Naomi: The Fellowship of the Disc

I have superstrength and energy powers and we’re going with sticks, huh?

After a few weeks off, the first season of Naomi continues. The teen who seems to be prefect at everything is trying to figure out what to do now that she’s learned a bit more about her background, and there’s a good bit of disagreement over what to do next. A lot of her missing Scooby gang is back, too, but at least some of them are finally doing things that don’t directly involve her. No one seems quite sure what’s coming next, and there are geek references a-plenty in “The Fellowship of the Disc.”

The show starts with Naomi giving Nathan what seems like a really serious pep-talk about overcoming obstacles and refining talent. What we gradually see is that those two, Annabelle, and Jacob are out playing mini-golf, and the star athlete isn’t great at everything, despite Naomi’s coaching. There are a few fun little friendship moments and then Naomi gets some weird vibe, looks worried, and wanders off on her own for a minute. This happens several times throughout the episode and is never really explained. What seems to be the next morning, Naomi is making a very fancy meal with a distinct French flair. She’s apparently going all out (I don’t know that we knew she could cook, then again, she seems to be able to do everything, so why not?) to celebrate something special for her parents. Not only do they not react how she expected, they raise the possibility of having to leave town.

Annabelle is devastated, in her own snarky way, about Naomi possibly moving again. Naomi lays out some good reasons why this might be for the best, although she doesn’t seem really happy about it, either. Later, she does some staff training with Dee, and has gotten fairly good at it. Zumbado drops by and disagrees with Dee’s teaching methods. There’s a lot of tension between these two, and now that we know a bit more of each of their histories, I have no idea where it came from. Still later, Naomi and Annabelle get home (I don’t think any of the other kids actually have homes), Naomi gets weird vibes again, and figures out someone has broken in and stolen the disc that seems to be so important to so many things. Maybe, in that case, Naomi should have come up with a better hiding place than a box under her bed.

The next day, Naomi and Annabelle are doing some school community project together at the pet shop we’ve seen before. I don’t know why a “community service” project involves helping out a local business, but apparently that’s how they do things in Port Oswego. Jacob comes in, because of course he has a dog that just happens to need grooming, which leads to random talk about aliens, STAR Labs, and a sort of alien aficionado website. Naomi gets a text from Zumbado and leaves, leading to an amusing bit between Annabelle and Jacob. Zumbado has summoned Naomi to a rooftop to talk about training and flying, and what flight really means. They disagree a bit about what to do next, and the show manages to avoid the cliché I thought was coming, so points to them there. Also helping a local business, Anthony and Nathan, now apparently friends, end up at Lourdes’ comic shop. They were expecting to get off easy, but she has a lot of work for them to do. There are a few more decent lines, but the two end up getting put to work.

Naomi returns to the scene of chaos at STAR Labs, poking through the rubble. I’m not sure what she expected to find, but it probably wasn’t Jacob, using his own little alien detector he’s devised. They talk a bit, Naomi lies some more, and then ends up exposing her powers to him. In her defense, she didn’t really have a choice. Instead of freaking out, Jacob thinks all this is really cool, and has a lot of questions when they meet up the next day at school. She manages to talk him down at least a little, asks him to keep all this a secret from Annabelle, and then they end up with a lame cover story as Annabelle arrives, and the start of a running joke about hating the Lord of the Rings. Actually buckling down and working, Nathan and Anthony make a discovery that worries them. Lourdes freaks out at them and shoos them out of the store.

Once again doing the improbable, Jacob and Naomi cobble together a device to run down alien energy signatures. Either Jacob must be at the Tony Stark/Reed Richards level of brilliance, Naomi’s weird effect on those around her is kicking in again, or the Army group led by Commander Steel is really bad at their jobs. At any rate, they get the gadget working and go track down some alien energy residue, because what could go wrong with two kids poking around in dangerous things on their own? You know, like Naomi was worried about which is why she is keeping secrets from Annabelle now? Zumbado drops in on Dee, and they argue about how to train Naomi, the dangerousness of her powers getting out of control, and how her emotions can affect her abilities. Those two clearly don’t agree about how to proceed at all.

