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S02.E15: The Celestial Visitor

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A striking stranger appears and is looking for Nancy; he announces himself as the billionaire Tom Swift; Ace has issues with the way Nancy insists on handling things with Celia.

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Original air date: 5/12/21

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I have seen a number of backdoor pilots on the CW, but this was state of the art, the absolute bleeding edge.

Tom was such a great character, I'm praying right now for his show to get picked up, literally praying.

His conversation with Nick was just gold, I have literally had that conversation with a guy at my work who was side-eying my lineup when I got a new fade, so that hit more than I expected. In fact, I can't even remember the last time I even heard the word "lineup" on my television (that wasn't related to jail). And that stuff about Harry Potter just brought me back too. So great.

Nick has really been getting some good lines recently, last week and then this week. I really hope the show keeps it up. George has been shining as well. It's good that the show is not letting their relationship fall into a rut.

Kudos to the wardrobe team on Tom's outfits. They're doing some damn fine work there. In fact, everyone's wardrobe has been improving.

 

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Ok, so I admit I was hesitant when I heard that this was essentially a backdoor pilot to a potential new CW show. I've seen a few backdoor pilots and some have worked, some have not. But goddamn, I am completely sold on Tom Swift. I like that he oozed so much charm and charisma. The actor did an impeccable job showcasing Tom's confidence but also vulnerability. I loved his reactions to the ghosts, since it was out of his wheelhouse. Him and Nancy worked quite well together and I was really touched by his backstory. He definitely gave me some Blair Waldorf/Brooke Davis vibes at times. Rich, confident, knows that he wants but has a soft side under that exterior. And his AI is Levar Burton? Sold. I'm game on Tom Swift, especially since it's SO RARE to have an LGBTQ lead on any show. But really, his character worked so well and the actor did a phenomenal job at adding layers to a character who we may never see again. 

But god, I hope we see him again. Him and his stylish outfits. Hot damn. 

This show has done the best job, by far, on any network for me in acknowledging BLM and not making it into a Very Special Episode type deal (as in, a one and done, never talk about again). They carried over last episode's topic about black lives right into this episode with Nick and George's discussion about posting their relationship on social media. They showed that last episode's events affected Nick and I love that, since that's so true to real life, that anti-blackness and racism in general doesn't just go away. I love that George blatantly said that she was hiding their relationship because of her grandfather's racism. I even like that we got a little touch on the racism that George experiences too. I really love their relationship, even as new as it still is (they're still barely three months into their relationship). And Tunji has been getting phenomenal material. This show is truly a gem to watch. I can't recommend it enough to people. And it's really finding its footing again after a shaky start to season 2 (from episode 6 up until the last few episodes, now that it seems to know where it's heading, story-wise). 

As for the rest, I still don't fully trust Ryan's new love interest. I still think she has something up her sleeve, or she will betray Ryan at the worst possible time. 

Murderous Bess was fun to watch. I appreciate them giving the actress something fun to do here. Her sword fight with Ace was hilarious to watch.

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Ha, I should have known after last week's supernatural-free episode that we would be back to phantoms and hexes and the historical society!

Usually backdoor pilots are clunky and really obvious but this one was so fun, and that was mostly because Tom was such a great character. He's rich and has lots of toys but he doesn't act like a brat, and he is smart so he's building all kinds of gadgets to help him. He was like a happy, cheerful version of Batman. What really helped was how charming he was with everyone. It was so nice to see Nick have someone to discuss even the mundane things with like Harry Potter and trying to get a decent haircut. I thought he fit in well with the other characters.

I was glad that George realized that Nick has to present himself a certain way (the same way that Tom has his Balmain and Ferrari armor). The reason he doesn't complain about every interaction like the customer who comes in every week is similar to the way women don't always discuss every time a guy hits on them, sexually harasses them, etc. It's just a part of everyday life that we accept as what it means to be Black or female. And I didn't mind him fibbing about liking a song when they first started dating. That's the time in a relationship when you're trying to make a good impression and have lots of things in common, so saying, "Oh, yeah, I love that song too!" is like a 1 on the scale of relationship lies.

