[CAUTION: This articles talks about transphobia]
Nia Nal has become a fan favorite among Supergirl fans as she is the first transgender character to grace any screen medium. However, this week’s episode focuses on Dreamer as she tackles an issue close to home.
Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) has always shone every time she appears in Supergirl. As the first transgender superhero in any form of screen media, she gives hope to all who might be suffering injustices because of who they are. However, this week, she faces bigotry of her own when someone close to her is attacked and told to pass on a message.
Injustices Come In Fours
Since her arrival in National City, Nia has faced prejudices due to several factors. She became estranged from her sister, Maeve (Hannah James) after revealing to her she had inherited the dreamer powers which are meant to be handed down through the female line. As Nia was born male and transitioned to female at a young age, it’s unclear how she came to inherit the Nalorian powers and her sister didn’t.
Nia also loses her mother, Isabel (Kate Burton) which pushes her to accept her powers, despite wanting nothing more than to give them to the person who deserves them: Maeve. The loss of their mum hits the sisters hard, but it doesn’t bring them together. It tears them apart as the eldest Nal sibling is jealous that her sister got the precognitive powers just to spite her, which isn’t the case at all.
Later, Nia and Brainy (Jesse Rath) broke up in the wake of him having to distance himself as he cannot show emotion. This has been addressed numerous times and is bought up by Yvette (Roxy Wood) in this episode.
Now, Nia is faced with her biggest challenge: staring into the face of Gregory Bauer (Pierson Fode). Bauer is a transphobic bigot who hates the idea of a transgender superhero. Deeply hurt by the attack, Dreamer attempts to get revenge in a way no one sees coming.
The Attack On Yvette
Yvette takes Nia out for a night at the club since she is still mopey after her breakup with “Barney” [Brainy]. She also wants her to meet Angus, her boyfriend of three weeks whom she has not yet met in person.
However, their night goes to hell when a man, Gregory Bauer attacks Yvette because she is transgender and wants to send a message to Dreamer. Nia goes looking for Yvette and finds her deeply shaken from her assault.
They report Bauer, who had been catfishing Yvette to the police, but little is done. Kara (Melissa Benoist) warns Nia not to go after the bigot by herself. Nia tells her fellow superhero she and the police have a few hours to find the man responsible. If they can’t catch him, she’s going after him herself.
Kara calls Brainy and asks for his help in tracking down Bauer. While he manages to find the information he needs, he also finds a bunch of transphobic hate groups online which unsettles both of them.
Receiving a call from Kara, Nia silently vows to catch and punish Bauer herself. She creates an Upswipz account (the Arrowverse version of Tinder) to lure him in. While her plan works, she almost sinks to his level by almost killing him with her powers. Fortunately, Supergirl is forced to step in and stops her before the Police show up to arrest him.
Back at CatCo, a distressed Nia is comforted by Kara who tells her she didn’t realise how far the hate went when it came to the transgender community. Elsewhere, Brainy presents his evidence to the detective investigating Yvette’s case. He even hints at having also gathered information that might help solve unsolved murders of transgender people.
Kara and William (Staz Nair) later publish a piece about the violence that Nia’s community are experiencing. The stats they find disturbs them and allows them to understand Nia’s views.
Nia’s storyline in ‘Reality Bytes‘ opens the viewer’s eyes to someone else’s life outside of Kara’s day-to-day life as a reporter and as Supergirl. It’s a nice change to see the story play out from someone else’s perspective.
Having Nia Nal as the talking point of the episode is a risk that greatly paid off as few shows can balance having a supporting main character take the reins for one episode while the titular protagonist takes a backseat. Nicole Maines did an incredible job in taking the pilot’s chair.
We’ve always admired Nicole (and Nia) and cannot believe that they’ve both only been on Supergirl for two seasons. It feels like they’ve been on the show forever.
It’s easy for us to say that Nia is one of our favourite characters. She’s bold, kind, and always ready to fight for what she believes in. Her grit and determination is something to be admired by everyone. She doesn’t allow bullies to get away with terrorising innocent people who are too timid to fight back. If anything, she gives them the courage to reach out and touch the stars.