Naomi: Unidentified Flying Object

You’re not from around here, are you?

The newest DC Comics based CW show is still in the midst of the origin story for the titular character, Naomi. We’ve learned a bit about some oddities in her life, and she’s digging into the mystery as she learns more. In the second episode, we see the depths of her friends’ commitment to her, get some odd hints about the way her world works (it’s still not clear if this is the same world as the Arrowverse shows; you can make a case either way), see some background subplots get more complicated, and hear a few surprising name drops. Naomi is trying hard to learn how her story connects to a sighting of an “Unidentified Flying Object.”

Last episode ended with Naomi learning some surprising things at Dee’s tattoo shop. This is where the story picks up, and Naomi is both not happy about and not sure if she should believe what Dee is telling her. He does have some impressive visual aids in the form of wings that suddenly sprout from his back. Dee claims they are made from a special metal on his homeworld of Thanagar. Thanagar, in DC Comics, is the homeworld of Hawkman and Hawkwoman, who do indeed fly via wings made of Nth metal. There have been several live action versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, including within the Arrowverse, but most of these were before Crisis on Infinite Earths, so there’s the possibility of history being altered. The sole exception to this I’m aware of is Hawkman popping up in Gideon’s memories on Legends of Tomorrow, but considering both this was a memory and how much time Gideon spends outside the timestream, that doesn’t necessarily change anything. And nothing says Dee is a version of Hawkman. The wings are, depending on which version you go by, worn by either the military and/or the police. Dee also mentions he fought in a war with Superman, casting doubt on the “Superman is fictional” line we’ve heard a few times. After a few other shocking bits of data, Dee sends Naomi home to get some rest and promises to talk with her more tomorrow.

At home, what appears to be the next morning finds Naomi asking her parents a lot of questions about her adoption, her history, and the crash that killed her birth family. Having no parents is a common thread with a lot of superheroes, especially the classic ones. All she gets is a lot of vague answers and bland reassurances, and then she gets sent off to school. Considering she’s had two fainting spells for no known reason, and she skateboards to school, this seems like a strange choice. Much of her commute is the same as the day before, although local law enforcement is at Zumbado’s car dealer ship, where Naomi and her friends broke in the night before. Naomi has what appears to be a long, boring day at school and runs into Anthony on the way out, who asks her out for pizza. As an aside, I have a theory about Naomi that explains a few of the odder things about the show. Naomi clearly has powers, but we don’t know exactly what they are yet. If Naomi has some kind of powerful pheromones, it would explain why everyone she knows seemingly wants to date her, how she’s still on good terms with the people she’s broken up with, and possibly even why her parents, who are in the military, are so lax with letting her come and go as she pleases, and even why they suddenly let her drive after telling her she couldn’t.

Out in the woods, Naomi meets up with Dee again for more questions and answers on a secluded bridge in the woods. Whatever Naomi’s flaws might be, she doesn’t lack courage. Dee asks her some questions that make her uncomfortable and force her to think about some things she’d prefer not to. Dee gives her a bit more information and warnings, and then demonstrates that at least some of what he’s been saying is no trick. Back home, Annabelle comes by and has an odd chat with Naomi’s mother Jennifer. Annabelle explains a few things to Jennifer before going to see Naomi, who is really going all out on her new project. She has a crazy wall set up in the living room, although she’s lacking the usual red string. Naomi’s intensity is worrying Annabelle, and that’s completely understandable. When there are some complications to Naomi’s initial plan, she calls in some backup.

Another friend, Jacob, shows up with a really questionable car and an abiding interest in UFOs. They head out for where Naomi believes they might some answers, and enjoy some snacks in road trip style. Meanwhile, Greg, Naomi’s father, is called in for a meeting with his superior. This role is listed in the credits as “Commander Steel.” Not only is that not a rank in the US Army, but Commander Steel is a World War II era hero, a member of DC’s All Star Squadron, and, in the comics at least, grandfather to a later hero called Steel, which is who Nate on Legends of Tomorrow is loosely based on. The meeting presents some interesting issues, and further contradicts some things we’ve heard earlier.

