The teen drama can’t get out of the way of the plot in “Bad Romance”, leading to another frustrating episode.
This recap of National Treasure: Edge of History Season 1 Episode 5, “Bad Romance”, contains spoilers.
Did you know that on every equinox, the late afternoon sun casts a shadow down the northern staircase of the Temple of Kukulcán at Chichen Itza that looks like the silhouette of the feathered serpent God creeping down to the underworld? This is the kind of fascinating fact that shows like National Treasure: Edge of History throw around for fun — in fact, it’s only brought up by Billie‘s so-called “expert”, Dario, so that she can prove his theory wrong. But it’s all part of the fun. For all its insufferable Gen Z posturing, bad puzzle design, and angsty teen drama, this is a story built on the foundations of genuinely interesting history and culture.
National Treasure: Edge of History Season 1 Episode 5 Recap
Billie, for what it’s worth, still thinks the mystery of Mesoamerica’s lost treasures is related to Malinche, so goes out of her way to acquire her missing, presumed-theoretical codex from a black market auctioneer in exchange for Caligula‘s missing mosaic (a real artifact that may or may not have ended up as a Manhattan coffee table.) But you’ll recall that in National Treasure: Edge of History Season 1 Episode 4, Jess, with the help of a cameoing Riley Poole, had figured out that Elvis’s riddle instead referred to Sacagawea, the woman who helped the Lewis and Clark Expedition. She needs to head to the governor’s mansion in Louisiana with Liam, who might be a traitor, to look through Meriwether Lewis’s journal dedicated to his Newfoundland dog, Seaman.
Because Liam might be a traitor — Tasha is adamant he is, and Ethan predictably agrees, but Jess remains unconvinced — Jess goes to the governor’s mansion with Ethan. When they get there, though, Liam is already there, asking about the journal, which apparently isn’t kept on display full-time but will be wheeled out for the next day’s $500-a-head fundraising ball for the governor’s re-election campaign. It’s obviously designed to price out the plebs, but Liam can afford it, mysteriously. Luckily Tasha phishes him and discovers that someone deposited $50,000 into his account all of a sudden.
Jess can’t keep this information to herself, so confronts Liam about it at work, and he’s offended. Almost immediately afterward, Jess and Tasha discover — in an incredibly contrived sequence, one has to admit — that there isn’t a mole at all. Instead, Billie was getting her information in a bug in the pair of Jordans that Oren acquired from Billie when he was briefly kidnapped, and he was wearing them when they revealed the Elvis clue to him. This explains why Billie is still focusing on Malinche when Jess and Liam have moved onto Sacagawea — she isn’t aware of the latest developments, which, if Liam was the mole, he would have told her about. And she turns out to be wasting her time with Malinche anyway, since when she takes the codex — really one of Hernán Cortés‘s journals that she contributed a couple of pages to after secretly teaching herself to read and write — one of the professors in Mexico who Jess spoke to on the phone reveals it to be a fake.
This setback lasts roughly five minutes until Billie figures out a) that Jess is the daughter of famed and presumed-dead treasure hunter Rafael Rios — she sees the Daughters of the Plumed Serpent medallion she’s wearing in the background of Oren’s sneaker unboxing video — and b) that Jess and Liam are going to the governor’s mansion in Lousiana to look through Meriwether’s dog journal. She’s tipped off to this by her surveillance mentioning that they left Sadusky’s place in a tuxedo, and one Google search reveals the only black-tie event in the area. I hate stuff like this. If Billie’s powers of deductive reasoning are so profound she could have just waited until the kids left the house in the first place and not bothered wasting the private jet fuel — and Caligula’s mosaic! — traveling to Mexico and back.
Oh, and Liam and Jess are fine now. She apologizes to him for her paranoia and blames it on being racially profiled as a kid, which is at least on-brand.
For reasons it’s probably best not to get into, all of the kids end up going to the Governor’s Ball. And for reasons that it’s also probably not worth going into — a dance number to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” — Liam and Meena both end up sulking with Jess and Ethan. Meena saw the way Ethan looked at Jess and points out, quite rightly, that he needs to figure out what he really wants before he commits to her, but Liam takes it way too far, steals Meriwether’s journal, and leaves Jess to take the blame for it. While Tasha and Oren cause a distraction with some “youth activism”, Jess barely makes it outside, where the only option for evading the authorities is to jump in a car with Billie. That’s where we leave things this week, probably a little dumber for the experience, truth be told.
You can stream National Treasure: Edge of History Season 1 Episode 5, “Bad Romance”, exclusively on Disney+.