. Go figure.

46 minutes ago, bettername2come said:

Okay, I kind of wish I had started at the beginning and counted how many times they said "community." It would've made a good drinking game.

Yeah, that would've caused a lot of cases of alcohol poisoning . . . and we have enough shit to contend with these days. But maybe I'm harsh with "heavy-handed" . . . though I did seem to like the B-plot better.

46 minutes ago, bettername2come said:

Actually, while we're at it, I don't understand the weird lasso of light aspect of her powers. This connects to psychic visions how?

It's not a "lasso." "Lasso" is connected to another heroine. I stick with "old-timey phone cord." As for how that links up to her dreams? I'm sure there's a good connection, but damn if I can think of it out.

Is it weird that I geeked out seeing the teaser for the next episode because it linked to the virtual image of Alex as Supergirl? In other news: Matrices and Holodecks are always disasters waiting to happen in science fiction.

I didn't know/remember Melissa was/is pregnant. Supergirl has a 22-episode (pre-Corona) slate,right? So that would make the final seven episodes interesting to watch.

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Tonight on Supergirl, a lesson in how bigotry is bad, because unfortunately some people still need to learn that.

I like that Nia isn't just brushing off that she almost killed somebody.  That's a big thing, and the show isn't ignoring it.  I also think this is gonna be the catalyst for getting Brainy back to being Brainy.  He won't be able to sit back while Nia's in that much pain and ignore it.

Kelly, be careful investigating what's going on.  We don't want you to die.

And still going with Leviathan being connected to Darkseid somehow.

Next week, we get Super Alex.

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Glad that Nia finally got to take front and center again, even if took them having to take a topical "special episode" approach to do so, which, in typical Supergirl fashion, was as heavy-handed and on the nose as expected (although, sadly, probably necessary since some people really don't seem to get that being a bigot is horrible...)

Still, I thought it done well enough, thanks to Nicole Maines performance, and them actually going there with her wanting to kill the guy, and Kara having to talk her out of it.  And then Nia was still a wreck after, one she realized how close she was to crossing the line.  But I'm glad it is leading to her wanting to protect her community (yeah, they admittedly could have done a drinking game over how many times that word was said), and continuing to find her voice.  Also glad that Brainy ended up helping in his own way.  Maybe he'll finally pull his head out of his rear end and fix all of this before it was too late.

Only downside?  That, once again, Kara was stunned over all of the hate crimes and murders that happen to transgenders.  I swear, why does this show always have to make Kara be the one that seems naive to all of these topical issues?  Racism, homophobia, hate on the Internet, etc.  Kara just always acts like she's been hit by a truck when she realizes how awful people are.  You'd think she'd figure all of this out by now.

Meanwhile, Alex and J'onn are off showing us how evil video gaming... err, Obsidian's virtual world is.  But, hey, they got Corbin Bleu to guest, although since I admittedly only vaguely know about High School Musical, I just think of him as the High School Musical lead that isn't Zach Efron.  Or Vanessa Hudgens.  Or Ashley Tisdale.

Apparently, Jeremiah just died off-screen.  Not too surprised, honestly.  Not to go too off topic into personal stuff with actors, but I suspected Dean Cain wasn't going to be asked back since his political views likely don't align with a lot of what this show stands for.

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Pretty good episode but they should really pick and choose their subplots. Having Nia deal with such serious issues only to flash to Alex dealing with her martian weapon not doing what she wants....the two don't go well together. The two plots could've easily been merged into one giant one though.

 

I hate that the Dominators have been relegated to random scene villain. 

Jeremiah is killed off screen! Guess that's one way to resolve that storyline, but once again give us an emotional scene with Alex, which should've ended the episode instead of floating bodies..

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It took me a rewatch this morning to realize that the snowy VR scene at the beginning was the creepy Richard guy spying on his wife and Corbin Bleu. The rest of the episode, including Kelly saying she'd been reporting the failsafe fail for months now makes a lot more sense. I'm still a little curious why there isn't more of a worry about failsafes failing though?

Also, were those children real kids allowed to run around unsupervised in the VR world? That seems unsafe. Much like allowing players to create their own sections of VR world with no guidelines or oversight or accountability seems unsafe? And they're just like... letting it happen?

I genuinely did not remember Yvette as a previous character, so I was a little ticked that they created a roommate just to have her be assaulted in a hate crime. Though it's also ridiculous that they only bring this character back to be assaulted. I thought Nicole Maines did great in this episode, even though it must have been a difficult one to act out. I really love the mentor/mentee relationship Nia and Kara have and wish we saw it more consistently. I find it hard to believe Kara didn't know more about how Nia felt, or that Kara was surprised by how she felt. I also found it ridiculous that William had to tell Kara about hate crimes going unreported, like Kara who 1) is a reporter, and 2) has friends/family who are LGBT+ wouldn't have some idea of that already. (Or 3- exists in 2020 and has watched the news at some point). I mean I guess it's consistent to write Kara as incredibly naive when confronted with how evil people can be, but there really should be some growth on her part by now.

