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
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?
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?
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 clichÃ©. 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.