And I get why George didn't want her grandfather potentially saying rude or racist things about someone she loves. Again, they're still in the honeymoon phase of their relationship (which hasn't been very honeymoonish considering that she died and now she has a ghost living in her body). I get not wanting to bring someone else's shitty attitude into the snuggly shmoopie blissful beginning stage of your relationship.

Anyway, I enjoyed Tom's introduction to the Nancy Drew universe a lot more than the one where we met Gil (it didn't help that the case that week involved a lot of running around in the dark forest). Usually when I know there's a spin off coming up, I kind of roll my eyes but this time I'm looking forward to the adventures of Tom Swift. I hope he manages to stop by Horseshoe Bay sometimes too. I really enjoyed his initial skepticism of the supernatural as well as his interactions with the characters.

Despite Nancy's ambivalent feelings about Ryan, I loved that once she suspected Val was something her first instinct was to protect Ryan. I mean, it did involve an immediate leap to breaking into her hotel room to steal her laptop, but I think her heart was in the right place. I also loved that Ace said yes with no hesitation.

Bess screaming while attacking Ace was probably funnier than it should have been!

And A fucking plus for LeVar Burton being the voice of Barclay!

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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I don't know how Tom knew so much about the properties of the missing meteorite, it would have been a better story if he had a small sample so that he was sure about the things he said. If the meteorite has so many rare and wonderful elements, why didn't Tom try to capture the comet when it was close to the Earth. Having a comet with a large amount of rare and incredible elements would have made a better story about why he can make so many wonderful gadgets and inventions that nobody else can make.

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After last week having little supernatural activity, this week they decided to make up for it by having ALL of the supernatural activity. Ghosts, hexes, dueling old timie secret societies, magic space rocks, so much going on. All of that plus a backdoor pilot, its impressive that they managed to have so many moving parts without the episode feelings rushed or too stuffed with plot points and characters. The addition of the meteorite was something to make the case a bit more unique, and I thought the ghosts looked really creepy, like a bunch of meteorite murder monks. Plus I like exploring the towns creepy history, there really is always some new massacre to look into. 

I was a bit wary of the show doing a backdoor pilot, they can be really hit or miss, especially when they try to introduce a bunch of new random characters and they hijack the show for an episode, but I thought this one was a real hit. I really like Tom Swift already and I can easily see him carrying his own show. He was smart and confident without being smug or condescending, his gadgets all looked really cool, being very high tech but also having a bit of a retro aesthetic, and he worked really well with Nancy and the Drew Crew. He also had a lot of vulnerability underneath his charming, charismatic brilliant inventor exterior, and his backstory and reason for wanting the meteor were quite moving. I especially loved his reactions to all of the ghosts, and Nancy's nonplused reaction to the crazy things happening all around them, like he just could not believe that this was happening even as it was happening. I hope that the show is picked up, I would love to watch it and to see some future crossovers with this show, Tom worked great with the cast, especially Nancy and Nick, both of whom he had a lot of really great moments with. He's already a great character and a show with him as the star has a ton of potential, plus its pretty rare to have the hero of your show be a gay black man, who also has an amazing eye for both clothes and supertech. So what old school kids novel will be getting a revamp next? 

Of course Nancy understands dad issues, she has two dads she has issues with. 

This show is doing a really good job of dealing with race and BLM, its not just a Very Special Episode where we talk about racism for one week and never again or a bunch of long awkward speeches that sounds more like someone reading an article and not actually having a conversation that people would have, it feels totally right that being one of the few black people in town is especially on Nick's mind after last week, and that he would be happy to talk to another black guy his own age, and I really liked how he and George talked about it. Its not that Nick isn't Nick when he's with George, its just that he shows different sides of himself with different people who can understand different aspects of himself, which is pretty normal. I can get why George wanted to avoid dealing with her grandfathers racism while they are doing so well, knowing that would hurt Nick, but I am glad she decided to be open about it, hiding them from her family is probably hurting him more than racist Facebook comments. 

