Roswell, New Mexico Episode 4 Review: Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

Liz learns more about Rosa's final days while Max contemplates the virtues of being a hero on Roswell, NM

This Roswell, New Mexico review contains spoilers.

Roswell, New Mexico Episode 4 Review

So far the very human mystery of Rosa is outweighing the supernatural mysteries of Roswell, New Mexico, as it’s far more captivating. It doesn’t help that most of what we keep learning about the alien involvement is a repetition of vague phrases about keeping secrets. Frederico served up the go bag intel, which explains some of Rosa’s strange behavior but poses more questions than it answers. Another tidbit from Frederico makes it clear that Rosa was trying to stay sober in the time leading up to her death, information that Liz didn’t seem to register quite yet.

As much as Liz feels like she didn’t know Rosa, perhaps it was more the other way around. Rosa didn’t believe her goody-goody sister had the guts to go out and live an adventurous life away from Roswell. But she also had no clue that her sister was having sex, so perhaps whatever was going on in Rosa’s life was distracting her more than she realized.

I’m sure there’s more to the former Sheriff Valenti and Rosa than we know just yet, although Liz declaring they had an affair and then retracting it almost immediately after the commercial break felt pretty manipulative on the part of the writers. Liz and Kyle’s hookup is cute, but it feels a bit like the showrunner trying to prove the point that adult characters improve the show, by speaking almost directly through them. Sex is certainly less taboo among a group of characters in their late 20s, and Roswell hasn’t been shy with its implied handjob that it even had the guts to call out. Still, it all feels rather quaint compared to Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries or even Riverdale.

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Michael was barely in this episode and largely relegated to the background when he was, so it’s a bit of a surprise that he ends up having the big cliffhanger at the end. Michael’s plan to confess to murdering Rosa and the other girls sounds like it might fool someone like Manes, but not methodical Liz, and yes, it does feel like he’s planning subterfuge more than a confession. Something to the way he slowly came around to saying it’s his fault and the careful way it was worded makes it feel like there’s still plenty of wiggle room for him to have had a role without actually being a murderous villain.

An earlier bright spot for Michael was the chance to see the fire between Deluca and Guerrin. It’s reminiscent of how the original show portrayed them, and as much as I love the Alex/Michael dynamic, it makes me miss the idea of a Maria/Michael pairing just a wee bit. That said, it’s possible that Michael is bi or pan and finds himself hooking up with both friends, since Maria doesn’t know the identity of Alex’s mystery guy and the town seems to think he’s straight.

Isobel seems strangely obsessed with Maria’s dislike of her, almost unreasonably so. She’s been shown to be a bit of a type-A control freak, but diving into Maria’s mind still feels rather contrived. It doesn’t help that the concept of “practicing” mind control at the Wild Pony felt a bit shaky to begin with. It gets us to the revelation that Rosa disliked Isobel and was avoiding her on her last day alive, which is more intriguing because of how bent out of shape Isobel gets, which at least feels in this instance like it’s driven by information that Isobel has and we don’t.

Another upside to this adventure to the Wild Pony is that it lets us get to know Maria a bit better. Her spot-on psychic read of Isobel only makes me more certain that she actually does have powers of some kind. I hadn’t yet considered how the Martian trio might feel about procreation, but it makes sense that it would cause concern. They have no idea what affect it would have to mix their DNA with ours, and exposure to the health care system only presents more opportunities to be exposed and studied under glass, particularly for the mother.

Sgt Manes is still skulking around looking for a proper toehold in this story since Kyle denied him. Since Cameron, who is apparently former military and relatively new in town (compared to all the lifers) needs something to do when she’s not with Max, this pairing kills two birds with one stone. She’s clearly putting the pieces together about Max, but I’m hoping someone who we’ve only ever seen do her job well and uphold the law doesn’t suddenly decide to help Manes without sufficient cause. I’m sure we’ll learn more about her friend Charlie, but it would have to be pretty big to justify breaking the law and spying on her boss.

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The wackadoo conspiract theorist podcaster/entrepreneur is a fun touch, and I’m sort of hoping he sticks around and that we get to meet other wacky, inconsequential townsfolk, a la Twin Peaks, Riverdale, or Gilmore Girls.

Roswell is basically a throwback factory, packing the diner menu with things like the Men in Black Out special and Maria’s excellent use of Regina George. The shout-out to Usher hosting SNL with the Sara Bareillis hit playing was mostly a disturbing reminder that references are old enough to belong in a 10-year flashback. The political references fare a bit better this episode, with Max’s line about tossing paper towels to help people , Liz afraid to call 911 to help her undocumented dad, and Kyle finding sly ways to help him out and keep his care out of the hands of ICE. I so enjoy that they have unsubtitled Spanish on this show, and Kyle understanding but responding in English feels right for his character.

The writing for Max is currently the most melodramatic aspect of this show. He wears the reluctant hero bit well around Cameron and Kyle, but Max showing up all weepy to Liz’s place because she’s not saving herself for him is pretty over the top. It’s a bit odd that Max and Liz are going back and forth between the topics of “is he a murderer?” and “does she like him like him”. Plenty of shows and movies play with that kind of confusion and emotional whiplash, but usually as subtext, not spoken out loud. Max, Isobel is right: get ahold of yourself man. Oh and maybe stop gaslighting Liz, who is totally right about you lying to her.

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Rating:

3 out of 5