This week's episode of the CW's Supergirl was a truly meaningful one, especially for those who have wanted to learn more about Nia Nadal's Dreamer–and even more for those who care for Nia both as character she is and for the transgender actress who plays her, Nicole Maines.
Her social media interactions with viewers are a big reason for her popularity:
I am so so excited for everyone to see the new episode of Supergirl. We worked super hard on it and I'm so pleased with how it came out. Some of my favorite scenes I've gotten to do so far are in this episode. #supergirl #Dreamer
— 🧛🏻♀️Nicole Maines🧛🏻♀️ (@NicoleAMaines) January 27, 2019
Meanwhile, in Kasnia…Red Daughter takes out more missiles and drones–but collapses with a nosebleed when she returns to her Kasnian Army handlers. They try to revive her with shock paddles, but only succeed in sending bolts of gamma energy across the globe, specifically to…
The RV of a couple of low-grade drug dealers, who notice their stash of happy pills now glows a faint purple. Upon selling them to some frat boys, said dude-bros partake of the pills, bulk up, and rage out.
Their roid rage rampage even disrupts game night at the Danvers' girls' apartment, where Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Alex (Chyler Leigh) lord over their competition (Lena and Jimmy, Nia and Brainy) with how in sync they are. However, Alex is flummoxed when suddenly she can't remember Kara's favorite movie. After Alex leaves to deal with the raging frat boys, Kara confides to J'onn how hard it is not having Alex remember that she is Supergirl–like forgetting things like The Wizard of Oz is her favorite movie because their mom thought she would like the story of a girl in a faraway land that wasn't her own.
After apprehending the frat boys, Alex tries to interrogate them but finds she is distracted and unable to break them. She asks J'onn (David Harewood) to probe her mind because she can feel that something is missing. J'onn lies to her that everything is fine to help her regain her confidence, which she does after Brainy undertakes a ruse pretending to be a frat boy himself busted for drugs and gets the information they need about their dealers to track them down.
Meanwhile, Kara and Nia take a road trip to Nia's hometown of Parthas to cover their annual harvest festival. The town has lived in peace for years as a haven where humans and aliens can live together peacefully–largely guided by Nia's mother and her abilities to dream the future.
On their way to Nia's home, she dreams of her mother dying but dismisses it.
Kara meets the Nadal family, including Nia's older sister Maeve (Hannah James) who everyone expects to inherit the family's "dreamer" abilities from her mother–but Nia's continued dreams of calamity come to fruition when their mother unexpectedly dies. While everyone mourns, Nia continues to dream of danger to the harvest festival and her sister but is also racked with guilt that she is inheriting the family gift instead of her older sister. She and Kara talk and decide they will tell everyone, but only after her mother's memorial service.
Unfortunately, the Sons of Liberty have not only come to town to attack the local alien community at the harvest festival they've also gotten their hands on the super-steroids to help them cause even more damage. Hot on their trail, the DEO also shows up as the Sons attempt to burn down the barn where they are holding the funeral, which unfortunately places Supergirl and Alex on somewhat opposite ends of the conflict. This misunderstanding–not helped by Alex's missing memories, trust, and personal empathy–leads to an unfortunate confrontation where Supergirl has to use her heat vision to knock a gun out of Alex's hand.
As painful as that sororal showdown was, the standoff between Nia and Maeve afterwards is even more heartbreaking. Maeve is upset that she won't get the powers she believes she deserves and that Nia doesn't even want. Even worse, she attacks Nia's gender identity as a trans woman, implying that should make her ineligible to inherit the powers: "They're supposed to be passed down from mother to daughter. So how did someone like you get them? You're not even a real woman!"
On the car ride back to National City, Kara, and Nia attempt to commiserate, but Nia points out that Kara could never really understand what's going on and the burden of hiding your superpowers from your sister and having her reject you. Kara pulls the car over and reveals her identity as Supergirl to Nia, telling her that she is not alone in what she's going through.
Back at home, Kara and J'onn are concerned that Alex's memory loss is changing who she is. Without the memories of growing up sisters with a Kryptonian, Alex has become less empathetic and more harsh. On a personal level, Kara misses her sister, who walks in complaining about the burn on her hand Supergirl gave her but ready for movie night with her two favorite people.
We end where we began, with a Kasnian general looking over the body of a (dead? comatose?) Red Daughter making a call, "We have a problem. I need to reach someone in America."
Who wants to bet that person's initials are LL? Maybe we'll find out next week in "Menagerie."
No official synopsis from The CW yet, but with that title, we can assume we will see the introduction of Menagerie (Jessica Meraz) as a new villain. We also get a tease of the return of Agent Liberty (Sam Witwer)–will be interesting to see how he fits in.
The CW Supergirl "Menagerie" airs Sunday, February 17 (apparently there's some else "Super" happening next Sunday which most shows won't compete with).