Monday, June 6, 2022

REVIEW: 'Roswell, New Mexico' - Happiness Is Elusive for Many Couples Even During Months of Peacetime in 'Steal My Sunshine'

The CW's Roswell, New Mexico - Episode 4.01 "Steal My Sunshine"

With the threat of Jones behind them, in a peaceful Roswell we find Liz is busy teaching while Max lends an assist to his ex-partner on a string of recent bank robberies. Our couples are happy and thriving but a sudden storm, leaves everyone on edge about what is to come.

"Steal My Sunshine" was written by Christopher Hollier and directed by Lance Anderson

Many people across Roswell proclaim they are happier than they have ever before. That's a unique starting place before the drama starts off in the final season. However, it's never truly meant to feel genuine. It's nothing more than a projection of what these characters believe they are suppose to be feeling. They are comforted by those around them who know them so well. It also presents as a strange dichotomy. Of course, the show doesn't linger in this ambiguity for too long. At this point, these characters must have strong communication with one another. It's not healthy for any of them to bottle up their emotions. The only one who seems to be getting away with that behavior is Kyle. Even then, people are urging him to spend more time outside the lab so he can have perspective when it comes to analyzing the alien threats that lurk out there. It's all a way for him to repress his love for Isobel. He doesn't want to ruin what has turned out to be a good relationship with Anatsa. With the other couples though, it truly comes across as them not wanting to be happy. They put up these barriers that cause turmoil. It's certainly informed by their past behavior. But it's also the show not feeling confident in creating compelling stories centered around characters who are fundamentally happy. Instead, it's all about these near misses between Liz and Max that showcase their true feelings. In execution, it plays as Max not knowing what kind of proposal Liz would actually want. He's interrupted on several occasions. Part of that is to investigate a group of bank robbers who also happen to be aliens. Everyone feared that Jones got a message off the planet. An army may be coming to Earth. In the months since then, everyone has had to find peace in not knowing the extent of the truth. That has featured new jobs for some. It's produced couples moving in together. But it's also a continuation of patterns that were already dominant. This is a celebration of love and community. Everyone feels at home in Roswell. They have made peace with their standing in this world. As such, they can flex their own power and space in this specific location. And yet, Max still hits his limits when it comes to using his powers. He is still incapable of stopping the robbers who prove themselves much more capable of disrupting this natural environment. Their actions already have a wide-scale effect. That's apparent for everyone to see. Anatsa doesn't know the truth about aliens. Isobel wants to reveal her truth to the woman she loves. Instead, she's interrupted by the lights in the sky that indicate something much more severe is happening.

All of this still has to reflect within the personal agency of these characters. Liz dreads feeling happy for too long. She can't get comfortable in her life because some new threat is always right around the corner. She and Max are finally living together. He wants to propose. He believes they are happy. They are. That worry still lingers in Liz's mind. She's right to feel that way. Aliens have landed on Earth. She is caught up in that very specific conspiracy. She doesn't know it yet. Instead, she has moved on to teach local students working towards their GEDs. She is giving back to her community. This is exactly where she wants to be. Plus, she can still be on the cutting edge of scientific discoveries. She and Kyle cure Maria. She can use her powers without damaging her health any further. Of course, the final treatment suggests she will suffer side effects that tamper with her ability to see the future. She can no longer rely on the instincts that have been so profound throughout her entire life. She has the potential to be happy as well. Something is still happening within her that may throw her entire world off balance. That's scary too. It's a physical reaction that directly opposes what has always been known. That's a much more tantalizing story than Michael's similar fears that he breaks things no matter where he goes. He is nervous about moving in with Alex. He can't share a space with anyone because he believes he ruins everyone's lives. He still believes he is fundamentally broken. After all these seasons, one would think he has dealt with his trauma. So much of this story hits the same plot beats that have happened before. As such, it's freeing when it doesn't take several episodes to get to the root of these problems. Again, it must be an extension of healthy communication. Michael can't hide what he has done. Alex and Anatsa basically have to lift their partners up with the perfect words. They do so with ease. They have complete trust in these relationships. Nothing can break them. One simply has the benefit of knowing the truth about aliens. That means the audience can buy into the future of Alex and Michael as a couple. With Isobel and Anatsa, it's still very much up-in-the-air because the secret is still prominent. Isobel has reinvented her entire life. Yet she still relies on Kyle to keep her grounded with what she needs to move forward. The friendships are good as well. This community champions one another. The basic dynamics amongst the characters still feel relatively familiar without challenging the status quo. That's a little annoying at this point especially with this being the final season. Of course, the show still has plenty of time to shake up its storytelling and put everything into new context. That drama still lingers. A dangerous and unknown threat looms large that will likely carry mysterious consequences for all involved.