Roswell, New Mexico Episode 3 Review: Tearin’ Up My Heart

Liz goes on a scavenger hunt through her sister's past as Roswell, NM hits it stride

This Roswell, New Mexico review contains spoilers.

Roswell, New Mexico Episode 3 Review

Things get a little wild at the drive-in while Maria and Liz go on a treasure hunt through Rosa’s past. It’s another great way to keep Rosa front and center and tie the show back to the 90s, while offering the audience a chance to get to know Liz on screen, rather than just in voiceover or based on Max’s descriptions. Meanwhile there’s plenty of alien fun, with Mars Attacks! at the drive-in and even a Paul Ryan alien joke.

I love Liz’s scientific method framework, and I hope it’s one she returns to. The idea of her pretending to help Max but secretly trying to figure out if he killed her sister is a good construct and one that sadly seems to have been discarded after just one episode. I highly doubt that Max actually killed Rosa, but he clearly knows more than he’s letting on. Those fits of rage aren’t going anywhere any time soon, and when Liz finally sees him hulk out I doubt it’ll calm her fear. What is it about Liz that triggered this reaction?

This episode also gave us a few more interesting tidbits about how the aliens themselves work. Acetone helps with recovery and seems to kill pain – but perhaps alcohol works as well? Max ‘fessed up that they have differing abilities, but he still protects Isobel and Michael so fiercely that he accidentally hurt Liz when she asked. Isobel’s formidable abilities were finally on display, which only makes me more intrigued by what else these three might be able to do. I have a feeling Michael is capable of more than just telekinesis.

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When Isobel went into Liz’s mind, Rosa said, “why’re you being like this? I thought we were friends.” If max and his alien siblings killed Rosa, why would she call Isobel her friend? What really happened between them? When Isobel was questioning her, Liz said she can’t leave; max is keeping her here. It’s not exactly false but not the whole truth either. Liz may have looked vacant when she said it, but clearly some part of her brain was running interference. That response leaves the door open for her to either be talking about love or solving the mystery, earnest attraction or subterfuge so she can uncover her sister’s killer.

Many CW shows flirt with the supernatural and even dance between straight science fiction and more fantastical elements. With Rosa’s appearance when Isobel was trying to infiltrate Liz’s mind, it seems ghosts might be on tap for Roswell. That makes me wonder if Maria’s psychic powers might be more than just a party trick for tourists and drunk townies. An effective way that The Vampire Diaries balanced out the overwhelming power of Damon and the rest of the vampire world was giving Elena an ally in the form of her best friend Bonnie Bennet discovering that she’s a witch. Liz is clearly well armed with science, but a ghost and a psychic wouldn’t hurt, either.

Meanwhile, Alex put himself out there with Michael (again) and got nothing but grief. His father thinks Michael is an embarrassment and that, by extension, Alex is an embarrassment for being with him. It’s not all that clear if the elder Manes is embarrassed because Guerin is a lousy lay about, or because he knows/suspects his son is gay. So far, Maria and Alex have discussed his love life and orientation, but it’s still unclear if anyone else knows. Give us some clarity! I want to know precisely how mad to be at Sgt. Manes.

Kyle continues to be one of the most interesting characters on this show, if for no other reason than his connections to so many different key players. He may not be the best spy, but he knows how to sell a plausible lie to his mother when he needs to, and he knows how to negotiate with Manes. Kyle pushes back against the bigotry of his mother and Manes’s request for civil rights violations, and he even managed to get Liz Rosa’s real autopsy last episode. Unlike the original, Kyle Manuel Valenti is a man of principals, not a blowhard jerk, which makes him a viable option for Liz somewhere down the line. (Yes, the OG Kyle actually became kind of great later on but it took a while, and he never had a shot with Liz.)

Isobel has a creepy, over-involved vibe with her brother, something that has definitely carried over from the original series. Her attitude toward Liz verges on jealousy. I’m glad she got a nice moment with her husband in this episode, but it’s strange that she’s married to someone who knows so little about her. She seems to go out of her way to assimilate, whatever that even means, with her air force fundraiser and all-American vibe.

After Liz accused him of murder (as you do), Max told Liz he loved her and that he didn’t kill Rosa. He’s probably telling the truth on both counts but obviously there’s more to that story. Why was Rosa trying to keep Max away from Liz? Why hide the love letter? Whose handprint was on Rosa’s face when she died? Who covered up her death? Who really killed her? And what are they going to do about whatever is wrong with Max?

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4 out of 5