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Roswell, New Mexico — Free Your Mind — Review

15 Sept 2021

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What to say about episode eight. There was so much to like and only a few things that irked me.

I think my thoughts are incredibly civilized this week, although I always think I’m civilized.

Either way, whatever I say, chalk it up to the cold, the prescription cold meds, or just the absolute unvarnished truth as I see it. Do remember, I thought I saw a puffin on our driveway.

Sisters Doing It For Themselves
Rosa was the spark that Liz’s science brain blew into a flame. And with that, Liz learned not to sideline her sister, and Rosa found her worth. Rosa has a part to play in the larger drama unfolding, and her help has been invaluable. Kudos to the Oretecho sisters for joining forces and getting it done.

Although, maybe they should have made sure Alex and Michael were clear of Jones before waking him. Safety first and all of that.

Rosa and Isobel’s deepening relationship has been great to see, and I, for one, am happy the writers have steered clear of any romantic overtones. I like the Jedi and Padawan relationship they have going on. I especially love how Rosa gave Isobel the strength to put Jones in his place.

Did you see Lily! It was great to see her being so physical. Obviously, it was symbolic of her as master of her domain, the mindscape, but it was also a reminder of how far she’s come from Noah’s puppet to woman warrior. It played exceptionally well against her “sticks and stones” comment to Jones last week.

Is it just me, or does Lily Cowles look especially outstanding this season?
A character’s likability plays a big part in how much self-assurance they can ooze. Liz is flawed, but the audience and character know it. It’s what makes her relatable. It’s why we root for her—always. And it’s why we know she’ll save Max each and every time. It definitely helps that Kyle held her accountable; everyone needs a little of that. With all that said, it’s why I loved hearing her say that she was the smartest person in the room. Revel in your brilliance.

Everyone was there, joining forces to free Maria from Jones’ hold. For her part, Maria kept a firm grasp on the alien glass and locked herself in various places.

Nobody Does It Better
I was ready to crap all over the frosty to fiery Michael and Alex storyline, but you know what? I’m not even mad. Sure, they borrowed a play from John Green by reconciling slowly then all at once, but for the first time since season one, I feel like the writers have finally put to rest the queer torture porn that defined Michael and Alex’s interactions. Finally, we’ve reached a point where the queer characters on Roswell, New Mexico, are no longer playthings being wielded by someone dedicated to the performative, the vengeful, and the pages of a preteen diary. Michael and Alex don’t need to earn love; they deserve love.

Honestly, it’s tragic the way Tyler Blackburn and Michael Vlamis’ chemistry has been wasted these last three seasons, but I hope Hollier and his friends plan to stay this course.

Respecting what Blackburn and Vlamis have created is less about fandom and more about the power of chemistry and how important it is for compelling storytelling. They bring to their scenes chemistry so natural and visceral, whether soft and sweet or hard and frantic, that it feels authentic, not like actors going through the motions. I’ve often felt like a voyeur while watching their scenes. They act with their eyes and their bodies.

And while I’m sure many are swooning over the kiss, the silent moments between them were the real winners for me. When Michael silently listened to Alex’s story, knowing when to squeeze his shoulder and caress his face, tears in both their eyes, from the start of the scene to the cutaway, it was some of their best acting of the season.

The second moment was Alex moving across the room to hold Michael’s hand. Their fingers were interlocked together, but it was more than a handhold, the way Alex was pushed into Michael’s space. It was raw and passionate. For just a moment, they were the whole world—danger be damn.

Speaking with words and eyes and hands and lips, it was a journey, one that was a long time coming. Overdue actually.

Do you know what I wasn’t expecting? The sense of romantic longing permeating the scene between Cowles and Jeanine Mason. I’m not sure if it was the moonlight or the delivery, but damn if I didn’t consider leaving Max in the pod for all eternity, so these two could have a real chance at something glorious. Was that just me? I was half expecting Isobel to declare her love for Liz and tell her she’d picked the wrong Evans twin. In the end, I decided Echo deserves their moment.

Et Tu, Alex
And Kyle stood alone. I’m sure the audience is supposed to fill in the blanks and understand that Alex likely told everyone about Kyle’s condition. I’m also sure the audience is supposed to realize that the previously unknown and unsolvable drug cocktail given to Kyle that is keeping him in a coma is far less severe than whatever was happening in Maria’s mind. But, yeah, I’m still not having it. This little group certainly has a friend in him, but he really needs to consider finding a new friend group.

Also, does Kyle’s mother never call or text? My mother lives 20 minutes away, and she frequently sends me emails and texts. If I don’t respond, she contacts my sister and makes her contact me. How many days has it been since Kyle fell into a coma? And does he still have a job?

