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Roswell, New Mexico — Tones of Home — Review

Last week, as I lay dying, my lungs trying to escape my body, and watching the eighth episode, I had a few wishes for episode nine. Keep the pacing and plotting tight, the character development meaningful, and the interactions necessary and authentic.

Last week felt like steady movement toward a fiery conclusion. We were headed somewhere. And while this week offered progress, somehow, it still felt like standing in place, which isn’t great this late in the season.

Overall, did I enjoy the episode? I believe I did. As much as last week? Not even close. There were answers given and takeaways to be had, but there was some high-level foolishness clinging to the bumper.

The Good, The Great, The Intriguing, and The Necessary
Like Michael and Alex, Liz and Max have some things they need to work through, so I respect the road trip for that reason. However, it’s not the best idea for other reasons but more on that later. Their time together has been limited this season, so it was good to see some of their old familiar flirting, even if Liz did start to slip into her, “I did nothing wrong, and it’s all your fault, Max.” Also, this week offered another example of Max dialogue matching something Alex has said in the past.

Answers for Kyle are overdue, and Eduardo owed him the truth about his father. The daddy issues on this show run deep. Kyle’s a man stepping out of the shadows of the past and walking a path of his own. That he wants to keep walking it with Alex is something we all want to hear. Arguably, they have the best realized friendship on the show. The journey, that is. Here’s to more of their friendship in season four.

They killed the one alien of color, Theo, but now we have Dallas, the hot priest. Turns out The Oasis isn’t only filled with people that look like Max, Isobel, and Michael. Imagine Dallas dealing with the secret of being an alien while being a Black man in America. Talk about a story.

Jones needed a genius, and now he has one. Heath is back. Actually, he never left. He took some time to poison Kyle. I think we all knew, but now we know.

A Masterclass Moment
When I work with my students on their writing, one of our frequent practices is something I call Masterclass Moments.

Last night Roswell had a masterclass moment. Michael standing outside of Deep Sky, his shirt doing all of the talking. There was no dialogue, but it showed the audience so much.

From this single moment, we saw how much Alex means to Michael. We saw how much Michael has grown. And we saw that Alex and Michael have been talking off-screen. It took nothing more than a few silent seconds to advance the plot, explore Michael and Alex’s growth as a couple, and witness character development for Michael.

Michael was strategic, clever, and logical with a humorous twist. And all it took to achieve this incredible moment was a stark white t-shirt and a Sharpie.

We Will Not Have It
“This evil alien dickwad is taking something from me . . . right now.”

Oh yeah, what? What is Jones taking from you? Better jackets? Because I seem to recall your friends saving you an episode ago?

This nonsense makes me want to kick something. I even asked Siri if she would tell Maria to shut up. I’m so frustrated by the choices regarding her character.

And did Maria really fix her mouth to say Isobel’s singular focus worries her and that she needs to take a step back? Are you laughing because I’m laughing? Guess singular focus isn’t allowed unless Maria cares about it. And this is what Isobel gets after being Maria's ride or die. Her Huckleberry. We love to see a myopic sister-friend.

How is Isobel’s intensity about and hyper fixation on Jones about Maria? It was like a sucky magic trick. One minute it’s about Jones and Isobel and then just like that it was about Maria. Right, Maria has a new lease on life because she didn’t die. Poof. Sorry, that does not explain and excuse her lack of understanding.

Let’s think, has Maria been hyper-focused, intense, and irrational about anything lately? Let me think . . .

What about—
Max: It might kill me, Maria.

Maria: Oh wells, think fast, Sheriff Sad Sack, because there are things mama needs to know.

Then there was—
Michael: You could have died.

Maria: Don’t be stupid, you pathetic cowboy. Max was going to kill himself saving me.

Michael: WTF?!

Maria: Whatevs, I’m totes worth it. Besides, you’re super powerful. And a gross drunk.

How about—
Kyle: They’re innocent, Maria. Bailing them out was the right thing to do!

Maria: I’m a Black Alien Woman, Kyle, so I should be out there saving everyone, but instead, I have to make sure you don’t die. You just don’t get it. I’ve been burdened with so much glorious purpose. Like so so much. I’m just all things to all people.

