Roswell, NM – #109 Songs About Texas Review by Leonard

Written by Leonard

We pick up 6 weeks after the events of last episode. Max is reading Frankenstein to Isobel while Liz and Michael are shown in her lab working on an antidote. Michael wonders if take 148 is their lucky number. We see Cameron at her desk right outside Sheriff Valenti’s office. Noah is there looking for an explanation. Max told him she is in rehab but not where because she wants privacy. He mentions the gala she’s been planning for the grand reopening of the UFO Emporium is coming and would never miss it. He tells her that if he doesn’t hear from Isobel in 48 hours he will take it to the press and she needs to treat Max as a suspect. At the Wild Pony, Alex asks Maria how her mom is doing. She says she keeps ranting about the sex scandal in the White House, Alex asks which one, and Maria replies Lewinsky because she thinks it’s still 1998 and that she no longer recognizes her because she was 7 at the time. Michael arrives which causes Alex to leave. Michael tries to talk to him but Alex ends up breaking up with him Michael says he expected pyrotechnics, screams or broken stuff from the breakup, Alex replies sometimes the world ends on a whimper. Michael wants to flip a coin to decide if his drink is on the house or he’ll pay for it, but Maria tells him that Max, seated at a booth across the bar, already paid off his tab. Michael goes up to him and says he doesn’t need his charity. Max says it’s an exchange because he needs a ride to Texas to see a faith healer named Arizona. The flyer has the alien symbol with a handprint in the middle. Max says he’s been looking for information on the symbol for weeks and found nothing until today. He also mentions that Arizona claims to have the power to heal with her right hand. Liz and Kyle are in her lab. Kyle notes the progress she’s had since Michael became her lab rat. He asks when she plans to give Isobel the antidote. She says she has to see if there’s any degradation in the next 36 hours. Liz is reluctant and admits it’s easier with lab rats. Kyle says it took him long to learn that when he calls time of death it’s not because he killed them but because he couldn’t save them. Liz says only has one shot and it has to be perfect. As she starts saying once we take her out of the pods her organs, Maria walks in so Kyle abruptly interrupts her saying he will not concede because Die Hard is not a Christmas movie and asks Maria to back him up. Maria disagrees because Hans Gruber is undeniably the Grinch. Kyle leaves. Maria wonders why she’s working on a Saturday, Liz says workaholism is a disease. Maria tells her she’s not good as her mom is getting worse. Liz tries to call someone for a drug trial but Maria wants to look into another option. Max and Michael have arrived in Texas. Michael notes the various state plates that have driven to see Arizona then points out the New Mexico plates of Liz and Maria arriving. Alex has been pulled over by Cameron. Alex shows his Air Force ID while asking if there’s a problem. Cameron says good move flashing that ID and proceeds to list all his military accomplishments. Cameron tells him she’s supposed to report any strange activity in town to his father but thinks she’s reporting to the wrong Manes. Michael asks Maria if she’s following him and next time they won’t have to take 2 cars. Maria says she doesn’t go for the guy whose only friend is their parole officer. Inside the tent, Arizona addresses the crowd. She calls an elder man with a clear limp to the stage. She puts her hand on his head and hand starts glowing red like Max’s would when he heals. The elder man can now walk normally. Outside the tent, Michael asks Max if he thinks Arizona is one of them. Max says no but it’s not impossible like maybe there were more pods or she was on another ship. Michael wants to directly confront her but Max wants to be more subtle, as when he heals someone he gets sick and the lights flash so she must be stronger or have more control. She’s doing private consultations in her tent, Michael asks Max what he wants healed, his wound heart, instead he points to Michael’s hand. At Project Shepherd, Cameron shows Alex a file Manes gave her 6 weeks prior. It’s a picture of a teenage prostitute killed in 2011 with a handprint on his back, which wasn’t mentioned in his autopsy. The autopsy was signed by a Jane Holden. In 10 years, Holden signed off on 14 autopsies for Roswell PD, all were homeless, addicts or illegals. Alex interprets that as people no one would notice. Cameron says the first autopsy she signed off was Rosa. Alex asks Cameron why she brought it to him, she says the enemy of her enemy is her friend. Michael and Maria