This Roswell, New Mexico review contains spoilers.
Roswell, New Mexico Episode 9 Review
Shiri Appleby, our original Liz from Roswell, directed an absolute banger of an episode that smartly drew down the cast to a more manageable size, divided into two major teams. I was nervous about Isobel’s absence, but with it only lasting one episode, it turns out to be an excellent way to carve out the necessary screen time for this top-notch episode that had everything we could possibly ask for in an hour of Roswell: alien mythos, government conspiracy, alien conspiracy, some of the best friendship pairings of the show, and some of the best (and most complicated) romantic moments we’ve seen thus far.
With their road trip episode, Roswell side-stepped some of the usual traps that far too many narratives fall into. Instead, the show makes a different choice that results in a far more interesting and character-driven story.
The first was Cam’s decision to go to Alex instead of Sgt manes with her suspicions. Needlessly keeping secrets for an extended period of time is a cheap, trying (and frankly, unrealistic) ploy that quickly wears on the nerves. Instead, with its 13-episode economy of storytelling, Roswell is doing something much more interesting. Cam goes to Alex, gets brought into the secret, and kicks off a new direction for Alex. This choice is in keeping with what we know of Cam’s character so far, someone who’s in a tight spot but ultimately doing the right thing. It also plays with the fact that while a lot of people in Roswell know about aliens, they don’t all work together, and they don’t all agree with one another.
Having Cam turn on one Manes and support another gives her credit – credit for being smart enough to know how to get out of a bad deal, for being a good enough person not to simply go along with whatever the sergeant told her to do, and credit for being a character worth keeping in this story, since this move brings her closer to the central action. Roswell is showing us that it trusts its ability to tell a story that’s enough that it doesn’t need to artificially stretch out moments by creating “drama” that only exists because everyone is in the dark.
The one secret that has lasted far too long – Noah being in the dark about Isobel – finally came to an end tonight. It’s unclear what he’ll do next, but he doesn’t seem upset with Max or interested in anything malicious. Could it be that Isobel picked a great guy, one who has been deserving of her trust this entire time?
Speaking of great guys, Max and Liz finally get together! This felt earned and truly worth the wait. For teens, the idea of a whirlwind romance that comes from nowhere and turns your life upside down sort of makes sense, but for adults it beggars the belief. Instead, Liz was rational until she couldn’t be any more. It actually feels like Liz worked through the parts of her anger over Rosa’s death that she once laid at Max’s feet. I’m glad she pointed out that she’s a totally different person than she was ten years ago, and that he had the chance to prove he’s in love with who she is now, to the tune of a cover of Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls.
Kyle had an interesting role in this episode. Mostly he was a bit of a funny idiot, with Cam perfectly dressing him down. But I’m enjoying his evolving friendship with Alex, which Kyle seems determined to earn back. It’s not surprising that it didn’t take Kyle long to figure out that “angry cowboy” is Alex’s type, once he let go of his Max Evans obsession. That said, I’m not sure I buy Kyle’s “they’re kids we grew up with, therefore they can’t be terrorists” schtick. Sadly, I think we’ve all learned that the kids next door are capable of devastating things, even if these particular kids aren’t.
Kyle also served to introduce a recurring theme, that, “not saving someone isn’t the same as killing someone.” He learned it as a doctor, but it also applied to Liz and the serum for Isobel and Max’s decision not to heal people. Arizona was an interesting character, and it was good to see that even in this context Roswell tries to rankle the status quo by having her position her actions as justified. She also forced Max to finally address the fact that he doesn’t help more people, even if she didn’t know it, a topic the teen version of Max on the original show was more courage about.
Alright, Michael and Alex. Hooboy. I can’t decide of Guerin intentionally took Maria’s necklace out of his boot in front of Alex or not. Either way, I’m proud of Alex for saying what he wanted to say, professing his love and asserting Michael’s, too. Again, Roswell could have let this relationship stagnate in furtive looks and wordless hookups – ships have been launched on far less than this. But instead, we got the heart-wrenching honesty of Alex acknowledging the power of their love while marveling at how little they know one another, and how much he wants to know Guerin.
It’s all at once both a beautiful moment and a painful one. We know Guerin may well succumb to his insecurities and brush Alex off. We know he just slept with Maria and it certainly seemed like he expected to again. But instead we realize the truth is much harder for Michael: he knows that Alex knows, and he’s afraid that the only reason Alex is saying all of these things that should be wonderful, is that Alex is investigating Michael. And of course, we know he is – but we also know this is the purest love on the show, beyond Liz’s love for her deceased sister. They certainly packed a lot of emotion into a short interaction, as these writers and actors always do for Michael and Alex.
Does anyone actually conduct these medical examinations under the name of Jane Holden, ME, or is it just Manes with a stethoscope? Who is the fourth, dangerous, alien, and when did they arrive? What happened to Jim Valenti and why did Sgt Manes cover it up?
“That sex was epic” really Michael? You’ve had so many better lines than this
I was so hoping for a pro-Lewinsky take from Maria DeLuca
It’s confirmed – Alex’s crutch is gone now. Link me in the comments if you find any people with disabilities giving their thoughts on this, I would love to read them!
Shout out to “thoughts and prayers”!
Cam thinking Max was a wizard is one of the greatest gifts this show has ever given us
“Maria DeLuca is her own savior. Every damn time”
Nothing is more perfect than Maria in velour singing You Learn by Alanis.
More happy Max Evans please – seeing him dancing and singing was so great!
I love the call-out of the Alamo room and mass carnage.
“I shouldn’t have let myself become a hoping kind of person” Max you’re killing me
“I’m basically a coyote, DeLuca”