Supergirl season 6, episode 16 review: Dreams in darkness

Supergirl -- “Nightmare in National City” -- Image Number: SPG616a_0223r -- Pictured (L-R): Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor, Melissa Benoist as Supergirl and David Harewood as J’onn J’onzz -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Supergirl -- “Nightmare in National City” -- Image Number: SPG616a_0223r -- Pictured (L-R): Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor, Melissa Benoist as Supergirl and David Harewood as J’onn J’onzz -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Supergirl season 6 kicked off the show’s final five episodes with a trip into the dream realm. 

“Can I have it all?”. That’s a question Kara Zor-El, last daughter of Krypton, once asked herself midway through the second season of Supergirl. She was an inspiring superhero, she was an ace reporter in the making, and she was in love. And it all made the Girl of Steel realize that she could indeed have it all.

What she soon came to realize however was that, in the words of her former boss and eternal mentor Cat Grant, you can only have it all if you don’t have it all at the same time. And as Kara let go of love and excelled at both reporting and superheroing, she continued to evolve into the Supergirl we know and love today. She didn’t have the “all” she wanted, but she had enough.

But the issue surprisingly reared its head again in the most recent installment, as Kara found herself asking that question for the first time in a very long time. And for only the second time this season, Supergirl feels like it’s building towards a poignant conclusion.

How did it accomplish that? Here’s everything that went down in “Nightmare in National City”.

Supergirl season 6, episode 16 recap: Nightmare in National City

We love a good double entendre title and that’s exactly what we got in “Nightmare in National City”. On one hand, you have a literal Nightmare Monster rampaging through the streets of National City, but on the other, you have a well-meaning but misguided decision by the Super Friends causing chaos in the city they are trying to protect.

That Nightmare Monster was, of course, the not-so-fine work of Nyxly – whose “secret admirer” gifted her with a Lexosuit (hmmm… wonder who that could be?) and an AI Nyxly that talked her through, well, everything.

Supergirl, Supergirl season 6, Supergirl season 6 episode 16, Watch Supergirl season 6 online, CW live stream, The CW
Supergirl — “Nightmare in National City” — Image Number: SPG616a_0223r — Pictured (L-R): Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor, Melissa Benoist as Supergirl and David Harewood as J’onn J’onzz — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

The Fifth-Dimensional Imp’s trip into the Dream Realm allowed the monster to break free and terrorize National City, forcing the Super Friends to use Luthorcorp satellites to put up a dome around the city to stop it from going after a nuclear powerplant (because the closest thing to dream energy is apparently nuclear energy).

With the monster disappearing (and increasing pressure from the governor to take the dome down) and a huge groundbreaking interview/peace talk to report on, the Girl of Steel began to feel that she was spreading herself too thin, because every time she tried to be Kara Danvers, Supergirl was needed (and vice versa).

Meanwhile, Nia needed her sister Maeve’s help in order to find the Dream Totem, and old wounds quickly found their way to the surface. Not only had Maeve cut herself off from her entire family, she had changed her name and moved away so that she couldn’t be found. But Nia did find her and the pair entered the Dream Realm together, coming into conflict of their own before Nyxly joined them for some physical conflict.

Supergirl, Supergirl season 6, Supergirl season 6 episode 16, Meave
Supergirl — “Nightmare in National City” — Image Number: SPG616fg_0014r — Pictured (L-R): Nicole Maines as Nia Nal and Hannah James as Maeve Nal — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Maeve couldn’t overcome her selfishness and tried to steal the Dream Totem, hoping it would give her powers too, leading to a powerful reprimand from Nia. She did, however, have a change of heart in the end when Nia rightfully put her in her place, but not before seeing her heroic sister in action as she saved the two of them from Nyxly.

The Super Friends successfully defeated the Nightmare Monster and sent it back to where it came from, but Kara’s decision to help them cost her her second chance at that interview Andrea booked for her. Even though Andrea managed to do some damage control and reschedule, Kara (with a little help from William and an old Cat Grant saying) realized that she can have it all, but she can’t have it all at the same time. And with that, Kara powerfully decided to quit CatCo, telling Andrea to let William do the interview instead as she deemed the threat of Nyxly too dangerous not to maintain a singular laser-like focus on her.

As Supergirl allows herself to be interviewed by William, taking accountability for the dome and the fallout it caused (while also promising to save the city once more), Nyxly has control of the Dream Totem. And with that, she meets her admirer – who is, of course, Lex Luthor.

Supergirl season 6, episode 16 review: Dreams in darkness

This one is an interesting episode. It’s one that I certainly didn’t see coming. What I mean by that is that, while each episode of Supergirl since its midseason premiere has been focused on stopping Nyxly, a lot of them have had a real standalone flavor. That’s certainly made for some great episodes, but that lack of interconnectedness has resulted in this season not feeling all that much like a final season.

