The science fiction genre offers many possibilities, and none more so than in the world building of where a story takes place. After all, without the proper context, sci-fi’s explorations of morality and philosophy might not always connect.
For two seasons of Roswell, New Mexico, our setting is pretty obvious. The mixture of cowboys and aliens has worked so far and has grounded the show in our own reality. But with three of our main characters being aliens, it’s time for Roswell, New Mexico to dive deeper into the outer space of it all. Episode two of season three, “Give Me One Reason,” gives us the very first glimpses of Max, Isobel, and Michael’s home planet, which Mr. Jones calls “The Oasis” in the opening monologue of tonight’s episode.
Vast and multicolored, with a pink sky and green, green terrain, the views of the planet we get are some of the show’s greatest achievements in VFX design. Alien creatures, such as a type of dragonfly and a lizard, take on the rainbow opaqueness of the other alien artefacts we’ve seen before. Though it’s not much, showing these images alongside Jones’ story of their home planet immediately expands Roswell, New Mexico’s reach—things might have been alien before, but now they’re truly starting to feel cosmic.
Because we officially get to meet Jones in “Give Me One Reason,” episode two is exposition heavy, but the vast amount of information we get is never overwhelming. It unfolds at a steady pace, rightly spending a lot of its first half with Jones, Isobel, and Michael as the latter two interrogate their hostage. He refers to Nora and Louise as “the engineer” and “the empath,” explaining they are responsible for the building of the pods, and that the civil war they were running from was started by someone called “the dictator.” Immense in his power, and seemingly untouchable, The Dictator also used Jones to heal prisoners of war so he could continue to torture them.
Giving narrative power to Jones also means we get a different perspective on Nora and Louise. Last season, Isobel, Michael, and Alex dug up what they could to piece together Nora and Louise’s story. What they found painted a picture of two women desperate to reach freedom, loving mothers willing to do whatever they could to save their children. From Jones’ point of view, however, Nora and Louise had an agenda that’s not as altruistic as Michael and Isobel first believed. According to Jones, and later somewhat confirmed by Max, Nora and Louise created Max using Jones’ DNA, and kept him chained up. Jones seems to think Nora and Louise had good intentions, and he never labeled them as “evil,” but this revelation works in the way we all come to understand our parents are not who we thought them to be. That’s not always a bad thing because we usually learn that they’re human and make plenty of mistakes as well. Just by nature of growing up without them, Isobel and Michael had their mother’s on a pedestal. Here, there might be more to them than we thought.
However, it should be noted that the confirmation from Max is still influenced by Jones’ perspective—Max says he only realized Louise was the one holding him hostage after Jones touched him the year previously.
Jones’ story is broken up by the aftermath of the attack on Maria. Kyle and Max help Maria figure out her vision of the funeral, hung up on the fact that someone is going to be murdered. Maria’s figured out that any time she’s experiencing adrenaline or fearing for her life, a vision is triggered. She heads to the roof of the Crashdown, Max and Kyle tagging along; as they plead with her not to jump, she goes over, hoping Max will catch her with her powers. Instead, Michael is there and stops her descent 2 inches from the ground.
While I don’t love Maria putting her life in danger, I do like everyone rallying around her. And Michael coming in with the save was a nice way to bridge these two plots of the episode. In the previous scene, Michael, fed up with Jones saying his mother wasn’t the saint he thought she was, tells Isobel he’s done for the day. Him appearing in time to save Maria also puts him in Max’s orbit. There’s a nice exchange between Max and Michael where they actually speak to each other and listen; however, Michael still doesn’t reveal that Jones is awake.
After last year’s protests amidst police killings of Black people, The CW is opting for their show’s to take on a storyline that acknowledges the racial profiling that happens amongst cops. Since our main character is a cop, it makes a lot of sense that Roswell, New Mexico would go this route. Enter Anatsa (Sibongile Mlambo), a Black journalist in town writing about the racial profiling of the Roswell police department. Things are even more complicated when Anatsa and Max, who slept together at the end of last week’s premiere, discover each other’s day time jobs. We’ll see how this plays out—Roswell, New Mexico is no stranger to taking on social issues in their stories as last season’s ICE plot was actually handled with a bluntness that was refreshing. However, taking on this story while also giving one of your white supremist characters an amnesia storyline with a possible redemption arc isn’t sitting right with me yet.