Out in the woods (I get this is the Pacific Northwest but really, everything is in the town or the woods), Annabelle shows she’s not really the outdoors type and asks Naomi about some plans for the weekend. Naomi seems ridiculously naïve on a few fronts, and Annabelle shakes her had at her friend’s not working out what’s going on. They get a comprehensive list of things to look for and split up. Naomi doesn’t find anything, but does get a surprise of a different sort. Later, Naomi shares with Annabelle some of the chaos that’s been going on, and Annabelle rolls with the punches pretty well. Nathan shows up with a question for a school project Naomi’s not really working on, and she and Annabelle have a sort of coded conversation that leaves poor Nathan baffled. That ends with Naomi asking him to come by later to work on it, and more praise for Jennifer’s cooking skill.

A lot of Naomi’s friends seem to on the well-off side, and it turns out Anthony has his own darkroom and developing equipment (they don’t have digital cameras or didn’t use their phones?). Anthony works on the pictures and adds a story about a local legend to the mix of strange things around town. They go visit Steve, a local tied in with the story Anthony just told them, and he relates an odd tale. He also supplies the detail that they’ve been searching in the wrong place. Back at her place, Naomi gets a bit intense about continuing the investigation, and her friends begin looking at her oddly for the first time. Realizing she’s going to lose them on this, Naomi backs off. Annabelle has a conversation with Naomi and offers some reassurance and insight that seems a bit out of place in a highschooler.

Apparently no one ever goes home, as Jennifer is down in the kitchen teaching Anthony to cook. Naomi is a bit surprised everyone stayed after her earlier outburst, and then handles things badly when Nathan shows up. Whatever weird effect that makes everyone like Naomi doesn’t extend far enough to make them like each other, as Nathan clearly has an ongoing issues with Anthony. Their chat gets interrupted as Annabelle brings them back out to the living room where they found something on the old maps they’re reviewing. I’m not clear where all these maps came from. Everyone piles into the questionable car, Annabelle remarking that it’s getting crowded, as they take off on another Scooby-Doo type adventure.

When the car dies to no one’s surprise, Naomi makes a call and Lourdes arrives with a conveniently larger vehicle. They all go to explore an abandoned old mill and find some very strange writing on the wall. I’m reasonably confident it’s not a language from Earth. Things get more ominous when Zumbado turns up and seems to know a lot more about what’s going on than he should. He tells Naomi he wants to talk to her and strongly encourages everyone else to leave. They’re against it, but Naomi agrees to the deal. They reluctantly go, leaving with varied advice, and Naomi and Zumbado have a very tense conversation. Naomi’s odd powers flare up again, but she quickly learns she’s out of her depth here.

Things finally start winding down in a series of closing scenes. Naomi straightens some things out with Anthony, who takes it oddly well (pheromones, I’m telling you). Jennifer and Greg talk about recent developments with Naomi and at Greg’s work. Naomi and Dee go back to the bridge and he offers her some encouragement about what’s going on. Their talk serves as a voice-over for Naomi taking a leap of faith and Zumbado doing some odd things at the mill. There’s a lot of weird things going on here, and they are building the mystery well, if you don’t mind a slow burn.

What I liked: Dee’s revelations were interesting, and it’s odd how they seem to be part of the DC Universe on this show, but maybe not in the Arrowverse, and there are two very different schools of thoughts about aliens and superheroes. The plot thickens there. I don’t get the mechanic involved with everyone (see below), but I am enjoying the friendship between Naomi and Annabelle particularly. Dee is intriguing, and so is Zumbado, although in a different way. I’m very curious about this Commander Steel. They don’t usually use names by accident on these shows.

What I didn’t: I’m absolutely not saying my pheromone theory needs to be right for me to keep enjoying the show, but there needs to be some kind of explanation for the oddness in Naomi’s personal relationships. If not, it’s just that she’s perfect, and everyone around her also thinks she’s perfect, and that would be just lazy writing.

I’m very interested to see where all this goes, and am willing to keep taking the ride with them. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5.