It’s Ladies Night on episode 3 of Roswell, New Mexico and the moms, aliens, and formerly dead all come out for it. Good Mother sees the return of Cam, Max’s police partner from season 1, and Mimi DeLuca, Maria’s missing mom. We also find out what happened to Michael’s mom on the night of the alien spaceship crash in 1947- she got to meet Jason Behr, Max from the original Roswell series, OMG!
Not to be outdone, current Max (Nathan Dean Parsons) finds a way to make himself useful again when Isobel gets into trouble. Also thanks to Max, Maria is finally, finally brought into the alien loop. It’s a good week for him, partly since he spends most of his time in the outfit Isobel wants to remember him in- a relaxed version of the tuxedo from her fundraiser the night they captured Noah.
On June 14, 1947, the night of the crash, Michael’s mother, Nora, came out of the crash remains to meet the military and police officers who surrounded the site. Hector Valenti tries to offer help, while Harlan Manes feels the aliens pose an immediate threat. Nora tries to communicate, but she’s stopped by a second, hooded alien who comes from behind her and seems to be male. Noah?
The second alien throws fire from their hand, then runs away. The fire spreads across the ground and engulfs Hector in flames. As the humans shoot at the aliens, several more aliens come out of the wreckage and run away. The last is a blonde woman who pauses to look at Nora, just as Nora is shot in the shoulder. Nora hides behind an army truck, but a soldier finds her and aims his gun at her. It’s Tripp, the soldier played by Jason Behr.
After the title card, Alex finds Michael in the middle of hotwiring Max’s pod at the cave. Michael explains that right now, Max is in stasis, but using jumper cables on him like he’s a car will speed up his regeneration process. Alex decides he’d rather not know any more about Michael’s current mad scientist process.
Michael brings up tortured lust, because he is, as always, the king of mixed signals. Alex is giving Michael the romantic space he asked for, but everything about the way this conversation is shot says that Michael wants to throw Alex down on the cave floor and have his way with him. The fact that Alex followed Michael out to the cave at all makes his feelings clear.
But they were actually talking about something, in addition to making eyes at each other and sending out pheromones, weren’t they?
Alex has continued researching Michael’s mother and has hit a sophisticated firewall, which means there’s juicy information behind that someone wants to keep hidden. Alex wants to know what’s behind the firewall, for his own purposes. But he also wants Michael’s permission to keep investigating and needs to know if Michael wants the results. Michael has had a change of heart and definitely wants to know what Alex finds.
Cam, who’s on her way back to Roswell, finds Mimi DeLuca wandering the highway in the middle of nowhere, outside of town. Mimi says she’s been nowhere, like Cam said, then looks up at the sky.
Cam seems to be at the end of a long, caffeine fueled drive. Did Max somehow call her back, too?
Michael brings Maria an omelet he made her for breakfast. They sit outside the Wild Pony, where Michael’s trailer is still parked two weeks later. She’s gotten a tip from Graham Greene that her mother was abducted. She scoffs at it, forgetting that he actually knew what was going on last season and was being paid off to lie.
OH WAIT, SHE DOESN’T KNOW THAT BECAUSE EVERYONE SHE KNOWS LIES TO HER CONSTANTLY AND PUTS HER AND HER MOTHER’S LIVES IN DANGER.
Moving on, Michael knows how to cook! This is not fair, show.
He tells an adorable but sad story about an evil foster father he had to escape sometimes, so he’d stay with the junkyard owner, One-Eye Sanders, sleep on his couch with the dog, and get breakfast in the morning.
OMG, young Michael cuddling with a puppy. Where is the flashback???
Maria tries to pretend her heart is still hard after that story, but then they almost to kiss. EXCEPT ISOBEL JOGS UP AND STOPS THEM.
Isobel asks if they’re living together. They deny it and come up with a couple of sexy double entendres, like parking in her lot, lol.
Maria gets a phone call telling her that Mimi has been found. She’s okay, but doesn’t remember the last month. Maria won’t let Michael go with her to get her mother, which means she’s still keeping him at arm’s length.
