Supergirl: 4.19 American Dreamer
David Harewood directs this week's episode of Supergirl for a nicely handled but unsatisfying story which almost manages to bring back some of the optimism of earlier shows.
With Kara taking some time off from Supergirling and focusing on reporting for a while, Nia aka Dreamer has taken over patrolling the city to keep the people safe. Dreamer seems to have gone from having slightly prophetic dreams to an array of awesome powers pretty quickly. I’m not sure if the show has convinced me fully that Nia has had enough training, or is simply a natural but she’s going full tilt with the hero persona. Unfortunately, this seems to mostly consist of really bad sleep-based puns. The show kind of puts a lampshade on this and the idea of Nia being a little over zealous is fun but it wears thin pretty quickly.
Kara spends the episode trying to find an alien whistleblower after finding out the sister of one of CatCo’s alien employees has discovered some anti alien corruption where she works. What this storyline does is remind Kara that while she always thinks of herself as alien (as Kara or Supergirl) it's because she passes. I like it when Kara is reminded of her own privilege. It not only serves the character well but its good for the show to address and avoid falling into any white savior tropes.
We start to see George Lockwood turning against his father this week, this was a slightly predictable turn, Lockwood is starting to unravel and losing the trust and faith of his son is a good start. Ben Lockwood has been an engaging, interesting character and a well constructed villain, even if he’s been treading water a little of late but his family are the weakest element. A brief scene of his wife this week is almost painful to watch. Not only is the performance so stilted I thought as the scene started she was meant to be under some kind of mind control; the dialogue and characterization are just weak and perfunctory. The way she follows her husband’s will without question is just disappointing characterization making her and empty, non-character.
A lot of this episode is based around Dreamer. I’m not a fan of the character, I find her bland and a bit cheesy and haven’t found her integration into the team and show natural enough but her televised speech about being just like everyone else is actually quite good, if a bit corny at times and harks back to the optimistic, hopeful feel of season one and two when threats could be beaten by Supergirl giving a speech. It reminded me, briefly, of what I liked about the show. Although Brainy asking “What does love feel like?” after hearing it was one of the worst, most clichéd, cheesy bits of writing I’ve ever seen on the show.
There is a great scene between Lena and Brainy, making me want to see these two together more! Kara gets a great scene with Lena as well; when Lena confesses that she was working with Lex, Kara forgives her immdeiatly and the reaction was nicely played out. Too often we get secrets and lies just to increase drama (more and more so in Supergirl recently) so it was nice to see this aspect addressed head on.
A couple of low points this week; A fight scene between Dreamer and a group of Lockwood’s henchmen in a bar kicks off when American Woman comes on the jukebox, setting up for a big choreographed sequence but the fight barely lasts longer than the intro! Also someone refers to their “personal pin number”! A highlight this week; a lovely closing scene on Mars, with J’onn return the ancient knowledge to his home planet.
The episode ends on a conflicted note; during the upside, Lockwood arrests and drags an alien form his home and family, leaving the alien’s wife and kids devastated (I don’t know why he didn’t also arrest the wife and kids but never mind). At the end of the episode, we see the alien wife casually leaving Lockwood’s home and he finds his wife dead. This felt a bit mixed signals to me; while Lockwood has been getting worse and things have been getting more difficult for aliens, sneaking into his house and murdering his wife just because your husband has been arrested for potential deportation is a pretty extreme reaction and, frankly, doesn’t help the case of aliens. The reality is, it’s a sloppy bit of plotting. Fridgeing Lockwood’s wife at the hands of aliens is lazy.
Oh, also Jaaames has super powers now so that’s terrible.