Naomi: Zero to Sixty

Wait, why are we getting ourselves in trouble for her every few minutes?

DC Comics’ newest property on the CW, Naomi, is still in the origin phases of their story. There are a lot of things that aren’t quite adding up, and I’m really hoping there’s going to be a big “Oh, THAT’S what’s going on” moment. I’ve been willing to let a lot of it go in the interests of seeing what the story turns out to be, but this episode was the oddest and seemingly most full of holes so far. I’m also unclear on why they picked “Zero to Sixty” as the title.

The episode starts with Naomi’s parents watching home movies of Naomi’s childhood, and her improbable perfection seems to go back a long while. While they have a nice family night, Zumbado goes to some weird exhibition space and meets with someone he apparently has a long and complicated history with. They do some verbal sparring and we learn that, whatever is going on, Naomi is central to a lot of important things. The two also talk about something that sounds like it’s bad for all of their kind, and ties in to something that Commander Steel was discussing with Naomi’s father.

For her next stop, Naomi ends up in a small but well-equipped dojo, where Dee and someone are doing some intense training. We learn where this is, and I agree with our lead character, this is an odd location for such a facility. Dee and Naomi fall quickly into the stereotype of wise master and impatient student as he has her do strange drills and she fusses about not getting to do what she wants. Back at school, Naomi and various friends of hers are going through interviews in what seems to be some sort of college fair. Naomi, of course, gets the most screen time and most impresses the interviewer.

In one of the many moments that were at best exceedingly odd on this episode, Naomi and Annabelle stage a faked conversation in a pet store (they gave it a good name, at least), to manipulate the owner into being mad at Zumbado. Things make a bit less sense as they manage to use the owner as a distraction to let them break into Zumbado’s safe and steal the disc Naomi’s been so focused on. Making even less sense, the high school goes on a group trip to a nearby college for a tour, and then Naomi and her friends sneak away to get to a special lab and try and figure out what’s going on with the disc. Even more improbably, Lourdes just happens to turn up at the same time, and Jacob was ridiculously precisely prepared. The lab trip goes very badly, and Naomi and her little Scooby-Doo gang get themselves in some serious trouble. Why most of them were there for this, I have no idea. Everyone seems to have a need to be with Naomi that runs counter to their best interests.

As Zumbado reveals how well he set something up, which makes one of the earlier scenes a bit less weird, the kids discuss being in trouble at the principal’s office while Naomi’s mother is inside for a meeting. Again with no rational explanation, Lourdes is with them, even though she doesn’t attend school there. Or anywhere else. Naomi and her mom have an intense discussion, and, weirdly, Mom lets her run off again, just with a change in her freedom. Our heroine runs right back to Dee, filling him in on what happened, and he looks a bit puzzled, but brings them to a friend of his who might know some things.

In the comics, Adam Blake is Captain Comet, a man born far ahead of his time with a host of impressive powers. Here, he seems to be another alien hiding on Earth, who uses some of his abilities to get a read on some of Naomi’s issues. Their talk gets interrupted when a special squad comes bursting through the wall, armed to the teeth and hunting Adam. Even if Naomi isn’t in the Arrowverse, the show shares at least one thing with Superman and Lois: US military armed and operating domestically, which isn’t supposed to happen and is against several laws. Making their escape, Dee and Naomi talk a bit more about Adam, and she shows a remarkable level of naivete about her dad’s work. After another frustrating session with Dee, Naomi heads home.

Here, there’s finally a somewhat realistic scene. Naomi didn’t do what her mother told her after their talk at school, and both parents are rightfully mad at her. She seems to think it’s no big deal, and is shocked to be grounded and lose her phone. It’s like she’s never faced consequences before, which, from the way things seem to go on this show, she might not have. Naomi doesn’t help herself by telling a lie and getting caught immediately. Zumbado goes back to visit the woman from before, and they have another chat about their past, the disc, Naomi, and wanting to go home.

A grounded and bored Naomi is confined to her room, where Lourdes sneaks in with a comment about things being easier in movies, and bringing comics that just happen to have a bearing on their current situation. The character in these issues is Zatanna, a mystical powerhouse in DC Comics that hasn’t turned up anywhere in the Arrowverse so far. The two friends talk about Naomi’s college essay, this disc that everyone seems so fascinated with, and Lourdes’ background.

With more improbable timing, Naomi sneaks out and immediately runs into Annabelle, who makes some entertaining comments about what seems to be going on. Naomi has done some research and decided to go exploring in another site that might be tied to both the earlier weird Superman appearance (which everyone seems to have forgotten about) and the UFO sighting that’s come up several times. The two find a security guard who seems to have no inclination to do his job, end up in some creepy tunnels, and Naomi decides to disregard everything Dee has been telling her about her powers. Instead of a “teenager knows best and is triumphant” scene, this turns into “headstrong girl nearly kills herself and her best friend.” Surviving, she goes back to Dee, who I guess never leaves his shop, and is using some kind of welding torch, which is an odd choice for a tattoo establishment. She shares some of what she learned, and he looks concerned.

While Zumbado is checking names off a list, which always looks ominous when a bad guy does it, Naomi sneaks back in, and I guess her parents never came to check on her. After her adventures and discoveries, she launches into her college essay, which also serves as a voiceover with some of her friends doing various things that must be from earlier points in the day. In the morning, she goes downstairs like nothing happened, her parents don’t bring anything up from yesterday, and Naomi launches into a weird little speech about how important they are, which has to be one of the best examples I’ve seen of violating the “show, don’t tell” rule of writing. We’ve seen no indication at all that she really thinks of her parents before this point. Finally, her parents admit to keeping some secrets, and we close the episode with a weird field trip, a revelation, and a discovery of something that appears linked to this mysterious disc.

What I liked: Annabelle is probably the most enjoyable character on this show so far. This was a very interesting spin on Adam Blake, and I’m fairly certain the first appearance of Captain Comet in any form on a live action show. I’m curious about the Zatanna comics. DC Comics is real in this world, and Superman may or may not be? It’s an interesting mystery to think on.

What I didn’t: This episode had a lot of flaws. If Naomi doesn’t have some kind of subconscious mind control going, then this is some truly horrible writing with a big string of coincidences that just happen to work in her favor. Even if she is controlling, or at least influencing, some people, it doesn’t explain everything that went on. Why was Lourdes at the college when they were, and then at the school? That one bit makes no sense at all. No one is talking about Superman showing up anymore? Why are US troops running around armed and on mission in the country?

I’m giving them time to explain themselves, but the suspension of disbelief is getting hard to keep going. I’ll give this a 2.5 out of 5, a lot of that based on giving them time to complete their opening arc. I’ll stick around a while longer, but I have a lot of questions.