Supergirl – S5 Ep16 – Alex In Wonderland Review

Alex takes a trip into VR to deal with some devastating news in this well crafted episode of Supergirl!

The VR plot thickens as “Supergirl” and the crew begin to discover things aren’t exactly going smoothly as they thought with Obsidian Platinum. This week’s episode sees Kelly (Azie Tesfai) and William (Staz Nair) team up to investigate the failsafe glitch and Lex Luthor’s ties to it if any. However, the central focus of the episode is Alex Danvers. Chyler Leigh delivers an incredibly powerful performance as Danvers deals with the devastating news of her father’s passing. Both storylines are woven together well and begin to set the stage for the endgame of the season. Let’s recap!
This well crafted hour begins with Kara and family preparing to leave for Midvale to attend Jeremiah’s funeral. However, Alex refuses to join them. Jeremiah had a heart attack while helping displaced aliens in the Peruvian Andes. While Kara is at peace knowing Jeremiah loved them, Alex is still angry at him for leaving them. She lashes out at them saying he cared more about Kara than herself. She feels that he never had the time for her and has never forgiven him for always leaving “to protect them.”

Alex kicks everyone out including Kelly, who tries to comfort her. Once they are gone, she decides to use the VR to escape her pain. Choosing the “Supergirl” simulation, Alex finds herself as National City’s #1 hero sporting a nice black and blue suit (with a black wig as well). At the mall, she is recognized by a fellow user who introduces herself as Treasure Hunter Tilly aka Bonnie, who gives her the low down on the simulation. She explains that aside from them and Derek (who is currently playing guitar on stage) is a non-player character. This is a product of Alex’s brain mapping which populates the world with familiar faces and places. The duo quickly bond over their desire to escape real world pain. Bonnie reveals that she uses VR to deal with her sister having cancer. While Bonnie seems to realize that she is in a simulation, Derek on the other hand has no idea. In reality, he is currently wrapped in foil like a burrito in Leviathan’s secret lair tended to by Margot (guest star Patti Allen).

As a helicopter whisks “Tilly” away, the mall is attacked by a large dragon alien, but it is no problem for Alex or should I say Supergirl. With the day saved, Supergirl gets bombarded by the press and adoring fans. Following her victory, she goes out to what looks like the alien bar for pancakes. There she reunites with Bonnie, who now seems to have no recollection of her real life. In reality, she is found in her RV by Margot, who takes her to the warehouse holding the other red eyed VR users.

In the real world, Kelly teams up with an equally concerned William to investigate new satellites recently pushed through by Lex, who now finds himself on the Obsidian Board. These thirty-two devices are being placed above each city that Lex travels to as part of his Obsidian World Tour. William becomes even more suspicious of Lex when Kelly brings up the failsafe glitch/loophole. He wonders if Lex had something to do with that as well. They ultimately find no connection to Lex, but Kelly does discover that the glitch still has not been fixed despite the patch being ordered. She brings this to Andrea, who doesn’t seem too concerned. Rojas simply assures her that it will be fixed and that there is no need to inform users of this issue.

Back in the VR simulation, Alex is called to the DEO featuring NPC versions of Team Supergirl where she is given a new urgent mission. NPC-J’onn informs her that Hank Henshaw has kidnapped her sister Kara and demands them to hand over a missile. If they fail to do so, he will kill them all and expose Supergirl’s identity. NPC-J’onn urges Alex to not let her emotions cloud her judgment as she rushes to engage Henshaw. She saves the day once again tricking Henshaw and overcoming his Kryptonite powered shackles. Despite the victory and happiness, Alex begins to sense that she is forgetting something. NPC-J’onn brushes it off saying it is nothing. He takes her to celebrate at the bar where they enjoy some karaoke. As she begins to feel comfortable, Alex’s lenses in the real world turn red!

Meanwhile, in the real world, Kelly and William, feeling that some users could be trapped in their experiences, decide to check up on the nearly five hundred people who have been using for the past forty-eight hours or more nonstop. When Kelly gets no response from Alex, she begins to suspect something is wrong with her as well.
Back in VR, Alex runs into another woman claiming to be Supergirl (wearing the OG suit no less), which confuses her. Her NPC-DEO companions suggest that she return to the DEO with them. However, Alex begins to realize that this isn’t real. She then wakes up in her apartment, seemingly in the real world. She takes off her lenses and goes to respond to Kelly’s messages. However, before she can, she gets an urgent call from J’onn, who says that Psi is attacking the city and making everyone question reality. Alex suddenly rushes into action as Supergirl, this time without the wig.

In the real world, Kelly finds and unresponsive Alex in her apartment. Olsen tries to revive her with her adrenaline, but to no avail. She then decides to enter the simulation to save her. Once there, she tries to reason with Alex, but the NPC-DEO squad (who have become increasingly villainous) convince Alex that Kelly is a victim of Psi’s attack. Realizing her efforts as futile, she exits the VR and brings this to the attention of Andrea. Rojas suggests that Kelly use something unexplainable and undeniable. Ultimately, Kelly decides to introduce Alex’s teenage self into the simulation to confront Alex with reality. Despite the NPC-DEO team trying to distract her, Alex finally accepts her father’s death and that she can’t repair their relationship. The younger Alex reminds her grieving counterpart that Jeremiah’s life was a result of his own choices. Even though he is gone, Alex still has people who love her. With that, Alex wakes up in the real world and takes off her lenses.
Alex quickly apologizes to Kelly for the way she treated her earlier. She confesses that she was not angry at any of them. In actuality, she was mad at herself for being able to save her father. Alex also tells Kelly about Bonnie and Derek, who were becoming trapped in the VR. Kelly assures her that she will do everything in her power to fix this and save them. First, they need to join the others in Midvale for Jeremiah’s funeral.

This emotional episode concludes with a revelatory montage. First, William follows a lead from his NSA contact which leads him to the warehouse where Leviathan is holding these trapped VR users. However, just as he arrives, Margot engages a cloaking device which hides their presence. Dey does, however, find an hospital ID bracelet which should help greatly in his further investigation. At Obsidian, Andrea demands that the glitch be fixed. The employee she orders to do this: Eve!!!!

In the end, Alex joins her family and friends as Eliza (guest star Helen Slater) eulogizes her late husband.

This episode gives Alex a truly compelling storyline, something that has been a bit lacking this season in my opinion. Chyler Leigh does an incredible job conveying Danvers’ grief and desire for happiness. It was great to see her front and center and getting to truly let loose and have fun as VR Supergirl. This storyline also featured a fantastic performance from David Harewood, who got to play the villain again as Hank Henshaw. I also really enjoyed the investigation subplot as well. Azie Tesfai has been underutilized in my opinion so it was great to get to see her be more of a focus this episode. Overall, this episode was another great chapter in this series.

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