This post contains spoilers for Supergirl.
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Not quite breaking news, but war divides. We’re not just talking about division between two sides, either. The fear spawned by war can drive a wedge through the closest friendships and the strongest of families. Martial Law continues in National City. We see aliens rounded up, and raid after raid being carried out by the Children of Liberty at the behest of Ben Lockwood. Dreamer is all that stands between Lockwood and his goons while most of the team works on helping James. All of this goes on while Kara keeps her cape hung up while she works to expose Lex’s plan as a journalist rather than the Girl of Steel. Much of the team is literally divided geographically, but there’s a little bit more to it than that in “American Dreamer”.
We spend a lot of time with James this week, which is a nice change of pace. Though it’s nice to see him getting some focus lately, his arc in this episode is a little meh. Instead of delving more into his history with Lex, we see the deeper issues underneath. It’s more complex, to be sure, but it’s also less attention grabbing than the former option. This week’s James arc might not have been for me, but the payoff definitely was. After Lockwood and company raid CatCo (we’ll touch more on that later), James stalks into the fray. Mad as hell, he crushes both Lockwood’s gun and his hand. His final moment of the episode sends two concise messages: he’s through running from bullies, and the freedom of the press will be protected so long as he’s around.
Lena and Kara’s amends don’t go down until the end of the episode, but we’re going to talk about this first so we can close out with the real star of “American Dreamer” later on. Lena Luthor has been betrayed by everyone who was ever supposed to love her. This has, understandably, led to a few trust issues. After seeing Dreamer’s broadcast from CatCo, Brainy and Lena have a bit of a heart-to-heart about letting people in. This all leads to a confession to Kara about working with Lex, and the Kara/Lena team-up that will result in one of DC’s greatest villains’ downfall.
And now we have Dreamer. While struggling with her new role in protecting alien-kind, Kara realizes that Nia, the product of two worlds, is exactly who everyone should be talking about. The two hold an interview, complete with a speech from Dreamer that belongs up there with monologues from both Supergirl and Cat Grant. Her name is Dreamer. She’s both human and alien. She’s also a trans woman. S’mores are her favorite dessert, but she’ll always choose salty over sweet. She loves Thursdays and April and nerdy boys who vent too much. Her name is Dreamer, and she’s going to be what brings National City together.
Nia won’t be able to do it alone, but she doesn’t have to. There are still good people inside the DEO, and they warn Alex that the Children of Liberty are about to raid CatCo before it’s too late. Alex and Nerdy Boy Who Vents Too Much join the fray at the newspaper. With their help, and a heroic drop-in from James Olson, everyone at CatCo that evening remains safe.
Ben Lockwood was right to try and put a stop to the Dreamer situation early on. Hope is hard to kill, and when someone takes a stand others are often inspired to do the same. Nia’s speech gets Kara a whistleblower inside of Ameritek that will help her and Lena take Lex down. Lena herself is moved, as is Brainiac 5. Even Lockwood’s very own son starts to have a change of heart.
Young Lockwood’s empathy may, unfortunately, be short lived. In the beginning of the episode, we see the Children of Liberty taking a husband away from his family for no other crime than being an alien. That man’s wife took her wrath out on Lockwood’s doting (and complicit) Linda. It’s hard to fault her for her actions, but the murder will only stand to make things worse with an angrier Lockwood, and a quick end to the son’s change of heart.
We’ll have to see what unfolds on that front next week when Lockwood gets some powers of his own while Lena and Kara spend some time in Kaznia. You know what to do if you had thoughts on “American Dreamer”.