Review: Supergirl 5×15-“Reality Bytes“
[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Director: Armen V. Kevorkian
Writers: Dana Horgan & Jay Faerber
Starring: Melissa Benoist, Chyler Leigh, Jesse Rath, Nicole Maines, Azie Tesfai, Staz Nair & David Harewood
Reviewed by: Sean Blumenshine
Nia’s roommate is attacked by a man targeting Dreamer; Dreamer refuses to give into men’s threats and puts herself in the line of fire to stop him; Alex, J’onn and Kelly attempt to rescue a man stuck inside a virtual reality game.
Nia has been one of my favorite characters for a while now so it was cool to get a story focused entirely on her. This script asks a lot of Nicole Maines and she knocks it out of the park. She is the show’s secret weapon right now that it does not utilize enough.
Nia faces someone who objects to her entire existence. And it’s not some supervillain or an over the top exaggeration; it’s a person. And as the episode points out, there are a lot of people like this in the world. It’s a heavy thing to have to deal with and it pushes Nia to the edge. I loved seeing this side of her; this story is a definite highlight of the show.
Additionally, it nicely ties in with the other plot which involves someone taking advantage of Andrea Rojas’ virtual reality tech. The villain targeting trans women uses a dating app to lure women out. He abuses something that should be used for connection in order to hurt people. It’s a good parallel.
I like the virtual reality plot but it takes up too much time. Structurally, it almost feels like the A plot. I didn’t time it or anything so I could be way off but it felt like the bigger chunk of the episode. Which is fine but the CW promoted this as a Dreamer episode and I don’t think there’s enough of her. It also doesn’t help that this virtual reality plot isn’t as compelling as Nia’s story which would be fine if it just took less screen time away from her.
This episode is fantastic and one of the show’s best. Maines gives a phenomenal performance. Her story here is so compelling and adds a lot to Nia. My only complaint is the balance of the two plots; I feel the episode is too heavy on the stuff with Alex although I do like the thematic link between the two stories. Regardless, this is an excellent hour of television.