‘Roswell, New Mexico’ 1×03 Review: “Tearin’ Up My Heart”

Ah, NSYNC. I guess you really did say it best.

It’s tearin’ up my heart when I’m with you
But when we are apart, I feel it too
And no matter what I do, I feel the pain
With or without you

Has a song ever fit an episode more? Because boy, after “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” it’s not only Max and Liz that are feeling that way, it’s pretty much all of us.

That’s a good thing. For the first two episodes Max and Liz were the standouts, even if we were intrigued by the Malex possibilities. This episode takes a step back, of sorts, allows some other characters a chance at depth, without ever forgetting that, deep down, we’re here for the story of this boy who loved this girl so damn much he was willing to risk everything.

And Roswell, New Mexico is not pulling any punches with that story.

Or with anything, really. We got Liz confronting Max about her doubts, we got Max confessing his love, we got Isobel basically confirming Liz feels the same, and oh yes, we got the other side of the Malex issues. I almost can’t deal with everything that happened. But I’ll try. For all of you.

So, let’s go into “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” as we talk I HAVE LOVED YOU MY ENTIRE LIFE, and also YOU’RE NOT LOSING ME, YOU’RE TAKING SPACE AND THAT’S OKAY, without forgetting YOU STAYED.

ECHO

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I’m going to start here, because the emotional center of this series is still Max, his feelings for Liz, and Liz and her search for the truth of what happened to her sister. We still haven’t truly gotten to explore much of what she feels for Max, though I think we can all – like Isobel – see that she feels the same way he does. The show is focusing on her connection with her sister, on what that means to her, letting Liz be all about that, and that’s not just real, it’s important.

Women aren’t all about romantic relationships, and yes, even when they feel, they can prioritize other things. Right now, for Liz, that is her sister, and not only do I not blame her for it, I respect it.

Grief trips you up sometimes. I’m sure deep down she knows that Max couldn’t have done this, but she’s not running on common sense, she’s running on pain and anger, and her anger is so big, so profound, that it’s even affecting Max, so of course that anger would transform her. I don’t foresee that anger going away anytime soon, but confronting Max did take the wind out of her sails a little bit, because as much as she says she doesn’t trust him, deep down she still doesn’t believe it was him.

So what now? Max has come clean, not that he was ever trying to pretend he didn’t love Liz, but still, there was a level of plausible denial there about the depth of his feelings – not anymore. Liz has also come clean, at least with her doubts and her fears, not her feelings, but at this point, her feelings are almost secondary. What she needs is to trust Max, and in order for that to happen, she needs to let him in. Without secrets, that’s easier, and considering this show is not pulling any punches, I expect these two to be working together real soon.

MALEX

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In order to establish Michael as the ‘bad boy’ the first few episodes of Roswell, New Mexico made it seem like whatever had gone on between him and Alex, if it’d gone wrong, it was because of Michael. I always figured this wasn’t the case, not just because painting Michael too much like the stereotypical asshole, issues or not, makes him way less relatable in 2018, but also because I couldn’t see how Alex would still be there if that were the case.

Not to pat myself too much in the back, but I was right. This episode gives us a chance to explore Alex’s issues – and to see Michael’s heartbroken face, which I’m not sure I will ever recover from – and it frames their relationship in a new, more favorable light. Because yes, Alex was an asshole this episode, and yes, his brand of asshole is different than Michael’s brand of asshole, but he was one nonetheless.

It all comes from a place of fear – for both Michael and Alex. In this particular case, since we’re focusing on Alex, fear of being vulnerable, of being open, of everyone knowing that Michael has his heart, of his father, of just …existing with Michael by his side.

That’s not an easy fear to get through. There’s no magic wand, and this world is far from perfectly accepting. Alex’s fears are understandable, and I greatly appreciate that the show isn’t just romanticizing their relationship, that it’s allowing it to be messy and complicated and real, because that’s how real relationships are, no matter the people involved.

ISOBEL

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I stopped comparing Max and Liz to the original Roswell versions about 5 minutes into the Roswell, New Mexico Pilot. I stopped comparing Michael at the end of that same episode. I was still, till this episode, however, comparing Isobel, to that character I didn’t really like for so damn long. I was hoping, yes, but I was doing that while comparing her.

Not anymore.

Of course, in so many ways, this is the same character, the way Max is, the way Liz is. But in so many others, it’s not. This Isobel has a depth I don’t remember feeling in the original Isobel having, or at least I relate to her in a way I never related to the original one.

Her thing is that, in a way, she’s jealous Max gets to share who he truly is with Liz, and in another way she feels like she’s losing him. He’s been her constant, her person, like she says, and if he and Liz were to get together, Isobel feels she wouldn’t come first, and that scares her. But the thing is – she found Noah, and he’s also her person, so if she can have two persons, so can Max. Holding on so tightly is selfish, and I think Isobel is starting to realize that.

Now if she could only use her powers for good and help solve that pesky little Max and Liz problem, we’d be on our way. But hey, this is TV, so that’s probably too much to ask for, right?

Things I think I think:

  • Am I the only one who got the whole Max is angry because Liz is angry and bond and all that shit?
  • I like Kyle Valenti. I’m probably biased, because I like the actor, but …I think he’s a good guy, and I know he’s probably going to end up playing shades of grey, because I think I sorta …trust him.
  • “Quit using my life as a distraction from your messed up relationships.”
  • WOW THAT HURT.
  • I shouldn’t be so excited about the morning after scene. It should be normal. But it isn’t, and so the show gets many, MANY kudos for it.
  • More, please.
  • Alex, I think you can drop the last name while in bed together.
  • Though I can see that what I’m getting out of these two for the entirety of the season is PAIN.
  • “Please say sexually.”
  • In this, I think Max would agree, Michael.
  • You know what ALSO shouldn’t be as groundbreaking as it is? Getting to see Maria and Liz just being friends and hanging out and not talking about boys.
  • Max, everyone and their mother can see you’re in love with Liz. Don’t think your partner can’t.
  • I don’t know what happened to Rosa, but I do know that whatever the show wants me to think happened to Rosa is probably far from the truth.
  • Rules of TV.
  • Well, original Isobel sure took longer to show her human side.
  • I love that Roswell, New Mexico is using the Valenti’s to show a side of the immigration debate that is hardly ever talked about: how the latinx community can, at times, turn on itself. This issue of “good immigrants” and bad “immigrants” is real, and it happens, and I have never seen a show explore it, so forgive me if I’m both blown away and emotional by the fact that I just watched this conversation on network TV.
  • I would have bet good money on this Liz/Max confrontation not happening so soon.
  • Good job, show. You got me.
  • Alex is so scared, and he’s looking for excuses, and Michael can see right through him, and it breaks my heart.
  • “I have loved you my entire life, including every single day that you were gone in the last decade.”
  • “That’s what everything is about for me.”
  • Isobel just made me feel things, and I didn’t see that coming.
  • AND I MIGHT BE SHIPPING HER AND NOAH, WHAT ARE WE CALLING THAT?
  • Max needs some love, STAT. Or hey, at least some company. Dude really shouldn’t be alone right now.

Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!

Roswell airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on the CW.

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