Roswell, New Mexico: Good Mother

“There are some choices people should never have to make.”

Considering the title, it is not surprising this episode explores motherhood from three different perspectives. However, it does more than that; it explores family and how it is defined by more than blood.

As much as this is a show about three aliens living in Roswell, Isobel’s story has often taken a back seat to Max and Michael’s dramas of the day. Even the “did she / didn’t she” of whether Isobel murdered Rosa centered more on its effect on Max and Liz’s relationship than its impact on Isobel. So, it’s about time we had an episode that put Isobel front and center.

The story of Max sleeping on the floor in Isobel’s room and the way he asked Isobel what they should do in "Smells Like Teen Spirit" has convinced me that until the old man attacked her and Max came to her rescue, she was the leader of their threesome. But her blackouts and Max’s role as her rescuer changed their dynamic forever.

Make no mistake, as much as this episode revolves around Isobel and her need to end her pregnancy, it is far more about control. More specifically, it’s about Isobel gaining agency over her life. It’s not that she doesn’t want to be a mother, but it needs to be on her terms. And what she needs more than anything is for her child not to be fathered by the man who preyed on her vulnerabilities and used her.

It’s also an acknowledgement that no matter how much your friends and relatives may love you, there’s no guarantee they will always be there. Max should have been there for her. Yet he sacrificed himself for someone else just when she needed him most. Isobel’s anguish for his loss barely outweighs her rage at him for abandoning her.

So she studies jiu jitsu and strengthens her abilities to avoid being the victim again. She goes on ten mile runs to assure herself she is healthy and in control. And she doses herself with poison to end her unwanted pregnancy. Oh, the irony that Max comes to her rescue from beyond the grave and saves her once more.

In the context of the strength of their familial bond, I’m completely on board. Especially since poisoning herself hoping it will kill the fetus before it killed her wasn’t one of Isobel’s finest hours. But Max’s last-minute rescue undercuts her very real need for independence.

Contrasting Isobel’s choice of self over motherhood, we have Mimi DeLuca, who seems to have sacrificed her sanity to protect her daughter. Does anyone believe her fixation on alien movies or the fact the necklace she gave Maria contains the one thing that disrupts alien abilities is a coincidence? Anyone else suspect that Mimi is the daughter of the gentleman who came to Nora’s aid at the end of the episode?

None of which explains where Mimi’s been for the last month. Wherever she was, she was well cared for, as evidenced by the fact she was clean, well fed, and given shoes. Mama DeLuca also claims that she never felt unsafe, which is more than her daughter can say. I tend to agree with Maria. I believe Mimi’s disappearance and reappearance has everything to do with our alien friends. I’m just not sure how.

Which brings us to Nora. It is clear that her and her friend’s (Louise, according to IMDb) desire to protect our alien trio is akin to Mimi’s sacrifice for Maria. Like Mimi, both are wounded in defense of their young. Only for them it is physical rather than mental wounds. Unlike Mimi, at least to our knowledge, both resort to violence to ensure the survival of the children.

So how did Nora get caught? What happened to Louise? And how did it come to pass that the children were left to awake fifty years later? This is the mystery that Michael and Alex endeavor to solve even as they struggle to define their new relationship.

No matter the definition, the bond they share has not diminished. Alex asks Michael for permission to dig into Nora’s history when he could have simply done it and not told Michael of his findings. Was it a mark of respect for Michael’s feelings? Or was it just an excuse to be around the man he still loves? Is the rekindling of their romance a possibility now that Michael’s budding relationship with Maria has come to a crashing halt? I’m not so sure, but they both could use a little stability in their lives right about now.

Despite Alex’s blood ties to both Flint and Jesse, his loyalty is to Michael. Flint leaves redacted files for Alex, presumably at Jesse’s request, to prove the danger aliens pose to humans. Rather than convincing Alex, he uses that information along with his father’s incapacity and his belief in Alex’s inherent weakness to gain more information about Michael’s mother. Alex’s attempt sounded false to me. But since it was a military man’s argument to another military man, rather than from son to father, I’ll reserve judgement.

Isobel isn’t the only one self-medicating. Rosa continues her attempt to drown out Max with alcohol. His growing strength is making that a difficult proposition. Her need for more booze exposes her existence to Maria which, in turn, exposes her relapse. Her belief that Max sacrificed himself for someone so unworthy is crushing, as is her belief that her sister must hate her for it.

