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Roswell – ‘Ask Not’
By Scott O’Callaghan
Special to SPACE.com
posted: 03:30 pm ET
10 October 2000
In the wake of Nasedo’s death, the aliens search for the enemy among them. A stranger — their enemy? — has bought the UFO Center, bringing fancy equipment with him.
(original air date: October 9, 2000)
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Bruce Seth Green
Desmond Askew- Brody Davis
Gretchen Egolf- Congresswoman Vanessa Whittaker
Jim Ortlieb- Nasedo
J.G. Hertzler- History teacher
Sara Downing- Courtney
J.G. Hertzler played Klingon general Martok on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Here, he appears without make-up.
Isabel mixes up the tunes at the Crashdown, using her powers to disco-y effect. The girls shake their booties as the guys watch.
Max, bare-chested, runs in from outside, telling the others of Nasedo’s death.
The four aliens bring Nasedo’s body to the wreck of their ship. They attempt to use the healing stones to revive him, but something fails. Nasedo remains dead.
Max tells them of Nasedo’s warning about Skins. Michael tells the others about a strange snake-like skin he saw out by Pierce’s gravesite.
As the aliens watch, Nasedo’s body turns to dust and disappears. The others look to Max for direction. (spoilers)
Brody Davis’ speech about being written off as a lunatic applies to most of science fiction, along with its specific application to abductions and other phenomena. The fact is, we get no respect in the general media.
Science fiction can tell stories intelligently. Unfortunately, this episode is not entirely an example of this.
In order to tell smart stories, one must trust the audience to pick up on the intelligent stuff. Roswell’s creators, however, do not seem to be terribly trusting types.
While last episode painted Max as an indecisive leader, this episode went overboard hammering home the point “for casual viewers.”
Guest star J.G. Hertzler — always good for strongly felt dialogue — was wasted, apparently brought into this episode simply to bludgeon us with the comparisons between Max and John F. Kennedy, doing so no less than three separate times over the course of the hour.
Thankfully, we were spared direct use of the episode’s title, which just happens to be a quote from Kennedy’s inaugural speech.
This criticism aside, the new chemistry between Kyle and Tess is something fun to watch. This episode allows Tess to show some personality. She’s funny. She’s got feelings. She’s more than the heartless alien seductress who tried to steal Max from Liz last season.
Tess has been hurt, and she allows others to see this fact. But there’s more going on with Tess than the pain of losing Nasedo, and that makes her character interesting.
Kyle has also been allowed to grow over the summer. His new persona, one completely at odds with the Kyle we remember hating, is a more complex one. Sure, he still reads the skin mags, but he’s also searching for something more. A more down-to-earth Tess might provide just the right counterpoint to this newly wise Kyle.
Even with Agent Pierce gone, Congresswoman Whittaker appears to be an interesting adversary to have floating around. We have seen her emotions run from drunken-acting to conniving. She is capable of manipulation, as her final scene without Liz shows us. What is she after?
But without the drive of investigation, who is Sheriff Valenti? Even as Kyle proves himself, we have seen nothing of what his father now wants to do. Sheriff Valenti must emerge as something more than Max’s errand boy, a device for running background checks and police cover-ups.
WHAT WE LEARN
Courtney’s an alien. Yes, all blonde newcomers are aliens.
Kyle wears Calvin Klein boxers. Tess approves.
DANGLING PLOT THREADS
Is Courtney acting alone? Or are there others?
Just where does one get a nifty alien tracking device? And just what was that pulse which hit Michael?
Why was the Congresswoman acting drunk to get information from Liz? Why is she suspicious anyway?
Does Max have his old job back now that he and Brody have bonded?
ROSWELL (OR REALITY) CHECK
You can read all about President John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis at your local library. The history teacher is accurate with his details, even if Maria’s analysis may or may not be entirely correct.
TUNE IN NEXT WEEK
A birthday party for Isabel turns dangerous as the aliens’ enemy pursues them in “Surprise”.