Jacob and Naomi end up someplace unexpected, and she uses her powers again. She’s clearly getting control over the simple ones at least, and seeing it delights Jacob. They break in someplace and make several startling discoveries that lead them back to Naomi’s parents. She returns home and confronts her folks, and they share some of their worries. Naomi is really getting Peter Parker levels of guilt about how much everyone else has gone through, and continues to, on her behalf. Lourdes returns to her shop and finds that Nathan and Anthony are running a special event. They went to a lot of effort to help her, and recruited uber-nerd Jacob (I say that with respect and affection), and she completely freaks out at them. How dare they try and help her, I guess? There’s another joke about Lord of the Rings and poor Jacob wonders if everyone is trying to hurt his feelings.

Annabelle and Naomi do some more work for the pet shop, and Annabelle confronts Naomi about some things she’s been hiding. It seems Annabelle and Jacob are dating, which I have somehow completely missed to this point. I really don’t know if it was unclear writing or if that got lost in some of the weirdness around Naomi. At any rate, Annabelle isn’t happy about being shut out, gives Naomi a piece of her mind, and stalks off. Which would be a lot more dramatic without a gaggle of dogs on leashes around her. Zumbado has Dee meet him at a junkyard, which is pretty much never a good thing. Zumbado pushes Dee into fighting, sets up rules, shows that Dee is a lot better than he is, and then cheats. It’s a weird way to prove a point, but I suppose it’s effective enough.

There’s a big party at the McDuffies’ place, and Naomi is having fun hosting, doing something nice for her parents. She chats with Jacob who uses a somewhat drawn-out Lord of the Rings analogy to prove a point to Naomi, and he actually does it pretty well. She sends him off to work on a project (I guess he’s cool with missing the party), and goes to think. Lourdes returns to the store, finds two small presents and a note, and smiles for what I think is the first time in the episode. Zumbado goes to see Dee again, and despite how their last meeting went, they manage to find some common ground. I wonder if Naomi knows how much other people are fighting over what’s best for her? Lourdes finds Anthony and Nathan and at the party and offers an apology for earlier, although nothing approaching an explanation. Really, how many high school kids are at this party for Naomi’s parents?

Naomi finds her parents sort of hiding out in the kitchen, and calls them out on avoiding their own party. Annabelle comes in and things get a bit awkward for a few minutes. I’m either reading too much in to this scene, or it’s a clue about whatever weird abilities Naomi has. Naomi is surprised Annabelle showed up after their earlier fight, and Annabelle has to explain that people sometimes fight and are still friends. All of this makes me wonder if Naomi has never really had a fight with a friend before, which also makes me wonder if her weird charisma has prevented that in the past. That or she’s just managed to miss out on a part of life everyone goes through, or the scene was badly written. Jacob sends an emergency summons, from upstairs, which is weird enough that Naomi comments on it as they go see what’s wrong.

Things are building to a head for the end of the show. Commander Steel and his team show up at STAR, assessing the damage in Bell’s lab. Steel orders his group to take everything. The fact that they are doing a special operation that Naomi’s father is totally left out of doesn’t bode well for his lies being convincing. Naomi and Annabelle go find Jacob, hidden away in Naomi’s bedroom, and he reveals his gadget’s latest findings. It’s a big surprise to end the episode on.

What I liked: The dialogue was really good this episode. It felt like the writers were really on it this time around for that. While I don’t agree with how they handling their differences, I admire both Dee and Zumbado’s dedication to keeping Naomi safe and training her. They don’t have a great presence on the show a lot of the time, but Naomi’s parents’ reasoning about what Naomi found made a lot of sense to me. Now that they’re not sniping at each other, Anthony and Nathan make a good team.

What I didn’t: Naomi’s weird vibe thing was never explained. Does she have Spidey-sense now? Lourdes really overreacted to Nathan and Anthony helping her. Jacob seems to be just another improbable factor in a show full of them. We never learn anything about who stole the disc, and, as important as that’s been, Naomi herself doesn’t really bring it up after it’s taken. Naomi is keeping too many important secrets from the wrong people, and that’s really going to bite her soon.

I’ll give this one a 3 out of 5. The CW recently announced several renewals. This wasn’t one of them. I’ve said I’m in until the end of the season, but I don’t know how broken up I’ll be if they don’t get to season two.

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