 

9 hours ago, Primal Slayer said:

Jeremiah is killed off screen! Guess that's one way to resolve that storyline, but once again give us an emotional scene with Alex, which should've ended the episode instead of floating bodies..

I honestly thought Jeremiah was already dead. I thought he died during that whole CADMUS kerfuffle back in season 2 and that's why he was never mentioned again.

Also agree that the episode should have picked an ending - the emotional punch of Alex telling Kara that Jeremiah was dead, or the creepy mystery of floating bodies. I feel like the bodies could have waited (unless Jeremiah was the body being rolled in at the end? Or was it Richard? Or the transphobic guy?)

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This was a solid episode but considering that it was marketed as Nia-centric I was slightly annoyed that the subplot with Alex had just as much screen time. It also seemed to include more characters.

I liked everything about Nia and how determined but also realistic and disillusioned she was about standing up to those who try to erase trans people and bully them into silence. I was sad about Yvette and I hope they'll eventually bring her back for a more lighthearted episode to show that what she went through didn't dim her light and that she managed to find real love.

Nia was great in setting up a trap for the villain and despite everything I was glad that Kara was there for her. Nicole Maines brought her A-game and showed that Supergirl should give her more to do. I also liked how Brainy helped from his position as director of the DEO and that he was trying to remain calm and collected but you could see that he was genuinely affected by what Nia and her community were going through. I loved the nuances in Jesse Rath's performance.

The subplot with Alex, Kelly and J'onn was good as well. They made a good team and I liked the fact that they explored more of the dangers of the VR. I hope Kelly's story picks up from here.

I noticed that Alex as Supergirl and Alex with a baby were two of the options she was offered once she entered the VR. Nice touch.

I don't even remember when was the last time Jeremiah was on the show. Season 2?

I didn't even realize Lena wasn't in the episode. That's sad. Glad we took a break from Lex.

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I like Nia but this episode felt too After School Special to me.  Nicole has come a long way since her first episode acting wise and I thought she did a great job showing how much she was struggling not to kill the dude.  There was just something that did not seem right in the way they tackled such a serious issue.  I think such a topic deserved better writing. 

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Well... in terms of social justice crap, this ep was maybe slightly better than all other heavy-handed social crap episodes in SG (the portrayal maybe 6/10). I really don't think that the guy will get many years in jail for scratching Yvette's cheek, but whatevs, and I really don't think that it warrants trying to kill him, but these heavy-handed social episodes gotta do what they gotta do.

Also: 'Kara, you hope speech will not help this time'. Are you sure, Nia? I mean, her hope speeches tend to work, just look at Myriad in Season One.

Well, at least, something wrong with lenses plot is moving forward. Hooray?

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I also thought that Nia's subplot was going to take up more time than it did. I wasn't so engaged because it was pretty predictable, though the performances were good.

Alex and the VR subplot was interesting, and looks like it is leading to more related stuff down the line. Yay! Some screentime for Kelly!

Not liking how isolated Brainy is.

I liked seeing Kara having a good time on her date with William.

 

On 3/15/2020 at 10:21 PM, bettername2come said:

 

Hmm. Very light on the Kara. Easing Melissa into maternity leave I guess? I thought she might have started to show when they showed her in suit from far away and then did a closeup. And the scene after that where she was wearing what looked like a pajama top. But when she had on her purple shirt (against her sister's advice!) and later on she looked completely normal to me. 

 

It may have been Kara-lite because of Melissa doing pre-production for the episode she directed.

 

On 3/16/2020 at 5:14 PM, Starry said:

I noticed that Alex as Supergirl and Alex with a baby were two of the options she was offered once she entered the VR. Nice touch.

 

And doctor - hee! I assume that was a Greys Anatomy  shoutout.

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Oh wow, an episode where they remembered that characters that dont have the last name Luther exist! Amazing! 

I am really happy to finally have a Nia plot, even though I expected her to get a bit more screen time. The story itself...its an important issue to bring up, violence against trans people is a very serious issue and something that I am glad they brought up here with Nia, but it all felt a bit unfinished to me. The threat of this asshole guy really should have been a bit stronger, and I really wanted to explore more about Nias relationships to the trans community, both as Nia and as Dreamer, and maybe show this guy as a bigger and more dangerous threat with a few more victims or something, I think that would have allowed us to get into her head more when she was threatening to kill or seriously hurt the guy. I do think that her anger was well done, as well as her crying when she realized what she almost did, and while the plot was done with all the subtly that we have come to expect from Supergirl when it comes to social issues, it was still quite effective. 

Yeah, take a drink every time someone said "community" this week. I dont know what word would have been less clunky though, so here we are. 

It is always kind of ridiculous how Kara always ends up being the one who is SHOOK by the existence of social injustice, like racism (against other humans or aliens) violence against trans people or mean internet comments, especially considering she is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist. Like she has no idea about any social issue until it directly affects her or one of her friends. 

Not much Brainy, but it was nice to see him being more himself, and not being Lex`s emotionless reluctant lackey. Some interesting small moments, and it really made me miss him and Nia as a couple. 

