As Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) protects Andrea Rojas (Julie Gonzalo) from an alien threat during the launch of her new virtual reality product, the show continues its weird anti-tech message while delivering a sort of ho-hum episode. All of the truly interesting things are happening in the B-storyling, where Lena (Katie McGrath) begins human trials on her attempts to rid humanity of its baser instincts, including a cameo from returning guest Willie Garson, who we haven't seen since the episode "Crime and Punishment" almost a year ago.
So, stop me if you've heard this one: Obsidian North, Andrea's tech firm, is about to launch the new version of their virtual reality lenses. And on the eve of the launch, someone is trying to kill her. In flies Supergirl, who Lex (Jon Cryer) as head of the DEO, then hires out as Andrea's personal bodyguard.
It's pretty "by the numbers", and only interesting because Lex is playing an angle of trying to infiltrate Leviathan. Meanwhile, Supergirl continues to be a weird tech scold, sounds like she's about 40 years older with complaints about kids these days and their heads buried in their screens. Our would-be assassin's anti-tech Unabomber manifesto? Kara thinks maybe she has some points. . . and I am even less invested in this idea as I am the show's continued attempts to make us want a relationship between Kara and William (Staz Nair). Stop trying to make these things happen!
The biggest tragedy is there is a way to tell this story in a more deft way. On the cusp of all new media (radio, film, television), people have claimed it would rot the brains of the masses. There is a giant amount of irony in using tv to complain about virtual reality, but the show refuses to, or is unable to, embrace the nuance.
Meanwhile, the episode does have a few nice moments. Pairing Alex (Chyler Leigh) and J'onn (David Harewood) is pure genius, especially as they get to play the outside game (since Lex Luthor controls inside game.) It makes our heroes scrappy and more relatable instead of their previous positions being in control of giant bureaucratic paramilitary/intelligence institutions. Also, absolutely every moment we get with Alex and Kelly (Azie Tesfai) is pure gold. They get a few seconds together as Alex helps save Obsidian North employees and it's just magic. More of this, less of awkward Kara and William please.
And then of course, there's our girl Lena. Her continued attempts to remove humanity's baser instincts is so perfectly Luthor, and her interactions with Lex are amazing. Cryer is just the chef's kiss on every scene he's in. But Lena working with prison inmate Steve (the aforementioned Garson) is also incredible, as it presents some genuine wrinkles into her plan. It's also a little jarring when recognizing that he was introduced last season as Lex Luthor's former cellmate and now, in a universe where Lex is more savior than criminal, he's just some dude in prison. Sigh. This is what happens when we re-write universes.
Regardless, all of this moves our major story along at least a little bit. Lex is getting further in with Leviathan. Andrea is embracing her powers as Acrata. Brainy (Jesse Rath) continues his weird path towards having to decide which side he's on. And I guess Kara and William are going to go on a date? Double Sigh.
At least next episode we're going to get more Nia, which is always welcome.