Tuesday, January 18, 2022

REVIEW: 'Naomi' - Naomi Tries to Disprove Dee's Revelations By Investigating Her Own Past in 'Unidentified Flying Object'

The CW's Naomi - Episode 1.02 "Unidentified Flying Object"

Following a shocking revelation by Dee, Naomi enlists her friends to dig deeper into the mystery surrounding unexplained occurrences in Port Oswego and whether they have anything to do with her past. Naomi's parents are caught off guard by Naomi's interrogations. Another ominous encounter with Zumbado leaves Naomi shaken, and she seeks Dee's help in taking the next step to embracing her destiny.

"Unidentified Flying Object" was written by Jill Blankenship and directed by DeMane Davis

Naomi is an alien. That's what Dee reveals to her once she finally asks the right question. However, he doesn't know everything about her. That still affords the show some leeway in playing towards the mystery of her identity. She knows that she can go to Dee for help in honing who she is and what she is capable of doing. And yet, that too takes an episode to fully develop. She wants to come up with some kind of rational explanation. One that can allow her to be normal. For her entire life, she has felt like an outsider who didn't belong. Part of that came from all too frequently being the only Black person in the small towns she's lived in. Part of that also comes from her being adopted and not knowing the full extent of what happened to her biological parents. She knows that she is loved and accepted. It's also perfectly reasonable to suspect that Greg and Jennifer are hiding something from their daughter. Sure, that may become more complicated thanks to Greg's own investigation into what caused the Superman stunt. He too is learning about the existence of aliens. That may prove that he is in the dark and may be put on a collision course with his own daughter. That's very enticing and dramatic. Naomi remains at the center of the story though. She can still rely on a group of friends to drop everything and help her. It's also so refreshing to see teenagers in high school actually care about the homework that must be done when they are off on some side adventure. That's reality for them. It's fun to help Naomi go off and try to figure out the mystery of an unidentified flying object that crash landed in 2004. But the pursuit of the truth can't come at their own personal expense. They are still placed in danger though. That extends from their love and devotion to Naomi. She has built some truly deep and personal bonds in Port Oswego already. Sure, part of that is simply various people vying for her romantic intention. That's basically the same conflict that was present in the premiere. Nathan, Anthony and Lourdes are all there for her the moment she asks something of them. With Anthony, Naomi actually gives the response that she has too much going on to give herself to someone else right now. It's understandable while still being awkward. Those little flourishes help the show feel lived in as well as examining teenage life. Naomi has all of these questions. Dee presented her with answers. She couldn't accept that until Zumbado once again confronts her. Of course, he still remains very cryptic with his true motives. He is mostly just trying to scare her away. He simply posits that she is meddling in matters that don't concern her. But he also serves as a connection to what she is capable of doing. He too has powers. He is an alien as well. Dee isn't entirely forthcoming with answers. However, he is willing to support Naomi and help her grow. Zumbado is warning her away through fear. That too details the many ways in which people try to lead others. It isn't always about inspiration. Sometimes people act out of fear. That's how the military is behaving in regards to the potential threat from aliens. Naomi has become that kind of outsider to this world though. This is the only planet she has ever known. She just wants to be a normal teenager. She doesn't want to be a Greek god with many incredible powers. That's her life though. She doesn't get injured when she jobs off a bridge. She survives. She is amazing. She only shares the truth about what's going on with one friend. That signals the importance of Annabelle amongst her friends. They do all kind of go together as a blob and not as individuals at this point. Those distinctions need to be made sooner than later. Naomi can't remain the most interesting part of their lives too. That's a struggle given the priority of Naomi in the storytelling. She is on a quest for answers. She is capable of so much more than what she initially believed. That previous self was already cool and empowered amongst her peers. That may all change soon. It's gradual though. It's a learning curve that does offer a meaningful and unique perspective. It's also an embrace of small stakes storytelling in a genre that demands massive plot twists and explosive reveals all the time. It still works. It's entertaining. The contrast with the overwhelming formula is still the most notable thing after two episodes.