While Nancy is still trying to sort out her feelings for Ryan, I do love that she immediately tried to look out for him when she found out he was dating the reporter and suspected her of manipulating him. It was also really cute how excited Ryan was to be talking about his love life with Nancy, and she just looked so confused by the turn the conversation took. The reporter might say that she's trying to help take down Everette, but I don't know if I trust her. I feel like she could still be trying to work Ryan to get more dirt on the Hudsons. 

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As far as backdoor pilots go, this was definitely one of the better ones.  The way they brought in the Tom Swift character by having him hire Nancy for a "case of the week" made his introduction feel more seamless compared to the norm, but more importantly, he was just an interesting character to watch and learn more about.  I thought the actor did a great job: was really charismatic and pretty confident already in the role.  He actually kind of reminded me of Donald Glover at times, which is really saying something.  I'll definitely be interested in an official spin-off.   Especially since he not only pals around with an A.I. named Barclay, but said A.I. is being voiced by freaking Levar Burton!  Brilliant casting right there.

But I also liked that Nancy and the Drew Crew were still significant here, and even advanced some of the main storylines.  The cult involved in the case are likely part of the same faction that caused Ace's mom to go into hiding.  Nancy continues to find herself torn between staying true to herself as "Nancy Drew", but preparing for the world to know her as "Nancy Hudson" soon.  Valentina returns and is now planning on going after Everrett herself: possibly with Ryan's help.  Some good stuff here.

And then there was everything with Nick and George, which continues to prove that this show seems to be the best when it comes to addressing racial and social issues in a way that feels authentic and not preachy or pandering.  Nick talking about how hard it is being one of the few black men in Horseshoe Bay and how he has to keep some of his opinions and feelings to himself because of it (including letting some clearly racist things slide, because he knows they'll turn it around and make him look like the "angry black man") was sadly realistic and something I have to think a lot of black men deal with in their lives.  And then George admitting to him (and herself) that the reason she hasn't gone public yet with their relationship yet is because she knows some of her older family members will probably not react well due to the shaky relationship between some members of the Asian and Black communities, and also talking about her own issues with what some "expect" an Asian woman to be like (being meek, friendly, and submissive.)  I thought all of it was compelling and both Leah Lewis and Tunji Kasim (who has really been getting some great material this season) shined throughout it all.

Bess kind of had rough episode though, huh?  First she accidentally gets cursed to puke out a bunch of green goo and then she is dosed with some of that yellow mist, but instead of making her lustful, it makes her all stabby instead.  She definitely can use a break I think!

Ace and Amanda still seem to be going strong, but I'm curious to see how long that will last.

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Finally got a chance to watch this! 

I loved Tom Swift and I will absolutely watch his show if picked up. He was so fun and charismatic. He looks a bit like Chadwick Boseman to me, with a pinch of Donald Glover swagger. I'm really hoping his show gets picked up. Either way, I want him to visit Horseshoe Bay again. 

I really like Rukiya Bernard (Val) and I think she has good chemistry with Ryan, so I hope she is sincere and not evil. I think she's probably working for Everett or something, but damnit, I want her to be good so we can keep her. 

This show is by far the best at addressing social justice issues without sounding preachy. I love how they don't shy away from them and have real conversations. 

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22 hours ago, Lady Calypso said:

This show has done the best job, by far, on any network for me in acknowledging BLM and not making it into a Very Special Episode type deal (as in, a one and done, never talk about again).

I watch way too many shows that have addressed BLM in ways that make me picture an all-white writers room getting a note from above telling them they need to do something. So the topic gets shoved in awkwardly or generically and then goes away. I'm so glad Nancy's writers really thought about what they wanted to say and how their specific characters would express that message. Everyone and everything on the show was perfectly in character and, if someone were to watch this in 10 years without knowing much about what was going on in the US, they would never think that any of those scenes were special or different in any way. 

