Supergirl: Alex in Wonderland

VR J’onn: “Alex, you saved your family, the DEO, and the citizens of National City today. That feeling you can’t quite pin down, it’s called happiness.”

Alex uses a pair of Obsidian contact lenses to visit a virtual National City where she takes on a whole new persona. Meanwhile, Kelly helps William investigate Lex, and Kara deals with difficult news.

A simple but powerful episode.

Jeremiah, Alex’s father and Kara’s adoptive father, is dead. Kara comes to fetch Alex to go to Midvale for the memorial service, but Alex refuses. She’s got a lot of emotion going through her, and most of all, she’s angry. Death brings out a lot of resentment in Alex with respect to Kara, as Alex’s own life was completely changed when Kara entered her life as her sister – and the attention that Kara attracted from their father.

Alex sends everyone away, even Kelly, whom she has no reason to resent. Alex first plans to spend some quality time with a wine bottle, but then she decides to enter virtual reality (VR) with a pair of Obsidian Platinum contacts. She doesn’t choose to spend time with her father, which might have been the most logical choice. I’m glad they didn’t go that way, although that might be beyond even Obsidian’s programming, as Jeremiah has been in hiding for years. Instead, Alex decides to try out being a superhero, specifically, to play the part of Supergirl. It’s logical that “be Supergirl” would be an Obsidian option; plenty National City citizens would want to play this role.

I liked seeing Alex trying out what it was like to be Kara. Alex, as she knows Kara, doesn’t approach it the way other players approach it. You can see that Alex, even in this fantasy version when she is drenched in resentment, is gaining some understanding of the constant pressure of being Supergirl. Supergirl often has to make quick choices. Supergirl is always the center of attention. And Alex-Supergirl even has to save her sister (and we see Kara tied up).

Although we can see Alex going through the sensations of what it is like to be Supergirl, the episode doesn’t over-emphasize it, with any great statements of revelation at the end. That’s also a wise choice. Although Alex’s resentment of her superhero sibling is natural, it’s not a core part of who she is, and she’s probably worked through most of this before. She already knows the answers; she just needed to remind herself of them, as the feelings resurfaced thanks to Jeremiah’s death.

The episode is simple in many respects, but then it ties nicely with the season's Big Bad, which is some combination of Lex Luthor and the Leviathans (a lot of Ls). We don’t know exactly what is going on, but humans are forgetting they are in VR. Alex watches that happen, when Bonnie-Tilly forgets that she is Bonnie. And then, of course, the erasure of self happens to her.

Alex is lucky, because her girlfriend Kelly, with William’s assistance, is investigating. William, of course, has his own suspicions about Lex, and Kelly is both worried about Alex and the lack of work done on the failsafe problem. Although we know enough to be suspicious of both Lex and the Leviathans, I don’t understand how they could be working together using VR to be putting humans into the matrix. Lex may be evil, but this seems like a strange twist for him, as the Leviathans could presumably put him into the matrix as well.

Kelly, with a little guidance from Andrea, gets Alex out by assuming the persona of a younger Alex and beating her up with logic. I don’t think that would work on everyone. Not everyone is disturbed by cognitive dissonance. I also think it’s peculiar that the contact lenses can’t be extracted by someone on the outside.

So, with Alex out of VR, their first order of business is going to a funeral. Hmm. I wonder about priorities, attending a memorial service when live people are trapped in VR. My priority would always be on rescuing the living. And at least William goes to the warehouse where the humans stuck in VR have been taken – of course, all he sees is an empty warehouse.

I liked the bit at the memorial service, when Kara pulls Alex’s head on her shoulder.

Title musings. The title of this episode is “Alex in Wonderland,” which is a play on the book by Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland. Nice twist of the words.

Bits and pieces

More long coats for Kara, perhaps hiding Melissa Benoist’s baby bump?

Olivia Nikakken reprises her role as young Alex.

At the end we get a glimpse of Eve Tessmacher, who we haven’t seen for a while.

No Lex or Lena, and Brainy and J’onn are mostly thugs. So less snappy dialogue.

It seems to me that this VR is pretty powerful and could be recording people’s thoughts. So not a safe place for our superheroes or their partners to visit.

I’m glad we didn’t see Dean Cain, although he played Jeremiah in an earlier episode.

Alex is usually portrayed as the elder sister, but Kara, as she spent all those years in stasis while traveling from Krypton to Earth, might actually be older.

Quotes

Alex: Stop telling me how I feel.
Kara: Then you tell me how you feel.

Alex: I don’t feel the need to bury a man who has been dead to me for years.

Andrea: I would never let our consumers engage in anything that would put them in jeopardy. A line uttered by many a CEO with defective, dangerous products. To be fair, in the end, Andrea does step up.

Overall Rating

This was a solid episode, exploring the conflicted Alex, who is generally so good and so loving, must feel at having a superhero for a stepsister. Another thing that made this episode good, was that it focused on Supergirl, even if there wasn’t much Kara in the episode. Three and a half out of four bottles of red wine.

Victoria Grossack loves math, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I enjoyed this one, too. It was interesting to see Alex pretending to be Kara and learning that it wasn't all wonderful.

Although I think Alex really went overboard on Kelly; I'm not sure I would have forgiven as easily as Kelly did. And as you mentioned, Victoria, the actual physical stuff isn't being addressed. Why couldn't Kelly just remove Alex's contacts? (Not that putting them in is that easy, either.) What about bathroom breaks?

"A simple but powerful episode." Pun intended? :)

Katie Hart - Pinterest Manager said...

Correction - should be Kara's adoptive father, not stepfather.

I agree, seems like there should be some "outside" failsafe to remove someone from a VR environment. I can see that there maybe could be side effects from pulling someone out without warning, but they should at least have some sort of way to disconnect someone. If nothing else, for parents to end their kids' "screen time".

Victoria Grossack said...

Thanks, Katie; I have made the change to "adoptive father".