“Supergirl” Episode 616 Recap: Sweet Dream, Beautiful Nightmare

Happy Wednesday and welcome to this recap of Supergirl season 6 episode 16, “Nightmare in National City,” aka the one where Dreamer levels up.

We open this week with an old school intro, where we’re reminded about Kara’s pod getting knocked off course, and get flashes of Lena doing magic and Guardian guarding while she talks about her friends. It made me a bit nostalgic.

But then we jump right into the previously-ons, where we’re reminded that the Superfriends are in a race against Nyxly for 7 totems; they had 3 of them but yeeted the Hope Totem into the sun in an attempt from keeping Nyxly from ever being able to make the infinity gauntlet All Stone, but Nyxly received a Lexosuit as a gift from a “secret admirer” to help her. Also, a little longer ago than all that, Nia’s sister Maeve was a bitch to her because Nia became the Dreamer of the family.

When Nia returns to National City with no Dream Totem in hand, she explains to Brainy that the reason she hit a dead end is because she went to her dad to go through her mom’s things for clues but turns out Maeve took it all and ditched their dad for taking Nia’s side and disappeared into the ether. Brainy suggests looking for the answers vis dreams so she does, getting a vision of a name that might lead her to the next clue.

Nia looks like she's thinking hard

Me trying to remember what the heck I came into this room for.

Up on the glam rock spaceship, Nyxly is fiddling with her new suit when she realizes it comes with an AI…of herself. It’s not only her own voice, but also knows about her 10-year-old self’s secret crush, so she’s confused, but it promises her it knows how to help her find the Dream Totem so she decides to trust it. And honestly giving a narcissist an AI with her own voice is the fastest way to get it to do what it says.

Meanwhile, in the tower, Alex shows up to work with a stack full of drawings from Esme for the Superfriends.

Alex proudly produces a drawing of supergirl

ALEX IS ALREADY SUCH A PROUD MAMA

She’s so proud of the drawings, and everyone is delighted to get them, and it’s all very cute and pure. Alex tells them that Kelly took Esme to meet the Olsen family and she’s going to join them as soon as things calm down a little; aka as soon as they find the Dream Totem.

Kara tells the team that her plans for today involve doing an interview with international leaders to try to promote peace and healthy communication skills, and Lena loves this idea.

Lena looks so good in a messy bun and black turtleneck and a dark lip

It was so nice of Supergirl to get me an Ashlyn Harris’s Birthday present in the form of this look.

When Kara pitches it to Andrea, and it’s the most passionate we’ve seen Kara about her day job in a long time. Andrea finds it endearing but thinks the topic is boring so she decides to make it a multimedia spectacle, which misses the point of what Kara was trying to do but isn’t a no, so Kara will take it.

Across town, Nia follows her vision all the way to her sister, much to both of their horror.

Nia looks surprised

Me when I open the door too soon and the delivery person who just put my food down on my mat hasn’t left yet.

Maeve starts to apologize but Nia interrupts her and says that’s not what she’s there for. She’s just there to talk about the Dream Totem. Maeve wasn’t even sure it was real, the research all mentions an artifact in the dream realm that can give anyone dream powers so of course she was intrigued by it, but never found any proof of it. Nia asks Maeve to tell her everything she knows about the totem but Maeve says it’s not like she can distill all the research she’s ever done on the topic onto a post-it note for her. She opens a closet full of old books displayed rather haphazardly for someone who supposedly cares about this topic, and basically tells Nia good luck.

Meanwhile, Nyxly crashes a sleep lab to use her AI to steal technology from a doctor who learned how to access the dream realm. She uses her new toys to borrow some dream energy and as Supergirl arrives to try to stop her, she opens a dream portal and sends them a nightmare monster for their troubles.

Alex and Lena hold down the Tower and try to guide their flying friends and help them keep the nightmare monster from getting to the power plant.

Alex and Lena stand side by side doing science

I’ll be honest I 200% didn’t catch what anyone said the first time I watched this scene with Lena and Alex looking this good in one single frame.

