Roswell, New Mexico: Mr. Jones

"Let's see what comes next."

If the principal theme for last year was alienation and the search for a connection, this year’s theme was self-discovery and the desire to be whole. That journey meant different things for each of the characters and took them in quite unexpected directions.

It was Isobel and Max’s conversation that brought this into focus for me. For most of their lives the Pod Squad had agreed to close off half of who they were in order to assimilate. For good or ill, none of them will do so any longer.

Isobel spent this year learning to define herself on her own terms and not as wife, sister, daughter, or mother. Max is happy for his sister, but he’s envious as well. But that is partially because he did not witness the depth of the heartache she endured to gain the wholeness he admires.

Michael is no longer bound to the worst moments of his life. His friendship with Liz, reconciliation with Alex, and his healthy relationship with Maria have freed him from the cycle of hate and self-destruction he was trapped in. And while his relationships with both Alex and Maria are currently at an end, he was able to walk away at peace with his life and with hope for the future. Michael’s need to escape Earth in search of a better life is gone.

Max’s journey was delayed due to his status as recently deceased. His desperation for the wholeness that Isobel and Michael have is coming at the expense of what he claimed to want. Namely, a relationship with Liz, and his identity as a protector.

As for that relationship, I have no doubt he and Liz will find each other again. But I have to side with Liz on this one. They both made mistakes. Using DNA for her research without consent was highly unethical. Can we say Henrietta Lacks, anyone? However, when she realized how much it bothered Max, she stopped. She then made multiple overtures to work through their differences.

Max used the threat of discovery to do the thing he wanted to do from the beginning – destroy her research. It’s telling that the only thing he saved was more of the antidote. When she had to make a choice, she put their relationship first. When he was put in the same position, he chose himself.

I think the time apart is a good thing for both of them. However, given everything Liz knows about Genoryx, I’m surprised she still took the job. What makes her think people unethical enough to break into her lab will use her work for benevolent purposes or give her the scientific autonomy she seeks?

Maria’s journey is still a work in progress. I would imagine discovering you’re part alien takes some getting used to. But like the Pod Squad, she needs to know and understand both sides of herself despite the risks involved.

That said, I found her breakup with Michael inexplicable. I’ve long suspected that Alex was Michael’s OTP, but that doesn’t make his love for Maria any less genuine. Or hers for him. My problem wasn’t so much that she broke up with him as much as I still don’t understand why. Was it an acknowledgement of his bond with Alex? Or was it her intent to pursue her abilities despite what it may do to her health? Her reasoning felt like a muddled version of both.

One could make the argument that Alex has grown the most this season (sorry, Isobel). It’s not just that he was closeted or lived in fear of his father’s brutality. It’s the belief his homosexuality made him defective. Isobel may have questioned her life choices, but she never hated herself. Performing that song for an audience and having it so well received capped off a series of liberating moments that freed him from his self-loathing.

And what a song. It was two seasons' worth of heartache wrapped up in two minutes. Ending it in Forrest’s arms felt right. Much like Michael’s relationship with Maria, I believe Forrest is temporary. In some ways, that disappoints me. Forrest is a standup guy and I hate to see him get his heart broken. But the gauntlet has been thrown. Alex and Michael are the end game.

As I speculated, Liz saved Steph. Both Kyle and Steph have grown on me. Kyle is no longer the plot delivery device he once was. When the show began, he had already matured past the arrogant, homophobic jock from his high school days. But he had yet to figure out who he was and what he believed in beyond his father’s “Code.” Now his choices are his own in full awareness of any possible repercussions. As for Steph, she’s no longer limited to the single argumentative note she held for much of the season. I now look forward to seeing how they develop her character next year.

Rosa is another character I’m curious about. I’m glad she is going back to rehab. However, what happens when she finishes? I still find it hard to fathom how a character intent on finding herself will be resigned to a life of pretending to be someone else. Plus, the question of her alien or non-alien status remains unanswered. Although her abilities seemed to disappear once she saved Max.

If this was the last time we saw Tripp, it was a lovely send off. Regardless of what Jesse thought, he was what a Manes Man should be. And it seems Alex and Gregory followed in his footsteps. I wonder if Jesse knows that Harlan killed Tripp? I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.

Forgive me one small digression. I’ve made no secret of my love for Roswell 1.0. It will always hold a special place in my heart. However, it was a product of its time and place. The thing I love about this iteration is aging the characters and taking the story out of high school allows them to tackle difficult topics. This year The Powers That Be have addressed abortion, homophobia, sexism, racism, the US’s horrendous immigration policy, and ethics in science and medicine just to name a few. That what amounts to a sci-fi Romeo and Juliet can add to ongoing cultural discussions on such weighty topics shows how far we’ve come. The fact there is still a need for such discussions shows how much further we have to go.

Okay, back to our story. We can already see the potential threats arrayed against our heroes. Chief among them being Max’s doppelganger. Diego and Genoryx are right on his heels. Let’s not forget the possibility of Flint and/or Clay seeking to take on their father’s mantle. And I know I must sound like a broken record, but I refuse to forget about Deep Sky or the Alighting.

Why, oh why, didn’t they listen to Isobel when she said they should wait before opening the alien door?

4 out of 5 evil doppelgangers

Parting Thoughts:

This week's title was named after the Counting Crows 1993 hit.

Glad Helena went back for Charlie. Maybe there's hope for her yet.

What did Kyle tell Max in his "doctor's appointment"?

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't this the first time Michael and Maria admitted they loved each other?

Quotes:

Jesse: "There are no more Manes men left."

Isobel: "As a recently deceased man, I really think you should be enjoying the simple pleasures in life..."

Max: "I feel like if I only know half of myself, I'm only half living."

Alex: "Everything my family touches turns to crap."

Maria: "I can't just turn off a piece of myself."

Tripp: "I thought I had time."

Isobell: "Ten points to Hufflepuff."

Isobel: "Let's feel our feelings after we solve the mystery of the unknown alien."

Liz: "I don't know what you thought love was going to be like when we were 17 but it isn't just sunsets and horseback rides."

Rosa: "Mom has been texting."
Liz: "Trying to come up with a better response than go duck yourself."

Alex: "So, how does it feel to have your father's murder officially avenged?"
Kyle: "It feels like my dad's still dead."

Michael: "It's not our time right now."
Isobel: "But it will be."

Michael: "Save it. We are sick of being pissed at you for being so obnoxiously yourself."

Isobel: "I feel we should learn more before we just bust that door open."

Jones: "Howdy... partner"

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think Michael and Maria said their "i love you" before. The break was just bad. It didn't come from an organic place but for plot reasons.
Liked Alex's song and his kiss with Forrest. I know they aren't long term but I don't like the Michael/Alex thing anymore.
Can Isobel get a girl or Kyle next season?
Oh and poor Rosa..
Nice review.