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Supergirl - Nightmare in National City - Review: Kara's Farewell

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For the first time this season Supergirl gave fans what they've been wanting for a long while with Nightmare in National City, a Kara (Melissa Benoist) centric episode. Only it wasn't the kind of Kara episode they were expecting, as the episode ends with her deciding to say farewell to Kara Danvers-reporter and quitting Catco. This is a decision that has been coming since season 2 as Kara has always struggled to balance her life being both Kara Danvers /reporter and Supergirl. William (Staz Nair) beautifully reminds Kara of Cat Grant's wise words, "You can have it all, you just can't have it all at the same time." The outcome is a better episode than it first appears to be with a very nuanced performance from Benoist.

Nightmare in National City is one of those episodes that will take more than one viewing to recognize its layered messages. At first glance, the show looked like it was following a familiar CW trope of allowing male superheroes like Flash (Grant Gustin), Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), and Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) to have a career, a superhero life, and relationships while denying Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) hers. However, if you step back and look at it again you see that this episode of Supergirl is subtly laying the groundwork for Kara/Supergirl's ultimate fate. They are setting things in motion for Kara to search for a place to belong where she can truly be herself, Kara Zor-El, without having to juggle two identities. Kara needs a reset—a place to process, reassess her purpose, and plan her next steps to be wholly Kara Zor-El.
Could the show have taken Kara to this point of choosing to be Supergirl over Kara Danvers in a better way? Most definitely. Her actions might not have been as confusing or out of character to the average viewer had the show focused more on Kara's post-Phantom Zone PTSD and its lingering effects. Instead, previous episodes focused on introducing more magical things. What has been sorely missing and needed this season were those Danvers Sisters moments where Kara talks about being overwhelmed since being back, and how that was affecting her emotionally and job-wise. Even though it was nice to see a long-absent sister scene, always made better by Benoist and Chyler Leigh's Alex, connection, even this one was too brief. This final season could have focused more on Kara’s self-examination and her realization that she has outgrown the simple dichotomy of Kara Danvers/reporter and National City’s hero. It is time for Kara Zor-El to think about what her legacy will be as the show reaches its conclusion.
Sadly too, the totem storyline, supposedly the most urgent storyline leading to the show's finale is again the weakest part of the episode. At this point, few viewers care about the totems. The most puzzling part of Supergirl's final seasons is why have they suddenly made the Girl of Steel the weakest member of the team, suddenly more indecisive, vulnerable as though she’s lost her vision and purpose. Even more puzzling is that they are now doing the same thing to their excellent villain, Nyxly (Peta Sergeant), dampening her down this week to be a lamb following the AI in her Lexosuit that turns out to be Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) himself. Why do that to this great villain all to prop up the anti-climactic and lackluster return of Lex?
The episode also fumbled the highly anticipated reunion between Dreamer/Nia (Nicole Maines) and her transphobic sister, Maeve (Hannah James). Instead of taking the opportunity of having the two estranged sisters reunite and work out their differences, the only reason Maeve was with Nia in the Dream Realm was because of the necklace. Overall, nothing has really changed, as we see Maeve repeating past mistakes. At the first opportunity for them to acquire the dream totem, Maeve rushed forward to grab the power for herself. If I were Nia, I wouldn't be so quick to forgive her and give her that "second chance." Although the outcome was disappointing this storyline did feature Nicole Maine's best work as Nia and a nice performance from guest star James.
It's a shame that neither David Harewood's and Jesse Rath's stellar characters of J'onn J'onzz and Brainy have not been given any semblance of a storyline since returning from the Phantom Zone. Drifting in and out of episodes, both lack individual story arcs and have been reduced to the roles of supportive sidekicks. What Supergirl needs in these few remaining episodes are many more of those little character moments that remind us of what a great team and family these characters make. In Nightmare in National City those moments came from Alex delivering Esme (Mila Jones)'s artwork (and yes, inquiring minds want to know if Jones really drew them), Brainy and Lena (Katie McGrath) working as a science team, and of course more Danvers Sisters moments.

What did you think of Nightmare in ? Do you think Supergirl is going to get the happy ending she deserves? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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