Roswell, NM – #108 Barely Breathing Review by Leonard

Written by Leonard

Isobel’s voiceover begins that safety is easy to take for granted especially when you grow up loved, cherished and protected. We see pictures of the 3 aliens from their youth, one of Michael’s mug shots, and an article asking for information on them from after they were found. The last shot is a monitor looking at Max’s house. We see that it’s Manes watching from Project Shepherd. He sees a car approaching Max’s house, Max hugs the occupant. Next we see Noah sitting outside Isobel’s room. Isobel continues that you only value safety after it’s been stripped from you and the fears inside her head. Max sits outside with the occupant, revealed to be his mom. They exchange pleasantries and small talk until she asks if Isobel is on her way. In Liz’s lab, Kyle says they need to talk about Isobel. Liz wants just 1 day not to think about it because she has to present her findings to the board that afternoon. Kyle says the hospital isn’t a hotel for the Real Housewives of New Mexico. Liz confirms that she’s been having episodic blackouts now and in 2008, letting Kyle know that Isobel killed Rosa. Liz tells him there’s a lot she needs to catch him up on. Noah is in Isobel’s room trying to figure out what’s wrong and reiterates that he’s not giving up on her. He offers to take time off work and he just wants things back to normal. Isobel says things have never been normal but she wants it to be. She says she’ll talk to the doctor. Kyle tells Liz she should have told him sooner, but she didn’t want to drag him in further. Liz shows him the serum she was working on though she hasn’t tested it yet. She says she never planned on using it though, likening it to writing an angry letter with no intention of sending it. Manes is leaving the Project Shepherd bunker where Alex is waiting for him. Manes tells him to leave and not say anything about this place. Alex wants to have a beer, talk about the family legacy, Jim Valenti and aliens. Manes tries to leave, but Alex knocks him out with his cane. Max is explaining to his mom that the doctors think that mixing pills and wine is what caused Isobel’s breakdown. She asks who knows, Max says only Noah. Max mentions he was asked about a family medical history and he didn’t know what to say. His mom says they never got sick. He asks how he and Isobel communicated before they started talking. She says it’s like you both knew what the other was thinking until just started talking like you had been studying us the whole time. He shows her the drawing asking if it means anything to her. She says at the foster home, he and Isobel were in the corner crying and another boy took a red marker and drew it all over the walls. She says that boy needed special attention, a wealthy family to give him anything and hopes he found it. Kyle enters Isobel’s room asking if she killed Rosa. Isobel confirms. Kyle stabs her in the chest Pulp Fiction style with the serum. Maria has brought her neon light sign to Michael to fix. Michael offers to make a new sign. Maria says if she wanted a new one she’d ask for a new one, she wants it fixed. Michael says it will cost her, Maria says she’ll wipe his tab clean. Michael agrees. Max arrives and asks him about the symbol. Michael identifies it as his tattoo. Max explains that Wyatt drew it and that you drew it at the group home so it has to mean something. Michael is surprised as they never talk about “home”. Max says if Isobel’s blackouts are alien in nature, he needs to know more, like why they don’t have any previous memories at all as they were 7 when they came out. Michael figures they just faded after 50 years in the pods or maybe whoever put them there doesn’t want them to remember. Max begins to feel cold. He feels something is wrong with Isobel, so they rush back to the hospital. Liz is asking Kyle why he injected the serum when she told him she doesn’t know the side effects. Kyle doesn’t know. Liz deduces Isobel “incepted” him and told him to do it. Liz’s phone goes off, she tells Kyle to text her if she exhibits any reactions. Manes wakes up in the Project Shepherd bunker tied to a chair. Alex is typing away at the computer. Alex asks him about Project Shepherd, Manes says it doesn’t exist. Alex laughs it off, reminding him that he’s a code breaker and that all his computers and software are outdated so he’s going to get in eventually. Max and Michael have arrived in Isobel’s room. She tells them she wanted to do the right thing, Max says they don’t know enough yet. Isobel just wants to leave, so if she’s normal then great. Michael replies “by normal you mean human”. Kyle walks in, Max asks where Liz is, he says trying to live her own life. Kyle notices Isobel staring at him. She says she’s trying to get him to take his shirt off but he didn’t, so the serum must have worked. Michael leaves upset, but Isobel happily hugs Michael. Liz and Dr. Avila are headed into the hospital