Ain't It Cool News (www.aintitcool.com)
Coaxial

DMANN & HERC Review the New ROSWELL!!

I am – Hercules!

Sweet! “Roswell" fans get a twofer this week, as Dmann and Herc both wrote reviews of Monday’s episode. I’ll start by tidying up the spoilers, then turn it over to my new partner for evaluation! Herc first!

Roswell 2.18 FAQ

Who’s Responsible?

Teleplay is credited to the great Ronald D. Moore (he of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Star Trek: Voyager,” and “Star Trek: First Contact” fame).

How’s it begin?

For the third aired episode in a row, Maria does the recap before a blackboard. This week she's all excited about how well things are going between Isabel and Alex post-prom.

What did that “Roswell Spoilerama” say about this episode last month?

When Thai food Alex didn’t order is delivered to his house, Alex freaks out, suspecting that an alien (likely Kivar) has been possessing him. Alex gets a phone call from Isabel, who wants to discuss his prom photos. “Do I look dead?” asks Alex. Isabel doesn’t understand but invites him over. Before a dazed Alex leaves his house, he writes a binary code instead of his signature on the Thai food receipt. Alex leaves, promptly drives his car into a truck, and dies!!

At first all blame the truck driver, but eventually most come to believe Alex committed suicide. Isabel blames herself for making him drive over in his strange state. But Isabel has Max, Maria has Michael, and Tess has Kyle to comfort her; but Liz is left to grieve alone. When Max finally gets Alex alone he realizes Alex cannot be resurrected.

The Olsen Family (the family Alex said he stayed with in Sweden) sends a large arrangement of flowers to Alex’s funeral. There are no “surprise visitors” at Alex’s funeral (as rumored elsewhere).

What did the Spoilerama source get right?

Almost everything. Alex does die. He does crash into a truck right after Isabel invites him over. He does write a binary code on a thai food receipt. Max tries to, but cannot, resurrect Alex. Isabel does blame herself for inviting Alex to drive over. Valenti at first suspects the the truck driver is to blame, but eventually comes to believe Alex committed suicide.

What did the source get wrong?

A few details. There is no evidence Alex suspects he is under alien influence. Alex is not revealed to have asked “Do I look dead?” “The Olsens” do not send flowers to the funeral.

What did the source leave out?

Lots:

Alex dies off-camera, before the title credits, so we piece together the circumstances of his death via heresay over the hour’s span.

Kyle’s birthday is the day after Alex’s death.

Sean DeLuca can’t comfort Liz because he’s in Albuquerque dealing with a “court thing.”

Colin Hanks appears throughout the episode in Isabel’s dreams (and his peformance in these sequences is highly evocative of his dad, Tom Hanks)!

Isabel decides she’s leaving Roswell to attend college in San Francisco.

Liz, who hates Valenti’s suicide theory, visits Max’s window and tells him: “I don’t want to be alone. Can I stay here tonight?” Soon after, Liz tells Max she saw last episode’s Max-Tess kiss --and approves of Max finally moving on.

After Michael comforts a flying-to-pieces Maria, mom Amy DeLuca tells Michael that “It’s a wonderful thing to see my daughter loved and I would like to see a lot more of that, and as far as I am concerned, you will always be welcome in this house.” When Michael thanks her, Amy adds: “Welcome on the couch.”

When Valenti shows Max the file, Max agrees suicide was likely what happened. Liz then discovers Alex, on the day he died, bought two tickets to an upcoming Beth Orton concert. There’s a human/alien split: Liz and Kyle suspect alien-related foul play; Max, Isabel, and Michael want to believe it was just a traffic accident.

How does it end?

The thai food delivery guy gives Liz the receipt with the binary code, and Liz quotes a little Robert Frost.

Herc’s rating for “Roswell” 2.18?

***1/2

The Hercules T. Strong Rating System:

**** better than most motion pictures

*** actually worth your valuable time

** as horrible as most stuff on TV

* makes you quietly pray for bulletins

Here’s Dmann’s take:

“Cry Your Name”

Review by Dmann

Reviewer’s note: this episode is literally the first time I have watched an episode of “Roswell” from the beginning to end. Normally its Monday start time of 9 Eastern is dead in the middle of my Monday night WWF addiction, a problem I am currently seeking help for.

The episode opens with Jim Valenti, (William Sadler) finding a car wreck. Valenti finds that it’s Alexander, (Colin Hanks) who was in one of the vehicles, and the wreck was fatal. This isn’t really a spoiler in the previews that WB is running as well as TV guide. This is all before the titles. After that the episode moves into the grief and anguish of the Roswell kids as they learn more about the death of their close friend.

