Roswell, New Mexico: So Much For the Afterglow

“I gotta get through this one, really crappy day.”

The tenth anniversary of Rosa’s death has opened old wounds and dredged up the worst in the residents of Roswell, including Max and Liz.

Liz idolized Rosa but thanks to Rosa’s drug use and her possible mental problems, it’s clear Rosa wasn’t always there for Liz. Rosa’s death embodies that abandonment. Isobel’s psychic nudge may have sent Liz packing 10 years ago but I suspect Rosa’s death was the real culprit.

Either way, her father’s plea sends Liz on a quest for understanding if not outright forgiveness. Her first stop is to visit Kyle in search of Rosa’s autopsy. Maybe if she can blame the drugs, she can forgive her sister. Her next stop is to ask Max if he can show her better memories of Rosa than the ones she continually dwells on. This is the last thing that Max wants to do. His fears are justified when he shares a memory of Rosa on the night of her death.

Following the story from Liz’s POV allows us to empathize with Liz. This is important because we learn some not so flattering things about her and her actions throughout the episode are even less flattering. Liz used losing her job as an excuse to pick up stakes and return to Roswell, abandoning a fiance in the process. While there may be a perfectly good reason for her decision, it still seems like a pretty crappy thing to do.

Just as lying to Max about her feelings for him as she dangles the possibility of a future relationship is a crappy thing to do. Discovering that Max may have knowledge of your sister’s death is definitely grounds for pumping the breaks on the relationship. But her ability to shift from honest communication to manipulation with someone she cares about does not speak well of her character.

The question remains, is Max worthy of her trust? Liz is not wrong about him hiding things from her. And the viewer is privy to information that Liz doesn’t have, namely proof of Max’s feelings for her. However, he is behaving out of character. This is a man who has spent his life protecting one secret yet we saw him barely able to contain his powers on multiple occasions. And while Michael isn’t particularly surprised when Max decks him, Isobel is shocked. More to the point, if Michael had not stopped him, there was the very real probability Max would have killed Wyatt.

Max’s anger issues open up the possibility he could be responsible for Rosa’s death (although I still doubt it). Especially since Isobel refers to “the last time” this happened. She doesn’t mention when but I’d lay odds it was ten years ago. Is this a side effect from healing Liz? Does it mean he tried to heal Rosa?

I find these new tidbits of information about Liz and Max fascinating. As much as he cares about Liz, he has an overdeveloped sense of fairness and is legitimately offended by Wyatt’s (and the Mayor’s) racism. It’s probably what drove him to become a cop. Whereas, Rosa’s life and death can define so much of who Liz is. From Liz’s choice in music, her overpowering need for an explanation to everything, even her loss of faith. However, for my money, Michael and Alex are the more interesting pairing.

Alex clearly has issues acknowledging his feelings for Michael. We’re given the impression that Alex is not happy with the person he’s become although it’s not clear if it’s because of his injury, what happened during his tour in the military or something more domestic, say his father. And Michael reminds him of better, or at least simpler, times. Michael, being Michael, would rather fain indifference than risk being hurt by Alex’s erratic behavior. So, how ironic is it that Alex and Michael are the ones that are actually honest with each other about their feelings and act on them, while Liz and Max continue to dissemble.

What Do We Know:

Rosa was killed by an alien. Our alien trio knows it and now so does Liz and Kyle. Max’s comment about letting Liz down sounds more like regret about how he handled the situation than a confession of guilt. But I find it hard to believe that a teenage Isobel or Michael was capable of murder. At least not on purpose. Did one of them lose control of their powers? Or was Rosa just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

We also learned that the Evans’ adoption of Isobel and Max caused a rift between Max and Michael that’s never healed. Much of Michael’s anger involves being on the outside and looking in on everyone else’s relationships. For his sake, I hope this thing with Alex works out.

Speaking of long-standing relationships. Max and Jenna? Didn’t see that coming. Just once I’d like a man and a woman to be partners on a TV show and not have sex come into it.

Relationship issues aside, this episode upped the ante on Max, Michael, and Isobel’s potential outing. Liz’s interest in protecting Max’s secret is waning in the face of his apparent betrayal. And Kyle has both the means and motive to inform the government of what he knows. I don’t think that will happen anytime soon, at least not before the season finale. But I wouldn’t mind a few answers.

3 out of 5 big guns

Parting Thoughts:

“So much for the Afterglow” refers to the song by Everclear.

Also in the music matters department, the song “God of Wine,” in which the lyric “a fraudulent zodiac” is featured was playing during Alex and Michael’s scene at the end of the episode.

This is the second reference to Max’s love of Russian literature in as many episodes. I wonder how that comes into play.

Michael and Alex were musicians until something happened to Michael’s hand. Makes you wonder if Max can only heal humans.

Isobel and her husband have an interesting relationship. And I’m not just talking about the sex. He’s very accepting of the fact that she just walks out at the drop of a hat. I realize this has probably been going on for years. But it is odd, right?

Quotes:

Liz: “You gonna arrest me, officer?”
Max: "Nah, too much paperwork.”

Kyle: “It’s late. Thanks for the family history lesson, but I’m gonna pass... on all of this.”

Jenna: “You look like garbage, partner. Ruggedly handsome garbage, but garbage.”

Isobel: “How’s your fiance back in Denver?”
Liz: “We broke up.”
Isobel: “Does he know that?”

Arturo: “There was more to Rosa than the bad things that she did.”

Michael: “You keep showing up like this, I’m gonna start thinking you like me.”

Michael: “Isn’t there some law about building on a historical site?”
Alex: “What do you mean, a historical... Oh, because the UFO crashed here? Yeah. We’re not supposed to build on top of Santa’s workshop, either.”

Kyle: “The mid-makeout abandonment was very sophomore year. I got all nostalgic.”

Kyle: “If you’re gonna forgive her, don’t focus on the science. Focus on the memories."

Noah: “The next time we do the thing I like with the thing and the thing, let’s not use my lucky tie.”

Noah: “You want me to take him out for a beer? I can totally do the cowboy thing. Grunt, stare off into the distance. Talk about belt buckles as a secret metaphor for emotions...”

Max: “Are you sassing Jesus?”

Max: “Men who work miracles with their hands tend to die bloody.”

Michael: “For a genius, I was a real dumb ass."

Max: “You been honoring your dead sister any other way? Like, I don’t know, riddling the Crashdown Cafe with bullets?”

Jenna: “You could’ve done that.”
Max: “I keep telling you, I’m a feminist.”
Jenna: “You wanted him to lose to a girl.”
Max: “Also that.”

Isobel: “We’re family.”
Michael: “No. We’re not. We all just happened to hitch the same ride on the same doomed intergalactic Titanic.”

Isobel: “Come on, Michael. Is there really nobody in this world that you wouldn’t risk everything to save?”

Maria: “Home doesn’t have to mean a white picket fence house and a family. It can be a person.”

Max: “I don’t want to be an experiment.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

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