I also liked that everyone was totally ok with Tom being gay. The viewers weren't surprised, of course, but I felt like Tom seemed a little unsure after Barclay outed him in front of Nancy. Also not surprising but still appreciated was Nick having no problems with the kiss at the end. He just checked with George and then agreed.

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1. Joining in with the general chorus here: I loved Tom Swift! And not just because he very kindly took his shirt off. I mean, sure, that helped, but it was mostly that he made an AI with Levar Burton's voice, like, that was the most perfect thing ever. An AI that ran interference for him with his homophobic father. Classic.  Plus, Tian Richards seemed to have chemistry with everyone, which bodes well for any forthcoming show. Bring on the spinoff, CW. You've had much worse ideas.

And if for some reason this spinoff isn't greenlit, bring Tom Swift back as a guest star!

2. Some really good scenes there with Tunji Kasim again, who is just knocking it out of the park in recent episodes. 

3. With that said, I think my favorite moment this episode was the Ace/Bess swordfighting scene, particularly the bits that acknowledged that neither one of them knew how to use a sword. Ace's various counterweapons were hilarious.

4. And, yeah, I'm also with everyone in not trusting the reporter at all. Smart of her to be prepared to defend herself immediately, though.

5. Also loved the way that the Drew Crew was able to juggle a couple of different investigations at once - and immediately be all suspicious of the reporter while simultaneously going, meteorite with superpowers that can send someone to Saturn and turn people homicidal? Sure, given the past few months, why not? 

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1 hour ago, quarks said:

Bring on the spinoff, CW. You've had much worse ideas.

And if for some reason this spinoff isn't greenlit, bring Tom Swift back as a guest star!

If the spinoff doesn't happen, bring Tom back as a regular!

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I've already said so much elsewhere. This was awesome BDP and Tom deserves to go to series. 

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I just really love this show. Extremely thoughtful writing with regards to Nick and continuing to explore his lingering feelings from last episode. Kudos all around, especially to Tunji. 

I've never seen the actor playing Tom Swift before but holy shit does he look like Chadwick Boseman! Tears literally welled up when he stepped through the door. If Ryan Coogler is considering a continuation story (as opposed to a replacement story) with Black Panther and is looking for a relative of some sort to take up the mantle, here's the guy. That sartorial splendor of a wardrobe? I think Chadwick would've approved of Tian's sway. 

I loved the montage of Tom using all his gadgets and science to try to pass the Icarans, to no avail. And Ryan being excited to talk to Nancy about his love life only to have her hang up on him was funny. I don't know how it happened but this show has become one of my absolute favorites. And I'm a 53 year old Black woman....

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I guess I was the only one not crazy about the back door pilot. I liked Tom enough and found him charismatic. However, I didn't feel he fit into this universe. 

Nancy and the show tend to have an old-time feel to them at times. Even Nancy's scarf tied around her neck in the episode gave me a 50's vibe. And then you add in Tom Swift with all these high tech fancy gadgets and futuristic flying stuff and it felt like two completely different shows. 

Like we have ghosts and a dude who find a space rock and wants to build a spaceship to fly his dad to Saturn. Like whaaaa? 

I don't know it didn't gel for me. 

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I turned on some episodes for background noise today, and noticed in The Trail of the Missing Witness, Jessie tells George that Odette and Ted have been tracking the path of a comet that's supposed to show up next week. I love that they added that little detail that gets paid off this episode.

Also I don't know when these characters sleep! Grant was only in town 1 week but he was around for 3 or 4 episodes. Then there were another few episodes between the mention of the comet and this episode, which was presumably a week. They pack quite a bit into their weeks! 

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On 5/21/2021 at 5:07 PM, Jenniferbug said:

I turned on some episodes for background noise today, and noticed in The Trail of the Missing Witness, Jessie tells George that Odette and Ted have been tracking the path of a comet that's supposed to show up next week. I love that they added that little detail that gets paid off this episode.

In this vein, I'm rewatching from the beginning and Nancy wore this episode's blue dress in the 6th episode of season 1 (Mystery of Blackwood Lodge) to the Velvet Masque.

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