Roswell, New Mexico: Songs About Texas

“You said this symbol might be a beacon. Let’s heed the call.”

Six weeks have passed and we find that some things in Roswell have changed.  Max has all but moved to the cave housing Isobel’s pod.  Liz and Michael have bonded over their love of science and their desire to find Isobel’s cure.  Maria’s mother has taken a turn for the worse.  Noah is threatening the sheriff with negative publicity if she doesn’t look into Isobel’s disappearance.  And Cam goes from defense to offense. What does it all mean? 

Road Trip!

Besides reading suspiciously self-describing bedtime stories to his sister, Max continues his hunt for the meaning of his tattoo. A reverse image search turns up a Native American faith healer in McLean, TX. Max wonders if it might be another alien with abilities like his.  He enlists Michael’s help, or at least his services as chauffeur.

Mama DeLuca’s memory is going rapidly and conventional medicine has proven useless.  What’s a desperate psychic to do.  You guessed it.  She visits a Native American faith healer in McLean, TX and she brings along Liz, her best friend and resident skeptic, for moral support.

While, yes, romantic hijinks ensue, life is not all fun and games.  Each of our intrepid heroes has something deeply personal at stake.  Maria’s is the most obvious. She’s hoping this woman is both a legitimate healer and someone willing to help her mother.  Unfortunately, Arizona turns out to be neither. 

Max’s hopes are more complicated but I think they boil down to not wanting to be alone. He’s struggled with watching people suffer and knowing he could save them.  The danger posed in doing so is no salve for his guilt.  Yes, he was hoping to find information that could help Isobel.  However, Max was also hoping to find someone who had navigated these waters and could show him the way.

If I have one issue with this show it’s that it glosses over the fact that Max has used his powers to kill someone in order to highlight the guilt he has over refusing to save others.  It’s not surprising considering he’s the romantic lead.  And I’m not saying the guilt he’s copped to is any way nonexistent or unjustified but avoiding the dark side of his abilities is wasted opportunity.

Back to our story...

To test the veracity of the faith healer, Max suggests having Michael ask her to heal his hand.  I’m sure in Max’s mind it was a win-win.  But for Michael, the possibility of being healed opens up vulnerabilities he wasn’t prepared for. Besides the physical pain and the constant reminder of both his fledgling relationship with Alex and Jesse Manes’ brutal bigotry, Michael once said that his ability to make music calmed the voices in his head.  The possibility of getting that back only to watch it literally slip through his fingers made his condemnation of Arizona both heartfelt and heartbreaking.

His vulnerabilities coupled with Maria’s disappointment plus their mutual attraction lead to the inevitable.  Maria is horrified and pleads/cajoles/ threatens Michael to keep their one-night stand quiet.  He agrees while smugly implying that it might not be just the one night.

Liz’s issues are the culmination of her season-long arc.  What are her true feelings towards Max?  Honestly, it’s even more than that.  Liz has spent this season trying to determine what her true feelings are about everything.  How does she truly feel about Rosa?  Why did she really leave Roswell a decade ago?  How much of her life was the result of Rosa’s death, Isobel’s influence or her own choice?

For Liz and Max, there is no quick tumble in the desert.  They have the heart to heart they’ve been heading towards avoiding all season.  Liz is forced to admit that as horrible as hiding the truth about Rosa’s death was, she might have made the same choice if her sister was in jeopardy.  She is more angry with herself for loving Max anyway. 

As for the healer, the show sidesteps cultural appropriation issues by making Arizona a con artist using culturally inappropriate misconceptions against the masses she believes have screwed over her people for generations. No realistic religious references necessary.

But wait, there’s more.

Arizona’s healing ability may have been phony, but the image that launched this field trip was not.  A woman, who was most likely another alien, lived on Arizona’s reservation decades ago, and the symbol in question followed her everywhere.  Unfortunately, she died around the time the trio came out of their pods after announcing “He has arrived.  So I may leave.”  Make of that what you will.

Meanwhile, The Anti-Manes Team Assemble!

As I suspected, Cam did not take kindly to being blackmailed.  She may have ratted Max out to save her sister but she wants proof before she accuses him of kidnapping or worse.  She figures the enemy of her enemy may be the friend or at least the ally she’s looking for.

