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S05.E16: Alex in Wonderland

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Alex uses a pair of Obsidian contact lenses to visit a virtual National City where she takes on a whole new persona. Meanwhile, Kelly helps William investigate Lex. Kara deals with difficult news.

Tawnia McKiernan directed the episode with story by Rob Wright and teleplay by Jess Kardos & Mariko Tamaki.

Airdate: 3/22/2020

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Seemed like another episode to give Melissa Benoist more time off, but I certainly won't complain about seeing Alex take front and center again, for once.  Chyler Leigh must have been having a blast dawning on her version of a "supersuit", and getting to do all of those types of scenes!  I'm also glad that they went into her conflicted emotions over Jeremiah and his death, and Leigh really shined in all of that.

It was also fun watching the rest of the cast play more evil-like characters this go around, and that goes extra to David Harewood as "Hank Henshaw."  He clearly was having the time of his life devouring that scenery, and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way!

Surprised how much I enjoyed the Kelly/William pair.  Hell, this might have been the most I've actually liked William, which I can't figure out.  Don't know if the writing was better for him, or if Staz Nair just plays off Azie Tesfai really well, but I actually didn't mind him for once.

Seems like Andrea is actually doing the right thing and wants to fix the glitch that the Obsidian lens are causing.  Too bad she just happened to report to good old Eve Teschmacher at the end.  Welcome back!

Cool seeing Eliza/Helen Slater again.

I know that it is far from the most important thing happening on the show, but I'm choosing to believe that Brainy and Nia sitting in the same pew together means they are getting on better terms!  Of course, a reconciliation can't happen until Brainy realizes that being Lex's lapdog is not the way to go...

Edited by thuganomics85
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Ha! yes, Harewood was clearly having fun doing a over-the-top version of Henshaw!

And it was a little weird to have so little Supergirl, but I did like seeing Alex be the main plot. And they even let Kelly and William have their own plots! Considering how she's tied to Andrea and her company, it's silly that they haven't had her more involved before.

I'm sure more will be revealed later, but -- Leviathan's plan is to ... collect the bodies of sad people? Whose minds are trapped in VR? Um, I don't see how this helps with world domination; if that's their goal.

It sucks that they had to tie up Jeremiah's story mostly offscreen without Dean Cain; but I'm glad they did anyway, since that loose end always bugged me. I was afraid that there wouldn't be any Eliza/Helen Slater in this one, so I was happy to see her towards the end.

Edited by Trini
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I loved Alex's Supergirl uniform, it's almost superior to Kara's with the way everything flows together and the collar.

It's a little bit of a shame that they've done Alex as Supergirl storyline already since with Melissa pregnant they could've done an arc with Alex gaining Kara's powers and Kara being de-powered and thus not out in the field. 

Also nice of them to remember that Helen Slater still exists. She's been severely underused.

Edited by Primal Slayer
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This was a fun episode. It was great to see Alex in the forefront, especially dealing with her own grief and her own feelings about her family and childhood. I did end up forgetting how bad Jeremiah was, especially in season 2, so I can totally see why Alex was adamant at first about not going to his funeral.

Very little Kara, which I understand why. But we got plenty of J'onn! And bonus Hank Henshaw! And we also saw Helen Slater reappear as Eliza! At least she's still around.

Kelly's scenes were actually really great. I liked seeing her step up in this episode. And William...although still boring, was actually alright with his interactions with Kelly. He was actually doing something, so that's good. 

Andrea finally reports the glitch...too bad it's to Eve, who will, no doubt, not report it to anyone. Especially since Leviathan covered up the glitch in the first place. I don't really get why, to be honest. 

Again, another episode without Lena or Lex (besides pictures of Lex in the background). I didn't miss the Luthors one bit...yet again. Which makes me fear that this nice Luthor-free arc will not last long, as they come hurtling back into the forefront and take up 50% of an episode. And I don't even hate Lena; I'm just sick and tired of her brother, since it turned her evil, which is the exact path I wanted them to keep avoiding.

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I really enjoyed that. Nice to see Alex and CL getting more to do after being underused all season. 

I couldn't really remember how things had been left with Jeremiah and the Cadmus arc after S2 so I'll have to go back and check. I really liked how they dealt with Alex's anger, pain and grief over the whole situation with him and his death(s) and disappearances and working for an evil organisation. And as much as she adores Kara, feeling like she was always in 2nd place to her both as a daughter and a hero. And how she knew pretending to be Kara and physically solving the day in the VR wasn't actually going to solve anything. 