After dosing him with the memory erasing drug, Rosa learns Wyatt is missing the last 10 years of his memories, including that to him, Rosa killed his sister in a drunk driving accident (even though she didn’t). While amnesia Wyatt is pretty sweet, his racist tendencies and sexist attitude are seemingly gone—he’s confused by why people would still be waving a confederate flag (“Didn’t the south lose the war?”) and sheepishly apologizes to Rosa for the hypothetical scenario she posits would happen if she showed up to Wyatt’s house (“they would probably shoot on sight”). Rosa also seems to have a crush on this Wyatt, leftover from high school maybe? Perhaps he really wasn’t like this before his sister died. Still, we’ve seen him twice now pull a gun on an Ortecho sister. This one’s gonna have some major side eye until we see more of it.
Though there is still no Michael and Alex reunion, Alex has a very intriguing storyline that involves Deep Sky. Last week, I said I thought the Deep Sky stuff was happening really quickly, but “Give Me One Reason” enters into Men In Black/The X-Files territory here. After passing a test setup by Eduardo Ramos (David DeSantos), Alex learns about The Lockheart Machine, which for the past 50 years, turns on every 47 days at 11:11 p.m. for one minute. They don’t know what it is or what it’s doing. My guess? Might we possibly get contact from the alien home planet this season? With The Dictator in play, this might lead to another family reunion.
Speaking of The Dictator …
Something Maria said has got Michael thinking. “Your powers are the only one’s without limits,” Maria says. The Dictator is apparently immortal, can walk through fire, and dead set on … taking over planets, I guess? Either way, Michael comes to the conclusion that he’s The Dictator’s son. Jones confirms it. It makes sense—I had to think back a bit, but Maria’s right, Michael’s powers have never really faltered. We’ve never seen him get sick after using them, he probably only drinks acetone because he’s an alcoholic. Honestly, I love this for Michael. Getting to see more of an angry Michael, one who’s fed up with secrets and lies (even if he keeps some himself), frustrated by the seemingly endless evidence that his life isn’t his to control, finally seems like we’re heading in a direction that could see some healing for Michael.
Despite being the main character, Liz so far hasn’t had much to do. However, the show doesn’t keep her away for long—by the end of the second episode, she’s back in Roswell. Hopefully we’ll get to dive deeper into her story more in the coming weeks. And of course, the first person she sees is Max.
Cosmic Afterthoughts and Notable One-Liners
Michael was way out of pocket when he said that thing to Isobel about Noah. And calling Jones worse than Noah wasn’t his call to make. What happened with Noah is a very personal thing for Isobel. Michael doesn’t have the right to say whether one is worse than the other.
Sheriff Valenti has been voted out. According to Anatsa, the new sheriff, presumably a white guy, is part of the problem when it comes to racial profiling. However, I think this is a missed opportunity to showcase that police as an institution is a problem—it doesn’t matter who’s in charge. We also know Sheriff Valenti has some questionable views herself—her attitude toward Liz’s family, who are immigrants, was not one of her good qualities.
David DeSantos was really funny in this episode. I’m excited for his team up with Alex, but hopefully Ramos is nicer than Alex’s dad.
Jones seems genuine when he’s telling his story to Michael and Isobel, but there’s a small bit at the end where it’s made clear he’s trying to get under Michael and Isobel’s skin. His line to Isobel, “I know whatever you decide to do will be the right choice” is a hugely manipulative thing to say. Lily Cowles’ performance in this episode is phenomenal, keeping it together in front of Jones and then breaking down outside the cave.
I interviewed Nathan Dean last week about tonight’s episode. You can check out the interview here.
There were quite a few great lines this episode:
“You’re friends aren’t hard to find, just look for any dick waving a confederate flag.”
“Sometimes it’s the simple things that remind you of a rainstorm in July.”
“Ring, ring, you’re brain is calling, it says ‘stop, you’re hurting me.’”
“Death isn’t a good reason to try.”
“There’s no ‘guy who shows up with your face’ handbook, okay?”
“What happens when you don’t like the answers Mr. Universe has for you?” “Does anybody?”
“You’re his heir.”
Roswell, New Mexico season three airs new episodes 7 p.m. CST Mondays on The CW.