While there was plenty of evidence of alien existence, Alex was convinced his father accused Michael, Max, and Isobel of being aliens to further his personal vendetta.  The knowledge of 14 deaths linked to these mysterious handprints forces him to entertain the possibility he could be wrong and his father could be right.  His response is to restore Project Shepherd, at least for one more mission.

Kyle remains the wild card here.  He has Liz’s trust and seems to be keeping her informed of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew’s investigation.  Is that conduit reciprocal? How much has he told Alex and Cam about the alien trio’s abilities or Isobel’s misdeeds? I imagine that will depend on if he believes that any of the trio is responsible for his father’s death. 

The contours of the rest of this season are certainly taking shape.  Liz and Max’s will they / won’t they has been put to bed (although not literally).  Alex and Michael remain an open question.  We’ve replaced “who killed Rosa” with “who killed Jim Valenti?”  And finally, we have the mysterious fourth alien.  But is that in doubt given Noah’s behavior at the end of this episode?  I’m open to an alternate theory but I’m highly skeptical.  Either way, I’m along for the ride.

4 out of 5 phony medical examiners 

Parting Thoughts:  

This episode was directed by Shiri Appleby, the Liz from Roswell 1.0.

The title Songs About Texas is from the 1997 Pat Green song of the same name.

Alex took the idea that he slept with an alien much better than Cam.  Then again, he can’t get pregnant.  Or can he?

Knowing that there have been 14 deaths, 15 if you count the man Max killed, makes Manes seem less like a single-minded crackpot.

Even Oliver Queen thinks that Die Hard is a perfectly acceptable Christmas Movie.  Suck it up, Kyle.  It was a nice save, though.

I love the fact that the writers drop in references to real places in and around Roswell.  The JP White building exists but since it’s only a five story building I’m not sure why Walter Inman didn’t pick some place higher.  The Cowboy Ruckus is a roadside art installation that splits Highway 285 just outside of Vaughn, NM, which is about an 1.5 hours from Roswell. 

FYI - It’s about 4.5 hours between Roswell, NM and McLean, TX.  You would have thought Michael would have noticed the necklace in boot at some point during the trip...

Quotes: 

Michael: “Is this really how it ends?  The sex was epic.  So shouldn’t the breakup involve some pyrotechnics?  Scream?  Break some stuff? Really make it feel over."
Alex: “Sometimes the world ends with a whimper, Guerin.”

Michael:  “Isobel’s organs are failing.  Thoughts and prayers won’t save her liver.”

Kyle: “Your casual blurring of the lines between science experiment and satanic rituals concerns me, Liz.”

Kyle: “You can’t leave her in the pod forever.  We don’t put people in eggs, no matter how much she sucks.”

Michael:  “You following me?”
Maria: “No.  I try to stay upwind of you, Guerin.”

Max: “Dude, no, we can’t go at her guns blazing.”
Michael: “You literally hate everything that I love.”

Cameron: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.  And since your father blackmailed me to surveil you, I think we’re going to be besties.”

Michael: “Max, I’m healed!”
Max: “Seriously?”
Michael: “No.”

Liz: “Maria DeLuca is her own savior.  Every damn time.”

Kyle: “So you overthrew your father, sent him to Africa, and brought a girl into the clubhouse?”
Cameron: “I’m 28 years old, served two tours and could break twelve bones in your body in less than a second and a half.  Who are you calling a girl?”

Cameron: "If you push me out I go to the Sheriff. Alright?  Or I’ll tell Jesse Manes.  And I have a feeling neither of you want that."
Kyle: "Did you just threaten to tattle to our parents?"

Maria: “What are you doing out here?  There’s an entire bar full of women who know nothing about you.”

Cameron: “I knew something weird was going on but 'Max Evans is an alien murderer' wasn’t top of my list."

Kyle: “Is everyone in this town in love with Max Evans?”
Alex: “Angsty nerd isn’t really my type, even if he is tall.”

Alex: “As of tomorrow morning at 0800 hours, Project Shepherd is back online for one more operation.”

Max: “I need to know more about my past, to make sure my sister has a future.”

Michael: “Do you want to know who I am?  Or do you want to know what I am?”
Alex: “Yes.”

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

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

They're building the story and developing the characters and I like them more with every episode. And I like Riley Voelkel -- she should be in the cast.

Shari said...

I totally agree. Jenna Cameron could have been just the losing side of a love triangle but Riley brings so much more to the table than that. Even the smaller characters have depth and complexity. It's one of the things that drew me to the show.