Tuesday, February 26, 2019

REVIEW: 'Roswell, New Mexico' - Flashbacks Reveal the Truth About the Night Rosa Died in 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'

The CW's Roswell, New Mexico - Episode 1.06 "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

In a series of flashbacks to 2008, secrets are uncovered about Rosa's final day, Isobel's mysterious blackouts and Alex and Michael's relationship in high school. 

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Roswell, New Mexico.

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" was written by Eva McKenna & Carina Adly MacKenzie and directed by Tim Andrew

It's very much appreciated that the show isn't dragging out the mystery of what happened the night Rosa died any longer. It's the story that has become overwhelming to the overall narrative. Everything of interest is best defined by its connection to that mystery. However, it never had the plot to actually sustain a whole lot of episodes. As such, it has frequently felt like the show was dragging its feet in trying to keep the wheels spinning as it pertained to this plot point. And now, those answers are actually extremely forthcoming. The majority of this episode is a flashback to 2008 and the circumstances surrounding this tragedy. It provides better insights into the main characters than any of the previous episodes. Sure, some are able to portray the teenage versions of these characters more convincingly than others. Plus, the narrative framing device seems like it's played to the audience more than Max telling this story to Liz. She confronted him about the truth with all of the evidence she had already collected. She knew that Isobel was the one who actually killed her sister. She just wants to understand why. There is still no easy answer to that question. However, this hour does confirm that the alien siblings are killers who have covered up several crimes. When their powers were first developing, they weren't in control and Max actually killed a guy. That body is presumably still buried waiting to be discovered. Or it may be no big deal whatsoever. The show is still actively asking the audience to see him as a viable romantic lead even though he covers up numerous crimes out of self-preservation. But so much of it is also informed by the fear of the unknown. The aliens don't have any clarity as to who they are and how to control themselves. They are playing these roles of high school students. They are going through the familiar routine of making big plans about the future with the irony that the audience knows they all stay trapped in this town. Rosa's death informs so much about this community. It has kept Max, Michael and Isobel in stasis though. Max and Michael have long known that Isobel killed the three girls. They covered it up to ensure that no one discovered their true identities. They then chose to keep a close watch over her to make sure that nothing more suspicious happened again. She has been perfectly fine for the last decade. But now, she is blacking out again. The audience actually gets to see her in that state. It's a more isolating and desperate version of the character. One who needs to be friends with Rosa even though the real Isobel has no patience for her. One that is willing to kill the two girls Rosa has a problem with and then kill Rosa too because she doesn't appreciate what she has done. That's the true motivation behind all of this. And yet, Isobel is at a loss over who she is while in that state. She fears that her alien race is one composed of killers. Their species may have been sent here in order to kill. But now, the siblings have come to blend into their surroundings and actually care about humans in a romantic way. It's so heartwarming and devastating to watch Michael and Alex fall in love only for it to be destroyed a moment later. That too informs so much in the present day. Meanwhile, it seems impossible for Liz to ever forgive the aliens for what happened to her sister. However, the show may still be giving itself a way out because even though Isobel was the killer she was never actually in control of her actions that night. That may be enough for her to find redemption and clarity.