Roswell – ‘Meet the Dupes’
By Scott O’Callaghan
Special to SPACE.com
posted: 03:46 pm ET
21 November 2000
Punked-out duplicates of Isabel, Michael, and Tess come to Roswell, hoping to get Max to join them on a trip to New York. Brody Davis asks Maria out on a date, which kinda happens.
(Original air date November 20, 2000)
Written by Toni Graphia
Directed by James A. Cotner
Desmond Askew — Brody Davis
Garrett M. Brown — Philip Evans
Michael Chieffo — Science Teacher
Outside a New York City fruit stand, four teens who look like punked-out versions of our aliens cause an accident. Fruit tumbles everywhere as “Isabel” empties the register and the others pocket grapefruit.
A mohawked “Michael” tells “Max” that they have received another invitation, one which “Max” refuses. The two bicker, but then “Michael” gives in.
“Max” tells him, “I’m the man. Don’t forget it.” The two clasp hands in friendship. (spoilers)
Alternate universes and evil twins can be fun. Comic book fans have known this for years (the bloodbath of Crisis on Infinite Earths notwithstanding). Star Trek: Deep Space Nine returned to the Mirror Universe every so often to see what happens when Federation stalwarts stop being polite and start getting gritty.
Alternates can allow for send-ups of familiar characters and situations. They call for radical costume changes and new attitudes.
This episode, however, went overboard with both. The costumes were simply too radical, and the ‘tudes over the top. Why present the duplicate aliens as caricatures of New York City punks circa 1980? Why ask the actors to use such strong (and not accurate) New Yawk accents, ya knows what I mean?
There may be a good reason for why these other aliens are dressed this way and why they act this way, but we’ve not seen any evidence for it yet. In the meantime, what we’re left with is a kind of punked-out Patty Duke Show.
Identical cousins? Who’d ‘a thunk it?
Glimmers of interesting
Beyond the clumsy main plot, the episode does offer some interesting moments.
Brody and Maria seemed to connect, despite their age difference,. He’s dweebish in a charming sort of way, and it’s nice in this alien-heavy season to see any human portrayed interestingly. His connection to the world of the aliens is an asset.
William Sadler may surprise some in this episode: he does “funny” just fine. His scene is a light one, a rarity among his many fine moments in the series.
Katherine Heigl also turns in a strong performance here, making up for that of “Surprise”. Maybe it’s simply that she has more to work with here, playing Isabel in this season’s brooding style as well as the dark-and-scheming Loni. Heigl is equally convincing in both parts, and this episode hangs on her performance.
But nice moments and nifty concepts aren’t enough to carry the episode. There needs to be more. We can hope that the continuation will deliver the entire package.
WHAT WE LEARN
Max is still in therapy, and Isabel is seeing a therapist, too.
The pods held two sets of the Royal Four, one of which may be defective (although there is some discussion as to which set that one is).
DANGLING PLOT THREADS
What is this summit really about? Why did Zan oppose going to it?
Why is Tess being allowed to go to the summit, too?
The “accidental” death of Zan, the duplicate Max, brings the season’s total up to thirty-one.
ROSWELL (OR REALITY) CHECK
Camera glitch: As Rath approaches Liz at school, she is initially just moving toward her locker, but when the camera moves in for the close-ups, her locker is already open.
TUNE IN NEXT WEEK
Max, Tess and the duplicates are off to the Big Apple for an alien summit. The journey to New York is here in “Max in the City”.