Television 

Five Thoughts on Supergirl‘s “Alex In Wonderland”

By | March 23rd, 2020
Posted in Television | % Comments

Welcome back all you Supergirl fans! While most of the other CW comic shows have gone on an impromptu break due to our good friend COVID-19, Supergirl has a few episodes in the bank to keep us rolling (read, they took their breaks earlier in the year and are two or three behind the other shows.)

I had three paragraphs of soap-box here but suffice it to say, I hope you’re all safe out there, staying healthy, protecting those who cannot afford to get sick, and doing all you can to support each other. It’s a trying time and we need each other more than ever if we’re gonna weather this thing and make sure the people who stand the most to lose get help, rather than the multi-national industries.

Anyway. Supergirl. What a mess of a season this is.

As always, spoilers ahead.

1. Twas Brillig and the Slithy Troves

When I saw the title of the episode, even though I’d seen the trailer-shots, I thought this may turn out to be a stealth Batwoman crossover. I know it would deflate all the tension but, ya know, it’d be cool to see. Instead, the title points to Alex’s being trapped in VR thanks to, get this, creepy grandma. You remember creepy grandma and her human burritos? Well, turns out we still don’t know why they want these people but now we know what they’re doing to them. That exploit from last episode that trapped people in VR? Turns out it’s doing more than that in the hands of Leviathan and making people think that VR is real.

I dunno how I feel about this. On the one hand, it’s better than the “VR is evil because it isn’t reality” stance the show seemed to be taking instead of a more nuanced “VR has the capacity to be highly detrimental and addictive when it literally feels like the real world and isn’t handled with proper supervision or community guidelines” stance. On the other, it doesn’t grapple with any of the reasons why people might choose to stay in VR or how they convince themselves that this is the ONLY way to avoid their problems rather than using it as a tool to help cope with it. It takes the agency away and makes it an “ooh, look at what the baddies are doing” instead.

I also wonder if they are the ones who introduced the exploit that traps people, thereby manipulating and messing with Mr. Bates’ mind, or if they simply took advantage of it and Bates was always just an asshole.

2. Death and Rebirth of the SuperAlex

I really liked the costume for Alex. It was a good mix of her usual combat kevlar and the Supergirl uniform. The wig was awful but that’s fine. What struck me, however, was how odd the set up for the episode was. Much like Lena’s heel turn and subsequent speeches, the scenes themselves aren’t the problem. In fact, they’re quite well directed and acted. It’s just. . .getting me to buy into the emotions, to see the through line that brought these characters here and to know whether or not the sudden, seemingly out of character outbursts are a result of poor writing or of the messiness of human emotions. . .that’s not present. It’s murky and muddy and it hurts the set-up.

Jeremiah has been missing for three years, maybe more in this new Crisis timeline — though that doesn’t matter since Alex remembers pre-Crisis — and he left on. . .bad terms? Maybe he did, I legitimately cannot remember. And that’s my point! He’s dead and then suddenly Alex is being a grade-A jerk to Kara and Kelly while dredging up reasons that, frankly, were never brought up before in all the backstory stuff. Sure, Alex often felt inferior to Kara and that’s been explored, and Jeremiah’s secret double (triple?) life has also been explored, but this felt out of place and underbaked.

Doesn’t help that it’s all a set up for her to go into the VR world to get trapped. At least we get to meet Bonnie. She seemed nice.

3. How to Replace An Actor You Don’t Like Anymore

Continued below

I don’t know why Dean Cain never returned to Supergirl. He was last seen at the end of season two and then, poof, gone, with only a few passing references since before fading into what I like to call the CW Void. It’s where characters go the second they stop mattering to the overall story and they’re never heard from again, not even as background characters or passing references. Remember Agent Vasquez? Or even Cat, fucking, grant? Hell, what about Snapper Carr? Or any of the other CatCo characters that aren’t Jimmy or Nia?

It’s as if they never existed and it’s maddening.

But Jeremiah, at least he left with a clear out. . .that is, until this episode. It begs the question: why did he have to die? There are hundreds of contrived bullshit reasons to get Alex to go into VR to be trapped that don’t involve killing off a character and then not really spending the episode dealing with it. My theory is they wanted to take him off the table for future episodes. I don’t know why, maybe it’s his politics off screen, maybe it’s just they didn’t want to leave that thread hanging any more, like why they brought back Mon-El for an episode and Winn for an episode or two, but whatever the case, they didn’t want him in the episode and did their damndest to avoid showing his face.

4. Russian Roulette is Perfectly Safe if You Rig the Game

Show of hands, who thinks Lex is behind the code problem hold ups? Anyone? Thought so. I’m really liking how Lex is the obvious target but for once, he’s (probably) not the one behind the nefarious goings on. It’s possible he’s pulling the strings for Leviathan in order to get on their good side but it could just as easily be, uh, shit, what’s her name? Rojas’ friend with blond hair. The one who was taunting Rama Khan before Crisis. Whatever. Her. She’s on the board too so can hold up funds.

Plus, Eve Tessmacher is one of the coders and we know she’s Leviathan.

Wait. Hold up. Eve is working at Obsidian and Lena/Lex has no fucking clue? That seems. . .impossible. There’s no way. Unless. . .

*X-Files theme plays*

5. Caring? Where We’re Going, We Won’t Need Caring

While I’m glad Rojas isn’t maliciously holding the code fix back herself, I don’t love how the show continues to frame her. They make it out to be that she’s supposed to be a good person but, like, the show goes out of its way to show that she. . .doesn’t care about the people she says she cares about? She does that CEO dance around issues and problems without any ounce of self-reflection, which is a fun character trait to play around with, but then she turns around and is 100% gung-ho, let’s fix this problem without a good reason.

I’ve cataloged the problems with the Obsidian launch before and how the show has yet to place any of this on her, instead placing it on Leviathan and Lex, which is stupid. They’re evil but Rojas isn’t blameless and should be taken to task or at least not positioned by the show’s framing as a misunderstood idealist. If they wanted that to be true, they should’ve done a better job establishing it at the start. . .and by having her take the failure of the FAILSAFE for your REALITY BENDING PROGRAM and the lack of it being patched months later seriously from the get go.

That about does it for now! What did you all think of the episode? Not exactly a strong one but this season’s been rockier than a Long Island beach so you take what you can get. Wait! I didn’t even talk about how much fun David Harewood was as over-the-top Hank Henshaw! Missed opportunity. Next week. . .well, I’m not sure. We might have an episode. We might not. It’s all on the CW’s schedule, though considering we didn’t get a Sunday, April Whateverth return card, it’s probably safe to say they have at least one more in the can to show. Until then, stay super y’all.

Best Scene of the Night:

When one of the Reign witches (I think) straight up vaporizes a heckler and everyone just kind brushes it off. Classic VR humor right there.


//TAGS | supergirl

Elias Rosner

Elias is a lover of stories who, when he isn't writing reviews for Mulitversity, is hiding in the stacks of his library. Co-host of Make Mine Multiversity, a Marvel podcast, after wining the no-prize from the former hosts, co-editor of The Webcomics Weekly, and writer of the Worthy column, he can be found on Twitter (for mostly comics stuff) here and really needs to update his profile photo again.

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