NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Supergirl” are present in this review

 

 

Supergirl has hit the end of the line for now, alongside Batwoman in the previous timeslot, after the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unscheduled hiatus for The CW’s current programming lineup. Like The Flash before it, “Alex in Wonderland” also proves to be a bit of an awkward forced stop for the series, after this episode focuses entirely on Alex’s grief and subsequent renewed hope over the loss of her father. Fortunately, this episode itself is still a very good one, nicely furthering the implications of Obsidian Platinum for the most part, even at the cost of benching Kara herself for almost the entire episode.

After news of Jeremiah’s death reaches Team Supergirl, most of them head off to Midvale to attend the funeral with Eliza, except for Alex, who insists on staying at home, being furious and confrontational. Kelly also decides to stay behind in hopes of convincing Alex to go, and in turn becomes roped in with an ongoing investigation being spearheaded by William. William, meanwhile, came this close to being useful this week, but his character is still too much of a shallow plot device, and that was once again highlighted in the story elements that occurred outside of Obsidian’s VR world. It’s getting to the point where I have to question whether William is really that good of an investigative reporter, frankly, since he just seems to keep stumbling into everything through blind luck.

Fortunately, with the bulk of this episode focused on Alex, we got another inspired look at how Obsidian Platinum works, and how this unrealistic, but undeniably interesting technology continues to be developed. Alex diving into the VR world after discovering some lenses given to Kelly also makes a lot of sense, as Alex becomes desperate to escape her grief and anger over losing her father. This proved to be an eccentric, but effective way to have Alex confront all of her unresolved demons related to Jeremiah, while also continuing to foreshadow the true scope of the threat behind Leviathan, leading to an episode whose topsy-turvy storyline feels extra memorable, while not skimping on the dramatic impact.

Sure enough, Alex also opts to become Supergirl in her virtual reality, meeting other users of the VR in the process, most notably, “Treasure Hunter Tilly”, who, in reality, is a woman named Bonnie, who just learned about her sister having stage-four cancer. She has fun at first, and it is cool to see what Alex would do if she were in Kara’s shoes, right down to fighting simulated battles against Hank Henshaw, a cool throwback to David Harewood’s earliest Supergirl identity. Once Alex discovers that Tilly/Bonnie has seemingly forgotten her former life in the real world however, Alex begins to detect that something is wrong. The problem is, it’s too late, and the VR programming manages to convince Alex that the doubts in her reality are being caused by Psi, another familiar villain from Supergirl’s past.

This all provides a clever and interesting excuse for Kelly to discover that something is very wrong with Obsidian Platinum. On top of having to devise a way to pull out Alex, Kelly also works overtime by trying to inform Andrea that the failsafe glitch from before was never resolved, before she also lends a hand with William’s investigation, which is aiming to expose Lex Luthor as the fraud he is. Kelly eventually manages to tip Alex off that her reality is fake once again, by programming in Alex’s younger self, which eventually allows Alex to overcome the programming and end her simulation, in turn also providing a nice reason for Alex to reconcile with everyone that she hurt. While Alex finally heads off to Midvale with Kelly, Andrea also decides to fight the board at Obsidian, by pushing a patch through her lenses. I’m sure that won’t sit well with a thankfully absent Gemma, who, alongside Lex, appears to be stalling a fix for Obsidian Platinum’s failsafe issues. Regardless, seeing Andrea do the right thing, even against the will of the Leviathan-controlled board at Obsidian, continues to make her character nicely interesting and interpretive, and more than just a corporate scumbag.

All of this makes for interesting plotting with an inspiring, feel-good resolution. It also helps Jeremiah’s death carry more weight for Alex in particular, considering how thanklessly this news was plunked on the show’s audience last week. Despite that however, William continues to drag the show down, like I said. William still doesn’t seem to be fitting into Supergirl’s lead ensemble very well, and he’s yet again used as a half-hearted excuse to somewhat move the plot forward here. After Kelly predictably can’t help with William’s investigation, William calls up a convenient NSA buddy, who spoonfeeds him the location of the trapped Obsidian Platinum users, somehow (why is it not a concern to the NSA that a bunch of silent/missing people are registering at the same IP address?), and even then, William is fooled by a cloaking barrier that’s mere inches from his face. Even after that embarrassment though, William nonetheless finds a hospital bracelet on the way out, making one wonder why the show even bothered to hide Leviathan’s operation from him. The plotting around William is still frustratingly clumsy, and this awkward progression surrounding Leviathan’s agenda hurts all the more when we’re reminded that Supergirl is now going off the air indefinitely.

“Alex in Wonderland” at least does right by its title character, who finds a creative and satisfying way to untangle her grief and sadness over the abrupt loss of Jeremiah. William continues to be a problem by comparison, with his own subplot being pushed forward by trite contrivances. Still, the continued peeks into Obsidian Platinum’s VR world remain equal parts corny and chilling, which oddly fits the tone of a villainous VR world in the Arrowverse pretty much perfectly. Even with Kara barely making an appearance in this episode, the series managed to deliver some pretty strong storytelling here, while subtly and effectively foreshadowing the threats that are imminently approaching from Leviathan. We don’t currently know when Supergirl will resume, since the show is going on hiatus until further notice, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but even if this episode doesn’t feel like the most natural stopping point (which, again, isn’t the showrunners’ fault), it’s good to see the show at least take its unscheduled break on a very solid offering for Alex, even if there aren’t any cliffhangers or big status quo changes to chew on in the meantime.

Supergirl 5.16: "Alex in Wonderland" Review
Supergirl provides a strong core storyline for Alex this week, as she takes her grief over Jeremiah into an increasingly hostile VR odyssey.
THE GOOD STUFF
  • Alex crafting her own experiences as Supergirl
  • Kelly creatively helping Alex conquer her grief
  • Andrea boldly defying her board
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
  • William's investigation is too contrived and clumsy
  • Awkward forced stopping point in the storytelling
83%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.