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Roswell, New Mexico: Follow You Down

“Well, we do crazy things for family.”

The recurring themes of fear and familial love dovetail this week, as the Pod Squad must decide how far they’re willing to go for the people they love.

Rosa’s line about not being too afraid to try brought this entire season into focus for me. Bravery isn’t about being unafraid. It’s about reaching for one’s goals despite the fear. And what higher goals can one have than to be the best version of oneself and to love and protect the people one cares about? Friend or foe, that has been each character’s journey, this season.

From the first, Liz has been afraid. Afraid she had to choose between Max and the science. Max may be content as the interim sheriff of Roswell, but it’s not exactly a hotbed of scientific exploration. At least nothing Liz could openly take credit for. Afraid to marry Max. She moved in with him, knowing it meant always looking over the proverbial shoulder and wondering who might look back. She had no intention of leaving him, but the idea of marriage made all her fears concrete. And afraid, as I’ve said before, that one day the science will fail her and she’ll lose the people who matter most.

It’s Liz’s fears that kept her from the things she wanted. Max never stood in the way of her career. And it was her fear of losing Max that put a wedge between them. She closed off her emotions to focus on the science. Ostensibly to protect Max and the rest of the Pod Squad. However, if so, why would she need to move out of Max’s house?

Max wasn’t much better. His world revolves around keeping Liz, the Pod Squad, and his town safe. The idea he could be the biggest threat to their safety terrified him. Like Liz, his effort to avoid his fears nearly brought them to pass. He gave up his abilities just when they would have come in handy.

Yet, while I fault him for not discussing it with Liz, I’m not sure I disagree with his decision. Isobel and Michael may have reveled in their powers, but they’ve always been a burden to Max. He’d never be allowed to be “just a boy from Roswell” if this wasn’t the last season. But since it is, he just might get his wish.

After Noah’s betrayal, Isobel’s trust issues are completely justified. And given Kyle’s past relationships – as Liz’s friend-with-benefits, Steph’s palliative care specialist, plus the months spent in Anatsa’s shadow, it’s amazing he’d risk his heart again. Is it any surprise Izzy and Kyle’s fears have led them to reenact their own version of Gift of the Magi, with Kyle declaring they should just be friends when Isobel was finally ready to make a commitment?

Being the season’s Big Bad does not exempt Clyde from a similar fate. His biggest fear is being alone. Like everyone else, he wants a family–to be surrounded by people who love him and would sacrifice for him and he for them. Jones co-opted and corrupted that desire. As Liz so aptly stated, Clyde sacrificed his triad as proof of his love for a dead man. Even if he returns to Oasis, he’ll still be alone.

Shivani may have spent most of the season as Liz’s godsend, but she is squarely in the villain role now. Unlike the others, her story doesn’t revolve around fear so much as desperation. The worst has already happened. Her daughter is dead, and her wife is who knows where. She may have the Pods, but without Liz’s intellect, she’s no closer to bringing back her daughter. Unless Clyde can be believed. If Shivani weren’t in so much pain, she’d never be that reckless.

Roswell has always packed more plot into an episode than most shows do in four, but this is the first time I remember an episode feeling rushed. Nowhere was it more clear than in Michael and Alex’s storyline. Alex isn’t found; he simply appears. After sending Bonnie and Dallas off on what turned out to be a wild goose chase, and learning Michael was tempted to travel across the universe without him, Alex asks Michael to marry him.

But wait. There’s more. Moments after getting engaged, Alex has his own confession – he’s dying. A fact that completely overshadowed such a consequential point in their relationship. However, given everything they’ve been through, I refuse to believe Michael and Alex’s story ends with a deathbed wedding.

Dallas used to be a preacher? When did that become the past tense and what is he now? This is just more proof that he got the short end of the story-arc-stick. Has his alien status made him doubt God’s existence or just taken up the time he used to devote to his religious duties? Regardless, this is the closest we’ve seen Dallas come to a crisis of faith all season. The idea his search could cause others harm is anathema to him, no matter what his position is on a higher power.

Unfortunately, Bonnie’s argument only addresses his concerns indirectly. It’s true Theo did his best to protect his son. However, his concern for collateral damage is unclear. And even viewed under the most generous light, Theo protected Dallas until he was old enough to finish Theo’s life’s work. A task that likely got Theo killed.

Another sacrifice to the plot gods was Liz’s short-lived flirtation with addiction. I would be more upset if they hadn’t already handled the topic with more nuance in Rosa’s story arc. That said, I found the comparison of Liz’s addiction and Clyde’s fanaticism fascinating. And not off base. Liz risked her relationship with Max in the name of saving him, just as Clyde sacrificed Bonnie in the name of the supposed family he’d found in Ophiuchus.

I loved the way the episode and, by extension, the season has explored the opportunity cost for not facing your fears. How it can either keep you from getting or holding on to your heart’s desire. Unfortunately, the breakneck pace of this episode kept individual scenes from having their intended impact and reduced a potentially awesome hour of television to decent.

3.5 out 5 alien roach motels.

Parting Thoughts:

The Gin Blossoms’ 1996 hit was the basis for this week’s title. Which played under Izzy and Kyle’s non-conversation.

This week’s episode was directed by none other than Maria herself, Heather Hemmens.

If Michael’s position on returning to Oasis wasn’t clear, he calls Earth “our planet” during his confession to Alex.

An Ophiuchan mark? Does that mean Max is locked out of Oasis too?

I wish I understood Triads better. How they are formed. What the advantages and disadvantages of membership are, etc.

Quotes:

Rosa: “Well, that doesn’t look like the soup of the day.”

Michael: “You can go apple picking all you want, but my priority is Alex.”

Kyle: “Roswell will remind you of who you were, but it will also remind you of how far you’ve come.”

Shivani: “Now that the mist has unburdened Liz of her irrational emotions, she finally sees you for who you are: dead weight.”

Max: “If that’s how you see relationships, it’s no mystery why Allie disappeared into Mexico.”

Max: “I am so sick of people telling me what my future is. I’m gonna take my fate into my own hands.”

Clyde: “Evolution in one breath. It’s quite a novel approach to improving your kind’s deficiencies.”

Liz: “I am nothing like Jones. He was a monster whose greed destroyed everyone in his work and I will not drug myself so that you can destroy mine.”

Rosa: “Not to make this all about me, but my memory loss seems to clearly be a nonconsensual close encounter of the third kind...”

Dallas: “I’ve become so obsessed with following my dad’s trail of breadcrumbs to Oasis that I’m falling for ACME booby traps.”

Michael: “It turns out interdimensional travel runs on green energy.”

Alex: “I don’t care if we’re on other sides of the universe. As long as we’re looking at the same stars... I will never look away.”

Liz: “I don’t want to lose myself anymore.”

Isobel: “Why did it take him closing the door for me to realize all I want to do is... dropkick it off its hinges.”

Max: “Epic love stories aren’t made up of a single moment. They’re built over a lifetime.”

Shivani: “Why would I help you?”
Clyde: “Because I can bring your daughter back.”

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

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