The feel of the episode, wherein characters deal with the death of a regular character is done well. It’s not as good as THE BODY, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode dealing with a regular character’s death, but that was perhaps one of the best episodes of TV ever, and this is only good. They do both use a similar tact of dropping the more fantastic aspects of their shows, to focus on the pain of the characters. Other than that, the shows are fairly dissimilar.

There’s a certain amount of denial, that the characters go through, as the news that Alex is really dead sinks in. Isabel (Catherine Heigl) takes to conversing with Alex in her dreams, which is handled in a very human way, avoiding letting it fall into sci-fi cliché. There is also a bit of meaningful interaction between Michael (Brendan Fehr) and the mother of Maria (Diane Farr), that really rings true.

The show really gets into emotional high gear as it becomes more apparent that Alex’s death may in fact not be accidental, but suicide. The reaction to this affects the teens in different ways, most don’t believe. Max (Jason Behr) in particular has an emotional reaction to Valenti’s claim of suicide, but is quickly swayed when confronted with the cold hard evidence. The feeling of people dealing with something that they really don’t want to believe is true. This is a tremendous feat for an hour long episode of Television, and it succeeds, especially if comparisons to Buffy are set aside.

As the episode winds to a close the conspiracy angle comes in again, with Liz believing it was murder that took their friend, leaving un answered questions, and a general creepy feeling.

I would give this episode 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. Not a bad episode of a show I know damn near nothing about.

Dmann signing out.

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • April 22, 2001, 9:21 p.m. CST

    SECOND!

    by iloveryan

    Now there's something for which nobody has likely before claimed credit! If this episode is sufficiently well-done, hopefully it can save ROSWELL from cancellation by the shit-for-brains WB hacks.

  • April 23, 2001, 12:32 p.m. CST

    No, Maria did a blackboard intro for "Viva Las Vegas" back in Fe

    by Hercules

    cheeky dilettante.

  • April 23, 2001, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Whose idea?

    by xrae

    I haven't watched much of Roswell this year - though I think I saw every ep last year. Whose idea was it for Alex to bite the big one? Did Colin Hanks want to go off and do bigger and better things, or did Ronald D. Moore and company give him the boot?

  • April 23, 2001, 6:14 p.m. CST

    liz a computer whiz?

    by milic13

    ok, i'm confused. first, at the end did liz actually know that was binary code, and second, why did she quote that robert frost line? for dramatic effect? i highly doubt that the code translated into poetry. finally, i just want to express how disappointed i am in the wb for planning to take this show off the air, and giving away a major plot point during a commercial. i'm sure they would have gotten a lot more complaints if the buffy commercials had foretold joyce's death.

  • April 23, 2001, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Roswell, She Wrote

    by Electric_Monk

    This series has had an uneven history with me. I found the "Dawson Roswell" stuff boring, but then I'm not a teenager anymore, so what the fuck do I know? The upping of the sci fi elements towards the end of season one made me a regular watcher this past fall. Season two has improved, but it does have a long way to go (I realized tonight that a crap load of Star trek people are working on this show!). Now Liz, in a creepy Katie Holmes one-note performance, is playing Jessica Fletcher. While this may all be just denial on her part, I'm hoping that the writers are taking this in the right direction. One of the faults of this series is its tendency to realize half way through the episode that they've hitched the wagon to the wrong cart. And the killing off of a main character - always a ratings getter -might sound like a good idea, but is usually a last grasp before the ax comes down (though, that cannot be said about a recent character in Farscape). Still, with Buffy moving to UPN, Roswell could return for a third season. Besides, we need more episodes where Jason Behr takes off his shirt!

  • April 23, 2001, 6:39 p.m. CST

    roswell info

    by nene

    ilove it ilove it i love it!

  • April 23, 2001, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Name of Robert Frost poem?

    by Mstr Blonde

    Can someone please tell me the name of that Robert Frost poem Liz quotes from. The line she quoted was "i have promesses to keep and many miles to go before i sleep." Does anyone know?