are having their private consult with Arizona in her tent. Michael tells her he still wants to try being a rock star before he turns 30 and shows her his hand. She says for an injury as extensive as Michael’s, it would cost $8,000. Michael and Maria immediately leave, but Michael turns arounds and asks how she sleeps at night knowing she can save people. Arizona replies that judging by the grease on Michael’s jeans he’s a mechanic and he doesn’t do that for free. Liz comes up to Max outside the tent and asks what he thinks of Arizona. He asks Liz for her scientific hypothesis, Liz says there is no science and if she were hopeful she hopes that there is a miracle and evidence of God and a plan that exists. Max says the point of God is to believe without evidence. Michael comes out and tells Max she quoted him a price she knows he can’t afford. Maria still believes based on the old man earlier. Michael says that’s naivete. Liz is telling Maria she admires her faith in people while Michael uses his powers to undo the ropes on one side of Arizona’s tent. They see Arizona paying the old man. Maria storms off looking for a bar, Michael following her. Max enters the tent and flashes his badge to Arizona, she replies this isn’t his jurisdiction and she hasn’t committed a crime. Max angrily goes on about how wrong what Arizona is doing until the electronic lights strips in her hand blows its fuse. Max pulls out the flyer and asks her what the symbol means. Arizona claims it’s just clip art. Liz thinks she stole iconagraphy and used it for her gain. Arizona tells Liz not to lecture an indigenous woman about culture appropriation. She says she does it because the people vote to strip her people of their land, rights and humanity. Max and Liz leave. An elder woman asks Arizona if they were asking about the symbol which Arizona confirms. The elder watches Max and Liz leave. At a bar called The Mineshaft Tavern, Michael brings a bunch of shots for everyone. Maria asks Michael if he paid for them, Michael says Arizona left a lot of her cash unattended. They toast but Max doesn’t want to drink and leaves. Michael tries to explain it away as Max not wanting to have fun while Isobel is in, rehab Liz interrupts. Maria says her mom will lose all her memories by 50, Arizona is a thief, she’s been stuck with Michael all day and Max is moping. She gets up on stage, says she’s had a crappy day and starts singing Alanis Morissette’s “You Learn”. Liz asks Max to dance, he refuses. She gets up and pulls Michael with her towards the stage. They dance and sing along with Maria, who walks up to Max and pulls him toward the others. Back at Project Shepherd, Kyle has now joined Alex and Cameron. Alex asks Kyle about Jane Holden. Kyle says the name is familiar. Cameron tells Kyle that Holden signed 14 autopsies that all had mysterious handprints. Cameron explains Manes threatened her sister so she should just do as she told but Max could be involved in this and in Isobel’s disappearance. Kyle tells Cameron Isobel isn’t missing. Cameron thinks she’s investigating a serial killer. Alex tells Cameron that if what she has found is true they are actually investigating an alien serial killer. Maria pulls a blanket out of her truck and wraps herself. Michael comes up and asks if she has another. Maria tosses him one and asks what he’s doing. Michael says he’s getting fresh air and sobering up. Maria says fresh air is overrated and walks away, Michael follows. Inside the bar, Max tells Liz that Maria and Michael are outside and offers to drive her back to Roswell. Liz doesn’t want to as it’s a long drive. Max confirms he hasn’t been sleeping since they put Isobel back in the pod. Liz says there’s a motel across the street so they should get a couple rooms. Back at Project Shepherd, Cameron says she knew something was wrong but “Max Evans is an alien serial killer” wasn’t on top of her list. Kyle says Max isn’t a murderer, probably, Alex confirms also that he isn’t because nothing his father says should be taken as truth. Kyle wonders if everyone is in love with Max. Alex says tall angsty nerds aren’t his type. Kyle asks if angry cowboy is and accuses him of shutting down Project Shepherd so Manes would stop investigating Michael. Alex says he shut it down because it was an unauthorized mission. Kyle gets a text and confirms to them that there is no Dr. Holden. Alex goes and turns on the computers to continue looking for the alien killer. Over at the Silver Saddle Motel, the desk says there’s only 1 room with a king size bed – the jalapeño room. Max offers to sleep in the truck, Liz says it’s fine. The desk says he found another room, the Alamo room. Liz is tossing and turning in bed in the jalapeño