'Supergirl's wobbly punch at for-profit prisons hits its mark, but just barely.
- 😶🌫️ Highlights the dangers of for-profit prisons.
- 😶🌫️ It's nice to get Kelly and Nia in the spotlight, even if the attention is split.
- 😶🌫️ Supergirl has acknowledged Kara's whiteness before, but tonight's episode would have been a good time for her to reiterate that understanding.
This post contains spoilers for Supergirl.
Check out our last review here.
Supergirl's eternal hope in humanity is called to the plate in "Dream Weaver." The Girl of Steel has to reckon with past support of a questionable warden while Kelly tackles her new job as a social worker and Nia continues to reconcile with the loss of her mother. It's a wobbly episode overall, but there's some gems hidden throughout this week's forty minute offering.
While it's always great to see Kara (Melissa Benoist) do her thing, and I couldn't possibly be more happy to have the Super Friends all on the same plane of existence again, "Dream Weaver" would have been better served had it chosen to focus on Nia (Nicole Maines) and Kelly's (Azie Tesfai) respective stories. The future Guardian's narrative is tied to Supergirl's — Kelly is on a mission to find out what's happening to one of her kids' incarcerated brother while Kara aims to find the aliens who are stealing the ingredients to create a nuke — and the focus on the Girl of Steel is meant to highlight the importance of white people standing up and using their voices to help the marginalized, but the intention struggles to hit its mark. Supergirl has reckoned with Kara's whiteness before, but "Dream Weaver" would have been a good time to reiterate that understanding as she was trying to talk the inmates off the ledge.
In contrast, Nia's side of the episode is more of a classic "deal with the devil" kind of situation. As we saw in the midseason finale, Nxylgsptinz (Peta Sergeant) stowed away as Kara and her father escaped the Phantom Zone. Now, she's in Nia's dreams adding insult to injury as Dreamer desperately tries to intemperate what's going on in her mind. Nxy promises that if Nia helps her, she can bring her mother back to life for 24 hours. It's pretty tempting, given that the Imp has provided the exact solution to Nia's problems. Then again, we spend most of the episode rooting for Dreamer to make the right choice.
But, as "Dream Weaver" points out, people will do a lot of things when they're desperate.
It's Kelly that shines the brightest this week. (I've been hoping for Nia to finally get some attention, her dream sequences felt too muddled to really let her shine.) Watching her grow and fully step into the idea that she should be the new Guardian is such an exciting move for her future. So exciting, in fact, that it's frustrating that we'll only see it for a few episodes before Supergirl is gone for good. Her strongest moments as a character are when she's stepping back and truly helping people, and the same can be said for "Dream Weaver" as a whole. Supergirl's message was important. White folks have to get involved in these conversations if things are ever going to change. This episode just didn't do a good enough job highlighting that against the much more poignant Kelly story arc. Moments we cut to Kara were just mostly frustrating, unfortunately.
Annoyances with the episode aside, it's great to see shows like Batwoman and Supergirl highlighting that for-profit prisons are dangerous, and that the system as a whole places zero value in rehabilitation. Alex (Chyler Leigh) giving Kelly the Guardian helmet gives us something to be excited for in the future, and Nia's choices are sure to add some spice into the Super Friends' lives.
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