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Roswell, New Mexico: Down in a Hole

“That’s the thing about journeys. You don’t figure out where they end until you start them.”

Fear is the name of this week’s game. Fear of failure, of loss, of love, and of living to one’s fullest potential. Each character must find a way to face what they fear most.

Liz and Max are having trouble finding the same library, let alone the same page as Kyle recommended. Liz thinks Max was so afraid of his powers that he sacrificed all the good he could do and put the safety of his loved ones at risk. Max thinks it’s fear that is driving Liz to use the alien mist.

They’re both right, but it’s more complicated than that. While Max and Liz's fears revolve around their obligation to others their approach is worlds apart. Max would rather sacrifice himself than cause the ones he cares about pain. If removing his powers keeps him from physically harming Liz and might just take a necessary piece needed for the Alighting out of the equation than it doesn't matter what it costs him.

On the flip side, if anyone has a Savior complex in their relationship, it’s Liz, not Max. She’s the one who must find a way to save the day, no matter what. Her fear is that one day she won’t be able to. This is why she gave in to her darker side. The version that’s confident in her abilities and unafraid to take the risks or make the hard choices. All of which just proves Max’s point. Liz’s fear allowed her darker side to sway her from what she knows to be true. Her friends and family make her better and stronger, not an untested alien drug.

Liz and Max's differing approaches still lead them to the same place. Cutting out part of their personality in service of their goals. However, the series’ long narrative argument (which I happen to agree with) is that shutting off aspects of yourself is never the answer. It won’t remove the target from Max’s back, and powers or no powers, he’s never going to be “just a boy from Roswell.” Yet while Max has decided to get his powers back, I’m not sure his mind has changed as much as his calculus did. He needs those powers to save the woman he loves.

As for Liz, she’s spent most of this season arguing that as long as they worked together, she and Max could not be defeated. Now she’s decided emotional ties make her weak and distract her from the science. I can’t believe that I’m agreeing with Shivani, but to what end? She’s pushed Max away and is using her sister as a lab rat. That, combined with the insensitivity she showed Shivani, does not bode well for the friends she claims she’s trying to save. Especially not with the narcotic effects of the mist clouding her judgement.

Michael’s fears are far more straightforward, if no less dramatic. He’s afraid he’ll never see Alex again. And Michael’s paralyzed by the belief this is somehow his fault. If you needed proof of how much everyone has grown. Just remember, it's Kyle, the former homophobic bully, who argues for the power of Michael and Alex’s love for each other, and that Kyle has faith they'll be reunited even when Michael doesn’t.

After Kyle talked Michael off of his ledge, Michael was able to find his way to the pocket dimension with Maria’s help. Unfortunately, that was only the first piece of the puzzle. He still has no idea where Alex is and whether he’ll be able to get back to Earth if he finds him. At least, thanks to Kyle, he has faith.

Two-thirds of the so-called Dark Triad have fears of their own. Bonnie is afraid the only thing she’s good for is as Ophiuchus’ weapon. Her love for Earth was about more than music and food. It was the place where she could just be a person. She could make friends and terrible music instead of stealing people’s abilities. But if Clyde gets his way, her haven could be destroyed. Facing her fears isn’t about helping her new friends or even protecting Earth from Clyde. It’s about being more than a tool for others to use. Bonnie has to decide what kind of person she wants to be.

Tezca is at a different point of the same journey. She thought she knew exactly the kind of person she wanted to be until she discovered her thoughts were not her own. That realization doesn’t assuage her guilt she now feels. It would be easier to go back to being Jones’ automaton than to own up to the damage she’s caused. However, that’s no more of an option than returning to the person she was before Jones captured her. Too much has changed. Now here only way out is through.

The rest of our crew’s fears were mostly hinted at. Isobel still believes she destroys everything she touches, at least romantically. Kyle’s afraid that Isobel won’t be strong enough to try again. Rosa’s afraid her little sister is headed down the same path that almost destroyed her life.

If I had a nit to pick, it’s that Dallas has fallen into the same category as season one Maria (and season two Maria, and sometimes even seasons three and four). He facilitates the plot more than he has a character arc of his own. With so much ground to cover this season, I’m hard pressed to see how they could have shoehorned anything else in. However, there was so much potential that they’ll never be able to explore.

Maria’s actions in this episode prove my point. Her sole focus is on honing her new abilities to find her friends. I get that. However, given her mother’s recent death and that until a few weeks ago, her sense of self was defined by her visions, I find this perfectly well-adjusted Maria a little hard to swallow. Again, with so much ground to cover, I’ll let it pass.

The Pod Squad has now splintered. Each member, on their separate journey towards a, hopefully, unified goal. I know correlation is not causation, but the only success they ever seem to have is when they work together, and as Liz says, partnerships only work when you’re on the same path. Here's hoping their paths merge. Soon.

4 out of 5 Notebooks of crazy ideas.

Parting Thoughts:

This week’s episode was named after the Alice In Chains 1993 power ballad.

Liz’s make-up was darker. It matched Dark Liz’s from last week.

Considering Shivani’s been funding Liz’s research, and knows way too many alien secrets, kicking her to the curb might not have been the wisest move.

How did Max know Liz had gone to the Pods? I know his intentions were good, but it was kinda stalkery.

Quotes:

Liz: “Once we get our friends back from that hole in the desert, we can coffee talk to your heart’s content.”

Kyle: “I’m not one to probe and tell.”

Shivani: “Don’t hate me for pushing you towards greatness.”

Michael: “Where’s the rest of it, Valenti?”
Kyle: “Don’t you mean thank you for helping me bring what I’ve spent two decades looking for?”

Bonnie: “You know, for someone so annoyingly obsessed with being alien, you barely lean into the good parts.”

Tezca: “You tried. You failed. Lesson’s over.”

Michael: “After all these years, after everything Alex and I have been through, our love is losing out to a hole in the ground.”

Rosa: “It’s not paint-by-numbers. It’s an expression of my inner self.”
Liz: “Well, your inner self needs to get a handle on symmetry and color balance.”

Liz: “I’m not the junkie in the family, Rosa.”

Rosa: “Liz was just here, and she was all Hyde and no Jekyll.”

Maria: “I’m giving Dr. Strange a run for his money.”

Max: “Who really won that standoff?”
Liz: “The one who can make the hard choices.”

Dallas: “Now what do we do?”
Michael: “Now we find Alex.”

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

2 comments:

  1. I don't know if Alice In Chains can ever be said to have done a power ballad. To me that's more songs like "Every rose has its thorn".

    ReplyDelete
  2. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I like the song no matter how it is defined.

    ReplyDelete

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