room. Max also is over in the Alamo room. Max is now seated outside the motel on a swing. Liz comes out too and takes a seat next to him. Liz tells Max she’s sorry he didn’t get what he was coming for. Max wishes there was someone who could relate. Liz says he still has Michael and she kind of likes him now. Max wonders if he should heal people the way Arizona claimed to. Since joining the police he’s seen 5 people die and lists them. A heroin overdose, a gunshot to the stomach, a car wreck, a suicide jumper and Liz, the only one he saved. Liz tells Max that not saving someone isn’t the same as killing someone. Max asks if she really believes that, Liz says she’s trying to. Max says that’s the problem with having a superpower, Liz replies “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”. Max smiles recognizing it from Henry IV, Part 2 (the same line he said to Liz in the Stars hollow-esque gazebo in 106). Liz shivers a bit, so Max takes off his coat and puts it on her. Max thanks her again for everything he’s doing for Isobel because they don’t deserve it. Liz says he was a kid in an impossible circumstance with no one to turn to and that she’d have done anything for Rosa so she doesn’t hate Max for his moment of desperation. She’s not angry at Max for lying for 10 years. She doesn’t believe people are inherently good, except Max, so when he lied it broke her heart. She was angry at herself for letting it happen. Max tells her it’s not her fault he let her down, Liz says she still believes he’s good. Liz gives Max back his coat, says good night and goes back inside. Back at Project Shepherd, Kyle tries to talk to Alex. Alex says that Manes listed Michael as a threat and he didn’t want to believe it but now he knows about 14 murders. Kyle says Max, Michael and Isobel have done things he can’t forgive but they’re not terrorists (threat level red) as Manes files on the computer label them as. Kyle recommends Alex talk to Michael if he cares about him. Maria and Michael are walking around lost in the desert. Michael says he knows they’re in the same spot they were 10 minutes ago as they have walked in a circle. He looks up and Maria asks him not to tell her he’s trying to navigate with the stars. Michael hopes a meteorite strikes him to end his suffering. Maria walks away, but Michael says that isn’t the way. Maria says it’s the only way they haven’t tried. She mocks Michael “I can lead the way DeLuca, I’m one with the desert Deluca, I’m basically a coyote DeLuca”. Michael comes up to Maria and kisses her. He says he just needed some quiet and it’s definitely not that way because there’s no light. Maria grabs and kisses him. They start taking off their clothes. Arizona is counting her money when Max returns to talk to her. Arizona says she’s closed. Max puts down $247, his belt buckle which he says is worth a couple hundred and his genuine leather jacket so he can get information on the symbol. The elder woman tells Arizona to go the car. Max says the symbol is connected to his family and past, he turns around and shows the tattoo. The elder explains when she was a child there was a woman at the reservation who could heal people with her hands. The symbol would draw itself in water, in fire. She never said where she was from, never left the reservation, and never spoke until the day she died in the summer 20 or 21 years ago when she said “he has arrived so I may leave.” She always thought someone would come, and Max is not what she expected. She walks away and tells Max to keep his money. Maria wakes up naked in the desert, disappointed when she realizes what happened the night before. She looks at Michael and says last night never happened and not to tell anyone. Michael says Max texted that he and Liz took his truck home. Maria tells Michael if she told them she’ll cut his fingers off one by one. Maria reiterates it will never happen again and tells Michael to get them un-lost. Michael points out that they weren’t actually lost, as the bar is visible just over the hill they slept at. Max and Liz are with Isobel’s pod. Max tells Liz that any information the woman had died with her, but she died around the time they came out of the pods. Liz looks around and sees the stacks of books, chair and blanket and asks if Max has been sleeping there. Max says not since it got too cold at night. As they leave the pods, Max asks Liz if she’s okay. Liz tells him she’s terrified she might kill Isobel and he’ll hate her. Max assures her that he trusts her and could never hate her. Liz says she doesn’t know what to do with how Max feel about her, that for 10 years he loves a version of her that doesn’t exist anymore – a smart perfect girl who believes in God, love and