Roswell, NM – #106 Smells Like Teen Spirit Review by Leonard

Written by Leonard

It’s 2004. Max’s voiceover states there are moments that define our lives and moments that divide it, incidents that divide us into who we were before and will be after. Young Max, Michael and Isobel are in a tent camping. Isobel is upset she couldn’t go to Kate Long’s party. Max says it’s Michael’s year to pick their plans for their birthday. Isobel says it’s not their real birthday, it’s just the day they were found in the desert. She gets up to go to the bathroom. Max and Michael are drinking nail polish remover. Michael points out he’s telekinetic and Isobel can mess with people’s minds and asks if Max has figured out his power. Max has only caused a power outage whenever he has dirty dreams. Michael mentions the woman who runs the group home brought a priest in to try to exorcise him, showing him burns on his arms. Max is concerned, but Michael doesn’t want to talk about it.

We hear Isobel scream in the distance. A man is dragging Isobel away. Michael uses his powers and throws him away from Isobel. Max asks if Isobel was hurt as the man pulls out a knife. Max charges and takes him down. The man takes the knife and scratches him on the side of the neck. Max puts his hand on the man’s chest screaming and uses his powers to kill him. Michael tries to asks how Max knew how to do that, Max says he just knew. They check on Isobel who’s still in shock. Michael uses his power to start digging a grave. Max’s voiceover states that they were no longer children. Now he was a killer, Michael an accomplice and Isobel was broken.

Continuing in present day, Max tells Liz that Isobel started having blackouts. Max says he didn’t realize he lost a piece of his sister that night. Liz demands he tell her about the night she lost hers.

It’s now April 2008, teenage Max and Michael are shooting cans with Isobel watching. Michael says he got a full scholarship to the University of New Mexico. Max says his plan is to tutor all summer to earn money to go backpacking through Europe to write. Isobel looks peeved and just leaves. Michael thinks it’s just her ploy for attention. Max is sitting on his jeep reading as Liz and Alex approach. Liz says she only needs 3 more shifts before she can buy the car from Rosa, Alex asks what about gas money. Max greets them, Liz asks what he’s reading. Kyle arrives and grabs and kisses Liz telling her he got into Michigan. The rest of the football team drag him away as he says “go Wolverines!”

Max finds Isobel lying down on the bleachers getting sun listening to her iPod. He mentions that if she’s late for one more class she’ll be banned from prom. She says she doesn’t care. Max leaves passing by Rosa with Kate and Jasmine. Rosa says she doesn’t deal anymore, but they want a hookup with Rosa’s dealer otherwise they’ll ruin her life.

Liz is finishing up a school project as we hear Rosa fighting with Arturo. Liz tells Rosa that Mom will be back soon then Dad will relax, but she says she doesn’t care if Mom never comes back and she shouldn’t either, and then she leaves. Rosa arrives at the roof and finds Isobel there looking at the stars. Isobel finds her favorite constellation of a man and a serpent called Ophiuchus.

Michael is playing a guitar on back of his truck parked by the bleachers. Alex comes by and grabs the guitar telling him he can’t steal instruments from the music room. Alex sees a sleeping bag and asks if Michael really does live in his truck. Michael asks if the rumors about him are true. Alex tells Michael that he’s lucky because things at his house sucks. He walks away but tells him there’s a tool shed behind his house that he goes to when it gets bad so Michael doesn’t have to sleep in his truck anymore.

Max and Isobel are seated at the counter of the Crashdown. Isobel says here comes Max’s favorite waitress and are you gonna tell her that her milkshakes bring you to the yard. Liz asks if Max wants a Little Green Man shake with whipped cream and 2 cherries. Max is shocked that Liz remembers his milk shake order. Liz says her brain is her superpower. Max orders 3 burgers and fries to go but Isobel changes it to 2 fries as she’s on a prom dress diet. Max reminds her that she said she didn’t care about prom earlier and was banned. Isobel says she’ll get the principal to change her mind. Rosa comes up to Isobel and says her shift is over in 20 minutes and then they can go to the movies to watch The Last House on the Left. Isobel thanks her to the invite and says she’s not in the market for new friends right now, as if she doesn’t know her, and tells Max she’ll wait in the car. Max apologizes to Rosa. She goes to the jukebox and plays Mrs. Potters Lullaby. As she turns around, she bumps into Liz and she drops Max’s shake. They laugh and start dancing with Max watching and smiling.

