Tom Swift has pushed boundaries from its first episode, but in “…And Nine Inches of Danger,” the writers proved they’re out to cross every line they can get away with. As Tom rushes to save his company and Barclay, Lino deals with strange new abilities as Claire continues to manipulate Lorraine. Reboot your systems, pop a bottle of champagne, and park your motorcycles for one of the steamiest scenes ever to air on The CW as Tom discovers he can’t be everything to everyone.
After our usual “previously on” montage, we see Tom wake up in a panic to a blaring alarm. He’s been up all night trying to keep Barclay’s data from Rowan and Eskol. Isaac is all for a system reboot (Barclay: “Your suggestion to give me a lobotomy is noted”), but Tom can’t bear to lose the AI.
Lino is doing well at his fencing competition, but all Tom can do is try to save Barclay. Lino wins, but he notices Tom’s distraction. The crowd grumbles that he must have cheated as Zenzi and Isaac give him support.
Lorraine informs Tom he will be co-hosting the Swift Enterprises summit with Claire. Claire has invited Susannah Robb, a real estate heiress, to attend. As one of their biggest investors, she is someone who needs to be impressed. Wanting to beat Claire, he agrees to build one of Barton’s last designs on top of the hundred other things occupying his mind. Zenzi warns him he’s taking on too much and wants him to tell Lorraine about Barton, but Tom insists he can handle it all. He’ll invite Rowan and Eskol to the event to help get rid of the spyware infecting Barclay.
Tom reveals his plan to the squad. He’ll be using the company’s new augmented reality monocle to avoid detection while using a mirroring device on Rowan’s phone. Isaac gets in a dig about Rowan totally ghosting Tom, which he ignores. Turns out, he needs to be nine inches from Rowan for the device to work. In a very Tom solution, he hides the cloning device in his belt. Justin corners Tom early on at the party, and they flirt despite Justin playing hard to get.
Susannah arrives at the summit. She’s not just rich, she’s talented, having doubled her parents’ revenue in just two years after their deaths in a plane crash when she was 16. Tom tries to schmooze her, and she’s surprisingly sincere with him when she tells him she’s glad he’s carrying on Barton’s legacy. She’s one of the few people who truly understands what he’s going through. Eskol and Rowan make their way inside as Claire gives her speech alongside Tom. Lino gives Tom the penlight Barton had been building before his disappearance, clearly wanting to say something to him before Tom rushes away.
Zenzi flirts with Eskol and uses her skills as Tom’s assistant to keep him from leaving the event early. Claire tries to throw Tom off his game by pointing out Justin flirting with another guy, but Tom shakes it off. He announces the monocle invention as a music performance starts. It dazzles everyone while Tom moves towards Rowan. Isaac warns him to be careful of “Mr. Fatal Attraction” as he barely manages to clone Rowan’s phone without him noticing.
A Little Party Never Killed Nobody
Tom’s plan is foiled when he discovers he needs Rowan’s DNA to unlock the phone. Isaac’s all for some light stabbing (Zenzi: “Um, this is a party?!”), but Tom insists he can get it another way. When he tries to demonstrate the penlight and turn the water into champagne, it produces a disgusting drink. Someone manipulated his code, but he’s able to balance the pH and fix the problem (while flirting with Justin, no less). He even has time to accuse Claire of messing with the penlight, but Barclay lets him know he’s only at 5%. They don’t have much time before the AI shuts down for good.
Running out of options, Tom texts Rowan and threatens to expose Eskol. They meet at the observatory, with Tom’s limited patience coming up against Rowan’s physical skills as they fight. Rowan tells Tom The Road Back isn’t just about reducing technology — they’re white supremacists who will stop at nothing until time is turned back so they can be in control. As Rowan insists that he’s in danger, Tom pulls him in for a (very sexy) angry kiss, throwing Rowan entirely off balance. When he leaves, it’s revealed that Tom used a thin layer of face serum on his lips. He now has Rowan’s DNA and unlocks the phone just in time, saving Barclay.
Lino sadly throws olives into empty glasses as Isaac arrives. He confides that when he beat his opponent in fencing, he knew what he would do next. His mother had the same mysterious ability right before she disappeared, and Lino is scared something will happen to him too.
You Can’t Win Them All
It seems as if Tom has pulled off all of his assigned tasks, until Susannah informs him she won’t be investing in Swift Enterprises anymore. When he left Claire to give the closing remarks and save Barclay, Susannah saw a man who wasn’t invested in his own company. She believes he’ll never be able to do what she did with her parents’ company. As she leaves, Lorraine watches, disappointed. She dresses him down, but he won’t tell her that Barton is still alive to protect her from The Road Back. He gives an Oscar-worthy performance as he cries about his guilt over building the ship that “killed” his father. It works, with Lorraine comforting him.
Isaac asks Lorraine about Lino’s mother, but she coldly says, “We don’t talk about my sister.” Going behind her back, Isaac starts looking for her as Lorraine looks at a family photo. Claire arrives with highlights from the gala, and Lorraine confides she is worried about Tom’s ability to lead the company. Using the gel, Claire manipulates Lorraine into signing documents giving her control over Tom’s discretionary spending.
Not Safe for Work
Back in Tom’s workshop, Justin waits in his underwear, holding champagne while draped over Tom’s motorcycle. He opens with, “Who needs glasses when we have mouths?” before they have sex ON THE MOTORCYCLE in a scene that surely went through at least six reviews with Standards and Practices before it was cleared to air. That extremely hot moment fades into a foreboding moment between Rowan and Eskol as the former assures the congressman that while they lost Barclay, he found another way in.
Tom Swift airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. You can find the rest of our coverage of the series here!