Once Maria’s gone, Isobel remarks that she used to wake up in the desert with no memory of where she’d been. Michael is sure that Mimi just has normal dementia, instead of being possessed by an alien.
Normal dementia is for sure why Mimi is obsessed with alien movies.
Isobel is on a 10 mile run, and then on her way to her jujitsu class- still trying to knock the baby out of her by overdoing it.
Liz brings Rosa some art supplies. Rosa wavers on how much alcohol she needs today.
Sheriff Valenti thanks Cam for her help with Mimi DeLuca. The film Mimi remembers today is Starship Troopers. Whoever she visits must pick the film. The Sheriff mentions that Max hasn’t been to work in a while.
Back at home, Isobel takes another shot of the toxic blue alien serum, as she’s done each day for 2 weeks. Max appears to her, looking his best, and makes a snarky comment about her recent suicidal tendencies. Isobel explains that she’s performing an alien chemical abortion, home version, and will use the orange serum to heal herself once she miscarries.
Then they argue about why he’s there and whether she’s taking too much of the serum. They both assume he’s a figment of her imagination. He thinks she wants him there because she’s scared. I think he’s right. I also think that he appeared to her as soon as their actual psychic connection was reactivated by Michael’s jumper cables. While a lot of him is coming from her, a little is coming from the real Max.
Isobel has to go vomit.
Mimi DeLuca is sure that she was only gone overnight. She came back wearing a fancy new pair of cowboy boots. She assures Maria that she never felt unsafe.
Alex’s brother leaves him formerly redacted files that describe the night of the crash. Flint and Jesse hope that the fact that the aliens killed soldiers will help Alex see the light.
After talking to Michael, Cam surprises Liz at the new alien lab. Liz explains her research to Cam, starting with the experiments she did in Denver using a rare protein to regenerate dead stem cells. That research was shut down, either because of ethics or because it threatened Big Pharma.
Kyle discovered that the pods contain an alien cousin to the rare protein Liz was experimenting on. Max used an electric charge to accelerate a similar process when he healed Rosa. Liz is currently experimenting on pig hearts. Riley is relieved, because for some reason she assumed the hearts in Liz’s jars were human hearts.
The Pod Squad and Their Disturbing Lack of Ethics
Let’s not mention Noah’s body parts that are stashed away somewhere when Riley starts worrying about hearts in jars, hmm?
I have no doubt that Liz would dig up a human body to use to bring Max back, if she needed it, as long as it wasn’t Rosa’s. Her morality seems to be that everyone and everything is fair game except for her own family and friends, but she’ll put on a good show and try to sound compassionate occasionally.
Personally, I’m not okay with animal experiments, anymore than I’d be okay with digging up a human body in the real world. If Liz is going to do this, she should find a way to do it without killing anyone else, of any species.
The makers of this show insist on bringing in real world issues on a regular basis, taking place in my home state, which force me to also consider their science fiction actions as if they are taking place in the real world. That sets up some cognitive dissonance that’s hard to reconcile sometimes.
If this were pure scifi, I’d let go and let Liz have her body horror fun. But I would recognize that she’s a descendent of Dr Frankenstein and we are dealing in elements of body horror. I wouldn’t pretend that she’s doing the world a favor right now, like the show seems to want me to. Or that she’s somehow being more ethical than the ethics committees who’ve shut her down in the past. Even science fiction generally has these types of experiments turn out badly.
The show seems to think it’s striking a blow for scientific freedom the way the alien abortion story is speaking out for abortion rights. These aren’t the same things. Using Noah’s body for unsanctioned, illegal experiments, on top of the way they tortured and executed him without a trial, is unethical. Criminals get trials and proper burials in this country, even the worst ones.
What Liz and the gang have done regarding Noah and Max’s cure is taking them down a road that morally puts them in the same category as Noah and Project Sheperd.
Maybe the writers intend to eventually explore the ramifications of the gang’s current actions. That’s not the sense I’m getting right now, but I’ve wrong pretty often. On the other hand, there’s no acknowledgement that Noah was ever anything but evil, despite the good things he also did in his life. Maybe it will be up to Maria to bring a desperately needed sense of balance and proportion to the group.