It’s prom night now, Arturo is telling Kyle in Spanish “if you put your hands on my daughter, I will chop your body into pieces so small vultures will eat you like potato chips.” Kyle tells him that he speaks Spanish, Arturo knows. Liz enters wearing the red dress Rosa showed her 2 episodes back. Kyle compliments her doesn’t want to kiss her in front of Arturo so he just shakes her hand. Liz says she hoped her Mom would be there that day, Arturo tells her not to worry, they’ll show her the pictures. Arturo takes pictures of Liz with Kyle and another with Liz and Rosa. At prom, the photographer is taking pictures of Isobel with her “dates” Max and Michael who are goofing off. Isobel mentions Max should have asked Tess out because she likes him and she’s cute. Max says no thank you. Michael adds that she’s hot. (Way to go writers, sneaking in the name that strikes fear in all Dreamers that you technically aren’t allowed to use). Max assures them he’s ok. They go inside but Max stays to see Liz arrive with Kyle. We get the typical full close up dress reveal of Liz as the music plays “do you believe in love at first sight, I think you do”. She waves at Max as he enters.

Alex leaves the prom angrily with Kyle and his buddies following close behind. Alex tells Kyle to say it again. Kyle says they have different tastes that he likes tacos and he likes hot dogs. Alex tells Kyle that’s not what he said. Liz calls out to Kyle, so he says that Alex is blowing things out of proportion. Alex tells Kyle he acts one way in front of his friends and another in front of Liz and calls him a coward and always has been. Kyle punches Alex, he punches him back as Michael pulls Alex away from the fight. Alex leaves, Liz follows telling Kyle he needs to grow up.

At the Crashdown, Rosa pulls down a picture of her and Liz and puts it into her backpack, her bus ticket visible. Isobel arrives. Rosa asks why she pretends she didn’t know her. Isobel apologizes. She asks what the backpack is for. Rosa says she’s leaving town for a while to try to meet a “father figure” to help stay clean. Isobel asks that she run away with her instead.

Liz is sitting alone in a Stars Hollow-esque gazebo when Max finds her. Liz tells him Kyle isn’t all that bad, he just got ego from being football captain and homecoming king. Max says “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” and they’ll work it out. Liz says she won’t, and she isn’t crying because of Kyle, she was because it’s been a tough day and wants her mother. Liz rests her head on Max’s shoulder for a bit then looks at Max and asks if that was Shakespeare he quoted about the crown. Max confirms it was Henry IV, Part 2.

Michael runs in and says Isobel vanished and he has a bad feeling. Liz tells him to go as Maria is on her way to pick her up. Max gives her the rose from his tuxedo and says good night. It’s morning now, when Max and Michael find her asleep in a van in the junkyard from earlier. She has red paint on her hands. Max asks if she was with Rosa as Rosa’s art is sprayed right next to her. Michael asks if she’s on something. Isobel says she doesn’t know how she got there. She says her life is none of Max’s business as he’s leaving her anyway to go to Europe. Max tells her to live her life. Isobel says she can handle her own problems without them and runs off. Michael is in the Manes tool shed when Alex arrives bringing him his brother’s guitar. Michael asks Alex why he’s being so nice to him. Alex replies people can be nice without having an agenda. Michael says playing music is the only thing that calms him. Alex leans in to kiss him, but he backs away and starts playing. Rosa comes outside to find her car egged and tagged “go back to Mexico crackhead”. Isobel arrives and asks who did this. Rosa says Kate and Jasmine because they’re pissed she no longer parties. Rosa overwhelmed with everything says Isobel is a lot and goes back inside.

Inside the Crashdown, Max and Michael are discussing Isobel’s blackout. Michael says he thinks Isobel is just smoking too much pot. Max thinks it’s probably just stress. Max then tells Michael he might ask Liz out after the moment they had the night before. Liz and Rosa come in arguing about the car. Liz tells Rosa she is just like Mom in that nothing matters but you. Rosa replies she’s nothing like her because she’s here. Rosa leaves. Max comes up to Liz and offers to drive her to the desert for the project, as he needs to do it too. Liz tells Max to forget the Bio project and asks to go on an adventure. In the desert, Liz pulls out a 6 pack of beer saying Liz Ortecho would never skip homework to drink beer with a boy. Max asks where Liz got her fake id. She says from Rosa, and that she almost used it to get into a Fall Out Boy concert. Sasha Jimenez, age 25. Liz says she is a dancer at 25 (nice tribute to Jeanine’s background), Max says he’s a writer of novels.

