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Roswell, New Mexico — Killing Me Softly With His Song — Review

25 Aug 2021

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I didn’t love episode five, but I have high hopes that episode six will return us to the upward trajectory of the opening three episodes. This episode was full of highs and lows, things I enjoyed and things that bored me. Boring isn’t bad; it’s just boring.

With only eight episodes remaining, I feel like we’re grinding to a halt. There are so many good pieces to explore—character development and plot. I’m sure in the end, it’s all going to weave together and leave us anxious for season four, but I’m getting a little nervous now.

Let’s take a look.

Let Kyle Live
Just when we thought Kyle (Michael Trevino) was in the clear, they snatch him back toward death. I’m not convinced it was a member of The Regiment that was waiting for him at Max’s house, but it could have been. I hope it’s alien-related rather than Regiment-related. Perhaps, an unknown alien was drawn to Max’s house because of the ship pieces. Could the season end with the arrival of the Alighting?

And why is Kyle still carrying around the radio?

Growth, We Love to See It
The scene between Michael (Michael Vlamis) and Rosa (Amber Midthunder) outside the Crashdown was by far the highlight of the episode. Michael is finally getting the opportunity to grow as a character after regressing for much of season 2. Good on Michael for apologizing and characterizing himself as young, scared, and stupid when he helped frame Rosa for murder. More importantly, he recognized his privilege, realizing he should have known that being black or brown, being marginalized, in America has a price, and sometimes that price is steep.

When the Pod Squad put Rosa in the driver’s seat that night, they thought nothing of the optics—they made an addict, the child of illegal immigrants, a brown girl responsible for the death of two young white women. Their choice cost and keeps costing the Ortecho family.

I think it’s why Liz’s forgiveness of Max always felt too easy and sudden rather than satisfying. What I found beautiful about this scene was that there was no expectation for Rosa to forgive Michael. Too often, the victim is expected to forgive, but that should never be the case. The writers, Alanna Bennett and Danny Tolli, really delivered with this scene, as did Midthunder and Vlamis.

Isabel Evans, P.I.

Isabel’s (Lily Cowles) mental jousting with Jones (Nathan Dean Parsons) was tense. And even though he did his best to gaslight her, she maintained control and got the job done. And if she kept breaking car windows, someone was going to start asking questions.

As a viewer, I’ve always seen Isobel as a force. Even when circumstances try to break her, she usually rises. And I may be in the minority, but I found her solo sleuthing far more satisfying than last week’s journey through Wonderland. Not only did she uncover Jones’ ugly truth, well, some of his truth, but she saved Kyle, Liz, and maybe Max in the process.

As an aside, what’s up with all the snakes? That can’t simply be the costuming department sticking to a motif, can it?

It’s All Connected
Liz (Jeanine Mason) didn’t pass out at the end of last week’s episode because Max was near death. It turns out he was siphoning her life force. Talk about parasitism. Unfortunately, Liz’s little episode happened in front of Heath, which meant we had to deal with him for another week, but it also means he had questions. Sadly for Heath (Steve Krueger), she wasn’t interested in providing answers. All Liz needed or wanted was a ride to Max Evans. Heath wasn't thrilled, but I'm not sure any of us care about his feelings, including Liz.

Now, I freely admit I’m not an Echo shipper, but even I’m disappointed on their behalf. Max and Liz’s connection should have been something special, but it turns out Max was also tethered to Kyle. It makes Echo’s star crossed feel a little less meant to be and a bit less romantic. Also, why no tether to Michael or Rosa? He resurrected both of them? Continuity error? Something worth noting? Or did Max touching Liz at the drive-in trigger the mark?

Colonel Mustard in the Study with the Rope

My sister always cheated at Clue, growing so frustrated she would snatch the little envelope with the answer and loudly declare who, where, and with what, ruining the game for everyone. I was always pissed when she did it, but I get it now. The murder mystery storyline was cool for about three episodes, but it has outworn its welcome. I’m bored now. It doesn’t have teeth, and I can’t help but feel that Deep Sky and the Lockhart Machine or the Valenti radio or the turquoise or Michael being fireproof are far more worthy of screen time. This show gets 13 episodes, not 18. or 22. There is no room for filler or for dragging out storylines past their usefulness.

Maria seems intent on going her own way when it comes to solving the murder, but her way isn't getting us anywhere. And honestly, her choices are questionable. Just last week she was complaining about being left out of the alien madness, but she isn't really letting anyone in. Haven't we reached the point of pot and kettle? And I'm just not sure about the character arc. Everyone else seems to be learning about themselves, confronting flaws, dealing with their past, looking to their future, but Maria just keeps ending up unconscious on the floor.

Racism in Roswell

As someone who has and does rage against the machine, I’m surprised the racists in Roswell storyline isn’t resonating with me. For the moment, it feels too easy, and the villains are a bit mustache-twirling for my taste. Take, for instance, Jordan Bernhardt (Michael Grant Terry). He’s so obviously repugnant that all he’ll ever be is a cartoon bad guy. He isn’t frightening; he’s flat. Although, high praise to the writers for allowing Rosa to tell Jordan the absolute truth—his sadness doesn’t excuse his racism. However, I feel like she should have said that to someone else. Someone who is taking time away to find himself after losing 10 years of his life.

I will say, Max's conversation was Anasta (Sibongile Mlambo) was interesting. I don't know that I was satisfied with his answer, but he effectively expressed how torn he is about his choice to be a police officer. He sees the problem with policing, tries to stand up for what's right, but also seems to know that he is part of a systemic problem. Each day he makes a choice to be part of an institution drunk with power, but he also wants us to understand that's not why he does it. He does it because he's a protector. It's his nature.

While I hope that Jordan’s imprisonment will bring an end to this storyline, I know it won’t. I’m sad. Maybe I’m out of line, but Roswell isn’t the show to make statements on policing in America because they don’t have the room to give it the attention it deserves. This feels like a declaration of their progressiveness.

Speaking of hopes . . .

Dare to Dream
I hope we’ve seen the last of Heath, but I know we haven’t, which is too bad because he makes Liz dull. And let’s all be honest, he’s no threat to Liz and Max. Only another series regular could truly rock Echo. I wish Max and Liz’s relationship faced as much uncertainty as Alex and Michael’s. Not because I particularly enjoy the will they won’t they or the time-honored television tradition of dragging things out to the bitter end, but because for a show steeped in the thematic ideas of isolation and othering, the way the two relationships are presented feels heteronormative.

Speaking of relationships, when did Gregory Manes become a pathetic, sad-sack, lovesick schoolboy, blower of smoke? I’m tired of this too. Maria needs to kiss him, or he needs to kiss her, but his obsequiousness has got to stop. Let them be cute and balanced.

Wherefore Art Thou?
Alex (Tyler Blackburn)? Alex?
A few final thoughts:

What blew up? It was definitely alien.

Do we really believe Max is still Max? He was awfully unspecific when apologizing to Liz.

How brain-damaged is Maria going to be by the time this season ends? I need them to stop knocking her out. I also need her to consider taking the retired Navy Seal that stays jacked on the Rez with her the next time she decides to Nancy Drew.

—Until next week—