“Nightmare in National City” is one of the few episodes this season where Supergirl actually feels like it’s heading towards a conclusion. Yes, it shares a lot of similarities with previous episodes, but it also gives the episodic narrative something of a backseat to focus on the show’s primary character: Supergirl.

Kara’s struggles to juggle her time between being a superhero and a reporter might sound a bit redundant on paper given that we’re six seasons into the show, but it works here because she’s still dealing with the PTSD that her time in the Phantom Zone left her with. It isn’t outright stated much (and it really could have been shown more), but it’s clear that it’s there, as the Girl of Steel is well and truly past tired at this stage.

Supergirl, Supergirl season 6, Supergirl season 6 episode 16, Kara Danvers, The CW
Supergirl — “Nightmare in National City” — Image Number: SPG616fg_0022r — Pictured: Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Her decision to quit her job at CatCo to focus solely on Nyxly shatters the Supergirl status-quo and, given that the final season hasn’t strayed much from the path of “normal season” thus far, it’s an interesting turn of events. Whether or not it’s the right decision remains to be seen, but it’s a unique inversion of season 4 (in which Kara picked press over power in the battle against Lex), and the callback to Kara’s struggles to “have it all” in previous seasons was inspired.

What’s important now is that the writers find a way for Kara to have it all. Does that sound a little too optimistic given that the series is approaching its end? Probably. But as someone who recently rewatched the whole series and genuinely found myself wondering if they would bring the whole “having it all” conversation up again, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want Kara to be happy in every way.

She deserves happiness after all that she has given the world and, to take any of the things that make her happy away, be it her heroism, her job, her love and friendships, would be a disservice to her. Kara has spent these past six years realizing that she can’t have it all, a final season that doubles down on that would be a disservice to the character. And with that, I’m genuinely intrigued to see where this story goes next. I just hope we get to see Kara being her best reporter self again very soon. Cat Grant and Lena Luthor didn’t see her as a reporter before she did so she could pack it in just before the show ends.

Kara’s feelings weren’t the only callback this episode had as Nia Nal’s reunion with her sister brought with it the satisfying confrontation fans had been waiting years for as Nia called Maeve out on her horrible behavior after their mother’s funeral in season 4. And with the fact that Maeve eventually saw the error of her ways (although that did feel a tad rushed), it is beginning to feel like Supergirl is finally going about tying up some loose ends from the show’s run.

There was definitely a poignance about this episode and, even though it shouldn’t have felt like it came out of the blue, it felt like it belonged in the show’s final season. While the villain-of-the-week narrative centered on the monster itself never felt like it carried the stakes that the show claimed it did (mostly because everything happened off-screen), the character-driven stories ensured that the rest of the episode was full of them.

Super Sentiments

  • Hearing the “My Name is Kara Zor-El” monologue at the beginning of the episode was a real emotional kicker. Having not heard it in so long, it feels right that it return just before the show bows out. It also set up an episode about Kara’s struggles so well as it reminded us of just how much she actually does!
  • Nicole Maines’ performance was just sensational. The emotion that she poured into Nia’s monologue was so powerful. She absolutely nailed it!
  • It’s great to see Dreamer finally coming into her own as a hero. The fact that she took on Nyxly and defeated her in battle says it all. Honestly, why are we only seeing this now and can we please have a spin-off?
  • Finally a powerful monologue from Andrea. This season has had no idea what to do with her and she’s become such a contradictory character, playing the inevitable obstacle that each story demands her to be. This, however, was incredible and it made Kara realize that things couldn’t continue the way they were.
  • I like William’s new role this season, but it has left him feeling a little directionless. I get that he’s a reporter, but this episode had him serve as little more than a nice plot device to pave the way for her eventual passing of the story to him.
  • Seeing Brainy without his image inducer while wearing normal clothes was really nice. It’s also a reminder that we haven’t had as many out-of-the-office scenes this season.
  • Between the courage quest that took Kara back to her first night as Supergirl a few episodes ago to the character-driven callbacks in this one, it’s starting to feel like Supergirl is getting ready to bid farewell. I hope it features more of these important character moments as it heads towards its finale.

Supergirl. S6E16. Nightmare in National City. B. <em>Supergirl</em> delivers a surprisingly poignant, character-driven episode that gives its final season a much-needed sense of finality.

Next. 25 most heartbreaking Arrowverse deaths of all-time. dark

Supergirl season 6 returns to The CW next Tuesday, October 26, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Watch the trailer for the next episode here.

What did you think of Supergirl season 6, episode 16? Let us know in the comments below!