Michael comes up to Alex working at the ticket booth to Grant’s UFO Emporium. He asks to talk somewhere private. Liz is teaching Max how to dance. Back at the UFO Emporium, Michael kisses Alex. Max and Liz are still dancing. Liz starts to lean in to kiss Max but backs away. She says she really wants to kiss him but it doesn’t feel right, it’s too late. She doesn’t want to kiss him and leave. Max asks her to stay, but Liz also doesn’t want to change her plans for a boy. Over at the Manes shed, Michael confesses he’s never been with another guy. Max and Liz are now watching the sunset. Liz says screw the Bio project, they’ll do it tomorrow. Max asks what if he changes his plans for her, they could kiss by the ocean, or at the Grand Canyon or at the top of the Empire State Building. Michael and Alex have just finished having sex, when Alex’s dad enter the shed. He grabs a hammer from the table. He says to Alex “how dare you under my roof”. He holds Alex up against the wall and says everything he does reflects on him. Michael charges at him but he turns at puts Michael’s left hand on the table and smashes it with the hammer.

It’s night now, Max leaves the letter he wrote for Liz on the windshield of the car when Rosa confronts him. She tells him to stay away from Liz, Isobel is a mean girl and he’s a dumb boy. She sees the letter on the windshield and takes it. Michael is sitting in his truck drinking trying to ease the pain of his broken hand. Both he and then Max get the sense that Isobel is in danger and head to her. Michael is the first to arrive and finds Kate and Jasmine already dead. She spots Isobel further up and runs towards her. Isobel is holding Rosa by the hair, her hand over her mouth telling her “everything I did was for you”. Michael asks Isobel “what did you do?” She says she couldn’t be trusted and then collapses. Max arrives then and checks on Isobel. Michael says he saw her do it. Max checks on Rosa but she’s already dead. Michael says he thinks Isobel killed them all. Max begins to try to heal Rosa but can’t. Michael says they need to call their parents or the police. Max says something is wrong with Isobel, she wouldn’t do this, they never should have left her alone, they have to protect her, so they will protect her now. Michael now floats the 3 bodies toward Rosa’s car. Max and Michael have just finished strapping them in when Isobel comes through. Isobel doesn’t remember anything. Michael tells her he got into a fight and he got into an accident and killed the 3 girls. Michael uses his power to crash the car on the highway. Isobel says it’s not enough.

Max’s present day voiceover begins again saying after that night their plans changed. He and Michael stopped hanging out entirely. Just then, Max uses his power to ignite Rosa’s car into flames. They watched Isobel for months but nothing happened. They had so many questions but never asked them because they were trying to forget.

Now back in the present, Liz asks you don’t know why she did it. Max says no, they never understood. Isobel asks Michael why, he says you’ll never understand because it wasn’t you. Max says he sees Rosa every night when he goes to sleep. Isobel asks if it’s in their DNA to kill. Liz tells Max for 10 years he made her a target. Max covered up a murder for 10 years. Max says he tried to tell her a few days later but couldn’t. Isobel says she hasn’t had the blackouts for 10 years but now it’s time to face the truth. Liz says Max destroyed her sister to save his. She tells him she never wants to see him again.

So now we finally see what really happened to Rosa, and we await the why. I greatly enjoyed the flashbacks to 2008 as it finally gave us the deepest exposition into every one of the main characters to date – except Maria, who is missing for the second week in a row. All I know about Maria so far is she runs a bar and she reads hands That’s literally it. Another problem now is clearly this is not the Roswell I love. The story of Roswell is fundamentally supposed to be Romeo and Juliet. This Max and Liz are not that. They are anything but that. Also let’s not forget that the 3 aliens here, whether justified or not are all killers or close to it. I don’t see how you can logically steer Liz back towards Max at some point after the revelation of what he did here. The original Roswell had a heart and a soul to it. That was its strength. That is why it is still beloved to this day. This is the problem with the reboot / remake /reimagining / franchising culture Hollywood is currently in. By using the same name, you have to compare and contrast these projects to the original. That’s why most of these projects are doomed from the start. If this show was called anything other than Roswell, maybe most of these things wouldn’t bother me in the least. But you did call it Roswell and you did choose to use the names. This is not Roswell.