Roswell: Season Two, Part Two

“You’re the only family I’ve ever known.”

(This review covers the original series Roswell episodes 2.11 through 2.15, and includes spoilers!)

Further to the sci-fi heavy story beats of the first part of the season, this run of episodes is also very alien-focused. I think this arc is a little more successful than the previous one given how effectively certain characters are tied into it. The most notable of these characters is Michael, who finally begins his transformation from selfish dingbat to someone partly deserving of the love he gets from those closest to him. Isabel and Valenti also factor in quite heavily, and pay the biggest price for their roles in everything that takes place over the course of this chapter of Roswell.

As the kids deal with the fallout from their fight against the Skins, their lives are once again capsized when they discover an alien parasite has infected the land surrounding the Royal Four’s pods. Much like the first story of this season, this one is laden with alien exposition, but it moves along at a nice pace and the character dynamics that have grown over the last year and a half are on full display.

The highlight of those dynamics is Michael and Maria. By the time we reached the halfway point of this season, I had honestly burned out of excuses for Michael. Episodes like season one’s ‘Independence Day’ aside, he often makes it very difficult to like or understand him. This was regularly blamed on his tough upbringing and the fact that he has nobody outside of his inner circle, unlike Max and Isabel who grew up with loving parents. But the writers leaned into his rash behaviour far too much, that by this point it was very difficult to have much sympathy for him. Thankfully, the events that transpire here change all that.

Enter Laurie Dupree, a college freshman who is kidnapped at the hands of a mysterious antagonist. Eventually, Michael learns of his ties to Laurie’s family; his human form was taken from the DNA of Laurie’s grandfather, with whom she was incredibly close. This also happens to be why the alien parasites that were let loose on Roswell are after her. Despite the strangeness of the situation, Michael manages to form a connection with Laurie. While there’s very little mention of this bond after the fact, Michael does reveal a more loving and empathetic side to himself that he had very rarely shown until now. This growth carries over so well into the final part of this season, too, where we see these parts of Michael in greater detail.



Before Michael and Maria are able to save Laurie from both the alien parasites and, ironically, her parasitical family, it's Isabel who rescues her from certain death. Her dream walking ability plays a huge role here, and as her powers allow her to catch glimpses of Laurie’s kidnapping, she’s forced to turn to Valenti for help. Grant, who we met earlier this season, is the kidnapper in question, but he isn’t aware of that since he’s being controlled by the parasites he came across during his digs in Pohlman Ranch. Following a brutal confrontation at the Dupree mansion, Grant becomes the first major casualty of the season, something Isabel feels a lot of guilt over given her failed attempts to save him from the war he was waging inside his own head.

Valenti’s support of the kids winds up costing him his job as Sheriff, here. To his credit, he never once blames Isabel or her family for causing the inquisition that followed his seemingly unmotivated crusade against Grant. Agent Duff, the FBI agent tasked with the investigation of Laurie’s kidnapping, is the most suspicious of Valenti’s connections to the case. I ended up liking her a lot more than I did during my first viewing. The episodes here always paint her as an intelligent and intuitive investigator rather than just someone out for blood, and Erica Gimpel is nice to have around. She learns the truth behind the cause of the kidnapping and the parasites in the end, but is unable to divulge that truth to her superiors, a position Valenti has found himself in more than once. The two share an honest moment together as she realises this, and she leaves town without anything to show for it. Valenti is also left lost, but he at least has his burgeoning relationship with Amy DeLuca to help keep him above water.

Plus

‘Viva Las Vegas’ closes out this arc, as the gang decide to burn through the money that Laurie's family attempted to bribe Michael with. It’s a fun little episode that takes the kids away from the madness of everything that’s happened and allows them a rare chance to have fun and be themselves. It's also the start of Maria's recaps that replace the standard "Previously on..." montages.

I wonder why the writers bailed on their original idea to have Liz and Tess switch bodies, and went with 'Viva Las Vegas' instead.

This arc introduces Sean DeLuca, Maria’s cousin who has just been released from juvie and seems to have a thing for Liz.

Alex’s intermittent absence is explained by him returning from a long trip to Sweden a changed man. The lovesick guy who followed Isabel around is gone, and he’s a lot more grown-up all of a sudden.

He Said, She Said

Michael: “Laurie, I know a lot of people think you're pretty crazy. But the truth is, knowing everything you've been through, you seem pretty normal to me. I just want you to know that whatever you are to me – a sister, a cousin, whatever – you're the only family I've ever known, and I just found you. I don't... I don't want to let you go.”

Jim: “Sometimes it’s better to walk away with your victories.”

Much like the start of this season, this part isn’t without its issues, but thanks to its more focused story and the strong characterisation that it helps to foster, it winds up becoming one of the better chapters of Roswell.

8 out of 10 alien parasites.

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

Again, thanks so much for this review, Panda. I'd forgotten so much of this season, but you brought it back for me.