Supergirl – S5 Ep15 – Reality Bytes Review

In this powerful episode, Dreamer takes center stage in a deeply personal quest.

Sometimes, life sucks. People struggle everyday with a variety of issues and just want to get away from it all. This episode, through an interesting cautionary storyline, reminds us that we must confront our issues instead of living in fear of them. Perhaps more importantly, this episode also shines a light on real world horrors that the Trans community faces everyday via a heartbreaking story featuring Dreamer (Nicole Maines).Let’s recap!

The episode begins with a flashback to two months ago where Kelly monitors a test run of the new platinum lense prior to launch. Mr. Bates, the participant, sees his wife with another man in this winter fantasy land and fumes. He tries to exit, but cannot. Due to a glitch in the program, the failsafe failed to work. Kelly brings the man out of his VR experience and tells him that the glitch will be taken care of shortly.

In the present day, Supergirl and Dreamer fight a dominator which the latter takes out rather quickly. Dreamer encourages Kara to go off to her date with William (which ends being fun, but a bit awkward).

Before Nia goes home, she has an awkward run in with Brainy who arrives to escort the alien to the DEO.

At her apartment, Nia catches up with her roommate Yvette, who is excitedly looking forward to going out to meet her new boyfriend of three weeks (they met on Upswipes), Angus. Yvette encourages Nia to come with her to the club and to quit “crying over that weird little man.” Nia reluctantly agrees. Once at the club, Nia has a terrible vision that she is unable to interpret. Meanwhile, Yvetter is lured outside by “Angus” who in actuality is a bigot. He attacks her and leaves a message with her for Dreamer which simply states: “The world doesn’t want a trans superhero.” It also says that if she doesn’t stop her heroics, he will attack more people in the trans community.

An angry Nia and Yvette meet with the cops at their apartment. The NCPD assures them that they will do all they can to bring the man to justice. While Yvette goes to rest, Nia fumes over the attack. Kara arrives and attempts to comfort her. Nia, however, is now determined to end the man’s life. She claims he is not worth saving and that she will not allow him to erase her or her community. Kara (who later aids William in writing a piece about the attack) urges her to let justice prevail and not succumb to hate and killing. Nia gives Kara and the cops a few hours to fix this, but if they don’t, she will do it her way.

Elsewhere, Alex continues to train with J’onn. She is still struggling with controlling her new weapon. Their session is interrupted by Al, from the alien bar, with an urgent mission: his brother Trevor (guest star Corbin Bleu) is missing. According to Al, Trevor checked into a hotel a week ago for a simple weekend VR getaway in virtual Las Vegas and has not been seen since. The Tower crew agrees to help Al find Trevor with J’onn searching for his real self while Alex searches for him virtually.

Alex meets with Kelly, who helps her through the new Platinum VR experience. In the “lobby,” Alex sees various options, one of which features an image of her wearing a version of the Supergirl suit and another of her holding a baby. She stays on task and choses virtual Las Vegas where she finds a haunted house on a hill. This unusual place is a customizable add-on that Obsidian grants to advanced users free of regulation. Kelly also informs her that the house taps into peoples’ worst fears. Once inside, Alex finds two men submerged in large tanks of water screaming for help. Alex, facing her fear drowning, breaks the glass and saves them. The men, who are friends of Trevor’s, inform her that they have been trapped there for some time and that a man named Richard is responsible for their torture.

Meanwhile, in the real world, J’onn finds Richard’s wife, who turns out to be the woman from earlier in the VR experience. She explains that she has been having a virtual affair with Trevor and her possessive husband, computer engineer, is furious at her. J’onn quickly realizes that Richard has built a trap within the VR for Trevor.

Unfortunately for Alex, she does not learn any of this due to her losing communication with Kelly. She does however discover Trevor in another room where he is frozen in fear. He has been forced to explode over and over again. Alex successfully calms him down not before she is attacked by Richard, who has come to watch him suffer. Alex launches him out of the simulation where he wakes up in his home now forced to contend with J’onn. After a brief struggle, J’onn subdues him and takes him into custody. Alex finds out where Trevor is in the real world and relays the information to J’onn so that they can save him.

Elsewhere, after nothing happens in the search for the attacker, Nia decides to take matters into her own hands by luring the attacker with her own Upswipes account. She is successful in luring him out and meets him as Dreamer, much to his surprise and disgust. She confronts him as he spews hate and attempts to attack her as well. Dreamer quickly subdues the man and strangles him with her lasso powers. Supergirl arrives having been alerted to the situation via Brainy. Ignoring Nia’s earlier request/warning, Supergirl delivers a hope speech in which she urges her friend not to stoop to his level. She apologizes for not realizing the true dangers that her community face. She pledges herself as well as J’onn, Alex, and even Brainy’s aid in the further protection of the trans community. Dreamer then allows Supergirl to have the man arrested, not without a final threat however.

Later that night, at CatCo, Kara finds a crying Nia on the balcony and comforts her. Nia is overwhelmed and disturbed at how she wanted to murder that man. She also expresses frustration at not being able to interpret the dream she had, both now and before her mother died. In addition, she is heartbroken that one of the only people who loved her and supported her simply broke things off without an explanation. Kara apologizes for not considering Nia’s experiences, but also reminds her that violence is never the answer. Not lashing out in hate is what separates them from the villains.

Following Trevor’s rescue, Alex and Kelly discuss the events at Al’s bar. Kelly is shocked that Alex was able to eject Richard from the simulation and that the glitch was not fixed after all. Trevor then shows up and thanks them both for helping him.

Back at their apartment, Nia comforts Yvette and encourages her to not let this attack erase them.

Elsewhere, Brainy, who was tasked by Kara to gather information on the trans hate group, delivers his findings to the cops telling them the DEO takes these threats seriously.

Meanwhile, Richard is wheeled away in a hospital bed by Margot (guest star), the Leviathan liaison lady, to a room full of wrapped bodies suspended in the air.

At the Tower, Alex continues her training with J’onn. As they wrap up,  Alex receives a devastating call from Eliza. She delivers the news to Kara at their apartment: Jeremiah Danvers is dead.

This was yet another incredible episode of Supergirl. Nicole Maines delivers a powerful, and deeply emotional performance in this Dreamer centric episode. I have immense respect for her and the trans community for living in the face of these horrors. I give credit to the show for allowing this important message to be showcased. In addition, I really enjoyed the VR storyline as well which showcased Alex’s desire to help people no matter the cost. All in all, this was a deeply moving and powerful episode that continues the upward trajectory of the season!

Stay tuned for more recaps & reviews of Supergirl and the other DC TV shows here at Earth-9!