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Roswell: 285 South

“Why is it so important to you to find out where you come from?”

Probably to offset the lovey-dovey, written in the stars pairing that is Liz and Max, Maria and Michael were created. "285 South" introduces them as a completely different couple to the show’s titular one. But even though they have a completely opposing dynamic to Liz and Max, there’s an equal amount of chemistry and passion between them from the second they share their screen-time here as they’re shown off in all their dysfunctional glory.

The Maria/Michael stuff aside, this episode mostly focuses on the aliens chasing down their fist solid clue as to where they actually come from. "285 South" is the first episode to perfectly encapsulate the show’s idea of identity and the whole “teens as aliens” metaphor that original author Melinda Metz was obviously going for. Maria asks Michael why he’s so desperate for answers, and while his first answer may be different to Max and Isabel, it’s one that should speak for all of them as they find themselves surrounded by strangers, always hiding who they really are.

All of the personal questions created by Topolsky to learn more about them was a fun way to explore all of the dynamics that haven’t been given a chance to shine yet. Isabel’s life has been changed just as much as Max’s has ever since he saved Liz, and she has just as much of a connection to the group as anyone. There’s a certain amount of hostility about Isabel still, but for the first time we see that it stems from the same desperate desire as her brother and her friend to figure out where she comes from, and get some answers about her own lineage, a history that has made her and her friends targets.

There’s a great moment during "285 South" when Liz finally takes a stand against Max, Michael and Isabel, where she demands to be kept in the loop about all of the questions that the aliens have been faced with. It may be their own past and their own identities that they’re searching for, but the search itself now directly affects Liz and Maria almost as much as it does them. It’s a moment where the group felt more solidified that it had before and one where it finally felt like the show had made them that tightly knitted team that they wanted them to become.

Sheriff Valenti’s role as the central antagonist isn’t as strong as it was originally, but that was clearly the intention of the writers. There’s been a huge amount of character work done to re-imagine him as a confused martyr, and the revelation of Topolsky’s involvement in some government conspiracy re-affirms that by giving the viewers something darker to latch on to. The show’s first big cliff-hanger ending was the creepiest and scariest position these teenagers have been in yet, and it’s one that makes their quest all the more dangerous.

He Said, She Said

Maria: “Oh my god, you're kidnapping me...no wait, you're abducting me!”

Maria: “Why is it so important to you to find out where you come from?”
Michael: “Because there’s got to be something better out there for me than Roswell, New Mexico.”

Isabel: “The perfect Liz Parker lying to her mother?”
Liz: “Yeah, well at least she knows what species I am...”

Maria: “It’s like the porno version of Aladdin.”

Liz: “You’re like the Elle Macpherson of the sophomore class.”

3 out of 4 secret rooms.

Previously posted at PandaTV.

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