Roswell, New Mexico S01E08 Review: Barely Breathing – Anyone out there?

As soon as Liz mentioned that serum last week, it was obvious that it was only a matter of time before it was used and probably improperly. I have to say, though, I was surprised that it happened so soon.

It’s likely a testament to Isobel’s desperation, though, that she mindfluences Kyle into using the serum on her without considering, for example, that it’s a completely unknown property. It hasn’t really been tested, I mean. So when it goes wrong–causing a rapid-fire deterioration of Isobel’s cells–it’s not a complete shocker. But it’s still fraught with tension.

Liz immediately starts trying to figure out an antidote, but it’s not an easy proposition, obviously–it’s kind of a miracle that she even came up with the serum. When her customary brainstorming tools–wine and Alanis Morissette–don’t lead her to any conclusions, Michael steps in.

There’s been hints and outright comments about how smart Michael is, and we get the clearest glimpse yet this week. Underneath his Airstream is his hidden bunker–does everyone in town have one?–where he’s been working on solving his own mystery. As Liz surveys the alien paraphernalia he’s got strewn about the place, she figures out what no one else knows: Michael is trying to rebuild their ship.

Ship parts probably won’t help Isobel, but Michael has something that might. He’s been able to collect some of the material that was used in the pods to keep the alien children in stasis. However, once it hits our atmosphere, it disappears. However, the detail that Michael was able to extract it from the pods using silver needles gives Liz an idea, and she melts down her jewelry to make a solution.

I don’t really understand all the science here (and I don’t think it would stand up to scrutiny), but basically, this stuff will serve as a healing balm for Isobel while she recuperates in a pod. The only issue is, Liz isn’t sure how long this will take. Like, it could take months or even years AND Isobel could lose all her memories. Meanwhile, I’m wondering what exactly they’re going to tell Noah, the guy who thinks he just figured out that his wife is an alcoholic. Then that leads me to wonder uhhh, has Isobel ever influenced her husband?

I don’t think so, because that would be super-unethical, but these characters have made questionable decisions in the past, so I’m undecided. And speaking of questionable, let’s check in with Alex. I know there’s been some discussion among viewers as to whether contact (or maybe even proximity) to alien artifacts can influence a human’s behavior in some way. Perhaps that’s what’s behind Alex’s own behavior this week, in which he brains his father with his crutch and then carries him down to the Project Shepherd bunker. Wait, how did he get him down there?

Okay, I’m not worried about it. Anyway, Alex uses the precious quiet time that his dad is gone night-night to crack the Shepherd database, because Alex was actually trained as a code-breaker by the Air Force. Hahaha. Guess the elder Manes might be reconsidering forcing his son into the military now, especially since it landed him in this precarious position.

That’s the one where his son finds out that not only is his dad secretly investigating the alien threat, but he’s also doing it without the aegis of the federal government. In fact, they explicitly shut down Project Shepherd, so all this stuff Manes has been doing has been off the books.

Oh and there’s also the little matter of one Michael Guerin being specifically listed in the database as a terrorist who’s THREAT LEVEL: RED. Alex, despite holding a piece of alien technology in his hand, is not inclined to believe his father, as it makes much more sense for him to just make it all up so he can get rid of Michael.

In the end, it’s Alex who gets rid of his dad, forcing him to take a transfer, lest the government find out about his rebooting Shepherd. And it should feel good watching Manes ride off into the sunset. But I just know it won’t last.

7/10 – While there were satisfying moments in this episode–Alex knocking out his dad, the ASMR vibes of Liz coating Isobel with the silver solution–a lot of it felt incompletely integrated. For example, the scenes with Max and Isobel’s mom, Ann (Claudia Black), seemed kind of shoe-horned into the whole thing. Also, maybe it’s just the way she was playing it, but Ann felt tonally off in her scenes. And don’t even get me started on the way she talked about young Michael. But speaking of, what a standout episode for him. We find out what a smartypants he is and it seems like he’s cracked yet another mystery–the symbol is a beacon. So it’s calling?

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