Another Review of “The Balance”

Thanks to Melinda for sending this review in from ign sci-fi!

December 16, 1999
by Sarah Kuhn

Roswell, The Balance review: Men are from Mars, women are from Roswell

I think I exceeded my limit on eye-rolling in the final moments of this episode. So, after all these episodes of torture, goony-eyed gazing, and scenes featuring either Jewel or Dave Matthews Band caterwauling away in the background, we’ve come to this. Max needs his space. Max thinks he and Liz need to be separate for awhile so they can “find (their) balance again.” Max is afraid of getting close. In other words, Max is just like most human guys. Bummer.

This week, Michael is all mad, but it’s not because they don’t sell Dep hair gel in bulk. No, he’s upset with Max for going behind his back and visiting River Dog. He wants a piece of the vision quest pie, dammit, and he’s gonna get it. So, he goes to see River Dog, participates in some ritual, then falls drastically ill. Maria frets. Isabel worries. Liz wonders how all of this will affect Max — jeez, obsessive, much? Also, Alex has finally joined the in-crowd, and is further emasculated by being forced to wear an apron.

Anyway, the best part of this episode is the focus on the bond between the three aliens. Max tells some story about reaching out for Michael’s hand when they were children, only to have Michael stubbornly go off on his own. It’s nice to hear another little piece of the kids’ history that sort of illuminates their connection to one another. I was also very touched by Isabel’s sisterly concern. Meanwhile, Maria is less annoying as the episodes past. They’re sort of mellowing her out, which is nice — my theory is that it all started when she got a decent haircut. And her girl talk scene with Liz is sort of cute — oooh, those alien boys! They’ve spoiled these girls for everyone else.

OK, now here’s the main problem with this show, as deftly illustrated in two separate scenes. The crux of the show rests on all of us wanting Liz and Max together — they’re so cute, they’re all tortured, they’re Angel and Buffy for the next round of WB promos. Besides, when they’re apart, the latent chemistry and brooding only goes so far (see: the aforementioned final scene). However, when they’re together…they’re kind of annoying.

Maybe that’s because their first date just had to be shot as some sort of goofy montage that ends up looking like a Tommy Girl commercial. Look, neither of you is actually playing pool, you’re just standing around looking all cute with your cue sticks, so why don’t you let some other people have a shot?

I’m still willing to follow these kids on their dubious quest to discover their origins, get together, and get it on, but we need a few more plot twists to keep it interesting. The mysterious map, which Michael discovers with a few hints from River Dog, is a nice touch. More like that, please.