discussing their research when Michael approaches “congratulations Liz, you found a way to punish her.” Liz tells Dr. Avila she’ll meet her inside. Michael tells Liz she stripped Isobel of her identity, Liz counters she never intended to use it and Isobel injected herself and that her powers make her dangerous. Michael says that the history of your planet doesn’t reflect kindly upon people who take it upon themselves to change people considered dangerous by society – like drowning witches or gay conversion therapy. He asks would she be cool if someone used her lab to make a serum to make her less Mexican even if they didn’t intend to use it. Liz can’t believe Michael went there. Michael says Max and Isobel have a psychic connection and when Isobel injected herself he went cold, so if anything happens to Isobel she’d be getting revenge on the wrong person, and all Max has ever done is love her. Noah is in Isobel’s room, she says no more secrets between them. Isobel leans in to kiss him but backs away and starts coughing blood. Kyle arrives in Liz’s lab, she points him to the microscope and says everything was fine a few hours ago but her cells are now degrading rapidly. Kyle concurs that her cells are rotting. Isobel collapses onto Noah. Liz says at this rate, Isobel will be dead by the end of the day. Max tries to heal Isobel, lights are flickering, but he can’t. Michael moves him over to the side, hands him a bedpan that Max vomits into. Michael asks what now. Kyle says normally I’d say start calling loved ones. Isobel says they should call mom, but Max says no. Back at Project Shepherd, Manes asks Alex why now. Alex explains he’s been looking for leverage his whole life. He pulls out the piece of the ship he found at the Valenti cabin. Then he went into the dark web and found loads of government conspiracies that linked back to him, followed him, reconstructed one of his burner phones and finally called his mom. When trying to hack enemy intelligence, the key is to find the flaw and exploit it. Just then the computer granted Alex access. Max goes up to Liz and says you created it, you can create an antidote. She says there’s not enough time and walks away. Alex is looking over all the documents, Manes says he kept it from him for his own good, their family and the Valentis have suffered because of this project for decades. Alex asks if Kyle was in the know. Alex said when he was 17 he wanted to make music but he was sent to war because he thought he was weak because he is gay. Manes asks Alex what his endgame is. Alex says he wants to destroy what he loves while he watches. Then a file opens proclaiming Michael a red level terrorist threat. At the roof of the Crashdown, Liz is spaced out listening to “Not the Doctor” by Alanis Morissette when Michael arrives. He says Max thinks you’re in your lair mixing up a miracle cure. Liz says she’s working on it, Michael doesn’t believe so. Liz says Rosa took all the creative juice of art, dance and poetry genes so when she needs to get creative she turns to wine and Jagged Little Pill to channel her inner Rosa. Michael asks if she came up with anything, Liz replies you. She figured out what Michael wants to learn isn’t taught at UNM. Michael is wary, saying Max may not see it but he does how she manipulated and used him and Kyle. He says he doesn’t even blame her for not wanting to save Isobel. He also says he can’t trust her, so he’s going back to the hospital because he can’t let Max watch Isobel die alone. Liz grabs him and says she can’t let him watch Isobel die at all. They arrive at Michael’s trailer. He uses his powers to move it revealing a hatch underneath it. She asks where he found all of it, Michael says he dug some up, bought on the dark web and stole from the UFO Emporium. Michael says that before they do this he has to tell her that 10 years ago Isobel incepted her to leave before graduation and before Rosa’s funeral for Max’s sake. He’s tired of all the lies and if she’s going to mess with Isobel’s chemistry, he wants her to know all the facts. Liz insists Isobel didn’t make her leave, she was always going to leave. Michael shows her extracts from their pods, but it evaporates upon contact with the Earth’s atmosphere. Liz says if the liquid kept them from aging for 50 years then that’s what they need. Liz says there’s not enough time, Michael says she was right that between the 2 of them they can figure it out. Mrs. Evans finds Max in the hospital and wants to bring her a robe and some magazines. Max keeps her from seeing her. She says they never let her be a mother, Max assures her they were great parents. She tells Max she’ll come back tomorrow. Kyle enters Isobel’s room, Noah asks for an update, is it her liver. Kyle says he should talk to Max and that he can’t disclose, Noah insists he’s her husband so he’s next of kin. Kyle asks to let him treat her. Noah leaves, he then punches the mirror in the bathroom. Liz and Michael are at the