Really nice to see Eliza/Helen Slater back, it would have been nice to see Dean Cain back one last time but I'm not exactly surprised we only got a back view of VR Jeremiah. 

DH did a great job as fake J'onn/Hank and JR was hilarious as fake Brainy, they really amped up the cheese and clichés of the whole thing. Nia was back to blink and you'll miss her. William was okay getting closer bit by bit to the truth.

I didn't mind the Luthors being entirely off screen for once at all, although Lex's shenanigans are obviously involved. AB did a great evil smirk at the end. 

I missed Kara more and it felt weird but better than I imagined. They might be able to work a few more Kara-less episodes in without me rioting if needs be with MB's pregnancy, which I was totally against before. Although who knows what's going to happen between that, the current shut down and writers. 

It was very nice to see more Kelly than usual, both as Alex's girlfriend and pushing the ON/Lex plot forward, although their relationship is still very much "there" for me neither good nor bad just flat. 

Edited by Featherhat
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Abraham Lincoln doing karaoke was verging on weird Legends of Tomorrow territory. I think there were better ways to point out "VR is weird and the platform is malfunctioning" than that and the cranky emcee eviscerating people?

 

11 hours ago, Trini said:

I'm sure more will be revealed later, but -- Leviathan's plan is to ... collect the bodies of sad people? Whose minds are trapped in VR? Um, I don't see how this helps with world domination; if that's their goal.

I'm still not really into the whole Leviathan plot, it's just been too choppy for me. It started last season with Eve at the bus station with the old lady, then there was the weird Earthbender guy working with/for them, then it was an ageless woman in a hidden hotel suite, now it's the old lady again and she's stealing comatose bodies. It just makes no sense and I can't imagine there's a conclusion that ties all these things together in a satisfying and coherent way.

I think they had a really interesting premise with the people hiding out from sad/traumatic realities and then getting stuck in VR and that could have been a really interesting business/investigative/superhero plot all on it's own. I'm still hoping they do something with it, the "too much of a good thing" premise has a lot of potential.

 

4 hours ago, Featherhat said:

I didn't mind the Luthors being entirely off screen for once at all, although Lex's shenanigans are obviously involved. AB did a great evil smirk at the end.  

I'm a little sad about less Lena, it's weird that they don't know what to do with her. (Side note, why couldn't the Andrea Rojas plot have been a plot for Lena? All these DC shows have a problem with bringing in characters that duplicate existing characters) I don't mind less/no Lex though. He works really well as an off-screen villain being referenced in passing. It stops working when he takes over the whole episode.

I still don't like William Day of the Times of London. This was probably the best he's been used thus far - strictly in a supportive role, as a reporter, and not as the perfect true love for the lead. He was still a bit annoying - he's got NSA contacts! He's got the perfect caring words for Kelly! But it wasn't as bad here.

I really liked Kelly's role too. They're finally starting to tie her into the story in a way that makes sense and hopefully that continues.

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Really nice episode for Alex, and Chyler Leigh was great in it. I loved how she played everything - Alex angry and upset in the real world, Alex having fun in VR but realizing it's not fixing her problems, Alex getting lost in VR, Alex coming to terms with her feelings about her father's death. It was all excellent, and she was working that black suit (especially once she lost the black Kara-looking wig and jut had her regular hair)!

David Harewood and Jesse Rath were sure having fun in there. Bot Hank Henshaw was dialed up to 1000, and Bot Brainy was just so extra-Brainy, hehe. I also liked how, even before the Bots turned all murderous to keep Alex from getting out, we saw how they were actively working to keep Alex inside Obsidian. That "call" from the DEO as soon as she realized she needed to wake up, taking her out to celebrate after the "mission," and even Bot J'onn's pep talk with Alex on the balcony  was to distract her from her feeling that she was forgetting something important (also, I love that Bot J'onn still gives pep talks on the balcony!) It made me think of how social media and their algorithms are designed to keep you logged in and using them for as long as possible. The "technology is dangerous and alienating us from real-world connections!!!!" messages are still way over-the-top, but I thought those moments were effective.

