Tuesday, January 25, 2022

REVIEW: 'Naomi' - Naomi Reckons With No Longer Having Certainty Over What the Future Holds in 'Zero to Sixty'

The CW's Naomi - Episode 1.03 "Zero to Sixty"

Naomi gets guidance from Dee as she learns to harness her powers, all while juggling her everyday life as a teenager finishing her college application. As Naomi's obsession with uncovering answers has her and her friends engaging in dangerous behavior, Zumbado seeks out the help of an old friend to help further his plans.

"Zero to Sixty" was written by Oscar Balderrama and directed by Sheldon Candis

Naomi has always led her life with certainties. She has known since she was 8-years-old what she wanted to do when she grew up. She has been passionate about addressing the climate crisis from a young age. She has also put a plan into action to ensure that she could work to solve it. That has always been a passion and priority for her. She has only ever had one college in mind for her future. She has always operated with certainties elsewhere as well. She always knew she was adopted. Her parents have always been steady and supportive no matter what she does. Yes, the nature of her father's work meant they have moved around a lot. That could throw dysfunction into the family dynamic. It hasn't though. Naomi is comfortable wherever she lands. Port Oswego happens to hold more personal resonance for the family. It's where they all came together in the first place. That makes it feel like home. It's a celebration. Not something that should be dreaded. All of this only further underlines just how distraught Naomi has been about the revelations of her own identity. She thought she had her entire life planned out. She knew who she was and was confident in leading that life in the world. That has all changed. It took her a beat to accept the alien part of her identity. But now, she is fully embracing her powers. She wants to master them and do good in that way as well. All of this could be so foreign and strange. It can be dangerous as well. Every episode seemingly has some confrontation with Zumbado that intensifies due to Naomi bringing her friends with her. That isn't the core of what this episode is building towards though. That's a relief after a familiar pattern broke out in the previous two. The narrative is still primarily about Naomi. Her friends are included along for the adventures not truly knowing what mess Naomi is pulling them into. They are glad to do so though. Annabelle knows the truth. Each friend can offer their own unique inspiration as well. That role falls onto Lourdes here. She could be written off by these friends as the girl who dropped out of high school. The possibilities for her future don't have to be limited by that. Her life simply had to change because of an accident her father had. That altered everything. She has made peace with that. She has found a reason to embrace the chosen happiness that now consumes her world. That resonates nicely with Naomi too. Sure, her parents are acting like they have never done before. Naomi has as well. She has been keeping secrets from them. She is disobeying their rules and concerns. She operates with recklessness because she can operate with a new sense of indestructibility. That propels her with such gusto into searching for the mystery at the heart of her existence. Everyone props up her importance. That informs so much of the conversation between Zumbado and Akira. They are talking around a crucial plot point a little too much which prevents the audience from truly accepting the importance of the moment. It does bring more aliens into the proceedings. Some are allies to Naomi and Dee. Others have complicated interests Zumbado is trying to manipulate. The stakes are wonky when looking at the overall narrative and scope of what the show is trying to achieve for its season. And yet, the focus on Naomi remains gripping. She is reckless and dangerous. She wants to believe she can control her powers more than what she can actually do. That threatens lives too. She has to reckon with that notion. She can grow frustrated by Dee's teachings. She wants things to be certain right away. That's not how life operates. It's what she has been conditioned into believing is true. She is rattled when faced with opposition. That's bound to only turn more dire once her parents reveal that they have long known about her alien existence. They are finally sharing the truth with her now. That has the potential to open up more story utility for the ensemble. More characters can be let in on the central secret. But the drama comes from Naomi's reaction. That is bound to be amplified by her pursuit of answers and the belief that she is stronger and more resilient than she actually is as a teenager.