Max is dying again, and a vision of a funeral seems to prove that in the opening scenes of the Roswell, New Mexico season three premiere, “Hands.” One year after the events at Crashcon, the alien siblings—Max (Nathan Parsons), Isobel (Lily Cowles), and Michael (Michael Vlamis)—are keeping another secret. Somewhere out in the desert, an alien with Max’s face lies in stasis, and with him, the answers we need to save Max’s life.
Secrecy plagues all of our main cast of characters. Only Max and Kyle (Michael Trevino) know about Max’s failing heart. The siblings haven’t told their friends about “the devil” alien they found. They probably should; their track record for keeping alien secrets is really bad.
Meanwhile, Alex (Tyler Blackburn) returns home from cleaning up other Project Shepherd messes. He’s been dating Forrest (Christian Antidormi) for a year, but Forrest is acting a little shady too. Deep Sky, the paramilitary group that Charlie Cameron worked for, has recruited Forrest in some capacity. He admits to Alex that the group will want to recruit him as well, and for something with much greater clearance. Alex is worried Deep Sky might know about aliens—he asks Forrest as much, but it’s not clear if he just has a good poker face or if he really doesn’t know.
Forrest and Alex are cute together, but they don’t get a lot of time to be a couple on screen before drama steps in. Forrest tells Alex he doesn’t think Alex should get involved with Deep Sky because if he does, it’s not exactly something one comes back from. It’s deep, deep, cover. And hey, unlocking the secrets of the universe comes with some risks! Alex is conflicted, but of course he’ll go undercover to figure out what Deep Sky knows. Still feeling guilty about his family’s role in the capture and torture of alien refugees for 70 years, this is his chance to learn more than they ever did.
But Alex is confusing. He gets mad at Forrest for working with a muderery bunch, and then later, seems to think Deep Sky might have found a moral way of gaining alien knowledge. His naiveté from last season is shining through. It’s one thing to believe that people can change, but his 100 percent belief that his father was a changed man didn’t make a lot of sense. Hopefully when Alex does infiltrate Deep Sky, he’s much smarter about who he can trust.
This paramilitary group storyline is an interesting set up into what Roswell, New Mexico does surprisingly well—questioning institutions of authority and their role in society. Last season, ICE played a big part in Liz’s story. What made it work was not just Jeanine Mason’s heartbreaking performance but also that the show didn’t try to solve those issues. They just turned a light on to Liz’s reality, and how ally ship can be used in those situations. In season three, government oversight and secrecy is primed to take center stage not just in Alex’s story but in Liz’s as well.
In LA, Liz is thriving at Genoryx, working on research she’s always wanted to work on. But it’s still not alien research, and last year, she reached levels of knowledge one can only dream of. When her and her new research partner Heath (the fabulous Steven Krueger, another The Originals alum) make a breakthrough in their research only to learn it’s not going to be used for any life-saving purposes, the first hints of Liz’s frustrations about her position and lack of any real power bursts through. So much so that she leaks the patent on their research, a frankly reckless decision on her part. However, it’s understandable—using their potentially life-saving research for something trivial like a skincare company is frustrating. But just like with her alien research last year, she fails to consider the ramifications for other people. Heath needs his job to take care of his family. Liz gets this, of course. I love this Liz though. Working around dumb government red tape is exactly why we love her. Perhaps soon she’ll realize that the research she actually wants to do might not come with the recognition she wants. Maybe when Alex is in charge of Deep Sky, they can team up and do all the alien experiments they want on the sly.
Maria (Heather Hemmens) graces us with that lovely vision of some of our favorite characters at a funeral. The only ones not seen in the vision (which happens twice—the reveal of others in the vision comes in the second one) are Liz, Rosa (Amber Midthunder), Kyle, and Michael. Vision Alex says they’re covering up a murder, and though he’s turned toward Maria, it looks as though Maria is just a silent observer. Alex might actually be talking to Isobel, meaning this funeral could be for Maria herself. While I don’t love having another potential death on our hands, the prospect of Maria falling into a self-fulfilling prophecy is intriguing. On the other hand, her visions are also killing her. Maybe one day characters can just have cool powers without it causing bodily harm to them.
Maria and Gregory Manes (Tanner Novlan), though. I’m all here for it.
