Hello and welcome to this recap of Supergirl Season 6 Episode 10, Still I Rise aka the One Where We Learned What Dreamer Dreamed.
Previously on Supergirl, Kara and Kelly helped two brothers named Orlando and Joey, Kelly became Guardian, and Nyxly tricked Dreamer into a deal.
And we begin just after that deal was set into motion, with Nia using her powers to bring Nyxly into the real world. It’s not long before Nyxly starts to show her true colors and Nia has some regrets about this deal, especially when she finds out that the 24 hours she’ll spend with her mother will be in a magic trap where she can’t communicate with anyone to warn them. She needs a head start.
But, to her credit, Nyxly does the one thing that she promised that Nia was most worried about, and in the blink of an eye, Nia’s mom is standing before her. And because sometimes moms just gotta mom, they are barely out of their hug before Isabel tells her daughter she’s disappointed in her.
Nia says she needed her mom to train her, that she left before they could work together, and her mom is like, “Haaaave you considered that me and my dream powers were trying to teach you about dreams while I was visiting you in your dreams.” The owl was indeed her mother, and Nia brushed it away. Nia knew that if making this deal had any consequences, she could solve it with her mom (I mean they got Kara out of a fractured Phantom Zone for Rao’s sake!)…though now that they’re trapped that might prove a little more difficult. Mom doesn’t mince words, saying that Nia unleashed something terrible. But since they’re stuck here, they might as well make good use of their time, so they get to work.
Back at the tower, Kara and Brainy are watching the PSA they made in which a very enthusiastic Brainiac 5 and a very awkward Supergirl tell kids to eat their vegetables.
Kara is so embarrassed and wants to kill the whole project; if she’s going to do a PSA she wants it to be about mental health or something bigger. But Brainy says not only is it too late to keep it from being published, but it’s too late to take it down, since it already has 800k views. Kara is feeling a bit panicky about this news so she decides to distract herself by following the sounds of grunting. Which…feels like a dangerous choice when you work with your sister and her girlfriend, but power to ya.
And while Alex and Kelly are indeed getting physical, it’s because Alex is training Kelly to fight.
Kelly takes Alex down and Alex says she did a good job but Kelly doesn’t crack a smile; she didn’t do the move exactly how Alex taught her, so the perfectionist in her wants to try again, to get it right.
Kara beams, all proud. She remembers when Alex trained her. She looks like she’s considering joining them but Kelly gets a message from the foster home that Orlando’s apartment fell through so he and Joey won’t be together next month like they planned, so Kelly wants to go be there for Joey like she promised. Kara made the same promise to Orlando, so she goes to find him, too.
Orlando is surprised to see Supergirl catch his stray basketball, and before telling him about the Earth-25 version of herself that is the captain of a basketball team called the Lakehawks, she asks what happened to his apartment plans.
He explains how he got approved for an affordable housing building that specifically has some units designated for the formerly incarcerated to help reduce recidivism, but that the building is being sold to a tech company. He’s feeling despondent, like he’s stuck in a vicious circle, because he can’t get an apartment without a job, but he can’t get a job without an address, and he can’t take Joey home without both. Supergirl promises she has his back but he doesn’t look like he believes her.
Up on a spaceship, one of the Glam Rock aliens from the Midvale episodes, looking much less Glam these days, tracks Nyxly and captures her in his cage, planning to put her in his menagerie. She uses her wiley ways to convince him that since she has no powers, she wouldn’t be a good act for his show, so he hangs his head and lets her go.
But on her way out she sees a bunch of news articles taped up with Supergirl’s picture crossed out and she realizes their interests might be aligned, and offers to help him catch her. All she needs is an engineer to set up her trap, and he’s happy to kidnap one for her.
Kara shows up to work at CatCo already on the phone and balancing a stack of papers. She really wants to get this information about the low-income housing being bought off, and wants to “work with” Supergirl to convince the City Council not to do this. Andrea appears as silent as a shadow and says that a bunch of articles about stats aren’t going to help, not even if Supergirl rattles them off. Andrea thinks Supergirl should do a social media takeover, leverage the platforms people are already using.
Also this isn’t really a suggestion. It’s happening. Much to Kara’s dismay.
Nia and her mom are practicing dreaming, and Nia ends up in her dream forest, but on purpose this time. And she’s pretty proud of herself. She sees an ice cage and tries to figure out what it means, but before she does, she gets attacked by ravens again. She wants to snap out of the dream but her mom won’t let her: she can’t run away from these feelings, she has to face them. Nia starts listing the symbolism of ravens according to her dream books, but mom tells her to combine that knowledge with what ravens mean to HER.
