Things have been very weird in Port Oswego. From a random appearance by Superman (which hasn’t been explained) to aliens popping up in increasing numbers to weird energy displays, Naomi and her Scooby gang have been checking out weird events and looking into the titular character’s mysterious background. Now they try and put all that aside for a teen rite of passage, but you can tell things don’t go well from the title: “Worst Prom Ever.”
After the revelations and tension of the last episode or two, things start off in the MacDuffie living room. Jennifer and Greg tell Naomi a bit more about her past, and she learns some more upsetting things. Their motives are understandable, but the MacDuffie’s seem to have created the almost perfect circumstances to alienate their daughter. After this difficult discussion, Naomi and Annabelle work through Annabelle’s very lengthy and detailed pre-prom checklist. Topics of conversation include choosing the right accessories, Harry Potter, and Naomi’s presently strained relationship with Nathan. This leads to the first of several flashbacks throughout the episode, in this case the first meeting between Nathan and Naomi. It’s not a great start to things. Also, while it’s set in the comic shop we’ve visited several times, Lourdes is nowhere to be seen. She’s one of several characters that don’t appear in this episode, although it seems like they should have.
Back in the present, Nathan and Jacob wait for Annabelle and Naomi in the downstairs hallway of the MacDuffie home. Greg, for whatever reason, suddenly starts playing the overprotective father, very much giving off the vibe of the parent trying to intimidate prospective boyfriends. He’s never acted like this before, and it’s jarringly out of character. Finally, the girls come down and there’s the awkward exchange of boutonnieres and corsages. Jennifer and Greg get pictures, and once again no other parents seem to exist in this world. They finally get to the dance and manage to enjoy themselves for a few moments before Naomi starts hearing things no one else can just before the power goes out and plunges the place into darkness.
Naomi, Jacob, and Annabelle compare notes and wild theories about why they are not only dealing with a blackout but have no cell service. With increasingly lame excuses, they ditch Nathan to go try and find some clues. Anthony, who as far as we’ve seen is a classmate of all of these characters, is also oddly absent from the episode. I guess he didn’t want to go to the junior prom? Greg goes to work, which seems a bit odd in the middle of the night, and finds Agent Davis, who has been looking into what happened to Commander Steel, running a mission. He sends a team into Dr. Bell’s lab at STAR. This is a bit weird, as they seem to be storming a mostly empty building and then throwing flashbangs into a wrecked lab. Some of Bell’s equipment is acting oddly, and Greg warns the troops they need to get out of there. This clearly makes Davis suspicious. There also aren’t supposed to be armed US troops operating on US soil, but that’s another issue.
Naomi and Annabelle roam around the girls’ bathroom, and finally find a strange shimmering energy behind an air vent. I guess even aliens like to hide in air vents in action shows. Naomi decides they need help, and since the phones are still out, she’s going to run to get Zumbado. The issues with sneaking out of her prom, which by the way seems to have no adult chaperones, to one side, Naomi and Annabelle discover that the glowing air vent is the least of their problems. They bring Jacob into their confidence, and into the girls’ room, and the UFO enthusiast is thrilled to see an actual force field. They come up with an unlikely plan to try and communicate with Dee, and it leads to some more tension with Nathan. Their almost-argument leads to another flashback. This time Naomi is having a party at her place while her parents are out of town, except that their parents are ok with this. Again, large group of teenagers gathering with on adult supervision. What Earth is this, anyway? There’s more banter between Naomi and Annabelle, and then Naomi and Nathan.
In the present, the kids manage to get hold of Dee, because doesn’t everyone have a CB radio in their place of business? Naomi gets most of her message to Dee, but they get interrupted by someone called Julian, who starts jamming the signal and making various threats and demands. The increasingly desperate situation gets worse as Nathan finds them, is justifiably angry at being ditched at the prom, and finally stalks off. Naomi stops him and actually tells him the truth. Nathan doesn’t seem to believe her at first, and then accepts the situation ridiculously quickly. “Oh, our prom is being held prisoner by aliens who are hunting my girlfriend, who is also an alien? Sure, ok.” Meanwhile, Dee, Zumbado, Jennifer, and Greg (wait, isn’t he at work? How long IS this prom?) have a meeting about how to help Naomi.
Nathan gets brought up to speed, and the kids come up with a plan to try and keep everyone safe. To no surprise at all, Naomi slips away to take care of things on her own. Zumbado and Dee sneak into STAR, which suddenly seems to have no military presence at all anymore, and start trying to work on a way to help out using the equipment there. Bell’s lab looks like it hasn’t been touched since the explosion, which leads me to wonder what’s going on with the rest of the building. The whole place is abandoned? They come to a surprising conclusion about what they’re doing, and it makes very little sense to me. Naomi goes for her faceoff with Julian, and finds the man is well-prepared, smart, and mean. He presents her with a sadistic choice, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for him to do this aside from he’s a bad guy. Naomi finds the others and tells them about the position she’s been put in, and they urge her to do the right thing by the largest number of people, even if it costs them dearly. Naomi and Jacob techno-babble for a bit, and then Naomi saves the day by displaying a new power there’s been no hint of at all until now.
With the crisis averted, for now at least, it’s time to wrap things up. Greg, Jennifer, Zumbado, and Dee show up and talk to the kids for a while before leaving. No one else at the prom has apparently noticed the strange events taking place, and, as I mentioned before, there are no adults present. Annabelle and Jacob leave so he can demonstrate his mastery of making snow cones (I guess he needs a hobby besides being a tech whiz). Naomi and Nathan finally get a dance, but it’s a very sad one as they share a realization about their future. Mixed in with this is a flashback to their first date, which we’ve heard referenced before but not seen. It’s a weird way to end it.
What I liked: Honestly, not a lot. Annabelle gets in some good lines, and Jacob is kind of amusingly dorky. Dee and Zumbado are certainly willing to help out, even though they don’t accomplish anything. Nathan showed he can be heroic even without powers.
What I didn’t: There are so many holes in this I don’t know where to start. No chaperones, the prevalence of CB radios, Anthony not being at prom, Lourdes not at her own shop are all weird. Julian inflicting the sadistic no-win choice for no clear reason, Naomi’s new insta-power, no one noticing anything, Annabelle making big promises to everyone at the prom that are never followed up on are strange choices. And the end was a superhero cliché that’s been overdone.
This episode was deeply flawed. I’m giving it a low 2 out of 5. Two episodes left, and we’ll see if they manage to clear up any of this mess.