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Roswell, New Mexico — Bittersweet Symphony — Review

31 Aug 2021

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I cannot tell a lie. That was good stuff, and I am left wanting more, not to mention, full of speculation and anticipation. And, dare I say, I was so entertained that any criticisms I might lodge, any snark I might level, would be nitpicking. But, alas, it is my job to pick nits.

Let’s see . . .

There were too many commercials.

No one looked dressed for the weather.

I didn’t get a preview of next week’s episode.

I have to wait a week.

Passionate About the Platonic
Watching Isobel (Lily Cowles), Rosa (Amber Midthunder), and Liz (Jeanine Mason) come together for Maria (Heather Hemmens) reminded me of the importance of friendship, the family we choose. Far too often, this show has acted like these people just circle in and out of one another’s orbits without any true bond tying them together. Yet, there is so much more than that. Being a family is how they navigate the alien antics, save one another, and support one another.

The same is true of Liz and Alex’s (Tyler Blackburn) moment. Kyle isn’t just the guy that’s there to lend an ear or medical equipment. He means something to them. Kyle is foundational to the adults they’re becoming. Alex knows Kyle well enough to know what advice he’d offer. It’s been too long since Liz and Alex shared a scene. It was easy to doubt the depths of their friendship, but here we see it. More, please.

Last season really did these characters dirty and tried to level blow after blow to their relationships with one another. I’m so glad to see the order being restored.
There’s a Right Way, and There’s a Wrong Way

You know what’s better than creepy twins, red boots, and a corn maze? A crumbling mindscape, a homemade ouija board, shattering glass, a cacophony of distorted and layered sounds, bats murdering themselves against windows, a campy alien going Kill Bill on a bunch of racists, a woman trapped in her own mind, an evil uncle, and a menacing cutaway. I was all in from the first moment to the last.

He’s So Bad, but He’s So Good
I know he’s a bad, bad man, but there is just something about Jones (Nathan Dean). When he goes, I’ll be sad to see him leave. Perhaps we’ll luck out, and Max (Nathan Dean) will retain some of his traits. I think it would be for the best, giving the vanilla deputy a bit of a swirl. I’ll admit, I had my doubts about the clone storyline, but it’s managed to be a bit addictive, and Nathan Dean is delivering as Mr. Jones. All the applause.

Quick question. Why did Jones take so little of Max’s memories? Rule number zero of impersonating someone: If you’re planning on impersonating someone, learn everything about them. And if you’re capable of siphoning memories because you are an alien, you should take them all. Obviously, this will also make it easier to destroy all remnants of Jones and leave Max with a healthy body? That’s where we’re going, right? Or did Jones actually heal him?

I am so proud of the show for not dragging out the Jones is Max storyline. The entire audience knew it wasn’t Max, and it would have been an insult to let it linger for longer than an episode. Let’s hope Liz, Isobel, and Rosa destroy him.

Their Day Will Come, and They’ll Have Everything . . . Well, Not Scenes Together, but Everything Else

Now, let’s get to the Michael and Alex of it all.

Michael (Michael Vlamis) asking for help is a massive step for him, and the fact that he feels comfortable asking for help, no matter how resigned the delivery, is a huge step forward for the character. And how much did we love the way Alex’s look went from Deep Sky is a secret to an awkward and obvious, “damn, Michael’s getting too close, I must protect my alien.” Michael can’t recognize the switch, but the audience saw it. Sure, Alex’s tone was harsh, and Michael misinterpreted his words, but they’ll speak the same language one day.

Superficially speaking, Vlamis cries so prettily.

Going into next week, I have so many questions. Does Alex save himself? I sort of hope not. We all know he’s capable, but Michael needs a win, so I hope Michael saves him. Alex needs to learn to stop protecting Michael by risking himself. Alex would absolutely burn the world down for Michael, and Michael would do the same for Alex.

And I know the two conversations they’ve had this season haven’t been all light and love, but they have been essential steps to reunite Michael and Alex. The story needs to take the time to free them from the sex, pain, and desperation. The footing they are on now is fraught with tension born of miscommunication, but the ground beneath them is stabilizing. And unlike the state of Max and Liz, neither of them is dying, or a clone, or a dying clone.

But . . . Michael and Alex only sharing a single scene. It’s a choice. It’s also a suspicious choice, knowing how passionate Malex fans can be about the characters individually and as a couple. The fact that the scene was released as a preview, in its entirety, feels like a bait and switch. There could be no doubt that viewers would expect them to share more screen time; otherwise, why spoil the moment? Blackburn and Vlamis have insane chemistry, so more of it only helps the show.

Arturo, You’ve Got Competition
Sanders (Nicholas Ballas) for the win. Michael’s crotchety cute adoptive dad is a proper genius too. Sure, he proved he’s got a brain hidden behind all the gruff and tough, but it’s his heart that matters and he has a big one. He sees Michael, the good, the flaws, and the Alex of it all. Who doesn’t love a supportive dad?

What Am I Supposed to Say?

Oh, Michael, you cutie baby. Maria isn’t actively changing the future. She’s stepping on butterflies while Nancy Drewing. Has the world learned nothing from Ray Bradbury or Avengers: Endgame? The centering of Maria is no doubt an attempt to undo how sidelined she was from the main plot during season one and how much of an ill-used plot device she was in season two, but let’s not get carried away and give her all the power in the world. Frankly, I’m more interested in the hidden memories and pseudo-locked-in syndrome storyline than I ever was in the murder mystery. Within her mind, Maria can show how much she is the master of her domain, and it’s a better look than haphazardly following clues around Roswell.

This episode was so compelling because it broke free of the murder mystery and racists in Roswell storylines. Honestly, the murder visions and racists were never behind what feels like a storytelling renaissance for the show. In fact, they feel like remnants of the previous showrunner, bogging down what has been a most delicious marriage between solid character development and a cohesive plot fueled by tension and suspense.

I hope season four keeps the best of season three and leaves the rest behind. Bring on episode seven!

What did you think of the episode? Leave your comments below.