In Sunday night's episode of Supergirl, "Reality Bytes", Nicole Maines' Nia Nal/Dreamer will take on a villain that hits a little too close to home when an anti-transgender bigot attacks her roommate Yvette (Roxy Wood) to send a chilling message to the heroine. The themes of hate-related violence against the trans community is also one that hits home for Maines, who says that the episode is one of the most challenging of the series yet for her, but also one of the most rewarding as it brings to the forefront the very real issue of violence against the trans community, but also everything her character's experienced this season.
"The hardest part was just the rollercoaster of emotions," Maines said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "She just goes through everything. It is the culmination of two seasons of grief and loss and stakes built up to the breaking point."
And Nia has been through a lot since we first met in her in Season 4. In Season 5 especially, she's had to deal with the unexpected end of her relationship with Brainiac (Jesse Rath) as well as the impact of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" which saw quite literally her entire world end when Earth-38 was destroyed and then "merged" into the new Earth-Prime. Add that to the death of her mother as well as the rift with her sister in Season 4 and Nia has been dealing with a lot in her personal life that comes to a head.
"At this point, she's lost her mother, her sister effectively, Brainiac to her knowledge, and [because] this is post-Crisis, she's lost her universe," Maines said. "So, she really doesn't feel like she has a lot left and then someone attacks her roommate and she snaps. This episode really shows Nia dealing with the culmination of all that pressure and all of that loss."
It also means that the episode will see Nia step up as a vigilante in a way that's a big different than what we've seen of Dreamer thus far.
"We see Nia start to dip her toe into that more vigilante area that Supergirl doesn't really dwell in because she's such a hopeful beacon of light and this is Dreamer kind of saying, 'No, I'm going to do what I have to do,'" Maines explained. "I was really excited to do it because it fleshes Nia out as a more three-dimensional character and it gives her more depth. Of course, we always see her happy and we always see her as this bubbly, outgoing character, We've seen her heartbroken and we've seen her sad, but we've never really seen Nia angry. So it was really cool to explore that and kind of see her pissed."
You can check out the synopsis for "Realty Bytes" below.
DREAMER STEPS UP TO PROTECT HER COMMUNITY AFTER HER ROOMMATE IS VICIOUSLY ATTACKED – Nia's (Nicole Maines) roommate, Yvette (guest star Roxy Wood), is attacked by a man targeting Dreamer because he doesn't like that Dreamer is transgender and wants her to quit being a superhero. Determined to protect her community from additional harm, Dreamer refuses to give into his threats and puts herself in the line of fire to stop him. Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) stands by Dreamer and enlists additional help from Brainy (Jesse Rath). Meanwhile, Alex (Chyler Leigh), J'onn (David Harewood) and Kelly (Azie Tesfai) attempt to rescue a man stuck inside a virtual reality escape room. Armen V. Kevorkian directed the episode written by Dana Horgan & Jay Faerber .
Supergirl airs at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Sunday nights, following episodes of Batwoman on The CW. "Reality Bytes" will debut on March 15.