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Roswell, New Mexico — Follow You Down — Review

24 Aug 2022

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Tyler Blackburn took to social media to address his absence from Roswell, New Mexico. Not that anyone was owed an explanation, but it was lovely to see him use his platform to uplift mental health issues, especially the way physical ailments can cause and contribute to those issues.

There is no doubt Alex was missed. The upset over the character’s absence was exacerbated by the show not receiving a season five pickup from the CW. Alas, we need to keep in mind that there are two separate issues. The first is fans missing Alex. The second is everyone missing a good story.

Alex’s absence did not cause the terrible writing, the incoherent plot, the overly packed narrative, or any of the other issues that have occurred. All you have to do is look back over the show’s history to know that these problems have always existed.

There was absolutely a way to make Alex a part of the show without the audience seeing him. It also would have tightened up the writing by giving the narrative more coherence and making room for better character arcs.

Alex’s disappearance should have been all Michael, all the time. It could have gone like this: We take the not seen sex to the bedroom and make it seen. Michael “all impulse” Guerin in the throes of passion puts a handprint on Alex. It would be the queer version of Liz being thrown into a bookshelf or Maria knocking down a painting. Now, Michael and Alex are connected. Alex gets sucked into the alien sandpit. He’s distressed. He’s scared. He’s confused. Michael feeling this rush of emotions collapses. Michael becomes possessed with finding Alex. He spends hours, days in his lair. Alex finds a way to communicate with him, growing Michael’s obsession. He feels, through the connection left by the print, Alex getting weak. Michael feels the sickness coursing through his body, and then he realizes that Alex is dying. Michael is now frantic. We then pick up with Kyle and Michael finding a way into the portal, and Michael entering.
This didn’t happen because the writers have never known what to do with Maria, so they toss her leftovers or storylines that rightfully belong in the hands of another character or worse yet give her a plot that adds little to the season’s overall narrative. It also didn’t happen because the show was full to the brim with guest stars. We didn’t need Clyde and Bonnie and Tezca. Writers need to know when to kill their darlings, especially when purposes overlap. And it happened because the Liz and Max relationship ate up too much of the time, not doing anything new. If I’m being completely honest, Liz and Max together and apart ate up too much time. It’s the same Liz and the same Max and the same toxic relationship we’ve had for four seasons. They haven’t grown and no one will believe any miraculous growth in the final two episodes.

This season has been a total miss. What terrible timing.

Let’s get to it.

There Goes My Baby
People wanted Alex back, I wanted Alex back, so he’s back. He’s also dying because of course he is. Basically, it’s Wednesday and he forgot to wear pink, also known as queer people can’t have nice things on Roswell, New Mexico. And don’t talk to me about Liz and the preview for next week. That’s called reaping what you sew. Her brain can melt. I care not at all. Back to Alex.

Michael sets off on his own to search for Alex in the upside down trans dimensional alien pocket sand pit. Dallas and Bonnie also set off in search of more Theo clues or Alex—it’s unclear. While searching for something, Dallas falls for an obvious trap. Not just an obvious trap, but a trap obviously constructed by Alex. No big deal, one would think. They’re aliens so they can just magic themselves out of the truck. What’s this?! Their powers don’t work. What sorcery, what fell deeds, could be at work?

Turns out the Roswell aliens are like Superman. He can’t see through lead and their powers don’t work on lead. I’ll bet my prized SDCC Edition Loki #16 Funko Pop that the writers decided this little tidbit when they wrote this episode. I promise the conversation between the writers went something like this:

Writer 1: Oh! Oh! I just thought of the coolest thing.

Writer 2: What? What!

Writer 1: Okay. Okay. What if the aliens were like Superman?

Writer 2: Superman? Like how? Like they can fly or have laser eyes? Oh, damn. We could give them a fortress of solitude.

Writer 1: What? No! And they already have a fortress of solitude.

Writer 2: Right, Michael’s bunker. Although, I always thought of that as more of a bat cave. Like Batman.

Writer 1: Could you please focus?

Writer 2: Yeah, sorry.

Writer 1: Lead can block their powers.

Writer 2: Woah! Say that again.

Writer 1: Lead can block their powers.

Writer 2: Brilliant! And then we can kill Alex.

If that bit of information is in the original story bible, I’ll eat the story bible because I don’t own a SDCC Edition Loki #16 Funko Pop. Or do I?! No matter, neither my stomach nor my Loki are in danger.

Granted before we discover Alex is dying, he’s tackled by Michael while dressed like an Ewok. Seeing these two smile at one another is a welcome change from Liz and Max’s season long, soul destroying relationship woes. Michael and Alex are still the cutest.

While they’re catching up, Michael makes a teary confession, telling Alex that he considered leaving Earth for Oasis. Alex seemingly gives him permission to go. No doubt this is because he’s dying of radiation poisoning from all the time he spent in the hole. Too bad his friends took their time trying to find him.