I dont care much about William or his romance with Kara, but its nice to see Kara happy at least after her being so angsty about all the Lena stuff for so long. 

We even got a Kelly plot! I liked the stuff with Alex, Kelly, and J'onn, and while I was sometimes wanting to get back to Nia, I liked exploring the different ways that the virtual world can be used and abused, and it tied into Alex and her post DEO identity crisis pretty well. I do hope that we see some more good sides of VR sometimes though, to be more balanced, and that the show doesent end up just scrapping the whole thing when its inevitably used for an evil plan and Kara will have been right all along about how this is not a good thing.  

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@tennisgurl, I agree that they should have gone farther with the guy Nia was going up against. Either give him a few previous victims, like you said, or do more to show how Nia was taking all her anger/feelings of helplessness about anti-trans hate in general and focusing them into this one situation. Every time someone's threatened her, misgendered her, harassed her, denied her personhood, etc. - show how it's all conflating. I think that was the idea behind what was happening, but the show could've demonstrated it better.

I also would've liked to see more about Nia/Dreamer's relationship with the trans community, although not necessarily all in this episode. It would've been nice to see little bits here and there throughout the season of those kinds of interactions: stopping someone who was harassing a trans person on the street, a trans person (especially a young one) seeing her in action and geeking out in admiration of her. Drop in a few small moments like that, let them add up, and I feel like her statement that she was the only one looking out for trans folks would've felt more thoroughly established.

Loving Alex-J'onn again, even though it was more of an Alex plot featuring J'onn. Interesting to see more of what it's like inside Obsidian Platinum, and yes, Alex is definitely going to get sucked into the allure of the fantasy as she struggles to reestablish herself after leaving the DEO. Nice to see some screentime for Kelly.

Glad Brainy was able to come through for Nia by tipping off Kara. That scene of Nia and Brainy crossing paths toward the beginning was painful - the feelings are still so strong on both sides. Get your head out of your techno-organic ass, Brainy!

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2 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

It is always kind of ridiculous how Kara always ends up being the one who is SHOOK by the existence of social injustice, like racism (against other humans or aliens) violence against trans people or mean internet comments, especially considering she is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist. Like she has no idea about any social issue until it directly affects her or one of her friends. 

I think it's supposed to show that human prejudices are stupid and incomprehensible to Kara's alien/third party thinking therefore we should all agree they're illogical and hateful. (No arguments there). But it does come across as Kara is the naivest and most incredulous Pulitzer prize winner out there. Not to mention uncaring and uneducated unless it happens directly to her small circle of friends. 

She has lived on Earth since she was 13 and grown up where these prejudices existed in daily life and pretty much every time you go on the internet or read anything, if not impacting her personally. And worked in a profession that should make them impossible to ignore. Not to mention we have seen that Krypton had it's own prejudices and questionable cultural norms that she's had to confront. 

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I think one of the effects long-term exposure to yellow sunlight has on Kryptonians is that it makes them extremely naive and optimistic. Apparently it does not have that effect on Nia.

I certainly never sided with the bad guy, but I think it was an interesting choice not to make the victim more likeable. I mean, fine, she wasn't a violent piece of shit like him, but she did seem to be lying about everything she could on her profile. I'm not saying that means she deserved to be assaulted, I'm just wondering, out of the maybe eleven people who needed this week's message explained to them yet are still watching and presumably enjoying Supergirl, how many of them walked away saying "Well, maybe if you weren't such a liar the whole thing never would have happened."  So I'm just not quite sure how I feel about the writers' choice there. Making the victim noticeably imperfect might add a slight layer of realism, but there's only so much realism you can add anyway, because it's still a Supergirl episode! 

I do give Yvette credit for dismissing Brainy as a weird little man, Brainy for still helping behind the scenes, Jeremiah for being a character who I guess apparently still existed, and William's extremely cloying actor for sleeping with whoever he has to, however he has to, in order to keep getting written into scripts, week after week, whether he's actually wanted on the show or not.

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44 minutes ago, CletusMusashi said:

I think one of the effects long-term exposure to yellow sunlight has on Kryptonians is that it makes them extremely naive and optimistic. Apparently it does not have that effect on Nia.

Nia isn't Kryptonian.

On a funnier note . . . if you're into Legends of Tomorrow, you got to see that Upswipez (or however it's spelled) is a thing on Earth-Prime. Looks like swiping up IS more intuitive for users. Pity Damien Darhk killed the app's creator.

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I know she's not Kryptonian. I just couldn't remember what her race actually is, because it doesn't get mentioned much any more. I was too lazy to look it up, and didn't want to say something like "whatever Nia is," because that might sound like I was making a crack about something else entirely.

Edited by CletusMusashi
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5 minutes ago, CletusMusashi said:

I know she's not Kryptonian. I just couldn't remember what her race actually is, because it doesn't get mentioned much any more. I was too lazy to look it up, and didn't want to say something like "whatever Nia is," because that might sound like I was making a crack about something else entirely, you know?

She's Naltorian.

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Some BTS info in this twitter thread of one of the writers:

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