This Roswell, New Mexico review contains spoilers.
Roswell, New Mexico Episode 11 Review
Roswell gave us the perfect setting for hunting our resident alien serial killer with the UFO emporium reopening gala, though it’s odd that Alex, who seemed primed to lead that charge, was missing from the episode.
The reveal that Isobel’s (not-so-)dutiful husband Noah Bracken is the fourth alien/murderer of as many as fourteen people was a decent secret, until about five minutes into this episode. I briefly hoped Isobel would come out to Noah and wear the fantastic rainbow dress, but instead he tried to control her and make her less than what she truly is. Without even knowing the whole story, that was a huge red flag. Plus, Noah lifts right out of the group, and I can’t imagine anyone legitimately believed that Our Lady of Perpetual Coolness Maria DeLuca was actually evil.
I do wish they had cut Michael’s line about how the killer could be anyone at literally any time, making it seem like there are no rules. The previous episode seemed to establish that the alien needed some kind of blackout to work his powers, and these things need bounds. Epilepsy, drunken blackout, Isobel’s memory thing, and apparently GHB. The more supernatural elements, the more these rails help keep things on track and feel earned, fair, and reasonable. In the end that turned out to be true, so Michael’s line just muddied the water a bit. And while we’re here, yes, Cam’s date rape-detecting nail polish is real. It also comes in cups and straws.
Isobel’s inability to be honest with her husband has been a concern of mine since the pilot, but this episode repositioned it not as her flaw, but his. Acceptance of her alien self is an allegory for acceptance of everything else – her trauma, her queerness, her true personality. Conditional acceptance is BS. Her powers don’t make her an easy mark. Her true self isn’t a weakness. While it turns out he said that to cover his crimes, that tracks with the way human-passing Noah treated her.
I’m hoping that soon we can close the chapter on Isobel as plot device, object to be used by others. When Noah spooked her early in the episode it might have been foreshadowing, but it was likely alluding to the fact that she’s just beginning to process the trauma of being used as an instrument of death against someone she loved and what it means for all those memories to come flooding back. I hope we get to see Isobel work through those feelings, repair her relationships with Maria and Liz, and start to discover who she is when she’s not afraid to be herself.
While I’m glad to see most of the crew working together (minus Alex and Kyle, who seem to be in on it but off-screen), the police work is still a bit shoddy. Liz manages to do more investigating than either of our two deputies. All I’m saying is that once it became clear what the hunting ground was, Veronica Mars would’ve gone to Ranchero Night or gotten a list of regulars and worked her way through at least a cursory round of questioning them all, several episodes ago.
Mr. Ortecho made a serious return in this episode. After quite some time off-screen, he cleaned out Rosa’s childhood bedroom and decided to pursue a pathway to citizenship. Who knows where Noah’s criminality leaves that particularly endeavor, but he’s one of the few 100% pure things in all of television, so I’m sure they’ll figure it out. Oddly, Mr. Ortecho is still one of the few named characters on the show who doesn’t know who aliens are.
This episode delivers on some fun comeuppance, first in the form of Max getting to let Wyatt not only sit in jail, but letting him know in no uncertain terms that he literally got away with murder. Shows about secrets so often make hay out of dramatic irony – “but if only they knew!” All that suffering gets to be a bit dissatisfying after a while. It was so much more fun for Roswell to find a way to let Max have a small moment to let someone know, in his own way, even if they didn’t totally understand what was going on.
Over in love-land territory, Liz’s funding got pulled but she’s staying anyway. Her spin on the “you make me feel safe/like I’m home” speech that every female romantic lead seems to give was more interesting, I’ll give her that. That said, Isobel’s point about how Liz left Max, specifically (and not just the town/situation), feels like a distinction without a difference, also known as some real ginned up CW melodrama. You’re better than that, Roswell.
Guerin’s leaning into DeLuca pretty hard, while she’s trying to pretend she’s not interested. So much for that. It’s cute to watch, though it feels like it’s a temporary relationship until he gets back together with his soulmate Alex so it’s a bit hard to get too invested in it as a viewer. DeLuca and Guerin are fun, but Michael and Alex are kind of earth-shattering.
Finally, Max and Michael had a bit of alone time to work on some of their stuff, which included Max finally figuring out about Michael’s feelings for Maria, whom he still calls DeLuca (last name vs first name is a bit of a thing for him). Their exchange was quite possibly the best I’ve heard in a long time, and feels like a direct shot at any hater who’s ever watched scifi and whined about representation:
“I thought you were gay!?”
“Oh we are LITERALLY aliens! And you’re gonna hold me to some outdated binary of sexuality? I’m bisexual, Max. It’s not that complicated.”
Max really messed up this entire interaction every which way but loose. I hope he takes some time to let the revelation about Michael’s hand injury sink in. Bringing up dads was also unwise, considering he had one and Michael did not. I know Max feels responsible, but the burden of watching Michael be neglected is in no way bigger than the burden of begin abandoned, abused and homeless throughout his childhood and adolescence. Yes, survivor guilt is real, but come on, Max.
So what now? Liz saved them all with science, reason, and one heckuva punch. But they likely can’t put Noah in jail. And what is that residue that rendered them powerless?
Much time was spent on Liz’s attire, but Isobel wins best dressed. First, a Canadian tuxedo. Then, that form-fitting pride-themed dress. Now that Noah’s gone, please tell me she’s getting a life makeover, a girlfriend, and an opportunity to wear that dress!
God love Max for the bold move of coming down on the side of gay-la.
“it doesn’t feel like it’s mine without being hers.” Ouch. It will never not hurt that Rosa’s gone.
They Grant Green replaced with his “identical twin brother.” Nicely lampshaded, team.
I love Roswell for joking about and then actually allowing so much lipstick to transfer to Max’s face
The image of Liz in a one-shoulder, floor-length gown with grease on her face and operating heavy machinery to save Michael and Max is so good.
“I swear I will explode anyone who comes near her with my brain.”