Talking to Liz reminds Cam of her sister Charlie, who used to talk about gene therapy while she slid around the floor in her socks.
That was before Charlie went to prison, right?
Liz suggests she and Cam get drunk together while she’s waiting on her experiments.
Didn’t Liz just tear into Rosa for ruining the experiments with her bad behavior last week? Now this behavior is okay as long as Liz is the one acting out?
Alex visits Jesse, who didn’t die from his seizure and is still in the hospital. Alex tells his dad that he and Michael are through. He’s read the reports that Flint left him about the night of the crash and they convinced him that the aliens are monsters whose actions were unforgivable. Jesse mentions a soldier named Tripp who was especially taken in by the alien woman. He was never the same afterward. Then Jesse passes out, thanks to his morphine drip.
Alex was faking that whole thing, obviously.
Rosa keeps herself busy with her art supplies, but eventually Max’s voice breaks through, so she goes back to the bottle.
Cam and Liz tell each other about their troubled sisters. Liz thinks that Rosa is bipolar.
Isobel takes a break from vomiting and has a long chat with Max about the way he abandoned her by healing Rosa. She wonders if there was a point where he knew it would kill him. He insists he didn’t purposefully choose anyone else over her. And he doesn’t want her to die, because he doesn’t want to come back to a world without her in it.
I suspect that by the time he realized he’d gone too far, it was too late to stop. He’s reckless and liked seeing himself as a God/savior. That was all it took to accidentally kill himself. Recklessness and power tripping- the things he and Liz have in common.
Maria finds Rosa raiding the liquor at the bar. She thinks she’s crazy, but drunken Rosa works to convince her she’s not.
Sheriff Valenti visits Isobel to ask more questions about Noah’s death. Isobel says she’s sick, but Valenti refuses to practice social distancing
despite the governor’s stay at home order. Isobel vomits on the floor when the sheriff pulls out a photo of Noah’s corpse without warning. Valenti drily says she should have given Isobel a trigger warning.
There’s a serious thread about lack of compassion for other living things running through this female bonding episode. I’m not sure it was meant to be there. Or maybe it was. Maybe Harlan, Jesse, Flint, Noah, the hooded alien, the current sheriff, Liz and the others are meant to be seen on a continuum, running from unnecessary, violent hatred on one end to unthinking, passive callousness on the other. Some characters are victims and/or bonding with certain characters while they are also victimizers in other ways.
There’s a distinct inability to see the larger picture in Roswell. Maria is the only character who does and the other characters go out of their way to lie to her and stop her from seeing the truth.
But we’re still with the sheriff and Isobel at the moment. The coroner listed Noah’s cause of death as heart attack due to lightning strike, as expected. Valenti wants to know about the ligature marks on Noah’s wrists and ankles, which are consistent with zip ties and Max’s handcuffs. Isobel excuses herself to run upstairs for a minute.
Anyone who remembers the first episode knows what’s coming.
Isobel brings her sex toy box downstairs and tells the sheriff to open it. Valenti is so shocked she slams it shut again. Isobel makes sure to show her that there’s a pair of police issue handcuffs in there.
Once the sheriff is gone, Max appears and tells Isobel she was incredible and he’s scarred for life. They tease each other until she dissolves in tears, admitting how much she misses him. She says she keeps psychically reaching for him and he’s never there. Then she vomits blood.
Max demands to know where the antidote is, but Isobel can tell that she hasn’t miscarried yet. She tells Max that she’s especially disturbed because Roswell is a sanctuary city for the unborn, a real life movement among abortion foes, and doesn’t even have a women’s shelter.
Note: Real life Roswell did vote to become a sanctuary city for the unborn. The vote is unenforceable since it doesn’t change abortion law, which is New Mexico state law and not up to local lawmakers. New Mexico has few restrictions on abortions, and a mixed political population, so we are targeted by anti-abortion groups. However, people would be better off worrying about women in our neighbor states of Texas, Arizona and Utah, which are much more legally restrictive toward abortions, than about toothless votes meant to signal pre-existing political alignments.
