Saturday, May 28, 2022

Nerds Rewatch: ‘Roswell, New Mexico’ Season 3, Episodes 1-3

Season 4 of Roswell, New Mexico is just around the corner, and in preparation for its return to our screens, we’ll be rewatching season 3 of the series! This week we’ll begin with episodes 1-3, and each subsequent week we will rewatch two episodes and discussing our favorite moments and the foreshadowing we missed the first time around. Beware, this will be a spoiler-filled discussion on everything that went down in season 3 of Roswell, New Mexico. You can find every episode of Roswell on Netflix now. Without further ado, let’s jump right into episodes 1-3!

“Hands”

John Golden Britt/The CW

Written by: Carina Adly MacKenzie, Eva McKenna, Alanna Bennett

Directed by: Lance Anderson

  • Jones’ introduction felt a little hokey when it first aired, but in hindsight, his ‘big bad’ status throughout the season is an excellent way to force the characters to grow while simultaneously giving more information on their past.
  • The season kicked off with a look at where everyone is after the last year. Liz is now a research scientist in LA for GenRX. Max is clearly unwell and self-medicating to deal with the emotional pain of losing Liz and the physical pain of a failing heart transplant. All three aliens have been training, Isobel’s mind is sharper than ever, and Michael’s … well, Michael. Doing his thing, obviously waiting for Alex to return from his latest military job.
  • A year later and it’s obvious that Gregory Manes is crushing pretty hard on Maria. She’s a little busy with a new vision of a funeral. Michael informs her it’s Max in the coffin, so there’s no need for brain degenerating heroics on her part. That relief (of knowing) lasts not even a full episode, though, because a second vision hits, and Max is at the funeral. Cue the mystery of who’s funeral it is, and can they change the future?
  • Liz’s lab partner, Heath, was clearly brought on as a threat to Max. He’s charming, handsome, and very smart, so it’s understandable that Liz is hesitant to act on any feelings. It’s only after they break into GenRX to save her job that she relents, and they hook up. However, this hook-up feels significant in reminding her how strongly she feels for Max even if she doesn’t confess it.
  • The update with Kyle that Steph dumped him has us feeling bad for him from the get-go and rooting for this man to come back swinging (just as soon as he has time to date and isn’t trying to keep all our aliens alive!)
  • Alex is back in Roswell and greeted by his now year-long boyfriend, Forrest, who informs him that A) he works for Deep Sky and B) they are going to try to recruit Alex. He asks Alex to join him on his book tour, but Alex ultimately decides against it. He’s staying in Roswell (both for this new prospective job and a certain alien cowboy.)
  • Max coming clean with Isobel and Michael about his failing heart is a gut-wrenching moment in this episode. They realize they are once again on the verge of losing their brother, and not only that, he spent a full year keeping that information from them. Despite his attempt to give them “good memories” Isobel and Michael are (rightfully) angry.
  • Rosa’s mental health is under control, and she’s set to start art therapy. Things go really wrong when Wyatt Long shows up for his court-ordered therapy and recognizes her. It’s a horrible reminder of the racism that can live in small towns and the lengths people will go to justify those beliefs.
  • Overall this episode was a welcome back to Roswell but full of heartbreak on many fronts. Liz’s patent, Max about to die, Rosa being attacked, Alex breaking up with Forrest, Kyle getting dumped by Steph. But hey, it was great to finally have everyone back on our screens!

“Give Me One Reason”

John Golden Britt/The CW
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Written by: Eva McKenna, Deirdre Mangan

Directed by: Lance Anderson

  • Episode 2 continues to establish just how many secrets everyone has from one another. With Max’s heart failure in the open, Isobel and Michael decide it’s time to extract Jones … and not tell Max. Because secret-keeping works so very well. The sibling duo do have one of my favorite relationships on the show. They butt heads constantly, in this case over how to extract answers from Jones, but then go behind Max’s back in solidarity to save his life. It’s peak sibling behavior.
  • It’s also worth noting that Roswell deals with difficult topics very well, and one early theme in these episodes is Max’s depression. He’s faced with death and is choosing to give up rather than call Liz or tell Kyle about his actual clone in the desert. His willingness to die clearly hurts everyone around him, but he seems to just be done fighting. After he destroyed her work, Liz’s hatred for him took the fight out of him.
  • It becomes obvious pretty quickly that Liz is doing everything she can not to involve Heath in the details of her “abnormal DNA” sample from Roswell. Naturally, he offers her the breakthrough she needs and forces her back to the town to recover some of the bacterial spores. This episode really felt like it mirrored season one in her desire to escape Roswell and avoid one Max Evans, only for him to be the literal first person she runs into when she does return in episode 3.
  • Through Jones, we begin learning details about their home planet and why their parents fled. Jones’ character is uniquely positioned to give Isobel, Michael, and Max all the answers they seek, but at the same time, is deeply untrustworthy. They know he’s bad, he began a war between humans and aliens, but they have to find out just how bad. Plus, without Jones, Max will certainly die.
  • Jones’ story in this episode is his own past and how he came to be a “prisoner of the dictator” because of his ability to heal, to save lives. Of course, we know this is made up as he is the dictator. Instead, we can interpret this as his origins; he saw himself as greater than others because of that gift and rose to power over the course of many lifetimes because of the ability to clone himself. We also know that he wasn’t trying to “save Max” as he says, but rather, steal him back from Nora and Louise because he was the last clone left. Michael and Isobel are right to question his story, but it’s so clear they are hungry to learn as much as they can about The Oasis.
  • Rosa wiping Wyatt’s memory is probably the best thing that could have happened to Wyatt. With 10 years of his life gone, he’s a better version of himself than we ever thought possible. If only it were ethical to dose all his friends, too. But alas, Rosa is stuck interacting with Wyatt, who no longer fits in with his friends and is a bit too attached to her.
  • Alex shows up for his mystery recruitment and walks right into a test from Deep Sky. Naturally, he passes and his new boss, Eduardo Ramos, welcomes him to the team. Alex decides to join and takes an honorable discharge from the military, a huge step for a character who built much of himself around that legacy. With his father dead, it was unclear where Alex’s storyline was going to go but making him our intel into this top-secret agency is a fantastic move on the writers’ part. We also get our first glimpse of the Lockhart Machine which becomes pivotal down the road.
  • Maria gets more desperate to save the life of whoever is in her visions. They rule out Max, but in turn, it drives her to trigger more visions to the detriment of herself. In an attempt to trigger one, she jumps off the Crashdown and is angry at Michael for catching her. During that interaction, she plants a very important seed in his mind. “Your abilities are the only ones that don’t have limits.” I’m ashamed to say that I really hadn’t noticed that detail either, so it prompts him (and us) to start thinking about the way Jones said the dictator was rumored to be immortal. How nothing hurt him. Isobel and Max have specialties, but Michael’s powers far exceed theirs, it’s just that our favorite little alien burnout never really noticed. Michael, not one to do things subtly, sticks his hand straight into a roaring fire at the end of the episode, confirms the growing suspicion: he is the dictator’s son.

