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Roswell, New Mexico — Wild Wild West — Review

10 Aug 2022

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Let’s play a game — “Two Truths and a Lie.”

1. I hated this episode of Roswell, New Mexico.
2. I drank an entire bottle of wine on my second viewing of this episode.
3. As a showrunner, ally, and accomplice, Chris Hollier is dedicated to uplifting queer relationships.

Can you spot the lie? It’s number three. Number three is the lie. To make number three a truth, you would need to substitute queer relationships with heteronormativity and delete ally and accomplice from the sentence. I am so tired of people thinking that all you have to do is say a thing to get credit. Incorrect. You have to do the thing. Show the thing. Prove the thing.

I don’t have a lot to say about the actual plot of this episode. It just added another conflict to the the muddled list of this season’s unresolved conflicts. Quite frankly, the episode was self-indulgent verging on masturbatory. Shining yet another light on Max and Liz’s relationship woes, as well as Liz’s ego. So let’s start with an overview.

Here we go.

Bad Girl Liz and her sidekick Clyde want Irksome Liz to indulge her megalomaniacal tendencies by embracing the mist and becoming more genius-ier. Meanwhile, Max is impulsive and gets trapped in Liz’s Wild West mindscape, but Isobel gets kicked out. Doctor-in-Training Heath joins the Crisis Liz Team. Michael tries to go rescue Alex, but Rosa has joined the let’s guilt trip Michael club, so he doesn’t. In the end, Irksome Liz gives up the driver’s seat to Bad Girl Liz and Michael and Maria have a fireside chat about thinking thoughts about possibly maybe the next day thinking about maybe rescuing some people from a glory hole. Oh, and the show wasted the appearance of OG Liz, Shiri Appleby.

Word Problems
Honestly, how many people does it take to save Liz? Turns out the answer is six. One to conduct lab tests, one to get trapped in a mindsape, one to act as a nurse between songs, two to stand around, and one to not look for his boyfriend or Dallas or Bonnie because the rest of the group told him to stop being impulsive.

How many days does it take to die of dehydration in an alien sand pit masquerading as another dimension? As little as three. Who knows maybe there is a grocery store in the other dimension. Alex was probably house hunting in the alien sand pit this episode because he realizes his “friends” are all horrible people. That likely explains why he didn’t communicate with anyone in this episode. Doesn't really matter since they also were in no way worried about his lack of communication.

No continuity. The writing is so sloppy.

When It Doesn’t Make Sense
Let’s see how sloppy this show can be in the space of a single episode. It is established that Heath is going to NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Rosa is going to Parsons School of Design, which is part of The New School, so they both reside in New York City. I too lived there for two years. While I did not befriend these two, they did befriend one another.

They then have the following conversation at Deep Sky, which apparently all of them can now access without Alex or Kyle, the only two members of this Titanic of a friend group that actually work there:

Heath: So, how long has Dallas been missing?
Rosa: No more than a day. Listen, I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you over the phone. I just thought that you should hear it in person.
Heath: You know, I almost didn’t go back to med school. I didn’t want to leave Dallas . . .

Rosa then has this conversation with Michael:

Rosa: Hey.
Michael: Look, Bikini Kill. Liz, she’s got her boyfriend. You’ve got your boyfriend. I’m-a go get my boyfriend.
Rosa: Heath is not my boyfriend, okay? People hug when they’re sad.
Michael: You stepped outside to make a call and 30 minutes later, Heath swooped in. So either Dr. Feelgood came to town with you, or . . . Did you develop beam-me-up powers?
Rosa: Or Heath came yesterday. After you told me about Dallas . . .

These two interactions are important. Michael’s first and second line were the best of the episode, granted the episode overall was indulgent and uninspired, but Michael Vlamis always manages to make magic in the middle of mediocrity. That was the good now on to the mess.

Is the audience to assume that Rosa convinced Heath to dip out on medical school by saying that she had something to tell him about Dallas but couldn’t tell him over the phone, so he had to fly across the country to hear it? Fine, let’s say the audience accepts that scenario. Are they then to assume that once Rosa told Heath that Dallas was missing, he just holed up in his hotel room for the night and didn’t attempt to connect with the group? Fine, let’s say that after finding out that Dallas was missing, Heath decided to hole up in his hotel room acting out the lyrics to “I Touch Myself” by Divinyls while thinking of Dallas, waiting for Rosa to call with details of the nonexistent search effort. When he finally hears from Rosa, it isn’t about Dallas, his number one, but Liz, so he leaves his hotel to play doctor. Save a few minor details, this is the only scenario that fits with the dialogue.

Even Michael is confused about when and why Heath is in Roswell. A more realistic version of this situation: Rosa calls Heath with concerning news about Dallas. Heath demands to know the news over the phone. Heath now knowing the news flies to Roswell, confronts the alien squad, and searches for Dallas all night long. When Rosa calls him for help, Heath’s phone goes to voicemail because he threw himself into the alien sand pit to find Dallas aka his reason for living.