Kyle and Steph (Justina Adorno) broke up off screen. Unfortunate, as I really liked them together. This breakup might just be a result of COVID, since the show was not able to get all of their guest stars or recurring characters back because of restrictions. Regardless, Kyle still has his hands in every single person’s plot line. He’s pleading with Max about coming to his appointments, he’s telling Maria to start wearing her anti-vision bracelet. Basically, he’s the savior, not Max and whoever the hell Mr. Jones is. While it’s great to see him interacting with so many of our characters, give the boy a break. He deserves it!
At the San Diego Comic-Con At Home panel over the weekend, Jeanine Mason and showrunner Chris Hollier said Rosa has her biggest arc of the show this season. We see the beginning of it here, but it’s not clear on what exactly it is. At art therapy, she’s confronted by Wyatt Long, who recognizes her and follows her back to the Crashdown. It’s a scary scene—Wyatt is drunk and advancing on her, tackling her to the ground. Luckily, Helena’s scheming last season was good for something—leftover memory erasing drug is within Rosa’s reach, and she jabs Wyatt in the neck with it. This is either leading to her having to confront her past (though she’s not actually responsible for the deaths of Kate and Jasmine) or she’s going to work to somehow clear her name with the town. Whatever it is, I’m always rooting for Rosa. Especially when she gets the better of racist, sexist losers.
My two favorites, Isobel and Michael, didn’t get to do a whole lot in this premiere. Mostly, they worry about Max. There’s a great moment when they’re all three inside Max’s head discussing what they should be doing about Mr. Jones. Michael is building a cage that can hold him but also so they can get some answers out of him. Isobel confirms she’s been continuously seeing Blair, the bartender from Planet 7. I love Michael genuinely happy for her and teasing her about this. More of these in-head group discussions, please. The perfect hiding place to discuss the secrets of the universe.
It’s not until Isobel learns about Max’s heart that she gets an idea about how to save Max. In a moment I know he will regret, Kyle accidentally gives Isobel the plan she needs, which will definitely need Kyle to execute. In order to fix Max, Isobel realizes they have a perfectly healthy, identical alien body to run experiments on out in the desert. Yay, more alien autopsies and transfusions!
We close out on a couple of scenes—a few guys in alien masks attack Maria inside The Wild Pony. A bit random, but they could just be some locals wearing alien masks to throw us off. Michael finishes making the alien cage for Jones. Jones wakes up from stasis and I hope he has some answers for us.
For a premiere, this start to season three is interesting and sets up some intriguing directions I’m excited to see unfold. While Roswell, New Mexico sometimes gets lost in their big plot decisions, they really excel in the smaller, more intimate moments. The unexpected Kyle and Isobel scene was really lovely, as was the Michael and Maria one. I wish it wasn’t so quick to set some of these things up—Forrest and Alex could have used some breathing room before Deep Sky was mentioned. Moving from scene to scene was a little choppy—while I appreciate the smaller moments, there’s a weird disconnectedness between the group still in Roswell that I hope will be fixed in the coming episodes.
Cosmic Afterthoughts and Notable One-Liners
It’s weirdly implied that Forrest and Alex are over? Though if Forrest is working for Deep Sky, we’ll probably see him again. Still, what a strange build up to only end one episode later, even with a one year time jump.
Michael fixes his hair in a store window before he sees Alex. Futile, but very cute. I’m here for pining Michael, I just don’t want it to last long. Get these two together already, damnit.
I didn’t love the two references to a global pandemic. Apparently Liz thinks she could have used her alien research to help with the pandemic, which, sure. If Liz was a real person who had alien knowledge that could have helped, I’m sure she could have. But she’s a fictional character, talking about a very real thing that’s still happening. Felt a little trivial. The second reference is from Michael, who says that despite a global pandemic this past year, he’s been happy. Again, trivial. We’re still in a pandemic, and I doubt the show is going to have their characters acting like they’ve been through a traumatic pandemic. These references were so small but still unnecessary.
“Oh, it’s from Bert. He’s in my Woman is Warrior class and apparently, he’s been making his own mead.”
“You know, Alex is back. Did you come to invite me to the wedding?”
“If I’m so crazy then why are all these lights going blinky blinky.”
Roswell, New Mexico season three airs new episodes 7 p.m. CST Mondays on The CW.