Roswell – ‘Harvest’
By Scott O’Callaghan
Special to SPACE.com
posted: 05:46 pm ET
07 November 2000
The gang travels to attend Congresswoman Whittaker’s “funeral,” but it’s a Skin trap. Courtney reveals her true nature.
(Original air date November 6, 2000)
Written by Fred Golan
Directed by Paul Shapiro
Gretchen Egolf – Vanessa Whittaker
Miko Hughes – Nicholas
Sara Downing – Courtney
Everyone Loves Maria
MARIA: Culture Club, Wham, The Backstreet Boys. God, she really is an alien, this one.
MARIA (to Courtney): Do your lips not get chapped from all the ass-kissing?
NICHOLAS: The Royal Four. If only the people could see you now — clueless teenagers groping for their identities — you’d lose some of that legendaryaura that’s sprung up over the years.
The WB network
At school, Michael tells Maria that Courtney is an alien, a Skin. Once Max, Isabel and Tess join the group, they wonder where Courtney is now and whether she and Congresswoman Whittaker were working together.
Michael looks to Max for leadership, but he seems distracted. Tess explains that last night was rough.
As they all wonder about Courtney’s whereabouts, a reporter comes on TV and says that Whittaker is dead. (spoilers)
If knowledge is power, then information is a commodity that matters now more than ever. The history of our aliens’ world is fast encroaching on their future.
We now have several of versions of what happened on that planet. Isabel’s — Velandra’s — treason. The revolution from within. The royal family’s inability to stop what was happening. Alien marriages and alien infidelities.
The Skin Whittaker told Isabel stories in the hopes of persuading her to join the Skins’ present quest for power on Earth. This week, Nicholas tightens the screws by claiming he can bring Isabel to Kavar, who rules in the stead of Velandra’s brother, the rightful king.
Meanwhile, Courtney offers Michael a slightly different version, a vision of what could have been, had the right king been on the throne. In many ways, this meshes with what Michael has been doing all along: questioning Max’s indecisiveness.
We know that Tess knows things about her world’s history, too. Trained by Nasedo and versed in the alien book describing their destiny, she not only remembers something of home, she has offered to teach Max.
But Max knows nothing of the past or the future, only the present. We can only hope he can survive after his most trusted allies learn things about the past they would rather not know.
Is destiny fixed? Will the past repeat itself?
Another kind of knowledge
Even as it has manipulated characters’ knowledge of the future, Roswell manipulates its audience’s knowledge of what is really going on. Courtney is a case in point.
First we learn that she is an alien, a Skin, an enemy of our characters. Then we learn that Whittaker had information on Courtney. Whittaker is revealed as a Skin.
Last week, Michael learned that Courtney is a Skin, but only after getting close to her. Now, Courtney admits that she is a Skin, but a renegade one, and saves the day for Michael, Max and the others.
This present story arc about the Skins is one that the creative team is taking its time to tell. The arc has had time to build, giving the audience time to make assumptions and then see those assumptions proven wrong.
Stuck in the middle
Played by Sara Downing, Courtney is the center of this arc. She’s sly but sexy, with an air of confidence because she knows what we — and our heroes — don’t. A worthy rival to the sharp Maria, Courtney is an adversary who is possibly a friend, mirroring the relationship between Tess and Liz.
Courtney is likely to draw fans’ wrath for coming between Michael and Maria, but the tension makes for some good storytelling (and wonderful interplay between the actresses).
Even though our hearts may be with Maria, there’s something compelling about Courtney. If only we had a Vorlon on hand to ask, “How will it end?”
WHAT WE LEARN
The Skin for whom Velandra betrayed her people was her lover, Kavar.
A renegade faction of the Skins — including Courtney — wants to see Michael on the throne, not Max.
DANGLING PLOT THREADS
Just why do the Skins want the granolith?
Is Courtney telling the truth? Was saving her new husk such a good idea? If she was a renegade, why is her husk even there?
All those husks dead and gone. But do they count as casualties? We’ve seen six bodies on screen this season, and a whole lot of Skins-to-be wiped out this week, too. Add ’em to your lists.
ROSWELL (OR REALITY) CHECK
There is no Copper Summit in Arizona.
Why didn’t the piece of skin disintegrate in Maria’s hand, the same way the Skin husks have become dust before?
TUNE IN NEXT WEEK
Their bodies destroyed, the Skins descend on Roswell in a full-out assault. Somehow the humans in town are safe, but it’s alien-hunting of a wholly new kind in “Wipeout!”