Cam and Liz drink wine and whiskey while Cam teaches Liz to target shoot at the windows of the old school. Liz is turned on by thinking about Max shooting with Cam the same way she is. They complain about what a man baby Max is but agree they love him anyway. Then Liz vents about Max sacrificing himself for Rosa again. Cam asks what Liz would have chosen if he’d asked. “There are some choices people should never have to make.”
Except Max had to make that choice all the time, since he knew he had the power to heal, but doing so would expose his family. He made the choice to heal Rosa to remove the guilt and bitterness that stood between him and Liz because of the way Rosa died. It’s just that the choice was too simplistic to do what he wanted it to do, even if it hadn’t killed him. Some damage can’t be undone.
And what’s up with this show being pro gun and gun play all of a sudden? Last season, we were treated to a drunk Latino character, Kyle, being able to buy a gun on a whim and the showrunner gave interviews to make sure we knew how terrible this was, because she wanted to make sure the world knew that New Mexico has terrible gun laws. Nothing in the show about our new gun reform laws?
Now, we have a cop taking Liz out, getting her drunk and teaching her to shoot while she’s angry and drinking. WTF???!!! Hypocrisy much, writers???
We’ll find out in a minute that Cam isn’t even drinking. As with Kyle’s gun scene last season, only the Latina is drunk and reckless with the gun. Though the vast majority of gun use and violence on this show is done by the white characters, the two times we look at specific drunken recklessness, it’s the Latinx characters. Nice job with the racism, too. Especially since Rosa is also spending the episode drunk.
Michael stops by the Wild Pony. He’s decided it’s time to come clean about being an alien and the rest of the story because there’s something in the new files that Maria needs to know. But of course he’s too late. He sees Rosa asleep on a bench as Maria angrily tells him to get out. He says he’ll leave, but repeats that there’s something she needs to know.
Max and Isobel reminisce about when they were kids and she’d help him through nightmares. He thinks she’ll be a good mom someday. She explains that what she’s doing isn’t about motherhood. She can’t bear to have Noah’s baby. She can’t recover from what he did to her, with parts of him inside of her.
“The only person who will always love me and come to my rescue is me.” She knows she shouldn’t depend on a child to heal her wounds or give her the love she’s missing. It’s too much of a burden for an infant. And she thinks that she can’t be that good at taking care of people, or Max would have survived until he was 30.
Please. That was all on Max.
Then she cramps up and gushes blood. She passes out before she can take the antidote.
Alien ghost zombie Max appears to Rosa. He can sense that Isobel is dying and begs Rosa to send help.
Cam and Liz are back in the lab, chatting about what they each love about Max.
Rosa calls Liz and convinces her to check on Isobel. Liz hangs up and realizes just how drunk she is. Cam reveals that she hasn’t been drinking at all. She just thought Liz needed to get drunk and vandalize buildings while working on life saving experiments.
Cam drives Liz over to Isobel’s. Liz finds Isobel passed out on the floor with the antidote next to her and injects her with the dose. Later that evening, Isobel apologizes for involving Liz. Liz says she feels bad that she got Rosa back but Max died. She asks Isobel what she needs. Isobel replies that she needs Max. Liz tells Isobel that Max really was with her that afternoon and then he saved her life.
Maria visits her mom and tells her that she thought she was losing her mind too, but instead her friends are all liars. Mimi says that Maria won’t get lost the way she did, because she’s protected from all evil by her necklace. Maria takes her necklace off and puts it on Mimi.
Liz comes in and tries to explain why she’s lied to Maria for months and apologize, but Maria cuts her off. She feels doubly used, since everyone always comes to her for support, but they even lie to her then. Liz says they thought Maria would be safer not knowing. Maris tells her that she never feels safe. She has weapons hidden everywhere and Liz should understand the feeling.
Alex finds Michael and his trailer back at the junkyard.
That didn’t last long.
He tells Michael that he got his father to tell him about Grandpa Harlan and the good old alien hunting days. He talked about Tripp, whose real name is redacted in the reports. Michael’s mother used her mind to control Tripp and got away, stealing a truck.
