Roswell New Mexico
Who hurt you, Rosa? That’s the question driving Liz’s sleuthing this week, and it’s a separate one from the ongoing mystery of who killed Rosa. In the weeks before her death, Rosa clearly underwent some major heartbreak that left her jaded and throwing out nihilistic gems like, “People are the worst drug,” and, “Build a cage around your heart.” In the present day, Liz is trying to figure out who Rosa’s mystery heartbreaker was, and the eventual answer is so much more horrifying than any of us imagined!
There are more pressing issues in Roswell; namely the power cut that still hasn’t been fixed a full 18 hours after Max alien-raged the lights out. There’s no power anywhere in town, including at the hospital, which brings the tension between Max and Kyle to a head when a child is admitted with life-threatening injuries that can’t be properly treated without electricity. Kyle, knowing Max’s secret, is pretty furious that he has the ability to heal people and chooses not to use it, and though Max tries the old “gee, I’m just a guy from Roswell” schtick, he eventually figures out that Kyle is onto him. Kyle’s guilt trip works beautifully: though he stops short of actually healing the boy, Max does use his power to restart the hospital generator, leaving behind a mark that arouses Cam’s suspicions. For a guy who’s lived his entire life undercover, Max remains breathtakingly bad at covering his tracks.
The trio are still trying to contain the secret, and Max agrees to let Isobel get inside Liz’s mind and send her away, because what could go wrong? The last time she did this, it worked so well that Liz breezed out of town and left Max a broken, pining shell of a man unable to form meaningful romantic attachments with anyone else ever! But Max doesn’t know that, and he also doesn’t know that Liz loves him back, deep down, so he morosely signs off on Isobel “violating” Liz’s mind.
Just like last week, Isobel doesn’t get far, and ends up getting sidetracked at The Wild Pony by the sheer force of Maria’s burning resentment towards her. Isobel genuinely has no idea why Maria hates her so much — her mean-girl past in high school is a feeble excuse — and delves into her mind to try and find out. The closest she gets to an answer is that Maria hates her because Rosa hated her and was actively avoiding her on the day she died. Before she can find out any more, Isobel collapses with a nosebleed. Michael seems to be the only one of the three siblings who can use his powers without being physically depleted afterwards, although maybe that’s just because he’s holding back? Or because he is magical? Either answer feels plausible.
Liz, meanwhile, seems to have finally figured out who Rosa was sneaking out to see, piecing together a bunch of clues including a bus ticket to Los Alamos and another “Ophiuchus” note. Since Liz’s branch of science appears to include handwriting analysis, she’s able to figure out that the note’s script doesn’t match that of anyone from their high school year, but it does match … Kyle’s father, the late sheriff. Full. Body. Shudder.
Kyle is fully in denial at first, accusing Liz of trying to sully his father’s memory to protect Max, and Liz backs off quickly. She concedes that the idea of a rebel like Rosa hooking up with a cop seems far-fetched, and that aside, she doesn’t want Kyle to lose his father for a second time by believing he did something so repulsive. “You’re one of the best people I know, you don’t deserve that,” she tells him, and moments later, Michael Trevino’s abs make their Roswell debut as Liz and Kyle finally get down to the hot distraction sex they should have had back in the premiere. These two have a very natural kind of banter and ease with each other, and I can’t entirely tell whether I ship it or just enjoy watching them together.
On the subject of ships, the episode culminates in what may be the most brutal Liz–Max scene yet. Knowing that there’s only one person who could have told Kyle his secret, Max goes to the diner to confront Liz, who in turn has figured out that the power cut happened because Max has a lot of feelings. “I want to believe you,” Liz tells him, explaining the cage around her heart that Rosa taught her to build. “I have never wanted anything as much as I want to believe that you didn’t hurt my sister. But I can’t shake the feeling that you’re lying.” He is — but about what? Liz admits that her feelings for Max amount to “terrified,” but can’t get more specific than that, and he just wants to be sure that she believes he loves her. “That’s what matters,” he says tearfully. “I want you to take that with you, wherever you go next. Goodbye, Liz.” The fact that Max was able to get through this whole heartbreaker of a scene without blowing out Roswell’s water mains or starting a wildfire is, I think, a sign of growth.
The siblings assemble for a crisis meeting: Kyle knows Max is an alien, and although he doesn’t know about Michael and Isobel, it wouldn’t take much for him to connect the dots. Now that the secret’s out, it will spread, and the authorities won’t stop hunting them until they find “a little green man they can put in a cage.” Max wants to take the fall, but Michael says that he’ll confess, since unlike his siblings he has nothing to lose. There’s no point in all three of them going down, he says: “After all, I’m the one who killed those girls.” How’s that for an incredibly upsetting mic drop?
• Okay, let’s dig into that final line a little bit. The official story is that Rosa died in a drunk-driving accident that also killed two other girls. It’s not clear exactly who Michael means when he says “those girls,” but given how many twists this murder mystery has already brought us, it may turn out that he was somehow responsible for the two bystanders’ deaths and not Rosa’s. I also think the handprint over her face came from Max trying, too late, to revive her.
• “Why did she hate me? I need to know why she hated me.” Same, Isobel! I’m still holding out hope for my theory that Isobel and Rosa were involved, but why would Isobel not remember their relationship? Could she have chosen to wipe her own memory? Is that why Michael looks so conflicted in this scene, because he remembers what Isobel doesn’t?
• “Queso, tequila, and no less than three orgasms.” Ask and ye shall receive! I like that Cam is aware Max has feelings for Liz, and isn’t thrilled, but also isn’t desperately upset because women can, in fact, enjoy no-strings sex without getting attached.
• “You got better at that.” On a similar note, I’m extremely here for Liz’s straight-talking sexual feedback.
• There’s an unexpected alliance brewing between Cam and Manes, and I do not care for it one bit! They initially bond over their military service, and later, when Cam is given reason to be suspicious of Max, they make a quid pro quo arrangement that involves Manes giving Cam information for “her friend Charlie” (which … who?). In exchange, Manes gets access to the sheriff’s department. Hard to see this ending well.
• What’s the deal with the scar on Michael’s hand, and what does it have to do with the night Rosa died?
• I’m not going to lie: the lack of Alex, and by extension Malex, was rough this week. On the plus side, Michael and Maria’s affectionately prickly dynamic was a total joy, and now that we know Maria was “a freak” in high school, it makes sense that they’d feel some outsider solidarity.
• I hope somebody out there is keeping a list of all the alien food puns at the Crashdown Diner. 2001: A Steak Odyssey is strong, but it’s no Men In Blackened Salmon.