Nia sees her old dollhouse with a stained glass raven in the attic window, and is transported into it, where she sees a little version of her sister Maeve.
Elsewhere in National City, the circus jerk beams down to steal an alien engineer. His cry for help interrupts Supergirl’s very strained live feed where people are calling her a hypocrite and she is probably grateful to have a good excuse to leave in the middle of it. The glam rock alien disappears before Kara can stop him, and when she gets back to the Tower she says that she searched the whole city and can’t find him, but she knows he looks familiar.
Somehow they have identified him though; does Supergirl wear a bodycam? Anyway, the kidnapper is Mitch, and he kidnapped a builder alien, so they know he’s starting up his menagerie again.
Since it seems like the team has this handled, Kara wants to go have Supergirl talk to the city council woman to try to convince her not to make this building deal. Alex looks supportive, but concerned. She knows Kara has to figure out that she can’t solve systematic racism/classism/capitalism in a day but she also knows Kara has to figure that one out on her own.
In her dream attic, Nia is playing with little Maeve, and she realizes she’s holding a ball of light. The little girl asks her for the light, says if Nia gives her the light she’ll love her forever, but as soon as Maeve touches it, it burns her. Nia wakes up crying, knowing what the dream means. The ravens are Maeve. Nia knows how much her having these powers hurt Maeve, because all Maeve ever wanted was these powers. So maybe Nia has been holding back, not wanting to let her light shine too brightly, because even though hiding her light was hurting her, she knew letting it glow would hurt Maeve.
But the thing is, Nia isn’t doing anything TO Maeve, even though that’s how Maeve feels. It’s not right of Maeve to make her jealousy and hurt feelings Nia’s problem. To lash out and make it personal when it’s really an internal feeling that could have been worked out with uninvolved parties instead of making Nia feel guilty for doing something she loves. Maeve’s feelings are valid, but her reaction is unfair to Nia. And frankly a bit hypocritical, because when the roles were reversed, when Maeve thought she was getting the powers, she didn’t seem to care how Nia felt about it.
Nia’s mom says that her authentic self is the greatest gift she can give the world, and hopefully Nia really hears that.
Supergirl goes to the councilwoman to talk about recidivism and gentrification.
But the councilwoman won’t hear her. She says she’s doing it for the community and that she doesn’t want “criminals” in the neighborhood, so Kara knows she’s really not hearing her.
When she gets back to the Tower, Kara finds Kelly training again, and joins her. They both have had DAYS and are taking out their rage on some equipment.
Kara tells Kelly that she thinks she’s being a bit hard on herself. But Kelly is honestly freaking out a little. She doesn’t have powers, or a magic glove, getting the moves right is her only way to fight alongside the Superfriends. But Kara reiterates what Alex told her, that the move she DID do was perfect for the situation, even if it wasn’t her original goal. Kara says Kelly needs to see that she’s as capable as everyone else already knows she is.
Next page: A couple of gay lady superhero’s flirting (no, not Kara and Lena this time).
Kelly does what I do when paid a direct compliment and pivots the conversation back to Supergirl’s problems. She tells Kara that the PSA went viral because Brainy made it personal. And Kara realizes Kelly is right, they need to tell a story, but it’s not her story to tell. So she’s going to use her platform to amplify voices. Which probably didn’t need to be said in so many words but I try to remember sometimes that teenagers watch this show too, so hopefully they learned something.
Back in Nia’s apartment, her mom makes them hot chocolate and she’s still being kind of rude to Nia, if I’m being honest. “You’ve gained answers, but at what price,” she asks. She tells a fable about how mistakes can’t always be undone, and how Nia can’t fix this, she just has to sit in the discomfort of realizing she fucked up. Which is all well and good, and solid advice in general, but if I’m being honest, I think having Nia at full strength will eventually be a net positive, despite the angry imp on the loose.
Mom starts to fade, and Nia is so, so sad.
But Mom knows Nia is ready. She tells her to trust her dreams and own her mistakes, and just like that she’s gone.
Supergirl and Kelly go to the council meeting and Supergirl says that they’ve heard the stats and seen the numbers, but now it’s time to hear from the people who would be displaced by this deal going through.
She calls up Orlando, who tells them his story. About how this is the best way to set Joey up for success, that he made some mistakes but that shouldn’t ruin the rest of his life. Of Joey’s life. He’s just asking them to see them, to help him give Joey some hope. It’s emotional and moving and honestly this is the second episode in a row that Jhaleil Swaby has really knocked it out of the park.
