Naomi: Fallout

Aliens are hunting me and my life is falling apart. Let’s go to a party!

There have been a lot of surprises throughout Naomi’s first season. Some of them have clearly been planned, and some of them are just things that I’ve been wondering about that seem to be going on as unexplained and unnoticed. Last episode had the shocking reveal that Naomi’s parents had been keeping a lot of secrets from her, including the fact that they weren’t exactly from around here. Now there are lots of ramifications to that, and a few other new developments, in “Fallout.”

Reeling and hurting from her discoveries last episode, Naomi does some packing and flees, ignoring her parents’ entreaties to stay and talk. Outside and on her skateboard, to no surprise at all, she takes refuge at Annabelle’s. I was thinking this might finally give us a chance to see someone’s family besides Naomi’s, but Annabelle’s folks are out of town, and we meet her annoying kid sister Sophie. Sophie, in my opinion, contributes nothing at all to this episode aside from occasional minor comic relief. Naomi is crushed by all this, and Annabelle does her best to reassure her friend, along with some of the odd musings she tosses in to most of her scenes. Just to make things worse for our titular heroine, Nathan isn’t returning her calls or texts after Naomi’s accusations in the high school the other night.

Seeking answers, Naomi goes to her teacher/mentor/friend Dee, and asks a lot of questions. Dee explains some of the limits on his abilities, and Zumbado, also there, proves to have been keeping some things back as well. Dee clearly didn’t know what is revealed, and is annoyed, both because of what seems to be his general dislike of Zumbado, and outrage on Naomi’s behalf. Hints are dropped about what she should do next, but Naomi isn’t in the mood to listen and glares at Zumbado. In her space, Akira gets a visit from a mysterious woman called Mac. Mac and Akira have some past connections, and Akira isn’t happy to see her or hear the message she brings. Mac is played by Briana Venskus, who genre fans might recognize as either Beatrice from The Walking Dead or Piper from the last few seasons of Agents of SHIELD.

Once again out in the woods, Annabelle contributes comedic griping as Naomi returns to the stone that’s tied to her origin. This time, she figures out something is hidden and gets one of those rare moments of being in control of her powers to uncover something new. The item recovered has a marking that is tied to Naomi’s appearance in the comics. Back at Annabelle’s place, there’s more comedy with Sophie, and Naomi comes up with a surprise that startles Annabelle. While the two girls plan out their next moves, Greg pays a visit to Zumbado. They clearly don’t like each other, and trade barbs as Greg finally shares what he’s there for.

Naomi’s plan involves a road trip, and we’ve seen Naomi doesn’t have a car. So, she phones a friend and we see her and Lourdes off on an adventure. Despite how upset Naomi has been, she’s also a teenager with wildly fluctuating emotions, and ends up dancing in her seat and taking selfies with Lourdes. Annabelle and Sophie sneak into the MacDuffie home, but Annabelle’s plans for a quick in and out get foiled by her sister’s blackmail and Jennifer unexpectedly being home. Jennifer and Annabelle have an unexpectedly emotional conversation, and Annabelle makes a hasty retreat without accomplishing her mission.

Naomi arrives at a place we’ve seen before, and, making Lourdes wait in the van, rushes in, headstrong and willful. This time, it’s not enough to carry her through. She makes some dumb choices, gets in over her head, and only the timely arrival of an unexpected player gets her out without a major problem. How they knew where and when to find her isn’t immediately apparent, but something revealed later might explain it. Then again, a lot on this show never does get explained. Back at Lourdes’ comic shop, and I really love that this a recurring setting on the show, Lourdes makes herself scarce so Naomi and her new benefactor can talk. Naomi learns a few more things that have been, if not outright kept from her, at least not shared with her, and finds out something about the artefact she discovered. Greg and Zumbado visit someplace else we’ve seen before, and, amid arguing and sniping at each other, get something done to help the person they both happen to care about. Greg and Zumbado have very different opinions on Naomi’s future, although neither of them seem to be consulting her about it. Which, given how she reacts to secrets, is probably not a great idea.

At a loss, Annabelle tries to get some help. Sophie the Snarky in tow, Annabelle drops in on Dee. Sophie seems quite taken with the tattoo shop operator, who listens carefully to Annabelle’s story. Dee is sympathetic, but kindly tells her that he can’t help, and reassures her that she’s really doing all she can. Dee really does well with the wise mentor vibe. Naomi learns a few more things that surprise her and suddenly has some options opened for her. We then see that there’s at least a few things she’s not actually good at, and Naomi gets in trouble from a wholly unexpected direction. This leads to another confrontation between Naomi and her parents, and she openly defies them, which is new, and adds a not-quite threat that echoes something relatively recently from over on Superman and Lois.

Rattled and upset, Naomi goes to train with Dee. The CW shows do enjoy showing people fighting with sticks, but only in training. A frustrated Naomi vents about all the problems she’s having, and Dee listens. He’s a good mentor, not necessarily telling her what she wants to hear, but offers some good advice. He also offers some reassurance about how far she’s come. Personally, I think everyone could use a Dee in their life. I know I’d like that. Zumbado closes up his shop for the day (nice to see someone is paying attention to their actual job) and gets a visit from Akira. They talk, guardedly at first, and end up coming to an uneasy alliance.

Answering an invitation from Lourdes, Naomi goes to an after-hours party that’s definitely not her usual scene. Eventually, Annabelle joins them, and it’s even less hers. There’s some dancing and more selfies, and then a misunderstanding between Lourdes and Naomi. I’ve commented several times that it seems like Naomi has some weird power to influence people. If that’s the case, it finally fails here, and Lourdes stalks away, not happy about Naomi’s decisions. Just to make Naomi’s night worse, Mac shows up conveying both an offer and a threat. Mac is a good judge of threats, and gets Naomi outside. Naomi manages to use some of Dee’s training, and then gets some backup that she wasn’t expecting. Mac is smart enough to know when she’s outmatched and retreats in a dramatic fashion.

Naomi’s been through a lot this episode, and it’s time to start wrapping things up. After a conversation with Annabelle, she gets another small piece of good news and heads for home. It’s a long way from all is forgiven, but she’s at least clear about how she’s feeling and that they are going to have a lot of work to do in order to repair things. Akira and Zumbado share a drink and a talk, and wonder about what might be coming next for them or Naomi.

What I liked: At the risk of sounding mean, it was nice to see that not everyone was just magically ok with everything Naomi did. Her problems with her parents, Nathan, and Lourdes this episode, as well as with someone else in a different way, made it seem like she at least occasionally faces some consequences for her actions. As usual, Annabelle is probably my favorite part of the series. She’s just a steady, funny presence that provides a nice contrast to some of the weirdness around Naomi sometimes. I also enjoy Dee’s words of wisdom.

What I didn’t: Little Sister Sophie didn’t seem to really add much. I’m not sure why she was in this one. The more we learn about Earth-29, the more questions I have about that world, and whichever one Naomi is on, and how either relates to the “Earth Prime” of the Arrowverse. Or Stargirl’s Earth, for that matter. Considering how tightly knit Naomi’s group seems to be, it’s a bit odd there was no “Hey, are you OK?” kind of communication from Anthony or Jacob.

This show has been uneven. I admit I won’t be happy if they continue this one after cancelling both Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow. I guess we’ll have to see what happens next. I’ll give this episode a 3 out of 5, and await more developments. I’m beginning to have a guess about how the season will end, and I’ll just have to see if I’m right.

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