Contrary to Rosa’s fears, Liz’s feelings towards her are almost maternal. Her grief over losing Max in no way obscures her love for Rosa. Plus age has given Liz the perspective to see Rosa not as an older sister to be idolized but as a broken young woman in desperate need of help.

This does not negate the damage Rosa’s Big Reveal at The Wild Pony has caused. Maria finally knows the truth. Aliens are actually among us. After her justifiable fury at ALL of her friends for withholding that information from her subsides, I believe she’ll understand their reasoning. Forgiveness may take longer. Although, you can already see her softening towards Liz.

Cam’s back!

Although we have yet to learn why. But it’s no surprise that she suspects there’s more to Max’s disappearance than Sheriff Valenti is aware of. Cam immediately confronts Michael, who after unsuccessfully attempting to dodge her questions, pawns her off on Liz. Which leads to them bonding over their shared love of Max. Cam and Liz’s genuine desire to bring each other comfort was understandably awkward and oddly touching.

This episode deftly balanced deep character introspection with some well paced plotting. The dual mysteries of Mimi’s disappearance and Nora’s missing year have me hooked. But can we just get Max out of the pod and move on? For a show that typically burns through plot, I’m really surprised it’s taken this long.

3.5 mysterious blue boots.

Parting Thoughts:

Jann Arden released “Good Mother” in 1994.

For the uninitiated, Jason Behr, the Max Evans of Roswell 1.0, played Tripp.

Nora is another Vampire Diaries alum. She played Vicki Donovan.

That there’s a separate sophisticated firewall to protect information about Michael’s mother. That’s not suspicious at all.

At least Isobel and Noah’s kink served some purpose.

So, let me get this straight. In addition to keeping a person in stasis, the pods have regenerative properties that can revive dead cells? Cool. Where can I get one?

This show is not afraid of having a definitive point of view. And just for the record, although New Mexico has no statewide restrictions on abortion, there really is no clinic within the Roswell city limits.

Quotes:

Michael: “Look, this whole platonic acquaintances thing is new to me. to me. So I can’t just flip a switch from tortured lust to ‘sup, bro’ overnight.”

Cameron: “Where did you come from?”
Mimi: “Like you said, nowhere.”

Maria: “You made me an omelet? I didn’t know you were house-trained.”

Isobel: “Are you two living together?”
Maria: “No. He’s just... parking in my lot.”

Max: “The blue serum almost killed you once already.”
Isobel: “And the orange one brought me back, as good as new. Welcome to my second rodeo.”

Isobel: “And what exactly does Kyle know about my alien uterus?”

Cam: “When you start lying to the people who are your side, eventually you start losing allies.”

Liz: “Well, then, I’m officially out of ideas on how to comfort my dead boyfriend’s ex-lover.”

Max: “Do you think I want to come back to a world without you in it?”

Rosa: “You’re not crazy. I’m right here. I reserve the right to be the mentally ill one in this friendship. It’s kind of my thing.”

Max: “That was incredible. And now I’m scarred for life. And death, and whatever comes after that.”

Max: “Our parent’s sure picked a fine place to crash a flying saucer.”

Isobel: “The only person that will always love me and come to my rescue is me.”

Isobel: “Besides, if I was that good at taking care of you, you would have made it to thirty.”

Liz: “I always dreamed about leaving Roswell to find something greater. Turns out there’s a door to the universe right here all along.”

Mimi: “You won’t get lost like me, my girl. You’re protected. You’re safe from all evil.”

Maria: “I never feel safe in this town. I keep a taser behind the bar, a knife under my pillow.”

Michael: “Sup, bro.”

Rosa: “I ruined it. I ruined everything. I ruined my miracle.”

Liz: “We’re going to be okay.”

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

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I was so happy to see Jason Behr! I hope this Tripp character isn't a one-off.

And I am so with you, Shari. Get Max out of the pod NOW. This is taking too long.

Shari said...

It would be different if there was some suspense. But no one believes Liz will fail in bringing Max back. The only question is how and honestly that's the least interesting question since it will be some sci-fi macguffin.

As for Jason, I believe he'll be back if only because of the things they didn't say. Like his real name being redacted. To me that means he's probably related to a present day character. It also wouldn't surprise me if he's the one that eventually caught Nora. But these are just suppositions on my part.