Monday, July 11, 2022

REVIEW: 'Roswell, New Mexico' - Max's Insistence on Keeping Secrets Harms All of His Loved Ones in 'You Get What You Give'

The CW's Roswell, New Mexico - Episode 4.05 "You Get What You Give"

Max's secrets may have a devastating outcome for Liz. Maria helps Dallas in his search for answers. Michael makes an unsettling discovery about himself.

"You Get What You Give" was written by Kristen Haynes & Christopher Hollier and directed by Christine Swanson

Tezca is much more interested in Max than Jones. She proves that by igniting the body of her former leader. That's a nice change of pace from what the narrative was previously suggesting. The show threatened the team with having to confront this enemy all over again. Instead, the focus pivots back to Max. That has long been the case. The creative team is much more fascinated in Max's unique status. He has to be pivotal to every single dynamic. That can be exhausting a lot of the time. He's just not as nuanced as some of the other characters. The same conflict pops up repeatedly too. When he returns home following his confrontation with Tezca, everyone in the room knows he's lying. They press him for the truth. He immediately confides in Michael. He needs that support from his brother in order to face Tezca when she uses his own powers against him. Meanwhile, he simply acknowledges the past with Cameron. They always trust each other. That had romantic undertones to it. That's never what their dynamic was destined to be. They acknowledge that as she has to return to the FBI office. Her final mission with the the team appears to be done. Liz was successful in severing the connection between Cameron and Tezca. That's incredibly convenient. It allows for a complete conclusion for Cameron while ensuring Tezca has plenty of identities to morph into. It's another example of people marveling at Liz's scientific brilliance. That's stated in every episode practically. It's the value she brings to the overall story. It's a powerful skillset. One that's needed repeatedly. Without her, the team would be screwed. Liz and Max absolutely trust each other. However, Liz gives Max the freedom to come to her with the truth once he's figured out what he's going to do. She doesn't feel the impulse to confront him and demand more from him. That's an evolution from what their dynamic used to be. It still doesn't come across as healthy. It's an acknowledgement that things aren't always easy. They can't always be honest with each other. It's still built around keeping secrets in the name of protecting the person they love. It's Max once again deciding what Liz can handle. He has done that so many times. She continues to hold firm in her love for him. And yet, she shares with Maria that all of this may not be destined. Their lives may ultimately take them in different directions. Tezca is forcing an evolution onto Max because she has determined he is the savior of Oasis. That's the role he must serve. He can't deny his fate. He has to embrace it fully. He has no connection to the planet whatsoever. His home is Earth. That's where he wants to be. The alien threats keep coming. That may never go away. And so, Liz may never feel secure in this relationship.

All of this is done mostly to place uncertainty in Liz and Max's relationship. The season started with the appearance of security. Max was planning on proposing. Liz wants to accept. They can embrace a peaceful and loving existence together. She rejected his proposal because she feared what was coming next. The narrative confirmed those fears. Everyone is still battling for answers about aliens. It connects deeply to their pasts. That then informs their futures. They need to have clarity about themselves if they are going to embrace something more hopeful. Otherwise, they would only be repeating the same mistakes. Of course, they don't really need that awareness to engage in dangerous behavior. That's been seen plenty of times across the seasons. So much still plagues the aliens. That means the show follows the same basic format each season. The story requires something to be hidden. The team has to go searching through the past for answers. They no longer have the easy access of Maria's visions. Even then, this episode clearly wants to separate its characters into distinct groups. Maria and Dallas realize their family connection runs deeper than they first thought. Meanwhile, Isobel joins Kyle in Mexico. They learn about an extension of the Valenti family that has been protecting artifacts from the 1947 crash. It's also just an excuse to put these characters into a close space so they can finally act on their feelings. It's still sudden and jarring given how the four prior episodes were all about Isobel loving Anatsa. It's strange pacing. Sure, the audience knew this twist was coming. It felt inevitable. And so, it's probably not a bad thing for the show to pursue it right away. It simply comes at an incredibly awkward time. Nothing can be planned perfectly. The characters are facing that reality. They try to carefully manage everything. They can't. They simply have to embrace their friends and the camaraderie they can provide. Those moments can be increasingly fleeting. That's a consequence of so much urgency happening at the center of the plot. Max's life has to be in danger once more. He can wield this newfound power with the right tutelage. One lesson isn't going to be enough. He's not impressive in the same way Michael and Liz have been to the new triad. Max simply serves a symbolic role. He's not meant to exist as an individual. He has to forgo that identity in order to fix the crises on Oasis. That's what is needed of him. It's the simple approach to the situation. It still projects a ton of significance onto Max. It simply doesn't do so with any specificity about his identity and the peril this places on what he cares about. Instead, it's built around the collective suffering of his friends as they too are completely in the dark about what's happening. That means Michael quickly falls ill, which should alarm everyone in town.