Naomi: Homecoming

Is this where the auditions are for Star Trek?

The inaugural season of Naomi has been a bit odd. It’s a DC project on the CW, but it doesn’t seem to be part of the Arrowverse. Some elements are in common with both the wider DC Universe and the Arrowverse, but some aren’t. And there’s a lot of strangeness that has still not been explained, which isn’t great six episodes in. We learn a bit more about what’s going on with Naomi, learn a bit more about Dee, and see one Arrowverse staple turn up. Also, for what I think is one of the first times in the series, we see some of the other kids doing things that don’t involve, or hinge around, Naomi. It’s a busy episode as we get closer to “Homecoming,” but without Spider-Man or the Vulture.

The show starts with Naomi doing some skateboarding as sport and fun, not transportation. Her parents are there, and there’s some actual normal family moments for a bit. Then, as they wander around, they see Zumbado and both Naomi’s parents know who he is and want to avoid him and warn her to do the same. Back at school, there’s a meeting of the Homecoming Committee, which naturally Naomi runs. The different clubs are all competing for a fundraising trophy, and, of course, Nathan and Anthony are both there, as is Esme, the girl Naomi briefly ran against a while back for class president. Esme snarks at Annabelle a bit, and later, after a weird moment with Guidance Counselor Varady, Naomi lays out another plan to go look into her past that Annabelle isn’t wild about. There’s also some more discussion of Zumbado and “the Superman event.”

Later, in a scene a bit reminiscent of Arrow, Dee and Naomi are training with stick fighting. Naomi still isn’t wild about all the fight training, and Dee raises some good points about why to do it. They once again discuss Superman, and this one of the things they really, really need to explain. In the first episode, Superman was a fictional character in this world. Now, he’s being discussed as real, and there’s no explanation of the shift. What happened with that? Dee talks a bit about Thanagar, and then Nathan wanders in, apparently willfully misunderstanding Naomi’s request to meet up after. Dee doesn’t seem to care for Nathan, and the teens end up leaving soon. Outside, there’s discussion of martial arts moves and the difficulty of the military brat lifestyle, moving all over the place often, but also getting to experience things those more settled in place don’t.

Naomi and Annabelle meet up to go explore yet another abandoned building, which Annabelle isn’t really happy about. Oddly, Naomi is carrying her board around with her. It’s not small, it can’t be how both of them got there, and it doesn’t serve any purpose in the scene. I have no idea why she has it. What they do find is some of the markings Naomi saw earlier are gone, but she suddenly develops a new power and they find a hidden room with a surprising object inside. While Annabelle and Naomi talk about what they found and what it might mean, as well as Naomi’s follow-up plan, we see some trouble at school. One of the homecoming things has been vandalized, which leads to accusations, a shoving match, and then detention for both Nathan and Anthony. Dee meets up with Adam Blake, who clearly got away from the Special Forces guys that were after him when last we saw him, and they go to a dive bar and look for a guy called Lux who might have some answers Dee needs. It’s a very unusual bar, and Blake explains a bit about it as they find their quarry.

In a rare moment of being without her Scooby crew, Naomi goes alone to STAR Labs and meets with a Dr. Bell. Bell is very smart, has her lab set up with some good security (obviously, this isn’t STAR’s Central City branch), and rapidly learns some things Naomi had no plans to tell her. Naomi and Bell talk about energy signatures, special powers, and Superman. Once again, he’s a real person and Bell claims they have friends in common. The two agree to start working on a project together to try and find out where Naomi is from. In detention, we see that Anthony is a skilled artist, Nathan doesn’t sit still well, and they have some history that has nothing to do with Naomi, although she does get mentioned in passing. Eventually, the two decide to go look into the vandalism from earlier on their own, because ala Harry Potter or such stories, the adults can’t do anything on their own. Dee and Blake go see Lux, crowding him at his table. It’s not a friendly chat, and gets less so when Dee sees something very important to him in Lux’s possession. Dee gets some answers out of him, eventually, but doesn’t like what he hears.

Back home, Mom and Dad McDuffie banter about food until they hear a noise in the house. They go investigate and find Zumbado in the living room. Why Dad waits until then to pull out a gun, I have no idea, but it doesn’t matter as Zumbado easily disarms Dad and gives them some instructions. Mom and Dad aren’t happy to hear all this, and they clearly have a lot more history with this mysterious man than we know. Zumbado leaves after calling their bluff about some of their options. Naomi and Dr. Bell don’t get the answers they hoped for initially, and talk about the Multiverse. How in the world sci-fi buff Naomi didn’t think of this idea when she heard she was from Earth-29, I don’t know. She thought there was another planet that just happened to be called Earth-29? Bell seems to be out of answers, but, when pushed, talks about a device she invented that might have been able to help. Naturally, nothing is easy, and the device has been stolen. A still from the security cameras reveals a familiar face. Nathan and Anthony prove to be a good team, do a bit of light larceny (although Anthony has some specialized knowledge that is a bit suspect, as is the location of what they need), and end up learning a bit about each other and making a surprising discovery about the vandal.

Blake and Dee discuss what they’ve learned, and Dee is as emotional as we’ve seen him. Blake makes a surprising suggestion that Dee doesn’t seem to like, and then Lux comes back with some flunkies. The rules of the bar prohibit anything else, so we end up with a big fight, which Dee and Blake easily win. Dee takes something with him as they leave. At school, Nathan and Anthony overhear part of an odd conversation with Esme and the principal, and then oddly decide to buy baked goods instead of any of the other things they seemed so intent on a bit ago. I guess this plot thread will get picked up next time? Naomi heads for home and ends up proving why a skateboard is a bad choice for your main transportation when she has another run-in with Zumbado. The confrontation shows that he’s a lot more powerful and experienced than she is, and he gives her a series of warnings before walking off. Clearly, if he meant harm, he could have done so, as he had her on the ground and stunned before lecturing her about maturity and departing.

In the morning, Naomi comes downstairs and her parents give her something. It’s not big or expensive, but has a lot of sentimental value. Once again, the conversation turns to the difficulties in moving around a lot, which seems to be a recurring theme of the episode for unclear reasons. It’s a nice little scene of a happy family. Dee, less happy, goes to his shop and stores his new keepsake. It’s the most emotion we’ve seen from him in the series. Naomi returns to STAR and tries to get some more answers. Nothing goes the way she had hoped, and we get a betrayal, an explosion, and a very unexpected rescue. Hopefully, we’ll get some answers next episode.

What I liked: It was nice seeing Anthony and Nathan as actual characters and not solely rivals for Naomi’s attention. I liked the McDuffie family scenes (do the rest of these kids have parents? Families?). Adam Blake and Dee make an impressive team. The stick fight and STAR Labs were interesting potential nods to the Arrowverse. The ending was unexpected. Again, they didn’t find a strained reason to work in the whole gang, which made sense for the story. I’m very curious about the tie between Zumbado and the McDuffie parents.

What I didn’t: There are a few things they really need to resolve before the season ends or they’ve probably lost me. Why did Naomi think Superman was fictional, but now everyone seems to know he’s real? Why does everyone find themselves so ridiculously attracted to Naomi (I mean, she’s cute, but come on).

I’m on the fence about the series, but this was probably one of their better episodes. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5.

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