pods. Michael says the pods are the key to keeping Isobel alive in stasis while they work, now they just have to figure out how to get her in. Kyle hooks up an IV of nail polish remover for Isobel. She says she doesn’t understand why he’s being so nice to her. Kyle explains that at his medical internship, on his first day there was a school shooting. The shooter was brought to his hospital, he asks his resident which was the killer to which he responded “shut up and do your job because in a hospital it doesn’t matter what someone did before they came through the doors.” Back at Project Shepherd, Alex asks Manes why he’s trying to frame Michael. Manes says he’s been targeted by Michael, that he is blinded by his perversions, that their family is the enemy of his kind because they’ve spent 70 years protecting humanity, using him to infiltrate and that aliens are monsters. Alex says he’s using the operation to target people he hates. Liz and Michael are still trying to figure out the pods. Michael says after trial and error, a silver needle is how he extracted the samples he has. Liz tells Michael to get Isobel and she’ll have figured it out by the time he gets back. Liz touches the pod and areas by her ring and bracelets start moving. She starts putting her jewelry into a bowl. Max is talking to a sleeping Isobel. He says he’s mad at her for doing this, for leaving Michael and himself alone on this stupid planet. He wishes he loved her less. If she is trying to slip away without taking anyone else then she failed. Isobel wakes up just as Michael arrives. Michael says it’s not ideal, but Isobel says she wants a chance to live. Alex begins to free his dad. He says there’s a flight leaving in the morning for Niger where he will oversee training and when it’s time to return, he will request a transfer from Roswell. If he ever comes back, Alex says he will notify the Pentagon he has been running Project Shepherd for 8 years. He knows it was shut down in 2010 and he’s been running it with his own money against protocol and orders. If he doesn’t do any of this, Alex will expose him and he will be dishonorably discharged. Alex gives him his gun and he leaves quietly. Michael arrives back at the pods saying they tried to say goodbye to Noah but couldn’t find him. Liz thinks she’s done it by melting her jewelry and combining it with the extract. Max how long will she be in the pod. Liz says it could take months or years but they won’t stop. Max says when they came out they had no memories at all, Michael says they’ll remind her, Isobel makes them promise. Isobel says she’s ready. She hands max her wedding ring. Liz takes off Isobel’s hospital gown and rubs the solution she made all over Isobel. Once Isobel is covered, she puts her hand through the pod and then proceeds to climb back in. Liz asks Max if he’s okay. Max says Isobel has a chance for survival now. Liz says max needs to forgive her as missing her will hurt less if he’s not angry. Liz says she’s glad she made her leave as she saw 2 oceans that summer and that they aren’t meant to be together. Max takes one last look and touches the pod. Manes and Cameron are meeting on a side road. Cameron says nothing has come up, Manes tells her he’s leaving town for Niger and he needs her to be his eyes and ears while he’s gone, also she needs to provide intel on Alex. He reminds her that he can have her sister transferred back to maximum security with 1 call. Michael delivers the neon light sign to Maria at the Wild Pony. Maria says it was quick, Michael reminds her he could have made a new one, Maria says she needs this one. She says it’s because when her mom wanders when she sees this sign, she knows it’s the way home. Michael replies like a beacon, and that he figures the story was cheesy. Maria calls him a jerk. Michael looks at the alien symbol and thinks about it being a beacon. Max arrives home, his mom is still there. She says she cooked him dinner but he starts crying onto her.

The Liz and Michael team up is a nice change of pace. Alex standing up for himself and blackmailing his dad was quite refreshing too. The multiple politically correct agenda overtones breeds its head again this week what with Michael bringing up gay conversion therapy and Liz being Mexican as the biggest negative of this episode though. With the next episode being the one that Shiri directed, she has to handle the issues that arise from Isobel’s “disappearance” between Noah, Mrs. Evans and now potentially Cameron. Remember that Shiri was brought in to direct this episode specifically, so I eagerly await to see why that is. Ever since it was announced, I’ve presumed that this would be the episode they finally put Max and Liz together. That does seem hard at this point because of how they wrote this story but I do still hope to be proven right. I hope she puts a lot of Easter eggs in for the original Czechoslovakians. I know she did put some in, now it’s a matter of them making the final cut.