“Black Hole Sun”

John Golden Britt/The CW

Written by: Eva McKenna, Onalee Hunter Hughes

Directed by: April Winney

  • After two episodes of secrets, episode 3 is when all those secrets come to light for every single person. It’s painful for each of them, but ultimately bringing everyone up to speed on the status of things in Roswell and each other.
  • Naturally, Liz arrives in Roswell and basically walks right into Max outside the Crashdown. She assures Rosa that it’s over, but we all know better, and this is the beginning of watching them rebuild their relationship. The first meeting after an earth-shattering end like theirs is always the hardest, and it’s perfectly played out at the top of the episode.
  • Michael has been through the emotional grinder many times over, so it’s painful to watch him begin yet another spiral. He’s been handed proof that he’s evil in his mind; his father was the dictator. Through his anger, he shatters a rock and discovers the turquoise that Nora was mining which boosts their abilities.
  • Of course, for every Malex fan out there, we’re handed a delightful reminder of just how much they love each other, even from afar. With Michael on the proverbial chopping block in Maria’s visions, Alex pulls Michael out of his personal “I’m evil because my father was evil” spiral with one conversation. He reminds Michael there isn’t a special rule only for Michael. If Michael is his father, then Alex is as well. Also, we get the screech-inducing line from Alex, “If it were you, I would not cover it up. I would burn the entire world down first.”
  • Alex has been at work all of 12 hours before Ramos tells him he needs to take a break and gives him a lovely pep talk about asking the right questions about the Lockhart Machine’s uses. It’s not until the machine kicks on, and Alex happens to still have the turquoise that Michael gave him that he starts to have an idea about the machine’s origins.
  • Maria’s continued visions now point the death finger at Michael, which is really bad timing considering his self-hatred spiral. Nonetheless, the side adventure of attempting to change the future adds an extra air of mystery to these early episodes. Maria is also the one who informs Liz about the state of Max’s heart. Liz is understandably pretty mad that he didn’t tell her himself.
  • Their confrontation leads to one of those emotional Echo speeches that the show is known for, so perfectly delivered by Jeanine Mason. It shatters my heart when Max rejects her confession that she still misses him (and still loves him, we can read between the lines). He hasn’t learned and is still shielding her from Jones. Of course, this almost reconciliation sends him straight to Jones after he learns that Isobel and Michael have had him in a cage for two days. Knowing Max’s heart is weak and emotional, Jones riles him up with “we’re tethered” and “you’ll never be free of me” until he short circuits Michael’s cage, knocking himself out and freeing Jones. Thus begins the moment Jones steps into Max’s shoes for a day (and also brings Jones a much-needed shave.)
  • Kyle is finally at his wits end with being the middle man. He somehow is not only an alien doctor but a group secret keeper (other than the whole clone in the desert detail). When Max loops him in on Jones, it’s the final straw for Kyle. Liz wants Max’s blood from Kyle; Max wants him to hold onto his goodbye Liz letter; he’s kept Max’s heart secret for a year. He’s had enough, and we finally see him tell everyone to do the right thing, and I have to agree with him. His own moral code is one of the things that defines Kyle and a huge reason everyone trusts him. He also puts Liz in her place; Max isn’t completely to blame for that fire in season 2; Liz was willing to put Max and his family at risk for the sake of her own success. It’s a tough pill to swallow for her, but it’s exactly the perspective she needs to begin to forgive Max (and give us the Echo reunion we needed!).
  • Episode 3 is also a game-changer for Isobel, who finally learns a name for her power: she’s an empath. She knows when things are off and can sense others’ emotions more innately than they can. Jones gives her this information, and her desire to heal the rift between her, Max, and Michael presents a chance for him to manipulate her. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know it yet, but it works. He gives her half-truths on how to control and hone her ability.
  • Unfortunately, we also have to acknowledge the growing tension with the Roswell Regiment (aka Jordan and his racist friends) as they become a public menace in this episode and sets the tone for just how bad the tension is within the town with the new sheriff in power.
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That’s it for our rewatch of episodes 1-3. Join us next week as we continue with episodes 4 and 5. Roswell, New Mexico season 4 will premiere on Monday, June 6 at 8/7c on The CW.

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