Resident Alien’s ET Infant Makes a Case for Baby Yoda Status
Alan Tudyk and Terry O'Quinn shine in a weirdly wholesome Resident Alien two-hander.
The following contains spoilers for Resident Alien.
Though Resident Alien introduced an alien baby earlier this spring before the series went on its midseason hiatus and dropped an even bigger twist several episodes ago by revealing the child is Harry’s literal offspring (thanks, time travel!), neither our titular alien nor the show he stars in has wanted to look too closely at what that truly means.
We had a whole episode about parenthood that focused on virtually every character but Harry, and he honestly hasn’t seemed to care all that much about the fact that his child has literally been kidnapped by a team of black ops government soldiers. In fact, he’s generally been much more concerned about the missing portion of the message his future self entrusted to the alien baby than about the specifics of its existence or well-being. (Typing that out, I am reminded once more about how truly wild this show sounds when you try to explain it.)
Thankfully, “Best of Enemies” changes all that, finally forcing Harry to confront fatherhood head-on, with a little help from an extremely unlikely source: The Alien Tracker. (We all knew Harry didn’t really kill him last week, yeah?) What begins as a hostage situation slowly evolves into a begrudging sort of bond as they join forces to lie their way onto a secret military base, release all the government’s alien prisoners, and steal information about the Grays.
Terry O’Quinn has done a wonderful job infusing his weirdo alien hunter with real pathos during his brief appearances to date, grounding his quest to prove the existence of extraterrestrials with his need to find the son that was stolen from him. (Though, admittedly, I wish the show had taken a bit more time to really dig into the trauma that must have been being occasionally body snatched to visit your stolen son every few years because, whew.) Perhaps only a parent who lost their child was ever going to show Harry the value in fighting for the offspring he was initially so willing to give up, but it makes in the same bizarrely perfect way that so much of this show does.
What’s especially lovely is that Resident Alien doesn’t pick a side about where Harry’s sudden rush of paternal emotion comes from—is it simply instinct? A natural desire to protect anything small and (seemingly) vulnerable? A reaction to being called “Daddy” for the first time? Or is it because his life in Patience has not only made Harry more human, it has taught him that he is not only capable of loving something beyond himself for its own sake but that there is real value in doing so, outside of whatever secret information front he future the child might be carrying in its tiny alien brain.
It’s likely a mix of some or all of these factors, but that doesn’t make it any less moving or satisfying to watch play out onscreen. (And, look, you all may be made of stone, but I would buy a tiny plushie of that alien baby right now. The cuteness!)
Honestly, I doubt any of us are terribly surprised that Harry has decided to claim and raise his alien offspring. In fact, it’s probably what most of us assumed would happen when the creature hatched earlier this season. What is, surprising, however, is that Harry doesn’t come home from rescuing his offspring with just one child, but two. Because it turns out that the Alien Tracker’s son Robert is somehow also a prisoner at this facility, and when Peter is fatally wounded by a bullet meant for him (all before seemingly ever learning his name!!), he begs Harry to save his child too. And thus, perhaps the strangest little weirdo family on TV, is born, as Harry, Robert, and the as-yet-unnamed-alien baby flee the wreckage of General McAllister’s compound and head back toward a life in Patience that’s now going to look very different than it once did.
Admittedly, it’s mildly irritating that Resident Alien saved the Alien Tracker in last week’s episode only to officially kill him off (albeit in a much more meaningful way) in this one. O’Quinn and series star Alad Tudyk had delightful chemistry together and their characters’ weirdly begrudging respect for one another offered Harry the chance to build a very different kind of friendship than the one he has with Asta. (Or would have, if Peter had survived.) Plus, the badass Alien Tracker morphing into Harry’s go-to resource for heartfelt Dad advice could have been really fun.
At any rate, “Best of Enemies” certainly implies that no matter what he’s said in the past, Harry is ready to raise his alien offspring and help Robert find his footing in the human world it appears he only just returned to. (If it’s true that he was still regularly being visited by his parents on the alien ship until Harry removed Peter’s neck implant.) How he’ll ultimately fare as a father, as well as what was in the rest of the message Goliath sent, are questions only future episodes can answer, but it seems as though this episode marks a significant turning point in how Harry views both the world around him and his role in it.
“Love is like air,” Harry intones via voiceover at the end of the hour. “Even if you cannot see it, you have to know it is there.” But the thing is….it’s not clear that Harry did know that, not really. Until right now.