Since J’onn’s brain powers and Supergirl’s heat vision aren’t helping, Kara asks Lena if there’s a spell she could do, but it’s more complicated than that…or she doesn’t believe in herself yet. Either way, she decides to rely on the original source of her usefulness to the Superfriends and uses her big beautiful brain to offer the solution of using satellites to create a dome over part of the city; the bad news is, it would trap the monster in with half the people in National City, the good news is it would keep the monster from getting to the power plant. Alex is torn but Supergirl is desperate so she makes the call and tells Lena to do it. And the dome is straight up from a Stephen King novel, splitting food trucks in half and separating people from who they were sharing a taco with mere seconds before. And then, as icing on the stressful cake Supergirl is being served, the monster turns invisible.

Back at Maeve’s office, the Nal sisters work together to look for clues about the Dream Totem. Maeve tells her about a tapestry with a maze on it that might be instructions from the Oracle who hid the totem. and how it has a symbol that was also on the necklace their mother gave her, the symbol for purity. As Maeve picks up another stack of books, news clippings of Dreamer saving the day fall out. Nia is surprised but Maeve tries to shrug it off like this isn’t the sweetest thing; she says they might be fighting but Nia is still her sister.

Nia looks up at her sister with consideration

“She saved everything we gave her, every little scrap of paper.”

When Nia realizes there are too many tomes to tote to the dream realm for one person, she decides to take her sister with her. Maeve is delighted by this prospect and smirks as her baby sister brags about her boyfriend as Nia texts him to tell him she’ll be back on this plane of existence in a jiffy.

Back at the Tower, Supergirl reports that she can’t find the monster anywhere. She checks on Lena, who tells her that she found out about the sleep lab and that Nyxly was probably there to steal dream energy, which means she’s already on her way to the Dream Totem.

Lena gestures while she explains something to Supergirl

At this point I’d settle for them admitting they’re at LEAST work wives.

But Brainy arrives with good news; they’re not as far behind as they thought. Nia is already on her way to the dream realm to get the totem; they just have to hope she can find it before Nyxly.

While wandering through the dream forest, Maeve tells Nia about a dream expanse somewhere past this forest, but Nia has never figured out how to leave. As they wander, Maeve’s necklace starts to glow and points Nia toward a tree with a knot that is also a button, and when Nia presses it, it opens up a door to the aforementioned dream expanse…a door that closes behind them.

Nia and Maeve look nervous that the doors closed

“Love is an open do–oh shit.”

Since the action is happening in the dream realm, Kara runs off to do a mock interview to prepare.

Kara looks adorkable in little half braids and a sweatervest

“Alexa, show me the definition of ‘adorkable’ please.”

But she’s distracted. Kara can see on the news that the town doesn’t approve of the Superfriends’ decision to put a dome over half the city, and the governor is speaking out about it. And so even though she’s wearing Kara braids and glasses, her head is in a Super space.

Alex is at the Tower trying to talk the governor down about the dome, trying to convince her that it’s for everyone’s safety, but the governor is still pressed about it, because the people are separated from their jobs or their loved ones.

Alex sasses the governor

“There’s a global pandemic, people shouldn’t be milling about anyway.”

The governor gives them 12 hours to take the dome down before she takes matters into her own hands. While Lena and Brainy get to work on a machine that they hope will contain the nightmare monster, which would be going better if Brainy wasn’t so in his head about things.

Lena looks stunning but mildly annoyed

“Brainy, if I could get shit done while Kara was in the Phantom Zone for WEEKS, you can focus for an hour while your girlfriend is in the dream realm WHERE SHE VOLUNARILY GOES ALL THE TIME.”

In the dream expanse, Nyxly wanders around through spires, guided by her AI, until she finds a lighted path. And when she does find it, she sees that Nia and her sister are already on the path, and is delighted by this turn of events.

Not knowing they’re being followed, Maeve and Nia try to use the tapestry map to find the totem, but they’re surrounded by too many dream spires. They know the necklace can guide them but they need a better view, so Nia uses dream energy to fly them up.

Nia waves her hands around as she uses dream energy to lift her and her sister

This scene had the same energy as nine-year-old me pretending I was a witch using my powers to open the automatic doors at the grocery store.

They see the golden spire they need and clasp hands in excitement before remembering they’re in a fight and quickly letting go.

