Sometimes my cynicism needs to chill. After last week’s epic Malex scenes, I’ll admit I was prepared for them to go back to dancing around each other. But Roswell, New Mexico continues to deliver—with Season 3 Episode 9, “Tones of Home,” Michael and Alex’s relationship status is cemented. They’re together, and they’re even talking about going on public dates. This episode also finally brings Kyle back, lets Liz and Max work out some issues, introduces a new love interest for Isobel, and connects some interesting story plots that are both surprising and clever. This episode does some work!
Storm a Government Building With Me
Let’s talk about Malex first. “Tones of Home” kills two birds with one stone—there are cute couple things abound, like Michael dropping off dinner for Alex for when he gets home, and it addresses some lingering anxieties Alex has about the role his family played in hurting Michael’s family. I understand where Alex is coming from, and I’m glad the episode covers this upfront and so soon into this next step for Malex. However, this anxiety is deeply rooted in Alex’s motivation for joining Deep Sky. He keeps saying he joined “for Michael,” which is a grand, sweeping romantic gesture on one hand, and not very healthy on the other.
I think Alex needs to move past his search for answers “for Michael,” and recognize he’s doing this for himself. That’s a good thing! Jesse Manes hurt him in innumerable ways, and the drive to undo everything Jesse Manes did can come from Alex’s own desire to be better than his father. Tying these motivations so closely to Michael just accentuates his guilt and anxiety around Michael and his father.
Having these anxieties manifest as Nora is a brilliant way to tie in the work with the Lockheart Machine and keep Malex front and center in the episode. It both reminded us of Nora’s involvement with the machine, and let us into Alex’s internal thoughts through someone we weren’t expecting.
Michael storming Deep Sky to save his boyfriend was pretty amazing. Michael Vlamis nails the comedy of this, while also living up to what he told Isobel earlier in the season—he’s drinking less Tequila and taking care of the people he loves. With Michael and Alex finding a center with each other, this episode does prove they can maybe separate themselves from the bad things that happened in their past and move forward together.
The Lockheart Machine is back to Nora’s original design, but now Michael is within the walls of a government building, face to face with a government official that knows he’s an alien. This could get tricky. On the plus side, Michael and Alex have had their first date! Although selfishly, I would like to see the public one, please.
Continuing the Valenti Legacy
Kyle is awake! He doesn’t interact with the main cast at all, even though Michael and Alex are in the area. Instead, he’s being monitored at Deep Sky, trying to work through who attacked him and the revelation that Eduardo is his uncle. Eduardo presents a compelling case for Kyle to back off this alien business—Jim Valenti’s undercover work at Caulfield got him killed. Eduardo blames himself for this; under the eye of a tyrannical Jesse Manes, Jim snuck information and the Lockheart Machine to Deep Sky at Eduardo’s request, and it led to his death.
Like Alex, Kyle is relentless in pursuing his own reasons for involving himself. Eduardo coming out of nowhere as an estranged uncle to warn him off his current path is not enough for Kyle to quit. He’s not required to take what Eduardo says at face value—there’s no earned trust here.
After being absent for too many episodes in a row, and the rest of the crew seemingly forgetting he was missing, this moment between Eduardo and Kyle is important. It’s a way for the show to acknowledge that Kyle has selflessly been fixing everyone’s problems all season, but also let Kyle stand his ground on why he’s putting everything on the line for this. We knew who Kyle was before, but now it’s written.
Those Who Detect Together, Sleep Together
Another nice romantic build-up that’s been happening this season is between Maria and Greg. The two get cuddly and close while helping Isobel track down other potential aliens that may have been hatched in 1997. I’m not sure I totally follow why this is suddenly an important thing they must investigate right now, especially with Jones just wandering around and entering the Crashdown (?!?!) at his convenience, but it does lead to some nice surprises. After rifling through reports of found children in 1997 who exhibited the same signs as Michael, Isobel, and Max did, Greg finds Johnny Doe, who was taken in by a local church.
Maria and Isobel are the epitomai of sisters, teasing and arguing with each other throughout. But there’s also a lot of affection. I love that Season 3 continues to explore this relationship with such care and grace. Heather Hemmens and Lily Cowles bring so many layers to their interactions together that make Isobel and Maria so interesting to watch, especially as two people who have only recently discovered this new family connection.
As Isobel teases Maria about Greg, Maria shoots right back about Anatsa, the reporter from earlier in the season. We saw the two bond over some drinks once before, but apparently, there’s been an offer to see each other again. Isobel didn’t take it, too focused on trying to keep her family safe.
However, Anatsa is still in town investigating the police department and the break-in at Max’s, which leads to Anatsa tagging along with Isobel when they make it to Johnny Doe’s church. This is lovely to see—it’s great that more of Isobel’s sexuality is explored on-screen instead of off, and it’s a nice twist for Anatsa’s story. After sleeping with Max at the beginning of the season, Anatsa has mainly been focused on investigating racial profiling in the town (a thread that’s seemingly been dropped for now), but an expanded role for Anatsa that allows for some love and connection rounds her character well.
This part of the episode also leads to the discovery that another alien is in Roswell, and we’ve already met him—Dallas, the preacher that Rosa confided in during “Goodnight Elizabeth.”
This season has struggled with its larger plot threads. There’s a lot of them, and while Season 3 is by far the show’s best, the overarching story tries to do too much. Characters make leaps so fast it’s hard to follow from point A to point B., partly because the episodes are heavy in exposition. It’s telling and not showing at its most cumbersome—too much information, and it’s likely going in one ear and out the other. However, this episode does manage to link Liz and Max’s story with Isobel and Maria’s in a way that’s exciting.
Hop In, We’re Going to Break Into My Ex’s House and Talk About Our Feelings
Now inside Jones’ body but awake, Max tags along with Liz to track down the research samples she left behind in her LA house. They haven’t actually had a chat since Liz was dying of Max’s heart failure, so it’s a little awkward. Their issues aren’t resolved, though they do manage to make some breakthroughs. Max explains that he kept all of Liz’s tapes before he burned the lab, and admitted that he was too angry to give them to her.
We haven’t seen Heath since he rushed Liz to Roswell when she was dying. Their parting was not a good one, leaving the discovery of Liz’s missing samples not terribly surprising. Liz and Max think the worst of Heath, and they’re right to be skeptical. Heath has some alien connections he kept hidden under the guise of a sick mother. In reality, he’s best friends with Dallas and stole the samples for him, for yet-to-be-determined health reasons.
There are still many larger plots that are still hanging, but this connecting Heath with a previously unknown alien is a brilliant way to expand the universe without making it feel too crowded.
At the same time, some closure was found for Max and Liz, as the two both acknowledge their mistakes and allude to a beach walk in their future.
Too many plot threads also make everyone’s shifting priorities from episode to episode difficult to track. They know Jones is still out there, and yet they’re not bothering to track him down and keep an eye out for him.
The opening scene and the scene immediately following the title card were not good. The opener happens too fast, and the scene in the Crashdown with Liz, Isobel, and Michael was pages and pages of dialogue that I couldn’t keep track of. At some point, it all became a buzzing sound to me, taking me out of the important information being delivered. Three characters standing around saying everything that needs to happen this episode does not make good TV.
“I’ve always got you.”
“Eduardo Valenti, I come in peace”
“Michael is my focus.”