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Supergirl - Dream Weaver - Review: A Star is Born

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Two of the biggest takeaways from Supergirl’s latest predominantly solid episode, Dream Weaver, 6x09, were Kelly Olsen’s life changing decision and the introduction of a new character that instantly stole the hearts of not only her screen partners, but also of everyone watching. The show should be commended and lauded for maintaining its theme of focusing on Supergirl while highlighting surrounding characters. It is appalling that such a strong episode as this was presented with a very noticeable lack of promotion from a network that seems to have abandoned one of its network’s most popular shows in its final season. Supergirl and Melissa Benoist deserve more respect.
The episode itself offered more character growth than seen in past seasons for several characters. Some of that growth was in the positive direction, while one marked interest has all the makings of a step backward. Kelly Olsen gets the main spotlight, as she moves from counselor and girlfriend to a dedicated social worker fiercely defending young alien children in need of protection. Her character journey led her to her ultimate decision, that despite her best efforts of working within the system, the best way for her to help was to take up her brother’s mantle as Guardian. One quibble with the storyline was the leap from social worker to vigilante appeared a little rushed without showing her trying to at least give the system she now worked for a chance. Overall, Dream Weaver was a showcase for Azie Tesfai who offered some of her best work of the series in giving Kelly a much better reason for becoming Guardian than James had.
Also, in the character growth plus column was getting to see Kara (Melissa Benoist) genuinely be a reporter again. This was an area of the characters makeup that has not been seen in a long while. Benoist and Tesfai made a great team, investigating corruption of a private prison’s work release program. And later, Kara teamed up nicely with William (Staz Nair) as a friend and colleague to dig deeper into the story as the show works to bring greater relevancy to Catco. They should prove to be a formidable team and will need to be if the introduction of Intergang and the revival of previously mentioned mob boss Bruno Manneheim continues to be a storyline.
In regard to Catco, perhaps the renewed attention on the media outlet is another indication the show wants to recapture the magic of those things that made Supergirl’s first season so strong. And, to bring Catco back to prominence it needs a Cat Grant like presence. This is a role being fulfilled in a fun and entertaining way by watching Andrea (Julie Gonzalo) exhibit Cat Grant-like traits becoming the boss, pushing William and Kara on her story about the Super friends. Andrea is transitioning into boss-mode and what better model for that than Cat Grant. Gonzalo looks like she is having a ball with the transitions, and it wouldn’t be surprising to hear her issuing a Chop, Chop soon while barking out orders to her employees.
Where the episode stumbles in terms of character development is Nia (Nicole Maines)’s interaction with Nyxly (Peta Sergeant) in the now apparent Dream Realm she can enter when she dreams. The show has been ping-ponging Nia around quite a bit this season as though the show seems to not quite know what to do with her character except have her worry about dream interpretation from her mother. This feels like something a final season should not have time for. Having Nia so easily duped into destroying her mother’s spirit Owl (beautifully voiced by season 3’s Patricia Arias, Sam’s mother, Betty Buckley) so she could get 24 hours with her mother, seems a step back in her character’s development. Deception is Nyxly’s stock and trade so even her claim of being stuck in the Dream Realm should be suspect as perhaps a way for the imp to get back at Supergirl for seemingly abandoning her in the Phantom Zone.
Next to Tesfai, the unquestionable star of the episode was the precocious, scene-stealing alien child, Esme, who made her grand entrance at the group home Kelly was visiting, bumping into her, and giving an impassioned speech about her quest for justice. She was like a mini-Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) standing there all vim and vinegar, so it came as no surprise that Kelly, and anyone watching, was instantly smitten. Esme is adorably portrayed by six-year-old actress, Mila Jones, who is reported to appear in several more episodes this season. Finding out more about Esme, what her powers are and her likely becoming the alien child Alex and Kelly should adopt is going to be a delightful ride. Her first meeting with Alex is going to be classic.
Another aspect of growth the episode continued to explore very well is the very healthy, loving relationship between Alex and Kelly. The episode opens in the new apartment/home they have moved into together to the delight of everyone there. For the remainder of the episode Alex and Kelly temporarily swapped roles in their partnership. During the first part of the season, Kelly was there for Alex, helping her deal with losing her sister in the Phantom Zone. In this episode Alex, whom it should be noted spent the entire episode making her character a strong powerful woman without a costume by not becoming Sentinel once, became the anchor and sounding board for her partner. She was supportive and encouraging to Kelly when the latter doubted her value as someone who could make a difference either as a social worker, Super friends team member, and finally as Guardian. Leigh and Tesfai’s chemistry shone in particular in Alex’s pep talk to Kelly on the Tower balcony and later in their apartment when she had anticipated Kelly’s decision and gotten her a Guardian helmet from James.
It becomes clearer with each episode that Supergirl is saving some of its best episodes for last. The irony is that if the show had taken the care and direction with the show in previous seasons as it is doing now, Supergirl might not be coming to an end. Either way, this excellent show, as stated previously, deserves infinitely more promotion from the CW, especially as it continues to deftly tackle social issues, while not forgetting the growth and strength of its characters.

What did you think of Dream Weaver and the introduction of Esme? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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