Welcome to the second article of our 2019 Pride Month Series! Each day in the month of June, we will be highlighting a different member of the LGBTQ+ community who we think is a great example of representation and dynamic characterization. We will focus on fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — the positive voices within the LGBTQ+ community and in mainstream media.
Today’s spotlight will focus on character Michael Guerin from The CW’s Roswell, New Mexico.
The reimagined take on Roswell, New Mexico premiered like a crash of excitement amongst viewers. The characters were intriguing, diverse, and full of mystery and secrets. The show’s suspense never slowed, and there were twist and turns aplenty. One of the main characters, Michael Guerin (played by Michael Vlamis), quickly stole our hearts and has become a wonderful celebration of bisexual representation in the media to boot.
As the quintessential bad boy amongst a trio of alien siblings that crashed down to Earth, Michael quickly gives the audience an idea of what he is like. Our first look at him is in the ”drunk tank,” using his psychokinetic powers to try and bring the keys to the cell towards him. He’s strong, angry, and powerful. But what we first see is not necessarily all he is. It is just one of the many parts of who he is, as layers are peeled back over the course of the first season’s thirteen episodes.
Out of the three siblings, Michael is the one most curious about his family’s origins. He is the one researching and obtaining artifacts. He loves fiercely and is protective of his brother and sister. And he will go to any length to keep them safe. This is partly fueled by his strong desire to feel like he belongs among his family. Even from a young age, he did not quite fit in. Max and Isobel were adopted. Michael was not. So even among the three of them, Max and Isobel share a connection that he does not. This situation has created a sort of “loner” mentality that drives him.
Outside of his family, we see Michael in the pilot episode go home to find the Air Force taking his land. And that’s when he runs into Alex. We can instantly see there is history between them, and that things may have not ended well. We learn that Michael and Alex had been together in high school, and when Alex’s father found out, he broke Michael’s hand. Michael could have left, but Michael has this need of protecting those he cares about. His hand was his sacrifice to protect Alex from his dad.
Later, when Alex finds Michael at the reunion, we see a girl get up and leave where Michael is sitting (seemingly under flirty circumstances). Alex confronts Michael, words are exchanged, and there are more hints of a past between them before Michael puts his arm around said girl and walks away. At the end of the pilot, Michael finds Alex alone. Everything becomes inherently clearly when the two men share an incredibly passionate kiss.
Those final scenes are how we find out Michael is bisexual. There is no big “coming out” scene. We learn, simply, that this is Michael. And it is refreshing and so important to see a bisexual lead on a prime time show whose sexuality is not just a convenient plot point, but rather simply a part of who he is as a character.
In episode 9, ”Songs About Texas,” things between Michael and Maria DeLuca start to get flirty and intimate. They walk in the desert at night and get a bit lost. Maria starts complaining, and Michael kisses her to get, in his own words, “a little quiet.” She initiates more kissing, and things between the two move super fast. In the very next episode, Maria finds out about Alex’s past with Michael. Because she is good friends with Alex, it complicates things and she swears what happened meant nothing. When Michael comes in later, Maria shuts things down very clearly. And in episode 11, Michael confirms to Maria that things had been over between him and Alex. But it is clear that beyond the denials and the shut downs, sparks are there.
It all leads to the finale. Michael goes to the bar Maria works at. Michael and Maria confront their feelings with a kiss. While he serenades Maria, Alex is alone as he sits outside Michael’s airstream. It is clear that Michael’s relationships will surely be as up and down in season two as it has been in season one, and that this love triangle is far from over. Both Alex and Maria have feelings for Michael, and it is obvious that Michael cares deeply about both of them. And despite the fact he has a tendency to push people away, I do not think he wants to hurt anyone. It comes across as “said person is better off without me.”
Michael’s relationships are bumpy in the first season, but it does show that relationship drama is not biased. And it is clear that Michael’s relationships will surely be as up and down in season two as it has been in season one, and that this love triangle is far from over. Every sexuality sees its ups and downs in love. Secrets and mysteries tend to make things complicated for romance. They get close, and they drift apart. Things are rocky at best.
As the season progresses and we see more about who Michael is. He is incredibly smart, almost on par with Liz. They work together to help Isobel when her life is in critical danger. Michael’s research and life experiences give him a unique alien perspective. Their teamwork is a success, too. He also takes pride in who he is and is very self-assured. This shows up when Max finds out Michael is into Maria. He says he thought Michael was gay. Michael’s response?
Oh, we are literally aliens, and you’re gonna hold me to some outdated binary of sexuality? I’m bisexual, Max. It’s not that complicated.
Of course, Max tells him he would have known that if they talked more. This is an example of Michael’s hesitance to let anyone get too close… not even his own brother.
There were so many turning points for Michael’s character though, that I think we will definitely discover more about him in the second season and see all his relationships progress further. His character is constantly evolving.
Bisexual icons seen in television are unfortunately few and far between, so the character of Michael Guerin has been an absolutely fabulous addition to the mix! In the first season alone, we have seen Michael have a relationship with both a man and a woman. Vlamis’ acting was seamless and natural. His raw, flirty nature does not have a limitation. It was also great to see that, to those who care about him, his sexuality is not a big deal. Michael is accepted for who is. In a supernatural show about aliens, it was enjoyable to watch these very real aspects. It was refreshing to see a realistic view on sexuality, amongst many other topics like deportation and politics.
I was not sure what to expect going into Roswell, New Mexico, but I was pleasantly surprised and it was so well appreciated. Michael Guerin is a perfect example of what it means to be bi in the modern age, which is why he had to be included in our Pride Month Series.
Check out the rest of our Pride Month Series spotlights here!