What are the writers doing?! I mean what are the writers doing other than trying to undo Isobel's entire growth arc from last season in order to make Maria seem the wise friend? I guess Alex was too busy hallucinating to sing Maria's praises, so they pretended Isobel was having a meltdown. Isobel had every right to be annoyed. And Maria had every right to get her groove on with Gregory "Am I Still a Teacher" Manes back at the Wild Pony while the adults try to save the world. More on this later.

Stupid Is As Stupid Does
There was a lot of stupid in this episode. The characters passed the stupid stick. The biggest culprits in this episode were Liz and Alex.

Did Liz really head off on a road trip with Max to retrieve Heath? It wasn’t that long ago that he drove her 18+ hours because only Max could save her. She then lied to him, sent him off on a wild goose chase, and barely denied still loving Max when confronted. I’m not sure how Max makes it more likely that Heath will talk to her, much less help her. Perhaps Max is the muscle, and they just plan to kidnap Heath?

Alas, Liz’s stupid did not stop there. She also left out in the open her brainstorm for finding a way to separate Jones and Max. She left it where anyone could see it. Where anyone could find it. Do you know who found it? If you said Jones, you’re right. Sure, it wasn’t the finished formula. And yes, she hasn’t completely worked out the science of alien cell separation, but why offer Jones any advantage. I think the time has come for Liz to take a nap. It could be that the guilt over not even asking about Kyle. He's her family after all.

Should I even address how long it took Liz to realize that Heath was shady? Not before now, but right now. The moment she realized her research was missing. Her reaction is all ego and anger because being the smartest person in one room doesn’t mean you’re the smartest person in every room. She probably is but still.

Look at Alex with a plan. Look at Alex ignoring his plan. Look at Alex hallucinating. Oh, Alex. We all know you want to save Michael even at the expense of yourself, but where would he be without you? On the one hand, you did work through some insecurities about your father, his legacy, and your love for Michael. But, on the other hand, you ended up on a ledge overlooking a deadly cliff, so I’m not ready to declare you a winner.

Yes, Alex is more intelligent than this. Yes, curiosity gets the better of all people, even the smart ones. But, brilliant or not, this was dumb. That said, the acting was most excellent.

I did enjoy watching the way Nora grew more disheveled as Alex moved further from reality. It was a clever extended metaphor.

Did Eduardo really open his mouth to say the hacker couldn’t have altered the security footage? Why was no one at Deep Sky assigned to check on Alex? Some operation you’re running, Eduardo.

Excellent job, Isobel, raising an alien pod from the middle of a frozen lake in broad daylight. Are those cars I spy in the nearby parking lot? I’m sure Isobel, Maria, and Gregory all drove separately, and those were all their cars.

I Defy You
Maria was pivotal to this episode. She had a sex scene with Gregory Manes that knocked a clue-bearing cross off a wall. Where would the humans and Pod Squad be without this brilliant act of detective work? They’d be lost without her. She really is perfect. There was no other way for the writers to create the solution to this particular mystery. Maria Deluca superfluous? I don’t know her.

Come on! I don’t care how much you love Maria; there is no logical person on this planet or the next four who can deny she was utterly useless in this episode. Isobel could have left the lodge door open, and a rabid raccoon or a strong wind or Bigfoot could have caused equal levels of destruction, thereby revealing the message on the cross. Isobel could have busted the place up in frustration with her alien powers.

Maybe if they’d done any of that, there would have been time to wake up Max and/or Kyle on screen. Kyle more than deserves it. Or how about seeing that heartfelt moment between Michael and Sanders.

We’ve reached a place where I have to believe the crappy writing for and unnecessary inclusion of Maria in certain scenes and storylines is an inside joke between the writers because, at this point, her storyline and dialogue is essentially 2+2=papaya-squirrel. The only other explanation involves organized crime.

We Don’t Have To Talk About It . . . Unless You Want To
~ Why can’t Isobel have a lady of her own?

~ Jones’ sexy diminishes when he’s in his deputy duds.

~ The only person more useless than Maria in this episode was Gregory Manes.

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

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