When Supergirl returns from stopping a mob from hurting themselves trying to get through the dome, Alex says she’s going to try to hold the governor off a little longer but for now they’re in a holding pattern, so Kara is free to take a call from Andrea yelling at her for missing a meeting she set up for her in preparation for the big interview…that was Kara’s idea in the first place. Andrea finally speaks the unspoken things: Kara is a bad employee. She’s a good enough writer that Andrea was willing to look the other way; she can excuse the odd hours and random disappearances if her articles show up on time and impeccable. But this? Bailing on meetings with important world leaders? Embarrassing Andrea and making CatCo look bad? This she can’t excuse.

Andrea looks frustrated on the phone with Kara

“If you don’t show up at CatCo, how will I get screentime? It’s not like I have a supernatural alter ego or anyth–wait.”

Kara heads back to Alex with her tail between her legs and confides in her sister that she feels so…overwhelmed. Ever since she got back from the Phantom Zone, she’s felt one step behind. One step behind her to-do list at work, one step behind Nyxly. The stakes feel higher than ever and she can barely cope. And she doesn’t say this part, but I have a feeling that with one hand in each of those pots, she’s forgetting to check on the trauma of the Phantom Zone she left in the oven. That metaphor got away from me but you know what I mean.

Kara looks overwhelmed

I think Kara needs a nice relaxing trip to the Fingerlakes to recharge.

Alex tries to remind her that yes, she has a lot on her plate, but also she is not Oliver Queen and can and should rely on her team to have hre back. She tells her baby sister to just go be Kara while the Superfriends deal with the nightmare monster, and promises her that together – together – they’ll take down Nyxly.

Alex looks firm

I love Alex’s BDE. (Big Danvers Energy. It’s very supportive. She learned it from Eliza.)

J’onn and Alex check in with the governor and try to buy themselves more time but they only have an hour before she takes things into her own hands and has the air force take down the dome, nightmare monster be damned.

When Nia and Maeve get to the golden spire, Nia says they have to be ready for anything this totem could throw at them, so she suits up as Dreamer.

Dreamer looks over her shoulder

How many times can I make a dream girl reference before this season is through.

But before Nia can lead the way, Maeve rushes forward to try to take it for herself. The Totem Games Color Commentator tells her that she’s not pure of heart and scolds her, so Maeve admits to Nia that she’s still bitter about Nia getting her dream powers. She acts like Nia stole them from her, but that’s simply not how it works. Just because someone has something you want, doesn’t mean a) they don’t deserve it, or b) that you WOULD deserve it if they didn’t have it. It’s a fine line, but while it’s one thing to wish you had something someone else has, it’s petty and childish to wish they didn’t have it. Who knows how these powers work, maybe they knew that Nia would be good at the job and take it seriously and appreciate it as the gift that it is, and that Maeve would let the power get to her head! The powers chose Nia for a reason, and Maeve should respect that instead of throwing an entire tantrum.

And Nia knows this. And she’s done being hurt by her sister. She says she no longer cares if Maeve thinks she deserves the powers or not, or even if she believes Nia is a “real” woman. Nia knows who she is, knows that she is the Dreamer, and that’s all that matters.

Dreamer stands tall in the golden glow of the dreamscape

To answer my question in the previous caption: The limit does not exist.

Nyxly interrupts and a fight breaks out, and since Dreamer chooses to protect Maeve over the totem, Nyxly gets her hands on it. Seeing the fight is now uneven, Maeve gives Nia their mother’s necklace to help amplify her powers, giving her enough of a boost to scare Nyxly off and save her own and her sister’s lives.

Back in National City, Kara is getting ready for her interview, and while the world leaders are running a little late, her mind has time to wander to the other things she’s stressed about.

Kara looks STRESSED

And this is why I have to put on a podcast to walk the five feet from my living room to my bedroom.

When she sees trouble on the news, Alex tries to reassure her that they’re handling it, but Kara is too worried about her friends to just sit and wait so she flies off to fight the nightmare monster.

Alex looks up to the sky with binoculars

“It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s my sister’s too-high expectations for herself!”

The device Lena and Brainy made is working but the air force helicopters threaten to ruin the plan. Supergirl does end up helping a lot and getting the nightmare monster through the realm, and Lena is thrilled.

Lena smiles at Supergirl in a black blazer with a beautiful side braid

THIS LOOK THOUGH. I JUST. IT’S. I.