  • April 23, 2001, 8:55 p.m. CST

    reason #178 to get TiVo

    by Horton

    my VCR didn't want to record this episode, is there anywhere to get (or download) this episode? thanks

  • April 23, 2001, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Mixed emotions

    by cooper2000

    I watched the episode and because they really didnt showcase the Colin Hanks character a lot, I didnt feel real said like I did for Joyce on Buffy. It seemed rather clished(sp?) to me. The characters all fall apart, they do the flashback thing and talk to the characters ghost. They quote a poem that he liked. Ive seen it all before. As one of the posts said above, I started watching the show at the end of last season because it was taking on the Sci Fi elements. I mean, if I wanted to see just teen angst I can watch Dawsons Creek right. So this season I have watched almost all the episodes and it seems to be that the show cant find what direction to take. Does it want to be a Sci Fi show or a Teen show. It cant seem to do both sucessfully. Lately its been non Alien after many episodes where they uped the Alien premise. Which is it? I also agree that Lizs performance was rather one note tonight and Number two, yeah they should should Jason Behr shirtless more.

  • April 23, 2001, 9:36 p.m. CST

    Where to get a tape of ep

    by muckfire

    I think you can find tapes of wb stuff at scoopme.com

  • April 23, 2001, 9:43 p.m. CST

    the robert frost poem... and my little theory.

    by zee-roh

    Here's the Robert Frost poem that they used in this episode of Roswell (it just happens to be one of my favourite poems): Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. (1923) Also- you know how Isabel has in past episodes been able to go inside of other people's dreams and stuff like that? I was thinking- maybe the way she sees Alex in her dreams is more real than she suspects it is. Like maybe he's actually trying to get into contact with her. I dunno... that's just something that occurred to me. But he doesn't really say anything of any real importance as far as hard-plot goes, so I may be wrong. Anyway... keepitkickin, keepitgreen. ~cya. -zee

  • April 23, 2001, 9:43 p.m. CST

    the robert frost poem... and my little theory.

    by zee-roh

    Here's the Robert Frost poem that they used in this episode of Roswell (it just happens to be one of my favourite poems): Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. (1923) Also- you know how Isabel has in past episodes been able to go inside of other people's dreams and stuff like that? I was thinking- maybe the way she sees Alex in her dreams is more real than she suspects it is. Like maybe he's actually trying to get into contact with her. I dunno... that's just something that occurred to me. But he doesn't really say anything of any real importance as far as hard-plot goes, so I may be wrong. Anyway... keepitkickin, keepitgreen. ~cya. -zee

  • April 24, 2001, 8:36 a.m. CST

    Kavar

    by Trapper Markelz

    I totally believe the Kavar possession theory of Alex. Possessing Alex and killing him off is a perfect device to divide the close-knit team of humans and aliens and to also weaken the aliens by getting Isabel to leave the group and go off on her own where she will be more succeptible to the powers of Kavar. Remember the dire consequences of the future, the reason FutureMax comes back to get Liz to break up with him. When the aliens are apart, they aren't as powerful. In the case of the FutureMax episode, it was Tess that left and made them vunerable. This time it is Isabel that is leaving. It looks like in the next episode (according to the TV teaser), the Kavar posession theory will prove to be even more powerful as Alex's death serves to alienate Max from everyone (but Tess) completely undermining his leadership and power in the group. United they stand, divided they fall...

  • April 24, 2001, 8:40 a.m. CST

    Kavar

    by Trapper Markelz

    I totally believe the Kavar possession theory of Alex. Possessing Alex and killing him off is a perfect device to divide the close-knit team of humans and aliens and to also weaken the aliens by getting Isabel to leave the group and go off on her own where she will be more succeptible to the powers of Kavar. Remember the dire consequences of the future, the reason FutureMax comes back to get Liz to break up with him. When the aliens are apart, they aren't as powerful. In the case of the FutureMax episode, it was Tess that left and made them vunerable. This time it is Isabel that is leaving. It looks like in the next episode (according to the TV teaser), the Kavar posession theory will prove to be even more powerful as Alex's death serves to alienate Max from everyone (but Tess) completely undermining his leadership and power in the group. United they stand, divided they fall...

  • April 24, 2001, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Buffy, buffy, buffy...don't get it!

    by iontyre

    Tried watching that show a couple of times, but found it juvenile and boring. Roswell rocks in comparison.

  • April 24, 2001, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Kyles Birthday, when did that happen?

    by Mstr Blonde

    According to the review, Kyles birthday was the day after the death. Am I the only one who missed it? If so, could someone please describe when it was said and what happened. Thanks

  • April 24, 2001, 9:50 p.m. CST

    the talk of Matrix--was it an accident?

    by SplitPleaSoup

    While The Matrix didn't have binary code exactly, what it did have was pretty close and served the same purpose. Was the discussion between Max and Michael a little hint at something? Regardles, Alex writing binary code certainly was shifty.