Here we’ve got an episode that follows suit to "The Toy House" and tackles the intricacies of the aliens living situations, and this time it’s just as, if not more, powerful than its predecessor. "Independence Day" sees the first major deconstruction of Michael’s character. So far we’ve seen glimpses of a more sensitive and lovable young man, but this is the first time his walls have been almost completely smashed, revealing a devastated and scared boy, desperate to find where he belongs.
Starting with Michael’s run-in with Hank, and leading up to that beautiful rain-swept scene with Maria, we see Michael disintegrate as he finally succumbs to how difficult his home life is, especially in comparison with the monopoly playing, disgustingly functional Evans family. Even if he’s not that kind of person, and let’s be honest, who is, he still resents them for having that, which is probably what spurred his hostile reaction to Mr Evans.
After feigning strength, he finally gives in and bears it all to Maria, the one person who has been struggling to pull his walls down from the start. It’s a beautiful and surprisingly poignant moment when he arrives at her window, the unspoken, sex-less night is probably the first time I really fell for them as a couple too, probably more so than Liz and Max. Even though it was disrupted by Amy DeLuca’s hilariously crazy ranting, its resonating after-effects are probably what give Maria the courage to pursue a relationship with him.
Michael’s eventual epiphany about his place in Roswell feels right at the time. He tries to leave Max and Isabel, but finally realizes just how much they need each other right now. His journey throughout this episode leads him to finally strike out on his own, and make his life better for himself. It’s a lesson that could resonate even with the best of us.
The episode cleverly ties the main story up with its side plots, like Amy’s wickedly cute affair with Sheriff Valenti, making Michael’s troubles the catalyst to bring Maria and her mother to blows, and to see that Maria’s single parent household is just as secure and love filled as Liz, Max and Isabel’s nuclear two-parent ones. There’s a strong bond between Maria and Amy, and it’s one that genuinely feels like mother and daughter, with Amy learning just as much from her daughter as her daughter does from her.
Even though it’s a heavily character based episode, Nasedo’s arrival in Roswell continues on here with that creepy as hell final scene, where we get to see him in all his shape-shifting, pill-popping glory. It doesn’t take away from the emotional impact of the rest of the episode though, which proved to be Roswell’s finest representation of its main thesis; a young person’s struggle for identity.
Does Nasedo’s pill popping habit last past this episode?
He Said, She Said
Mr Evans: “In this house we play by the rules.”
Michael: “Well I don’t want to play anymore.”
Maria: “Once they get physical...once they get what they want, they disappear.”
Amy: “I hope you’re not speaking from experience.”
Maria: “Just yours.”
3.5 out of 4 emancipation papers.
Previously posted at PandaTV.