But when Kara gets back to her interview, she’s too late. She missed the window. And just as she realizes she dropped that particular spinning stack of plates, she hears from Brainy that Nyxly has the dream totem and her other plates come crashing down, too. And it’s all just…so much.

Kara looks overwhelmed on the phone

:deep breath: :Alanis voice: IT’S LIKE RAAAA-EE-AAAAIN

Kara goes out on CatCo’s Feelings Balcony and thinks about how she feels like she’s drowning and it’s getting harder to tread water and she feels like she’s causing a whirlpool with all her flailing and bringing the people closest to her down with her. She can’t afford to have a bad day, not when her ability to do her job is literally life and death.

Kara remembers something Cat Grant once told her. You can have it all, just not all at the same time. So she realizes she has to decide what her priorities are right now, and instead of putting part of herself into many things, put her all behind one.

She goes to Andrea to apologize for missing the interview, but Andrea reassures her that she covered her ass and she’ll have a second chance at the interview. Her last chance.

But Kara doesn’t think she should be the one to do the interview anymore. In fact, she doesn’t think she should finish any of the articles she was working on. And so, Kara Danvers quits CatCo.

Kara looks resolute in her decision

“Frankly I work better in a team setting, especially when I’m the captain.”

And I know a lot of people were upset about this, and I do get it; Kara loved being a journalist, it was a dream of hers for a long time. But the truth is, dreams change. Priorities shift. I wanted to be a teacher for a long time but then I discovered writing. I wanted to be a TV writer once but I prioritized my friends and family Back East over moving to LA. I have plenty of friends who switched careers entirely because their passions, feelings, dreams, and/or goals shifted. I don’t think it’s unreasonable, or uncharacteristic, for Kara to want to put her whole self into being the best Supergirl she can be. CatCo isn’t what it was when she signed up; for better or worse, Andrea has changed the company pretty drastically from what it was when Kara worked under the mentorship of Cat Grant. And neither Lena NOR Kelly works in the building anymore, plus she gets to see them both, and also Nia, at the Tower whenever she wants. So there’s very little keeping her here right now. So it makes perfect sense to me why she quit, and I stand by her decision, even if it’s temporary.

Before Nia and Maeve part ways, Maeve apologizes for being selfish and causing her baby sister so much pain. She admits that she didn’t even mean what she said, it was just the cruelest thing she could think to say. She was hurting and in her selfishness, wanted Nia to hurt, too. She could never deny it before, but she certainly can’t deny it now: Nia is wonderful, and undeniably the Dreamer.

She asks for Nia’s forgiveness, but Nia bravely, boldly, and calmly says, “No.”

Nia looks serious

Yes, Nia! You tell her! Reminder that an apology alone doesn’t demand automatic forgiveness!

Maeve was Nia’s best friend and she said the vilest thing just to hurt her then ran away to leave Nia to grieve her mother and figure out her new powers all alone. That can’t be forgiven with a simple apology. Nia can’t give her a clean slate, she can’t assuage Maeve’s guilt for her. But she can give Maeve a second chance. A final chance. Which Maeve gratefully accepts.

At the Tower, Lena updates Alex and J’onn on their totem situation, because they used science and Earth Magic to re-conceal the humanity and courage totems.

Lena talks to Alex and J'onn

“I can’t believe you ordered Big Belly Burger without me. I’m going to have to have Kara fly to France to get me authentic fries to compensate.”

They talk about how the city is still pissed at them. They then see Supergirl appear on their TV, in an interview with CatCo, apologizing for the dome and promising to do better by them in their quest to stop Nyxly. She says “failure is not an option” which is a lot of pressure to put on herself and her team, but at least she’ll have more time to dedicate to this venture.

Lena watches Supergirl on the TV

“This fry is delicious but that woman is more my kind of snack.”

Up on the glam rock spaceship, as Nyxly fixes her suit, the AI asks for the dream totem before it dies, and when she does so, what’s left of the suit transforms into a literal nightmare monster: Lex Luthor.

I, for one, am furious that he’s back even though I knew it was coming. We have four episodes left and I don’t want to waste a single minute on this asshat, but at the very least hopefully it leads to some lovely Lena content. We’ll see.