That didn’t happen because it’s all hands on deck for Liz, but too bad so sad for the three people trapped in another dimension. I guess the needs of the many versus the needs of the Liz only exists on Star Trek. Look, Heath is harmless. And in theory, I have no issues with him returning, but I do question the necessity of it all for many reasons. The first reason being, we know Deep Sky has doctors.

You know what else? What nonsense was Rosa spewing? What does setting a car on fire at 17, with two other people, have to do with finding Alex? Also, Rosa, my baby, you were already dead when the car was set on fire. It isn't like Michael killed you. I’m disappointed that Rosa has boarded the don’t be impulsive train. I could give her a pass because Liz is her sister, but I’m not feeling magnanimous today. Everyone just watched a powerless Max insist upon jumping into a mindscape, but jumping into an alien sand pit is insane. Got it. I do wonder why Max is allowed to do whatever to save his woman when Michael isn’t allowed to do whatever to save his man. There’s an itch at the back of my brain. Give me a minute.

There may have been a time when I would have attributed this glaring lack of equity between the two main couples a mere oversight or bad writing. That's a lie. There was never a time I attributed this to oversight. The intentionality of the disaprity between the couples is so repugnant. Poorly written equitable trteatment would make people cringe, but at least it wouldn't feel like Michael and Alex's entire relationship existed to score progressive points and internet mentions.

Riddle Me This

Why is Max allowed to be impulsive without guilt or shame while Michael is guilted and shamed into compliance when he tries to save his cosmic love? This show, from season one, has indulged Max in his tantrums, bullying, verbal abuse, physical abuse, impulsivity, bossiness, rage issues, and violence only to label him the savior and give him a messiah moment in season one while also undermining, disappearing, torturing, and traumatizing the two queer survivors of abuse at every turn. And do not attempt to usher in the argument that Max died. Yep, he did. Then he arose and went horseback riding with his girlfriend.

How is Shivani, a person that was vaping the alien mist prior to Liz’s arrival at the lab and also in the room with the broken bottle of alien mist, back at work while Liz is convulsing on a table, fighting her Bad Girl self in a mindscape? If a cure or treatment exists, it makes sense that they would also use it on Liz. The logic here just doesn’t hold. I guess Liz is the ring and Max is Gollum. Also, are we to surmise that Liz’s mindscape was contingent upon Max demanding to join Isobel? Would this entire stupid episode not have occurred if Isobel simply told Max Evans no? This has to be true since Bad Girl Liz’s entire plan was to kidnap and threaten Max to get what she wanted from Irksome Liz. Speaking of Irksome Liz, no one watching the episode believed that she shot the Bad Girl version of herself. Liz’s ego is the second biggest thing on the show after Max’s entitlement issues.

By the by, was anyone else squinty eyed when Liz seemed giddy about the possibility of her once upon a time sex friend/salsa partner and formerly dead sister hooking up?

When the Mindscape Pony is Open More than the Real One
How does Michael end this episode? Well, Michael and Maria sit around the fire pit for a chat. Let me award zero points to the writers for having this take place at Michael’s former home. From what I gather, the purpose of the chat was to prop up Maria as the only person that kept their cool during Crisis Liz. Apparently, Maria decided that it simply wasn’t her turn to have a meltdown. Give me a break.

Also, Michael, you get to be emotional about your missing boyfriend. Stop letting your horrible group of friends crawl inside your head to convince you otherwise. Stop letting them use the trauma of your past, as a survivor of abuse, to make you feel horrible about wanting to spring into action. You love him and he is missing. The real question is why are all of you sitting cozy around fires and on sofas instead of searching for a way to bring back Alex, Dallas, and Bonnie. Just because Alex isn’t dead doesn’t mean he isn’t dying.

And why are we referencing the need to find them? They are in the hole. They are in the hole that Alex showed you. They are literally not lost. They are in the hole. You don’t even have to dig. Also, why haven’t we asked the alien in captivity, Tezca, about the hole and how to retrieve items that are trapped down there? Is her friend time with Isobel really necessary?

And So It Goes
How much do we love Roswell, New Mexico, a show with four episodes remaining, adding to the unresolved conflicts? How much do we love a show with four episodes remaining dedicating 43 minutes to telling the audience what they already know — Max is an albatross, Liz wants the glory at any cost, and their relationship is toxic.

And I’ll say again, the turquoise was never their thing.

This show has a pacing problem, a plot before character problem, a coherent story telling problem, and a worldbuilding problem. It also has a respect problem. In that, it doesn’t respect its audience. I want to be disappointed but that would require having expectations.

This was an absolutely worthless episode.