Roswell, New Mexico has not dragged its feet when it comes to resolving mysteries: Rosa’s killer was revealed in just five episodes (although we’re still untangling the details of exactly what the heck happened that night) and with the season finale in sight, the identity of our anonymous homicidal alien has finally been revealed. Everybody else who earmarked Noah Bracken as shady from the very beginning, come take a smug seat by me. If you thought Gone Girl was a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of marriage, wait until you get a load of Isobel’s situation. She’s spent years married to a man who seemed to be her ticket to a normal life: a sweet, endlessly loving, preppy sweater–wearing golden retriever of a human (to quote Max), only to discover that he is in fact her murderous, body-snatching alien semi-sibling. The worst!
Suspicion doesn’t fall on Noah for a while, because everyone’s focus is on a different character. Wyatt, uncharacteristically helpful in hopes of cutting a deal, comes forward with some key new info about one of the killer alien’s other victims, Carla. On the night Carla died, Wyatt said, he saw her having a heated argument with none other than … Maria. This is a red herring that works because in the present day, Maria is acting a little off, and Isobel remembers getting violently ill when she tried to influence Maria earlier in the season. All the signs point to Maria being the fourth alien — except that the fourth alien can body-snatch whomever it wants, and in fact she’s just the latest victim.
The real smoking gun, or smoking bomb, is when Maria plants a poisonous smoke bomb in Michael’s jacket pocket, which later explodes and knocks him unconscious. He wakes up in the bunker beneath his trailer alongside Max, who was attacked in the street and also knocked unconscious, presumably by Noah. And look, I realize that Noah is a cold-blooded killer with sinister and unclear motives for everything he does, but I like to think that on some level he, too, is sick of watching these brothers have the same old fight about how they covered up a murder a decade ago, and wanted to force them to finally have a real conversation by trapping them underground together. For this, Noah, and for literally nothing else, we thank you.
Because really, this conversation was so heartfelt and lovely! After a little of their usual back-and-forth swiping, Max finally digs down to the root of the resentment between them. “You haven’t been angry for 10 years, you’ve been angry for 20,” he tells Michael, “ever since my parents showed up and picked me.” It sounds, for a second, like the most outlandishly heartless and dickish thing you could possibly say to your brother who grew up in foster care, until it becomes clear what Max is actually doing, which is telling Michael how much he loves him. “I wished my own parents away because I was pissed they didn’t take care of you,” he says, choking up as he tells Michael he’s never alone because all of their pain is shared, and Michael’s stunned, touched expression speaks for us all. Oh, and then he explains what really happened to his hand, and tells Michael that he didn’t want it healed because he wanted the scars as “evidence of what could happen when you believe that humanity might be good.” Alex made him believe there was a place for him on this planet, and he wanted a reminder that he was wrong. This! Is! So! Rough!
Liz, whose superpower is always and forever her brain, uses a decoy serum to figure out that Maria has been possessed by the fourth alien, while Cam uses her date-rape-drug–detecting nail polish (yup, a real thing, sort of) to figure out that she’s also been drugged. When Michael and Max don’t show up at the evening’s gala event, Liz figures out where they’re tapped, and shows up in her ball gown to jury-rig the hatch open and free them because she is the greatest. And then comes the real revelation: Maria saw Carla leaving the bar on the night she died with Noah!
I think most viewers had predicted Noah weeks back, although I’d missed some of the clues that were laid out here: Noah was the one who directed Liz to Wyatt’s warehouse, and the one who told Max to lay off on investigating Wyatt, and he got shot during the attack on the hospital which now looks like a convenient cover. Isobel refuses to believe it when Max tells her — she’s never used her powers on Noah because she trusts him — but when she does get into his head, yikes. Noah’s eyes look black, and he’s talking in a low, demonic monotone and saying things like, “We are connected. We have been since the first time I heard your voice.” He tells her that she might have control in here, but he has control out there, and takes control of Isobel’s body to prove his point, almost forcing her to shoot Max.
Cam shows up to save Max, and then Liz (having raced home to test Noah’s blood for herself) shows up to inject him with the serum, and almost gets herself killed. It’s legitimately scary when Noah puts his red, glowing hand against her shoulder to suck the life from her, but the serum kicks in just in time. Noah is left powerless, and Liz, Max and Isobel are left shellshocked. Get yourself some of Liz’s red lipstick, Isobel, because you’re gonna need armor for what’s coming next.
• “If he doesn’t pick up his phone soon, I’m gonna murder him. Too soon?”
• Why were Max and Cam so quick to believe that Wyatt was telling the truth about what he saw the night Carla died? He had a lot to gain by lying, since he seemed to think he was going to be able to cut a deal in exchange for the info.
• Liz in a beautiful ball gown and a perfect red lip with gasoline smudges on her face is an extreme mood.
• “You’ve said bar fight, you’ve said junkyard accident, you’ve said chupacabra.” Sure, sure, sure, covering the bases of standard excuses for a broken hand.
• So wait, why did Isobel get violently ill when she tried to get inside Maria’s head back in episode three? Now we know it wasn’t because Maria was an alien, and she wasn’t body-snatched at that point either.
• As hard as Maria tries to act like she can barely tolerate Michael, it’s clear in her moment of vulnerability here that she may be legitimately falling for him: “If you want me to leave … ” “That’s the problem. I never do.” Alex was MIA this week, but this triangle’s about to get real complicated.
• While we’re checking in on our couples, Liz admits to Max that she’s having a hard time fighting her instinct to leave before she gets left (and yes, I am absolutely taking this as a low-key Taylor Swift lyric reference). After Isobel points out that she couldn’t have made her leave town back in 2008 unless she’d already wanted to, Liz makes Max promise that if she runs away again he will come with her, and honestly, between Michael building his escape-ship and Isobel’s husband turning out to be her evil alien sibling, it seems like every single person on this show might have reason to skip town by the finale.
• “I thought you were gay.” “We are literally aliens, are you gonna hold me to some outdated binary of sexuality? I’m bisexual.” PREACH, MICHAEL.