Roswell Season One
12. Into the Woods
Written by Thania St John
Directed By Nick Marck
February 2, 2000
Once a year, Roswell High arranges a camping trip for pupils to bond with their fathers. There gets a point when the kids feel like they’ve outgrown that kind of thing, but when, only days before, there’s a UFO sighting in Frasier Woods, everyone is soon signed up.
Revelations about the alien visitation, however, take a backseat to family matters. The outing provides a much-needed opportunity to learn more about the town’s sheriff. Kyle feels neglected in the same way as Valenti did when his Dad spent all his time chasing aliens. This results in some interesting discoveries about Valenti’s father, and starts to soften the edges of Roswell’s token villain. An excellent decision; before, we felt sure he couldn’t be trusted, now we’re left in more uncertain territory.
Meanwhile, Mr. Parker is feeling shut out by his daughter. On one level, Liz’s secrets reflect the estrangement typical between parents and children as they grow up; and on another gives Liz an insight into Max’s situation as dealt with in the previous week’s episode. Confronting Max, Liz tells him that he “made her a part of all of this.” Mercifully, this marks the beginning of the lovers’ reconciliation-since the plot line with Maria encouraging Liz to ‘get over him’ is quite embarrassing. And the time would have been better spent setting up a greater sense of menace lurking in the woods.
~Clement K. Strobe
13. The Convention
Written by Emily Whitesell
Directed By Tucker Gates
February 9, 2000
Last week’s sighting has attracted all sorts of people to Roswell’s 10th alien convention. Most notably, Star Trek’s Jonathon Frakes-sending himself up marvelously for comic relief-and Everett Hubble, professional alien hunter.
On first appraisal, this seems quite clumsy-Hubble just stepping into the role that Valenti seems to be vacating; that of getting too close to the truth and posing a threat to Max. This, however, is dealt with rather well. Valenti, while keen to discover what happened to his father, has no intention of ending up like Hubble, who has been tracking the fourth alien for 40 years.
Hubble is on a quest for revenge and in a similar way, the others are slave to their emotions too: Valenti experiences guilt; Michael, despite himself, has to make a good impression on Maria’s Mom; and there’s no way Frakes’s vanity will let him settle for a smaller hotel room than Stewart or Shatner. A refreshing change from the weekly bout of barely suppressed passion.
The episode’s climax is played out very successfully. Max is at last put in direct moral peril. Visibly shaken, he shames Valenti into re-evaluating his position, adding momentum to the sheriff’s new role in the on-going narrative. A narrative given yet more intrigue by hard evidence that the alien they’re all trailing may not be benevolent.
~Clement K Strobe~
14. Blind Date
Written By Thania St. John
Directed By Keith Samples
February 16, 2000
Maria is the worst best friend you could ask for. For three reason. One: she thinks she’s Alanis Morissette. Two: tonight Alanis is going to be Phil Collins. And three: she’ll enter you in a blind date competition with the local radio station. That’s right: Liz is up for grabs. And the search is soon on to find her a “dark-haired mystery man from an exotic place.”
Kyle, feeling Max’s pain, decides to bury the hatchet, and together, they set about winning her back. They get drunk; it seems like a good plan. Now, when I get drunk I speak a lot of rubbish, say things I don’t mean and frequently lose control of my facilities. Alternatively, Max becomes eloquent, admits how his really feels and starts using his other-worldly powers to both comic and romantic effect. About time. The only problem being that the new Max is much better than the one we get every other week. Fans campaigning to save Roswell were, I think, sending him the wrong kind of sauce.
Someone should at least tell Alex. Busy writing songs with ‘love’ in the title, he’s getting nowhere fast with Isabel-seen this week humoring Michael and making some low-budget crop circles. The series is in danger of overdoing the will-they-won’t-they storylines. Perhaps it’s Alex that should have had the blind date. But Doug probably wouldn’t have been his type.
~Clement K Strobe~
15. Independence Day
Written By Toni Graphia
Directed By Paul Shapiro
February 23, 2000
Roswell hasn’t really tried to deal with ‘issues’ before. OK, so ‘being alien’ can be seen as a metaphor for being an adolescent, and Michael’s search for his real father is similar in many respects to that of adopted children in general. Nevertheless, the series’ attempt to tackle child abuse is ill conceived.
Firstly, it’s easy to forget Michael is 16-and grown men fighting seems less shocking. Secondly, it would appear by the evidence of this series that children from single parent families are more likely to have problems. Possibly true, but an over-simplification nonetheless. The saving grace of this plot-line is Maria who, according to this rationale, isn’t Little Miss Perfect like Liz. Of late she’s been rather objectionable, but we’re shown that when it comes to the crunch she can be responsible and affectionate.
Michael needs looking after; an idiot could see that he isn’t fit to look after himself. Not only does he think running away will solve all his problems, but he claims he’s doing so to find his real father. Hasn’t it been established that the fourth alien is lurking around in Roswell?
Revelations in The Convention are supported by hard evidence in this episode. The shape-shifting alien they’re looking for is a killer. But will he turn out to be truly malevolent, or was he just protecting Michael?
– Clement K Strobe
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