The rest of the incident is reported from Tripp’s perspective- They found her again later that night. The wreckage was scattered for miles. Nora was securing a tarp at the back of the truck. Tripp approached her alone and told her he didn’t think she wanted to hurt anyone. He offered to help with her wound, but then he betrayed her and called in his men. They discovered the pods in the truck. The other female alien ran over to rescue Nora and the pods. She was successful, but was badly wounded in the process. Nora shot and probably killed a soldier as she was helping the other alien back into the truck. As they drove away, Tripp realized that they were mothers fighting for their babies. When he wrote the report, it had been 12 hours since their escape. He assumed they were dead already from their wounds. He apologized for his failure to deliver the bodies and says it won’t happen again.
Michael wonders if the other woman, a blonde, was Max and Isobel’s mother. He thinks Tripp sounds like a monster. Alex hasn’t found anything in the files that indicated the other woman lived. Michael goes inside his trailer.
Cam referred to herself as a blonde, earlier this episode. Odds that Tripp is her father or grandfather? She and Liz talked about being smart in different ways and how smart Charlie is as well. Are they twins? Guess we’d better hope they’re Michael’s sisters and not Max’s.
Liz finds Rosa crying at Max’s house. Rosa apologizes for drinking again and killing Max. Liz says she loves her and they’ll figure it out together.
Michael brings a photocopy of a newpaper article out to show Alex. It’s dated 2 days before his mother’s capture and shows a picture of her at the town fair standing next to a black man. They wonder what could have happened to the two women to fill in the gaps in the story and how Max, Isobel and Michael ended up waking up alone 50 years later.
The night of the crash, Nora and the other woman drive up to a small house. Nora helps her companion, who’s doing poorly, out of the truck. They collapse in front of the house. The man from the photo opens the front door and comes out with a rifle in his hand. Sirens can be heard in the distance. When he sees the aliens he puts down the gun and offers to help.
So Nora took up with Mimi’s dad, Mimi is half alien and Maria is a quarter alien. Called that one last season.
Tripp found them and got involved with the second woman. They had a child who had Charlie and Cam. The alien hunters found Nora, and some, but maybe not all of the other aliens, since someone’s been possessing Mimi on the regular and possibly abducting her for short periods of time. They just got carried away this time. Was it Noah’s job to regulate the other aliens’ use of human hosts?
Apparently the alien hunters didn’t know about the hybrid children conceived on earth.
I love that Rosa, who hates Max, pictures him looking even worse than he probably does in the pod, but Isobel pictures her brother looking his best, straight out of a magazine photo shoot.
My two least favorite tropes, in real life and on TV: secrets and lies that supposedly protect the person being kept in the dark. They are for the benefit of the liars, every time. Nobody benefits from being ignorant. Liars benefit from taking the easy way out, exploiting the ignorance of others, and enjoying the power that having exclusive knowledge gives them.
The person who was kept in the dark always ends up humiliated, just like Maria feels in this episode. Being ignorant didn’t protect her from anything. It put her in more danger and it made her less able to protect her mother. It showed a lack of respect and trust from the people she thought she was closest to.
In the long run, she has no choice but to forgive them, because she’s going to need their help and I expect some of them are her family. I hope they at least try to earn her trust back and don’t just continue to take her for granted. At least now she’ll have Rosa back, who hasn’t lied to her, except for the last couple of weeks when she was under Toxic Liz’s sway.
I guess that’s the upside. Maria will have Rosa and maybe a less crazy Mimi. Mimi always knew Rosa wasn’t quite dead and wasn’t gone for good, so she won’t be shocked to see her.
Maybe Michael will at least try to keep their friendship strong. He seemed sincere about that.
I don’t want her stuck in a perpetual love triangle between Michael and Alex, so if Michael is headed back in that direction, he can leave. I really like Michael and Maria together, but Maria has been through enough without also being jerked around by him for years.
Wonder if Bert from Maria’s workshop last week is also a long lost alien hybrid cousin and the werewolves he’s afraid of are aliens? Or are alien zombie ghosts haunting him too? There are potentially a lot of them, from the aliens who died in the prison. Do aliens have souls that can hang around waiting for new bodies to be cloned for them? Can they possess animals if no humans are around?
Images courtesy of the CW.