This Roswell, New Mexico review contains spoilers.
Roswell, New Mexico Episode 5 Review
Roswell did not come to play.
In “Don’t Speak,” we learned who really killed Rosa Ortecho and went deep on the alien conspiracy, with Grant Green revealing that he has video evidence of aliens and that he’s paid to spread gobbledygook. Adding Wyatt Long to the mystery keeps things helpfully tight for this already-large ensemble cast. His role attacking Liz and killing Green solidifies that all the town bigots also hate aliens and go to disturbing lengths to carry out their mission, cementing the parallels between aliens and marginalized humans.
Alex found two of Valenti senior’s secrets, but I’m most intrigued to see what he does with the alien glasslike metal. Will he tell Kyle? Or Michael, who has pieces of his own? Perhaps he’ll stumble across Michaels. Finally, Papa Valenti wasn’t sleeping with Rosa – he was secretly her dad. It’s devastating to think about how he was never able to publicly show affection or mourn her death. Still, that detox bunker was pretty creepy. Does Arturo know the truth? How did Rosa find out? And how long until their mother crops up?
It turns out that Isobel killed Rosa Ortecho and the other two girls, which is the real reason for the blackouts we just now learned about. For the first time, Isobel feels like a fully realized character instead of a thinly drawn archetype, imported from some other story.
Noah’s assumption that Isobel was hiding booze in all those bottles of nail polish remover was gutting. It makes more sense than anything else, considering everything he doesn’t know, but it’s still tough to see him in such oblivious pain. Meanwhile, Isobel felt compelled to keep her secret, even knowing that Max has told Liz. When she finds out Kyle knows, she’s going to lose it. But to be honest, she could have told Noah if she wanted to. There’s something else holding her back.
She doesn’t know if her husband really loves her, because she doesn’t even know who she is. That’s true, but another scary truth is that she doesn’t know if he really loves her because he doesn’t know the whole truth, because it’s too dangerous and she’s afraid. This concept would reinforce the narrative around Alex’s father and Kyle abusing and bullying Alex (respectively) for who he is, and the dangers of being who you are and telling certain truths.
Liz has some serious Veronica Mars vibe with her investigation this week, starting with the image of her listening to the recording from the night her sister died, in headphones while walking the halls of the hospital. Completely ignoring Kyle’s whole “let’s put sleuthing off for today,” because Veronica always put solving the case ahead of any relationship. It’s interesting to me that both Kyle and Liz lied and did more investigating solo. They both had good reasons, but it’s a reminder that teams are far from settled and loyal in Roswell. Liz closes out her badass sleuth performance by boldly investigating Clark Green, handling Wyatt Long’s attack, and rescuing herself before Max showed up.
Michael had a particularly good week, making much of relatively little screen time. He was surprisingly insightful when comforting Isobel, saying, “maybe it’s time we all tell the truth to the people we love.” Honestly, for a second when Isobel pressed him about secrets, I thought he might come out to her. The weight of that moment between them felt like it was about more than Isobel’s truth, already a weighty thing.
Kyle remains one of the most compelling people on the show, which I credit in part to his position at the crux of everything (think about it – he’s the most connected to everyone else on the show, other than Liz), but also largely due to Michael Trevino’s performance. But the more the script leans on the idea that he used to be a jerk jock the more dissonance I feel with his character. I still can’t quite put my finger on what feels off about this characterization – perhaps because he seems genuinely good for Liz? Or because he’s not really in any of the flashbacks, so it’s hard to envision him as different than he currently is? The script still includes some jerk moves from Kyle, like how he keeps complimenting other guys in such a way that suggests we’re meant to be impressed by him, or the fact that Alex had to explain to Kyle why he bullied Alex, and then Alex had to make Kyle feel better about that fact.
I was glad to see Alex paired with someone other than Michael – romance is great, but Michael gets other narrative purposes and so should Alex. This episode afforded some much-needed clarity about Alex being out and his father’s hatred and abuse: it seems we’ve found our villain. Alex’s perspective on his father and Kyle’s advanced both of their stories and felt genuinely fraught in the way that family friendships from childhood, tested as teens and revisited as adults, so often do.
It was great to see two Latinx women scientists in this episode, another example of Roswell subtly pushing back on stereotypes and assumptions, much like the continued use of un-subtitled Spanish. Less great is the deeply concerning fact that Max sees Liz moving away after high school (to go to college) as “abandoning” him.
A few other details from this episode that seem important: when we first saw Isobel in the dessert in the cold open, the camera pulled out to show a crop-circle like design in the sand, similar to the title card and the tattoo on Max’s shoulder blade. I’m hoping we’ll learn more about Max’s rules – don’t be extraordinary certainly sounds safe but sad. Alex’s mom is gone, meaning no one on the show has two parents alive and present. And where are Max and Isobel’s adoptive parents, who were a big part of the original show? It also seems that Max can mentally call out to Isobel in a way that Michael cannot; I wonder what other powers they might reveal.