This Roswell, New Mexico review contains spoilers.
Roswell, New Mexico Episode 12 Review
Roswell gifted us with yet another road trip episode. But more than that, Creep is densely packed with emotional beats for our core group of characters. Isobel handles the fallout of being fundamentally violated by her husband, Michael finds out he was loved and finds a cause to fight for, Alex tells the truth about his family and his feelings, Liz comes around from her vengeful bloodlust, Cam makes her exit, and Max loses his way.
This episode belongs to Isobel and Michael, each on their own emotionally intense journey. It’s good to see Isobel finally starting to unpack what it means to just be herself, and what it means that someone she loved hurt her in such a fundamental way. Liz is right: she’s allowed to grieve the person she thought he was, and Isobel’s needs are really the only thing that matter right now. I hope we’ll see more of her opening up to others like Liz or even Maria as she slowly gets to know herself, away from her abuser and all of that need to hide herself.
We met another one of Alex’s brothers, played by indigenous actor Kiowa Gordon, and I’ve never been more keen to meet Mama Manes! It appears that not all of the Manes men are made of melba toast. Unfortunately, Flint Manes has bought in to the whole “aliens want to commit genocide” thing – or at least his father has enough dirt on him to make him pretend.
Michael somehow had the happiest and most devastating arc in this episode. Meeting his mother and reverting back to the little boy who fell from the sky, he looked truly happy for the first time. I can’t wait to see what it will do to his character that he finally knows he was always loved, something he learned from seeing his family in captivity and tortured for decades. Michael has always kept the world at an arm’s length, but I have a feeling he will be all in.
And then there’s Malex. I was unprepared for this scene. I’m so glad that the writing is supporting the supernova of chemistry that we can all feel, and simply acknowledging that these two obviously go beyond “do you like me?” They jumped straight to being family. It was simply understood that Alex saying, “I don’t look away,” was him telling Michael he loved him. Alex stepped up to the plate and was honest about how he felt, and wouldn’t let Michael get away with lying, either. Who knows what happens next, but the connection between these two is cosmic and it’s obviously not going anywhere, regardless of whatever else happens.
All this background info from Noah was helpful, and if for no reason other than that, I expect him to live. Until we find a journal or some other aliens who last longer than an episode, Noah will somehow stay alive to offer nuggets of backstory. I’m guessing the kids are royals like they were in the original series, and he wants the bounty or reward or whatever for “keeping them alive”/mentally terrorizing at least one of them.
Cam’s exit makes a certain sense – this cast is great but large, and most episodes need to cut half the group out to make any real kind of headway, narratively. That said, it’s still disappointing that she lost her job to protect Max, the dude who is actually an alien and who was still kinda crummy to her about their relationship, even if they both claimed he was honest. We all know he only asked her to try a real relationship (and then abandoned it) in reaction to Liz, and that stinks. I’m also curious how the military conspiracy plot will continue if we keep running out of players for that side of the conflict. Perhaps more Manes men will keep appearing.
One aspect that I hope to see further explored is Liz’s emotional journey. I completely understand why her presence needed to be minimal in this episode to make room for everything else, but when the killer was Isobel, she wanted her to die – what changed? Has the handprint had any other affects on her beyond making her able to feel Noah’s fear? Will she ever be able to tell her father a version of the truth? I hope she and Kyle do get to go to Rosa’s grave together.
Several times in this episode, Max’s actions concerned me. First, he tried to tell Isobel what to do with Noah in the cave. Then, he tried to stop her from seeing him. There was something in the way he got upset about Noah marking Liz that made it seem like it was more about Noah infringing on his territory than about whether Liz was okay. It’s concerning that Liz couldn’t tell Max about a huge issue in her life because she was afraid it would make him angry. And then he pulled a gun on Michael. Admittedly, punching Max wasn’t great, but the gun is an extreme escalation. Max doesn’t get to make the decisions for everyone, and Michael didn’t know that letting Noah die was Isobel’s decision. Max has long tried to control everyone he cares about, but regardless of his good intentions, that control looks like overreaching possessiveness of Isobel and Liz and violence toward Michael, and that’s not okay.
I’m trusting in everything that Roswell has done right so far that this is intentional story work, not another show asking us to buy a romantic lead’s disturbing behavior as heroic and romantic. I’m counting on showrunner Carina Adly MacKenzie’s thoughtful handling of immigration, grief, dementia, addiction, and queerness that Roswell knows Max is a work in progress, not an ideal, and one that is failing the people he loves right now. I’m hoping Max was presented to us as flawed from the start as a reason, and that his short fuse and possessive tendencies are building to a larger conflict that will hinge on exactly those issues. It might be his pulling a gun on Michael, but I have a feeling it’s going to be something bigger with more spectacle, involving more of the cast, or at least Liz and possibly an audience.
Roswell has turned so much upside down in its short time on our screens, and I’m hoping that we’ll have the opportunity to see Max Evans learn that certain cowboy tropes are deeply harmful. I’m especially hoping that it will tie into Max learning that Noah was wrong – that chaos and power are not the right way to go, and that healing people isn’t unnatural. Max wants so badly to be a leader, but as Kyle Valenti hinted at earlier in the season, he does that best when he does it quietly and by respecting others, rather than by asserting his will over others. You’ve got this, Roswell. It’s been a great twelve episodes, better and more surprising than any of us could have imagined. Bring it on home.
It’s good to see Liz back at the Crashdown and to hear Matchbox 20 on the radio
“You do run hot, Guerin.”
I kinda love that Guerin is still pissed on Alex’s behalf about how Kyle used to treat him.
Max’s tattoo is a map!
“You used me like a sock puppet to prey on a lost teenage girl.” “Rosa wasn’t prey.” Noah is terrifying.
It seems “N38” caused the deceased Sheriff Valenti to get his tumor.
Kyle calls Caulfield “Guantanamo for innocent people,” and I think we may have to have a chat about due process with Kyle.