With only two episodes left, the writers decided to pack a proposal into the episode. They’ve wasted tons of time, so now there is truly no time to waste. Michael accepts Alex’s proposal and let’s it be known that’s he’s so in love with Alex that it’s embarrassing. No, what’s embarrassing is that this show wasted so many season not taking advantage of the chemistry these two generate. These two deserve the proposal and their happy ending, but I'm still peeved that it was rushed.

Do we think they’ll get married in the pocket dimension? After all, the show did take the time to remind us that Dallas was once a preacher man. A little bit of foreshadowing? I’m of two minds. Mind the first: Their crap friends don’t deserve invites to the wedding. Mind the second: Unless you subscribe to anarchy, the marriage isn’t legal until you sign the certificate, so sure go ahead, get married in the upside down.

The proposal and almost-not quite celebration sex is interrupted by Alex confessing that he’s dying of radiation poisoning. And this was the moment when all I could do was chuckle and shake my head in disgust. Not because I was surprised, but because Alex remains the writers’ favorite punching bag. I mean, Liz vapes alien mist and gets a Wild West adventure; Alex does his job and gets radiation poisoning. Similar.

Don’t Believe the Hype
One would think Michael and Alex could have their reunion moment without any intrusions. Bonnie and Clyde had gone in search of alien dragon fruit to power the console, leaving Michael and Alex to some much needed talking, kissing, and forehead touching. Sadly, the writers decided to slap the ice cream out of viewers hands by dragging Maria into the conversation. Even when we don’t see Maria, we have to hear about Maria. Apparently, she created something. The words Alex spoke were 93% too made up for me to follow. I’m going to forgive Alex for his Maria hype because the writers wrote that terrible bit of dialogue, and I’m digging his post apocalyptic scruffy look. Wish I could see him in the light of the right side up.

Scooby Doo Has Better Villains

If I told you that you could Google the address to Shivani’s secret lab, you’d probably believe me. I mean, Deep Sky is basically a tourist destination at this point, so why not. Turns out Clyde knows his Google and turns up at Shivani’s lab, missing a hand, with promises of resurrecting her daughter if she’ll enter into an evil alliance with him. With her brain scrambled by her addiction to the mist, we know that she’ll be quick to say yes. We can call them the Legion of Doom. It fits with the Superman theme.

Earlier, in a flashback, viewers are treated to Clyde, wearing an earth toned muscle tee and sleeveless vest, being branded by Jones. They needed this scene to explain why Clyde would kidnap Liz. In this moment, Liz feels a little bit like Maria. The writers are just finding things for her to do. I get. She’s the central figure. Allegedly.

I’m highly amused that Max and Michael have been traipsing around Roswell with the mark of Ophicius etched on their bodies. We basically have a situation where someone sees a cool letter or symbol from a language they don’t speak only to discover their new tattoo says ‘dead chipmunk sex is the best sex.”

Anyway, thanks to Theo’s Bible, Clyde knows that the alien glass in the brand will prevent him from crossing into the pocket sand pit dimension, so he kidnaps Liz, hoping she’ll whip up a cure. He even feeds her alien mist addiction. Should I ask how he knows about the addiction?

I’ve decided not to ask how Clyde knows everything because then I’d have to ask about the burned grove of trees. It’s another moment where you stop and wonder how writing can be this awful. I mean think about it. Alex saw the trees and then someone burned the trees. Whomst’d burned the trees? Anyone with the brand can’t enter, so it wasn’t Tezca or Clyde. Bonnie, Dallas, and Michael just showed up and need the alien dragonfruit to go back to real Roswell, so it wasn’t them. It wasn’t Liz, Isobel, Kyle, Rosa, Max, or Maria. It wasn’t Sanders. It wasn’t Shivani. Jones is dead. So again I say, whomst’d burned the trees? Do we really have time for another mystery or will this simply be an illogical complication for the sake of adding just one more complication? I dare say we know the answer, but I’m willing to be proven wrong.

In Other News

Remember how Bonnie had to make things right for Michael and Alex? Well, she didn’t. Will she ever stop whining now?
Rosa is dropping out of Parsons to be Liz’s sober companion.

Kyle closed the door on Isobel. In what will come as a surprise to us all, she’ll kick the door back open next week.

Max decided to let Shivani verbally slap him around a bit instead of grabbing the alien mist and running. I’m starting to suspect he likes it.

Shivani stole the pods. I blame Liz.

Final Thoughts

Roswell, New Mexico is the psychological equivalent of believing you’ve caught Santa coming down the chimney only to discover it’s the clown from Poltergeist gnawing on a bloody reindeer leg. You can’t unsee it. You can’t forget it. And in your heart of hearts, you knew the moment was too good to be true. It was never going to be Santa. It was always going to be a bloody nightmare.

Until next week.