Monday, September 16, 2019

Legion of Superheroes S02 E11: In Your Dreams

"In Your Dreams" was directed by Brandon Vietti and written by Stan Berkowitz.

Original airdate: March 22, 2008.

Mission Monitor Board: Brainiac 5, Dream Girl, Lightning Lad, Star Boy, and Timber Wolf.

Opponents: The Dark Circle

Reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Mysterious dark figures break into a large facility and quickly defeat its defense robots. They are attempting to steal liquid penitate, a dangerous explosive, and it seems they are about to be succeed when a squadron of the Legion of Super-Heroes arrives. After the thieves identify themselves as the mercenary organization the Dark Circle, they activate the cloaking devices on their suits.
With the Legion unable to see them, the Dark Circle is able to incapacitate them and escape with the penitate. On their way out, they activate a bomb that destroys the facility with the Legionnaires inside!

Or so it appears. It turns out that this entire sequence was a dream of Dream Girl's that Brainiac 5 had recorded. Using the knowledge gained from her dream, Brainy thinks they can train themselves to come out on top when they confront the Dark Circle. Most everyone is on board except for Lightning Lad, who is mistrustful of Dream Girl. Nevertheless, Brainiac 5's plan works and they are able to stop the Dark Circle from stealing the penitate. Unfortunately, they steal some explosive triggers that no one was looking out for. Does this mean Lightning Lad is right that her dreams are not reliable?
We soon learn that Garth has a more personal reason to distrust her. Prior to joining the Legion, Dream Girl worked as a fortune teller and two of her customers were Garth's parents. They were searching for his missing sister and Dream Girl told them that they would be reunited with her if they travelled to the planet Nema. When it did not happen, they were devastated. Dream Girl assures Garth that she was trying to use her powers to help people, but when what she saw was not what people want to see, she made things up. This does not make Garth feel any better.

Brainiac 5 holds a team meeting to advise everyone that because the Dark Circle thrives on war, they are trying to disrupt the delicate peace established by the United Planets. He has learned that the explosives they were attempting to steal were meant to disrupt the dedication ceremony of the United Planets' new home, which is set to occur in just a matter of days.

Brainiac 5 plans to use Dream Girl's powers to see their plans and prevent any attack. He tries to record her next dream but unbeknownst to Brainy, the leader of the Dark Circle has devised a way to turn her precognitive abilities against them. One of their members infiltrates their headquarters and places a device underneath Dream Girl's bed.
Unaware of what has occurred, Brainiac replays her "dream" of the Dark Circle's next break-in. He sets up two monitors to compare the dream with real life events, and the team goes to confront the Dark Circle. The Legion quickly discovers that it's a trap when things do not occur as they are meant to, and the Dark Circle is able to capture them. Fortunately, Brainy had discovered that the dream was fake and arrives to help free his teammates. The Dark Circle attempts to raise suspicion about Dream Girl by claiming that she set the Legion up. The Dark Circle blows up the facility and the team escapes just in time.

Soon the Legion arrives at headquarters and attempts to place Dream Girl under arrest. She does not understand why but Lightning Lad explains that the Dark Circle told them she is working with them. She tries to escape, donning a battle suit to defend herself.
Things are not as they seem, though,  as Dream Girl wakes up and it is revealed that her battle with her team-mates was all a dream. She fears that they are coming to arrest her so she attempts to flee. In space, she is attacked and at first believes it to be her teammates. It is actually the Dark Circle who abducts her, and the Legionnaires arrive just in time to see them depart.  Brainiac 5 realizes that the Dark Circle is going to try to use information from her dreams to gain an advantage in any encounter they have.

He is proved right when the leader of the Dark Circle records a dream she has of the United Planet's dedication ceremony that they plan to attack. Looking for any weakness in the Legion's maneuvers, he notices a moment where they leave themselves vulnerable to attack by gathering on a bridge.

The story shifts to the Dark Circle's actual attack on the dedication ceremony and things start to play out exactly as they had in her dream. The team is frustrated at how easily the Dark Circle counteracts their attacks, and Brainy gets a plan. He orders the team to gather on the bridge, despite Star Boy's objections at how vulnerable that would leave them. Once there, the Dark Circle blows up the bridge and it appears the Legionnaires have been killed.
Of course, we soon learn otherwise. Brainiac 5 realized that the Dark Circle had likely analyzed their battle so he purposely led them into a position that the Dark Circle would try to use against them. Or rather, he sent holograms in their place. Having caught the Dark Circle off guard, Lightning Lad heads to their ships to find Dream Girl.
Once he has located and freed her, he starts to apologize for his earlier mistrust. But as much as she wants to hear it, she says they have somewhere they need to be. The team is confronting the leader of the Dark Circle, who remains surprisingly confident. He pulls out a small devise and pushes the button to set off the explosives they have planted. He is surprised when nothing happens, but we realize what has occurred when Dream Girl shows up with a handful of triggers. Thanks to her dreams, of course, she and Lightning Lad were able to disarm and collect them.
This was another solid, enjoyable episode introducing us to a new Legionnaire but still giving a significant parts to some of our regular cast members. Obviously, the format is too short to get too in depth on Dream Girl but we still get a nice backstory and an interesting exploration of some of the potential pitfalls of her abilities.

It would probably be understandable to view Garth's role as a bit of a regression for the character but that is not how I see it. He had a very understandable reason for not trusting her, and in fact, I did not find her explanation very satisfying either. I could certainly understand her hesitation in sharing bad news when what she dreams was not what people wanted to see. But it also seems that she could just tell them her powers do not always work and just say she did not see anything. Yes, many people would probably be angry, but that still seems a better course than promising desperate parents that they will be reunited with their missing daughter.

In any event, her explanation did go a long way to justifying Garth's anger instead of it just being another example of him being hot-headed,  as we often saw in the first season. And it did not prevent her character from still being likable and letting us feel sympathy over Garth's attitude. This was an entertaining episode that made me wish the series had lasted longer so we could get similar episodes focused on Legionnaires who never got the chance to appear for more than a cameo (or at all).

Next: Dark Victory, Pt. 1

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