The barn Michael found was big enough for Kyle to join the party. Surely Eduardo knows that Liz is a genius biochemist, and since Deep Sky doctors are currently at a loss, why not recruit her to save his nephew?

And there should have been a throwaway line of Maria asking about Kyle since her entire journey to 1969 began because she was trying to save Kyle from certain death. And last she saw him, he was gasping for air and filled with an unknown amount of adrenaline. Except that can’t be true if Eduardo is telling the truth, but I mentioned that last week.

The writers dropped the ball here. Now that Alex has been brought into the main plot, I can somewhat accept that he told the rest of them; although, he should have done it for the audience to see. But for Maria, who basically had Kyle in protective custody, to not ask about him seems odd.

I don’t know what’s planned for Kyle during the last five episodes of the season, but it better be mind-blowing and world-building to make up for the neglect. Although, at some point, someone will have to find or create the cure to wake him up. Actually, maybe he should stay in a coma because he’s already been impaled and poisoned. What’s next?

What’s Past is Prologue, But Sometimes It’s Plot Convenience
Sorry, Theo, we didn’t get to see your face. But, lucky for everyone, you had the needed symbol carved into your forehead for some unknown and unexplained reason. As a consolation, you have better than average abs.

So, in 1969, 21 or 22 years before Maria was born, Patricia was dosed with some experimental Caulfield cocktail of drugs that altered her DNA and left her with inheritable brain deterioration? Does the degenerative disorder only manifest if they use their alien powers, or is the brain degeneration accelerated by using the alien powers? So, the alien powers are not the actual cause? Is that right?

Was this the explanation given during season two? Admittedly, for me, most of season two feels like a fever dream or a dystopian nightmare that only comes to me in those anxiety-ridden moments, so it’s pretty unclear.

Either way, kudos to the Roswell, New Mexico writers for actually going where I didn’t think they would go. They showed the unethical experimentation on marginalized communities.

For a second, they led the audience to believe, but I guarantee no one did, that Patricia may have been part of the problem. If this season taught us anything, they would never let a branch of the Deluca family tree be part of the problem. It could have been an interesting bit of character development for Maria, her reconciling Patricia being complicit in atrocities. It could have been . . . Weighty. Meaty. Relevant.

No worries, as we all knew, Patricia was trying to be part of the solution. This was done by dosing the unwitting study participants with placebos, taking the pieces Nora built, and slotting them in place on the Lockhart Machine. Genius mother. Genius son.

I have to wonder if Eduardo knows the truth about Dr. Lockhart. If he does, perhaps a name change is in order. They could call it The Machine. Well, now they can call it the Truman Machine.

Ashes to Ashes
So, it’s no longer snowing ashes, which means the visions that viewers were force fed for six episodes amounted to nothing. Did they really waste all that screen time? Are you serious right now, writers?

I need someone to explain to me the actual point of that episode-sucking storyline. Does it connect to Deep Sky or the Lockhart Machine or Jones or the crazy cocktail of drugs a very much alive Kyle Valenti was given? What’s the takeaway? We learned negative nothing from it.

If the intent of the storyline was to let Maria shine, for part of the viewership, it was an absolute failure. And dare I say, it created a situation where the opposite occurred. And quite frankly, you don’t have enough episodes to not be strategic and purposeful. Everything you do should move characters towards their season-ending arc, deepen the story, support the overarching plot. It shouldn’t be about getting more screen time for a character that was once underserved and then used as a plot device. Substance is key.

War, What Is It Good For?
The idea that Roswell, New Mexico, would end without the viewer discovering how Alex lost his leg or hearing about his time at war was a real possibility just a season ago. His fear of losing the people he loves could have been linked to his mother’s abandonment, but that situation has never been painted quite that way. However, the story of Omar highlights Alex’s PTSD. It speaks to why he’s so desperate to keep the people he loves safe. And until this episode, he had done so in a way that kept Michael unsure and at arm’s length.

Michael dealing with his own trauma, didn’t see it for what it was. He didn’t see protection. Instead, Michael saw it as rejection. He thought he was unwanted, and Alex thought he couldn’t want. But here they are. They’ve arrived, and destiny, and their devoted fan base, welcomes them with open arms.

All it took was some communication, one ill-advised and poorly executed non-triangle triangle, and the briefest of detours with a blue-haired Long. Oh, and 34 episodes.

Before I Forget:
~ “. . . outweighs any past trauma I have to relive.” This is what I’m talking about when it comes to sloppy writing. Maria isn’t reliving anything. And Patricia is super dead, so neither is she.

~ If Isobel can feel when Jones is near, why didn’t she know he was impersonating Max?

~ Didn't we already know Jones and Max were linked?