Roswell, New Mexico never shies away from difficult topics and episode three, “Good Mother,” was no exception. This one dives deep into grief, fear, betrayal, and hope in new ways, so grab a tissue!
“Good Mother” begins with a flashback to Nora the night of the 1947 crash. She emerges to the local police department led by Sheriff Hector Valenti and the US Military led by Harlen Manes. Nora kneels down submissively, but another alien throws flames from his hand that engulf Valenti. Panicked the soldiers begin shooting and Nora is hit in the shoulder. The aliens flee and Nora hides behind the nearby military vehicles when she’s cornered by a soldier.
In present day, Michael puts a homemade rig into Max’s pod as Alex enters the cave. Michael explains, “the pods keep us in stasis by regenerating our cells at the same rate they degrade.” His device speeds up that process to allow Max to recover, theoretically. Alex informs Michael that he hit a firewall when looking into Nora in the Caulfield data and asks Michael’s permission to keep digging. Michael agrees and thanks him for asking.
Jenna Cameron is driving to Roswell late at night, downing her fourth Speed Demon energy drink (yikes), when she suddenly sees Mimi DeLuca in the road. She swerves, narrowly missing Mimi and jumps into action. Cam gives Mimi her coat and takes her to the hospital. Mimi has no memory of where she was or how long she was gone.
The next morning we see Michael and Maria outside The Wild Pony. Michael emerges from his airstream with an omelette for Maria. When she asks, Michael shares that Sanders, the owner of the garage, taught him to cook when he was a kid. Michael crashed at Sanders house, favoring a couch with a dog to his abusive foster home situation. Maria comments that he’s talkative and Michael threatens to take her plate. Maria tells him she will “fork him” if he tries, which is a) quite the innuendo and b) the very moment Isobel arrives. She’s, of course, grossed out and Maria heads inside to take a phone call. Michael teases Isobel lightly, but Maria charges outside with news that the Sheriff found Mimi and leaves. Isobel recalls also waking up in the desert with no memory, and Michael reminds her this is different and Noah is gone. She looks nauseated (morning sickness?) and continues her run.
At Max’s house, Rosa pours some liquor into her coffee and hides the bottle as Liz walks into the room and gives her some art supplies. She warns Rosa to be careful if she goes into town and then heads out, touching Max’s hat as she goes. Rosa turns and pours her drink down the sink.
Cam fills Sheriff Valenti in on Mimi’s ride to the hospital where she recalled Starship Troopers but said nothing about what happened. In the course of their discussion, Cam discovers that Max has been missing for some time. She looks concerned and we know she’ll be heading to find Liz.
Isobel is packing up things to throw out when she sees a wedding photo of her, Noah, and Max. She tosses it in the box as her phone sounds. Her app informs her that the “bundle of joy is the size of a blueberry.” She snatches the poison out of the drawer and swallows it all, after which she begins hallucinating Max. Specifically Max from her wedding. She argues with him that she’s not suicidal, she’s performing her own abortion with the serum. She has the antidote ready to go, but Max won’t relent and suggests she call a doctor. Isobel stands her ground right up until she has to excuse herself to go vomit (that means it’s working right?).
Cam finds Michael leaving the Crashdown Cafe and asks him about Max. He tries the Mexico trip answer, but she isn’t buying it and reminds him that she kept their secret and helped bring down Noah. She deserves the truth. Michael relents and sends her to Liz at their new secret lab.
A very emotional Maria talks to Mimi about her disappearance. The doctors say she is healthy and hydrated, two things she should not be after missing for a month. Maria begs her to tell them something so they can figure out who took her or hurt her. She assures Maria she wasn’t hurt and they hug each other which is when Maria notices some very loud cowboy boots that Mimi says are hers.
After Cam sets off an alarm, Liz lets her into their lab where they discuss Max. Liz fills her in on everything and her efforts to revive Max. She gets a little science-y with her explanation, but in essence her previous study was successful in regenerating dead rat cells with a protein. The pods contain a similar protein so Liz is hoping to amplify the process and heal Max. When Cam looks upset, Liz offers to take a break and have a drink. Liz breaks out the wine and delivers a great one-liner when Cam turns it down, “then I am officially out of ways to comfort my dead boyfriend’s ex-lover.” But, Cam’s got her own bottle in the car.
Alex returns to the Project Shepherd bunker to find a note from Flint and a binder full of information about the night of the crash. After reading it, Alex visits his father, Jesse Manes, in the hospital. Surprisingly, he apologizes to Manes about the situation and offers his morphine button for the pain. He tells Manes that Flint left the files, he read them, and he is there to clear the air between them. Alex says he and Michael are over, and he understands why Manes wants them all dead. He is trying to win Manes’ trust to gain more insight but it’s unclear if Manes believes him.
Rosa is drawing with her new art supplies when she suddenly hears Max’s voice. This time, she isn’t asleep but is no less frightened. He only gets out, “Help. Please, you are the only one,” before she dives at her backpack and drinks down more liquor to quiet him.
Outside the lab, Cam and Liz walk with their respective bottles of alcohol. Cam shares that she and her sister were obsessed with aliens and the crash as kids, so their father took them there. Her move to Roswell made Cam feel closer to Charlie. When Cam mentions it’s like attempting time-travel, Liz lets her know time travel isn’t great. “I’m eight years older than my older sister.” She also divulges that Rosa may be bipolar and her choice to stay and save Max feels like letting Rosa down. Cam offers her own form of therapy to Liz, target practice.
