This Roswell review contains spoilers.
Roswell Season 2 Episode 8
Roswell finally confronts its Rosa problem, Alex gets tripped up by his internalized homophobia, and Maria continues her search for answers about her abilities, with Isobel’s help and to Michael’s chagrin. Meanwhile, the search for Jenna Cameron introduced us to her sister Charlie, got Liz thinking about her scientific future, and saw Max testing the limits of what’s reasonably safe.
Rescuing Cam was weirdly intense but brought us Charlie, played by the excellent Jamie Clayton, AKA Tess on The L Word: Generation Q and Nomi on Sense8. This storyline took up a lot of screen time to bring back Jenna Cameron, introduce an entirely new shadowy organization, and set up Charlie and Max being taken the same way Cam was.
All of that feels important and worthy of valuable minutes, but it didn’t play that way in the moment. Roswell is such a character-driven show now that we don’t particularly need to inject danger into episodes like this. The best parts were the character moments like Liz and Charlie’s talk as women of extraordinary science, while the intrigue of Jesse Manes and yet another dangerous organization feels like it was treading water until the end of the episode.
Charlie and Liz’s conversation was nominally about whether Max, the diner, and life as a normie in Roswell is too boring for Liz, but she seemed to have a radically different takeaway. Instead, Liz pivoted around Charlie’s idea of “I’ve done extraordinary things. Everything ordinary is ruined now,” and revisited the scientific prospects of studying the Pod Squad. Guerin is understandably freaked out about the idea of being experimented on like his mother was, and the exposure that could come from it. Liz seems to have missed Charlie’s memo about how a scientist’s intentions don’t matter if others can exploit her work for evil. Either way, it’s rich territory that I hope Roswell will continue to explore.
Over in hot tension-land, Forrest and Alex went on a first date straight out of 10 Things I Hate About You. While Malex have chemistry that burns with the energy of a thousand suns, Alex clearly has a personal journey of acceptance and exploration to go on. Having Forrest around for some of that – and explicitly telling Alex “thanks but no thanks, you’ve gotta work that out on your own” – is some great role modeling of boundaries and emotional maturity for the baby gays in the audience, and everyone else. It doesn’t hurt that Forrest considered that the date might trigger Alex’s PTSD and is only interested in enthusiastic consent. We stan a considerate BAE.
Alex’s internalized homophobia runs deep and is clearly his first instinct, after a lifetime of being raised by an abusive bigot and then shipped off to an institution that’s still steeped in homophobia and toxic masculinity. Alex’s rejection of Planet 7 as a venue was a defensive reflex – why be spotted in The Gay Bar if you can help it?
He’s so close to realizing how wrong that is when he talks about his fear of being affectionate with Forrest at the Pony when there are so many cowboys around. Too bad there’s no safe space where you can do that without fear, huh Alex? I’m hoping this is setting Alex up for a cathartic homecoming at Planet 7 as he starts accepting himself more fully, possibly with Isobel or Maria.
One other standout moment regarding Alex: Forrest had no idea that Alex has one leg amputated below the knee. Part of that is television making it far easier than real life to forget the realities of life as an amputee. But it also feels like Roswell is headed for a greater sense of overall self-acceptance with Alex, including his disability, not just his queerness.
After all, we know that all forms of oppression are linked, and disabled LGBTQ folks face greater barriers than people who are part of just one of those groups. (Might we ever discuss that the Manes boys are all clearly indigenous, as are the actors that portray them?) Here’s hoping that Alex gets some crip theory in there too once he starts queering things.
Rosa – or should I say, Rosalinda – took some tentative first steps toward being out in the world, albeit as a different person, one who hasn’t died in a “car accident.” It’s unclear to me why Rosa couldn’t simply shave in the sides of her hair, get some streaks and a piercing, dress in a way that’s different but still ultimately her, and call it a day. More confusing was Rosa’s rare moment of happiness with a fellow artsy type, Iris. Apparently she dreamed it all? Did she not spit out the drugs after all?
Fans are interpreting this one in a variety of ways, so I’m not alone in my confusion. Iris calling her Rosa instead of Rosalinda and basically referencing aliens raised my suspicions about her intentions, then the coughing fit coupled with so much discussion of the paralytic flower pollen made it seem like Iris suspected Rosa was an alien or otherwise knew she had enough of their DNA to cause trouble. Instead it’s just a sad dream and a confusing storyline.
Why spend so much time on something that’s ultimately for nothing? On a show that’s feeling overstuffed, it’s a damn shame. It would’ve been better if the reveal that Rosa was dreaming had been more clear, and if she hadn’t been so starved for friendship and happiness for so long. Taking her one moment of happiness away just seems so cruel. On the upside, Rosa will finally be getting the help she wants and needs in rehab. Hopefully when she returns, the writers will have a better idea of what to do with her.
Maria DeLuca continues to explore her own power and that’s an excellent thing. But can Kyle Valenti get a bit more specific about the rules of when her powers melt her brain? Did those card tricks in the bar cost her part of her hippocampus?
Seeing Isobel and Liz hanging out with Rosa, listening to Hole, was such a great small moment.
I feel EXTREMELY vindicated that Sanders turns out to not only be important to Guerin, but to be Walt, the small child who knew his mother. The kid didn’t burn to death after all! (Phew, that was brutal, y’all.) Sanders was always looking out for him! He probs knows Guerin’s an alien!
All hail the return of the “Taylor Swift is president” joke. Can that be the Roswell equivalent of “Six Season and a Movie”? As in, keep making the show until Taylor Swift is president!