humanity. She’s different now, a mess. Liz says she runs away from everything, Max interrupts her saying that she’s overly defensive, she’s sometimes selfish, she mutters in Spanish as if no one understands her (it’s New Mexico so they all can speak Spanish), she always tries to convince everyone she’s the smartest person in the room even though they know, she thinks Rosa was hard to love so by being perfect and the smartest would make her easier to love, but she’s not perfect. Max says he sees her faults and he loves her easily, she believes in the good in him even if he doesn’t see it so it isn’t crazy that he believes in her too. Max turns around but Liz pulls him by his arm back to her and kisses him. Max asks why, Liz says she ran out of reasons not to kiss him. She asks if it was worth the wait, Max happily answers yes absolutely. We see Noah in the distance watching Max and Liz continuing to make out. Noah proceeds into the cave where the pods are. He sees the pods including the one with Isobel. Liz returns to her lab where Kyle is. He says the cells are still stable after 36 hours but she shouldn’t free Isobel yet because she may be more dangerous than she thinks. In the desert, Noah is on the phone with Cameron canceling the missing person report he has on Isobel. He tells her he saw Isobel that morning in rehab as Max had said. Kyle arrives to see Cameron. He shows her the death certificate of his father, signed by Jane Holden, that’s why the name was familiar to him. He believes his father didn’t die of a brain tumor and whoever killed him, Manes covered it up. Alex arrives at Michael’s trailer. Michael pulls a necklace out of his boot, Alex recognizes it as Maria’s. Alex tries to change the subject that something is wrong with his car, Michael says he’ll look at it but Alex says he’ll come back. Alex turns back around and says he’s tired of walking away and not saying what he wants to say – that he loved Michael and he loved him too. Michael agrees he did. Alex realizes they just connected even though they never talked much, so that’s what he wants to start over. Michael asks Alex if he wants to know who he is or what he is. Alex says yes. Liz returns to the cave. Max is reading to Isobel. Max finally notices Liz standing there. Liz says she thinks she figured it out but won’t be sure until she tries. Max kisses and thanks her. Liz tells Max Rosa wasn’t the only person murdered by an alien there were more. Max says Isobel hasn’t had blackouts since 2008. She agrees and shows she has the serum with her. She says the old woman wasn’t the last chance to learn about his home, she thinks there’s a fourth alien in Roswell.

And so we finally reach Shiri’s episode. The episode she was brought in specifically for to direct. I predicted correctly that this would be the episode we get Max and Liz’s first kiss. I called that the day it was announced Shiri was going to direct an episode and she subsequently said in interviews that she was asked to direct this one specifically. Even though it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me that they got Max and Liz together so quickly after she told him she never wanted to see him again just 3 episodes ago, Shiri definitely delivered a beautifully shot first kiss scene. She also delivered to us on what Roswell is truly about – Max and Liz’s love story. As part of a whole narrative, I don’t think that highly about this episode but if taken solely on its own, it’s a very strong contender for the best episode so far because she brought the story of Roswell back to its core. It’s a story about this group of friends trying to find the truth about themselves. Granted I wouldn’t call everyone in the group friends with each other but still. As a bonus she also delivered to us Michael and Maria, albeit a drunken hookup.

Shiri put in a couple Easter Egg shots, though not as exact as I was hoping for. The ending scene in the cave where Max was writing was meant to mirror Liz writing in her journal at the end of the Roswell Pilot. I was hoping she would get the exact shot recreated; instead she went with only a pretty similar shot. It was still a nice callback. The same too with Michael kissing Maria to calm her down.

And also just for the record, Kyle is dead wrong. Die Hard is ABSOLUTELY a Christmas movie. Every Christmas Eve around midnight or shortly after once we’ve started eating the first thing I put on is The Ref, then Christmas Vacation and then a selection of either Home Alone 1 or 2, or Die Hard. In the morning I will put on Love Actually. Last year, for the first time in about 5 or so years, I finally put the 2 Roswell Christmas episodes back into my Christmas Eve/Day viewing schedule right after Love Actually.