Great to see Kelly continuing to have some good screentime and be involved in a major plot. I didn't even mind William as much when he was in scenes with her! I hope Kelly advocates for finding some way to identify users who are using Obsidian to escape/self-medicate from serious issues, so they can reach out to them and try and seek a more structured way to use Obsidian to PROCESS and address their trauma/issues. It sounds like that's what Kelly does in her sessions with people, and users like Bonnie and Derek could probably benefit from that rather than just run away into VR. I'm crossing my fingers that this ultimately ends with Obsidian being modified to be made safer and/or mined for what within it is truly beneficial, instead of just burning it all down because 'tech = evil!" I mean, this show, so I'm dubious about my odds, but a person can hope, right?

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It was very nice to see more Kelly than usual, both as Alex's girlfriend and pushing the ON/Lex plot forward, although their relationship is still very much "there" for me neither good nor bad just flat. 

Their relationship feels very flat to me too. It's very underwritten and its like the writers have no genuine interest in it. It makes me miss Maggie.

It has been good to see Chyler Leigh get a real story in the past couple of episodes. She was very good in this episode. Its fun seeing her as a Super and I enjoyed the NPC versions of the regular cast. I also liked how young Alex was brought into the plot. The actress is so well cast as teenage Alex.

I am glad they finally wrapped up the Jeremiah story. It was clear they had no plans to bring Dean Cain back so killing off Jeremiah makes sense. Though I do think the Cadmus plot could have provided some good story for Alex and the show so its a shame they did so little with it. 

Quote

I loved Alex's Supergirl uniform, it's almost superior to Kara's with the way everything flows together and the collar.

I loved the suit too. I think it is a superior suit for Alex. 

Edited by Oreo2234
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Alex: Okay, so my father died a very anticlimactic death. Now . . . what is the absolute worst way I can handle this?

Brainy: (looking at keyboard) According to my calculations, the least advisable course of action for you to take would be to lash out at your friends and family, then retreat into a dubious virtual reality where you take your sister's superhero identity for yourself.

Alex: Would it make for a good episode?

Brainy: Given current events . . . yes.

Alex: And would I look badass as a Supergirl?

Brainy: Yes.

Alex: It's settled. Later, bitches! (slips on Obsidian lenses, falls onto floor)

. . .  and that was my main takeaway. I'd probably feel more invested in the various plots, but we might not get a traditional season finale, so I'm a bit numb overall.

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Fun episode and I liked that Chyler had a chance to shine, but does anyone else find it disturbing that all the dystopian elements of The Matrix are now the selling points of Obsidian?

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Look at Alex getting all of these plots all to herself! Its hard to watch her so sad and lashing out, but Chyler Leigh really sold it, and while its weird not having Kara around as much, it is nice to get to see the rest of the cast get some time to shine. Its been so long since Jeremiah was around that I honestly kind of forgot about his issues with Alex and the details of the CADMUS stuff, I had to go back and read some old episode recaps to remind me, but when I did, I can get why she had complicated feelings about him. Glad that they at least gave that arc some closure, and it was great to see Helen Slater again. 

Alex's black Supergirl costume looked amazing!

 David Harewood was just having a total blast as virtual Hank Henshaw, cackling mustache twirling villain! There was not a scrap of scenery left un-chewed! It was also fun seeing virtual J'onn Brainy being increasingly over the top in Obsidian. 

Even Kelly and William get a subplot together! I am still pretty meh on the parings of Kelly/Alex and William/Kara, but I thought their characters worked pretty well together. So Andrea actually is trying to deal with whatever this issue is with Obsidian, but unfortunately, she told it to Eve!

I do hope that this can end with a "technology can be used for good and bad just be smart about it" instead of "technology and virtual reality is BAAAAAD" ending, which seems pretty simplistic, even by this shows standards, and a bit hypocritical, considering how much the characters on this show use tech to fight bad guys. Hopefully they can do what Kelly said and use Obsidian to help people like the people that Alex met who were stuck in virtual life, as it seems like this technology can do good things for people, just that they regulate it more. And, of course, deal with the evil conspiracy collecting sad people. 

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I think Leviathan is going to rule the world by themselves. Their goal is to trap everyone in VR. At least that's what I get from these episodes.

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I can’t remember the Cadmus stuff at all but did something happen with Dean Cain? I feel like he was meant to have a bigger plot then he ended up having and now they killed him off screen.. 

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11 hours ago, Avabelle said:

I can’t remember the Cadmus stuff at all but did something happen with Dean Cain? I feel like he was meant to have a bigger plot then he ended up having and now they killed him off screen.. 

He was caught in explosion with Cyborg Superman, as far as I remember back at the Cadmus Labs, and no one has heard from them ever again.

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