Isobel returns from puking again, but isn’t bleeding yet and is determined to wait it out. When Max asks how she knows she won’t die, she fires back with the same question, did he know when he saved Rosa that he would die? Of course he can’t answer her, he’s just a subconscious manifestation. He does hit her hard with the truth of the matter. She knows he would never choose another person over her because she wouldn’t choose anyone over him, not even herself. Sheriff Valenti chooses this moment to show up with additional questions about Noah. Lacking bedside manner, Valenti slaps photos of Noah’s body on the table in front of Isobel. When she grills her about the ligature marks on Noah’s wrists, Isobel excuses herself and returns with a chest full of sex toys including a set of police handcuffs she stole from Max.
At the Wild Pony, Maria is alone when she hears a bottle break. She quickly finds her taser and goes to confront the thief, but instead finds a much bigger shock. A very drunk but very alive Rosa Ortecho is raiding the bar. Maria (rightfully) freaks out thinking she is hallucinating. Rosa crawls over to her and, since she can’t come up with a good lie to explain, she tells Maria the truth.
A tipsy Liz fires Cam’s personal weapon at a window of the abandoned school. She misses (by a lot) as Cam talks about when she and Max would do this to blow off steam. Max was quite the sore loser and blamed the wind, or eye floaters, or his boxers for a missed shot. Cam and Liz laugh about it, and Liz shares a few tales about Max as well including his attempt to speak Spanish. Fighting back tears, she fires off a few more rounds before yelling that he never asked her about resurrecting Rosa. Cam asks her the tough question, “Would you have let him?”
A slightly disturbed Sheriff Valenti leaves Isobel’s after the sex toy box incident. Hallucination Max applauds the brilliant idea and they start to banter like old times until Isobel cries. “My mind keeps reaching for you. It’s like a reflex, you know, when you love someone.” Her heartbreaking speech culminates in Max reaching out for her, but the moment is lost when she coughs up blood. Max says she shouldn’t be alone and Isobel highlights the fight women face every day for their rights to bodily autonomy and safe abortions. As the poison progresses Max softly says she’d be a good mom, which is essentially Isobel telling herself that she can be if and when she chooses it. “I might want to be a mom someday. Not like this. Not when it’s been inflicted on me,” she tells him. “The only person who will always love me, and come to my rescue is me. That’s what this is about.” She groans and realizes the poison has worked, her thighs are covered in blood. Max panics, telling her to take the antidote but she passes out and hits her head.
Michael returns to The Wild Pony to find Maria with a sleeping Rosa. Crying, Maria walks over and tells him to leave. He tries to explain but she screams again while sobbing. The hurt and betrayal is all over her face and in her voice as Michael wrestles her into a hug begging that she let him explain everything.
Max finds Rosa in a dream and tells her Isobel needs help. Max is definitely stronger, he can feel the connection to Isobel from the pod and knows she’s dying. When she wakes, Rosa calls Liz who is still at the lab with Cam. When Liz hears Rosa’s panic she promises to leave immediately. Lucky for Liz, Cam didn’t actually drink and drives them to Isobel’s house. Liz finds Isobel passed out on the floor, snatches up the antidote, and injects her.
Now awake, Isobel apologizes to Liz for her misplaced anger. Liz tells her she doesn’t need to apologize. When Isobel laments that what she needed was Max, Liz surmises that Max was there with Isobel probably due to Michael’s rig. When Isobel realizes what that means she also realizes she would have died “a statistic” if not for Max. Shaken, she takes Liz’s offered hand and wraps it around herself. It’s a touching moment and we hope it heals the rift between them. They make a powerful duo when they work together.
Maria tucks Mimi in at the hospital and says she thought she was getting sick too. Mimi tells her she won’t get lost like her because she is protected, then touches Maria’s necklace. Liz walks in and Maria joins her outside where Liz apologizes and explains. She wanted to tell Maria but thought she was safer not knowing anything. Maria tells her point blank that she never feels safe in Roswell and thought Liz would understand. She asks for some time to digest everything, and tells Liz that Rosa has relapsed with her drinking before she leaves.
Liz arrives home to find Rosa already sobbing. Rosa apologizes for ruining everything and Liz tries to comfort her, telling her she loves her, they will figure it out together and everything will be okay.
Alex arrives at Michael’s, which is now back at the garage, and launches into his discovery after Manes kept mentioning Tripp. Nora and another woman (likely Max and Isobel’s mother) escaped but were tracked by the soldiers. Tripp manages to grab Nora, but the second woman appears and issues a high-pitched scream, throwing them back, but gets shot. Tripp sees the pods with children as they drive away. Michael retrieves a page he found in the local newspaper dated October 1948 to show Alex. The photo features Nora standing with an unknown man and child at the fair.
We rejoin Nora and the woman in the truck as Michael questions why they woke up 50 years later if their mother’s fault so hard for them. Nora pulls up to a house and they both collapse as the man from the photo finds them and offers help. Nora recognizes the word “help” and repeats the word in a quiet plea, “help.”
“Good Mother” is one of the most emotional episodes that we’ve seen from Roswell, New Mexico thus far. It continues to explore the various ways grief affects us while introducing a new but important topic in Isobel’s choice to abort her pregnancy. If you’d like to know more about the episode, check out showrunner Carina Adly Mackenzie’s Instagram post.
Cowboy Hat Tally: 3
Roswell, New Mexico airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on The CW.