Nyxly is watching this from the glam rock spaceship and chooses now to deactivate the cloak, luring Alex, Brainy, and J’onn onto the ship. Nyxly poses as a prisoner and J’onn lets her out, and the team finds an ice bomb that can trap even a Kryptonian.
The Superfriends get to work escorting everyone out of the building while J’onn and Kara go down to try to stop the bomb from spreading more ice. They realize they have to run up instead of down because the origin of the ice is in the basement, and things are pretty chaotic. Alex tries to use her gauntlet to melt some of it down but there’s just too much and it’s spreading too quickly. In the chaos, the councilwoman almost gets pelted by a barrage of glass, but Kelly swoops in and improvises a shield to protect her.
The Superfriends manage to get everyone out to the feelings balcony required by the National City Building Association and Brainy calls the Legion ship to get them out of there.
Down in the basement, Supergirl uses her heat vision to explode the bomb and it seems like they’re in the clear.
For some reason the council decided to do the vote whale waiting for emergency services to arrive, so they tell Supergirl that they’re going to rezone the building for affordable housing instead of selling it to Big Tech. Supergirl congratulates Orlando. She also tries to thank the councilwoman but she makes it clear that she didn’t actually change her mind, just the rest of the council’s. She still thinks the neighborhood is going to hell in a handbasket without this change.
Alex scoffs at her but Kelly says that the councilwoman did do one thing for her today, albeit unwittingly. Saving her from the glass, acting on impulse, improvising in the moment, it felt right to her. She realizes that being a hero is being able to adapt in the moment and do the next right thing, and if there’s one thing she’s good at, it’s adapting.
So now she knows what the rest of us already knew: she’s going to be a kickass Guardian.
Nia finally gets a handle on her dream and cracks the ice cage, and I have a feeling this one is going to be too little too late.
Back at the Tower, Brainy finds Kara on the feelings balcony, and says he understands now what she meant when she said she wanted to use her voice as Supergirl for bigger things than leafy greens. But Kara is pretty bummed. This victory still feels so small. She helped one neighborhood, but she can’t help but think of all the neighborhoods that she didn’t help. Brainy gives her important advice: when fighting against systematic change, the fight is long, and will feel neverending. They can’t expect to solve it overnight, all they can do is keep showing up. And he can’t promise her they’ll always be able to help, but he can promise her that he’ll keep showing up too, right by her side, every time.
And I think this was an important message. I think sometimes hero shows like this try to solve real world problems, like how Zor-El tried to solve global warming. But this show is having even the superheroes have to take it one fight at a time. Granted, this Special Issue of the Week stuff does feel a little more like Season 1 Supergirl and I do wonder if they should be doing more character stuff than taking on such complicated issues with only the ability to cover it in broad strokes, being the show it is, but I again think of the teenagers who are constantly awash in headlines of terrible things and needed to hear that even the small wins matter.
J’onn calls them back in, saying he senses some extra energy from the bomb site, so Supergirl goes back to check it out. But it turns out that was all part of Nyxly’s plan. The bomb had absorbed some of Supergirl’s powers and gave them back to Nyxly, and also it didn’t stop the ice, which Nyxly now uses to encase Supergirl.
For some reason, the ice around her legs makes her lose ALL of her powers, and she can’t even call for help. I am delighted that Kara called Sentinel first and Martian Manhunter second and Nyxly is delighted that she’s able to stop the comms. And I also personally appreciate that the more evil Nyxly gets the hotter she looks.
Nyxly says she wants Supergirl to feel as alone and powerless as she did in the Phantom Zone. She also wants to kill her father but that is neither here nor there, apparently. Nyxly wants Kara to feel the betrayal she felt when she was left in the Phantom Zone for the second time, she wants to watch Kara’s hope crumble.
Nyxly destroys the building Kara just fought to save, and toodleoos, saying good luck getting out of the magic ice, because only magic can beat magic. And Kara knows that she needs more than the magic of friendship for this one, so she shouts out to Mr. Mxyzptlk, and he appears in a flash.
I can’t set up a proper teaser for next week because there was no promo yet again (why?! And no the cheesy ‘Tuesdays are for girl power’ combo teaser with Star Girl doesn’t count) but according to the short description, (of which I’ve seen two versions: one that says Ireland, one that says Newfoundland) it seems like two things are going to happen that will make me squeal in delight: seeing Lena again, and SINGING.