Roswell Season 2 Episode 9 Review: The Diner

One of Roswell’s best episodes unravels the history of the aliens’ mothers in a series of interconnected stories.

Roswell Season 2 Episode 9 "The Diner"
Photo: The CW

This Roswell review contains spoilers.

Roswell: Season 2 Episode 9

Roswell follows up the revelations from the previous episode with a series of separate but interlocking stories, reminiscent of some of the CW’s best offerings over the years, like the format-breaking creativity seen on Dawson’s Creek or Veronica Mars.

Each vignette carries with it a couple of hooks to one or two other stories, to be picked up after the ad break or even recontextualizing what we already knew. It makes for fun viewing that mirrors the overall discovery process that the pod squad is going through this season as they seek out the truth about their parents, or even Liz’s scientific method or the process of getting to know someone knew or getting better acquainted with oneself.

Some leads turn out to be dead ends, new information can be surprising, the process is never quite as linear as we expect, but it’s all the better for it. It doesn’t often happen, but when format reinforces story, it’s such a lovely thing to experience, even if we can’t quite put our finger on it.

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In Kyle’s story, we see him continuing to try to be better than he has been before. He tells Steph that he used to be awful to Alex who is now the person he depends on the most (my heart!) and comes clean with Steph about knowing her medical history.

Liz squeezed into this story too, with Kyle rightly calling her out for keeping her own secrets and refusing to see that she could simply stop conducting experiments that would put Max, Isobel, Michael and Rosa at risk. Obviously, Liz’s scientific explorations are valuable, but surely she can find a way to keep up the science without deceiving anyone, so they can all mitigate the danger together?

An unexpected delight was not only the new normal of Kyle and Liz’s equilibrium here, but Liz’s fun, freewheeling side with Steph, joking about how she and Kyle share a sibling and her “first date” with Max. Happy Liz is such a breath of fresh air! I didn’t know how much I had missed her.

Next, Walt Sanders brought us back to the post-’47 crash era to tell what he knew about Nora and Louise. The fact that the aliens don’t have music where they’re from – and that Louise’s desire to hear it (and really, to dance with Bronson) is what eventually brought their time to an end – is heartbreaking. Still, it was cool to see how Walt’s perspective changed what we knew. Nora has a knack for engineering and was maybe building a ship to get home, like her son. Louise is the only one who can protect the child, which seems to mean Max.

One of the best details of this episode was the way that it embedded not just the stories themselves, but the way people tell stories and the importance of being able to share those stories. The grief Isobel and Michael feel at this aching loss of connection to their parents and their home is palpable. For Michael, he doesn’t want to hear again about a Manes man massacring his family. But for Isobel, who hasn’t heard the story firsthand yet, she just wants any shred of her mother she can get. These little details make it more powerful and grounded in our present day characters than if the episode had been solely in flashback.

Finally, the stories converged on the diner, with most of Alex’s hypothetical story ending up being true (for now), with the exception that Louise is alive. Of course violent drunk Jesse Manes has bugged his own son so now he knows dangerous information. Is it too much to hope that he, like Tripp, might also have learned something from all of this?

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We learned that just like Nora once did for Walt, Tripp snuck Jesse Manes an important note. Meanwhile, Tripp had a hand in helping Arturo purchase the diner (although that feels like it gives one heavy-tipping white GI a lot of credit…) The layering of one story on top of another and the interconnectedness of the families gives a strong feeling of connection and fate, but unlike on, say, The Vampire Diaries, it doesn’t feel so WASPy and elitist. Instead, with Tripp and Alex Manes choosing another path and Max deciding to tell as much of the truth as he could, there’s a feeling of hope – even if Liz is still stealing milkshake straws for her secret experiments. 

As many questions as this answered, more remain. Whose hand was on Louise’s shoulder? Why is she the only one who can care for the child? Is Michael right that the child is Max? What happened to Louise? We’ve always assumed Max and Isobel are truly twins – is that true? Did Tripp have a relationship with Louise, and did Harlan kill him for it? Only time (and Jesse Manes’s bug) will tell.

Other notes

Did anyone else find Arturo’s reason for dipping a little suspect? I hope he has a date or is learning a cool hobby like DnD or roller derby.

I would love to read Steph’s Reddit thread about her first date, complete with comments from the whole gang.

When Bronson explained live music, Louise said, “I can’t wait to have that memory,” and if that doesn’t make your soul ache, I don’t know what to tell you.

Fascinating that Sheriff Valenti was a deputy on the pod squad case when they were found as kids.

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It turns out Kyle’s is the yellow pollen thief from last episode! He shouldn’t have lied but he was looking out for his mom, which is generally honorable.

Guerin waiting outside doing yet another epic cowboy lean saying, “you came?” and Alex replying, “you asked me to,” feels like a reversal of the dynamic Guerin named, where he comes when Alex calls.

Good to see Rosa isn’t the only one who hid things in the diner! Sanders trying to adopt Guerin twice, Guerin trying to work of the copper wire he stole, and Sanders turning out to have known all along is heartbreak city.


4.5 out of 5