Next week, the quest for the Love Totem results in some cupid-esque shenanigans! See you then! (And don’t forget, our fundraiser is still going, and we could still use all the help we can get! Until our friendly neighborhood Lena Luthor donates billions of dollars to impress her gal pal, we rely on A+ memberships and reader donations to keep doing what we do.)

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Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 373 articles for us.

4 Comments

  1. Point of personal privilege, as I am almost certainly the oldest one here? Nia’s outfit looks like . . . ME, around age 15 or so! Classic Mid-70s Casual, from the peasant top to the bell bottom blues. 😄

    And since apparently you didn’t catch it—being distracted by her GORJ in the black turtleneck (believe me, I can relate!) . . . but aren’t we gonna say anything about the Nekked Lady Chakras that Lena was looking at, when Alex waltzed in? [Quick, turn the page before she catches me fantasizing re tantric sex w/ her lil’ super sis!]

    “Maeve starts to apologize but Nia interrupts her and says that’s not what she’s there for.”

    Ask your pal/mentor Kara: when you’re not there to “talk about the past” w/ your female FORMERLY nearest&dearest, y’all DEF gonna end up talking about the past!

    “as her baby sister brags about her boyfriend”

    Hey na, hey na, my boyfriend’s back!

    “Brainy, if I could get shit done while Kara was in the Phantom Zone for WEEKS, you can focus for an hour while your girlfriend is in the dream realm…”

    …IF I could admit that I worried about my *girlfriend*, as you are worrying about yours. [Come on, 6×18 Totem of Truth! Not gonna lie, I have a lot of Endgame hopes riding on it (moreso than the Totem of Love: Supercorp already HAS that going for it). Well that . . . and Supercorp are {drum roll for final Totem} DESTINY, y’know???]

    “If you don’t show up at CatCo, how will I get screentime? It’s not like I have a supernatural alter ego or anyth–wait.”

    LOL!

    “I think Kara needs a nice relaxing trip to the Fingerlakes to recharge.”

    I see what you did there, and BRAVA!

    “THIS LOOK THOUGH. I JUST. IT’S. I.”

    We were pretty much starved for Supercorp this episode, but yes, I will gratefully accept any and all crumbs [Sob, 4 eps left! 😭]

    [LOL, Kara just has “thoughts to herself”, that we unfortunately have to see embodied by Bloody Useless British Bakerman]

    “I stand by her decision [to quit journalism], even if it’s temporary.”

    That’s my hunch, too. [Trying desperately to stay unspoiled, but enough may have crept in to slightly inform the hunch. But mainly a hunch.]

    “This fry is delicious but that woman is more my kind of snack.”

    Yes, yes, get to THAT! Time’s a-wastin’! (Am hoping the tight close-up of Lena in the promo presages some Significant Supercorp Progress in the next ep . . . but as I said, I’m “putting my (imaginary) money” on the Truth Totem)

    Lena, Kara, and Tantric Sex Tips (from Lena’s Little Brown Book): I’ll be in my bunk—later gators!

  2. At this point in the series, I’m so jaded that I don’t think Kara quitting will stick. The writers wrote themselves into a corner way back in season one when they had Cat figure out Kara’s secret, and then immediately walked it back.

    But on the other hand, Kara discarding the last vestige of her Kara Danvers persona does fit into the pattern of the series. Each season has been about the Kara trying to balance her two identities – Kara Danvers and Supergirl – and try to integrate them into her authentic self. Ever season has been about trying to find the balance and the boundaries between the two identifies, and often failing. In fact, the mere presence of the Kara Danvers persona orthogonal the Supergirl persona has been the cause of most of the conflict in the series.

    Maybe things would have been easier if she had had the courage to be Supergirl, and not hide behind Kara Danvers’ glasses.

    Maybe the corollary to Cat Grant’s advice is, “but you don’t have to have it all, if you don’t want to.”

    —-

    I ascribe to the definition of love is when you care more about the other’s well being than your own. And by that definition, Maeve does not love Nia. I agree that Maeve does not deserve forgiveness, yet. A second chance, maybe. But there’s not enough time left in the series for us to see it through.

    —-

    I can’t believe the writers missed the opportunity to have the nightmare creature manifest as a palette swapped Dreamer (red and black suit vs blue and silver), and force Kara to face her true worst nightmare.

    A world without pot stickers.

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