‘Roswell, New Mexico’ 2×10 Review: “American Woman”

As far as episode titles goes, “American Woman” pretty much hit the nail on the head for Roswell, New Mexico‘s newest episode, where Max, Isobel, Michael and Maria experienced some shocking revelations.

There was a lot to digest in this episode, including everything from shocking revelations to family secrets to immigration scares to breaking points.

Let’s discuss the latest episode of Roswell, New Mexico, titled “American Woman,” where secrets were certainly revealed.

So about those secrets of the past…

Ursula Coyote/The CW

One of my favorite things about this season has been the flashbacks and learning about what happened in the past. I’ve always been a big fan of history, and watching these characters learn about their lineage — when it was something that remained a mystery for so long — was intriguing.

There have been no shortage of big revelations from the past, but there was a massive reveal in “American Woman.” Max, Isobel, Michael, Maria and Max tracked down where Louise had finished out her years, and they found the last living person that knew Max and Isobel’s mother. He was far out of it — in person — but in his mind, it was as clear as day.

Max and Isobel got to see their mother through memories, and they learned that — not only was she pregnant — That the baby survived. Which means, that child could still be alive out there.

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But, wait for it, it turns out that child — a girl — was none other than Maria’s grandmother, which makes so much damn sense considering everything we’ve learned. The experimentations on Maria’s grandmother, they make sense. The government would surely have questions about a a hybrid child.

It also raises some other questions for me — is the DeLuca illness a result of the experimentation or being the product of a human and alien? My guess remains the former, but it does raise a ton more questions moving forward.

The one good thing that came out of their trip — aside from learning the truth — was that Michael discovered the flower that can help the DeLuca women. His theory is that is grows from alien remains, and he was able to make a bracelet for Maria — if she wanted to use it. Maria realized that a lot of people made sacrficices so she could be there. And she doesn’t want to waste it.

Family is complicated

Ursula Coyote/The CW

If there’s one universal theme in storytelling, it’s that family can be complicated. Not all families are the same — some are closer than others, some are more diverse than others and they’re all different. There were some interesting family dynamics in this episode, including with current families and future/potential families.

With the revelations about Louise — that she was pregnant, from a human and the baby died — it’s a moment of reflection for Isobel. She can’t help but wonder if her and Noah’s baby was the only chance she’d have at becoming a mother. A half alien/half human child couldn’t survive, could it? We eventually learned that it could — and it did — but that’s besides the point, because it led to a beautiful moment with Isobel and Michael.

Perhaps my favorite thing about the whole baby exchange with Isobel and Michael is that it never once felt romantic. They love each other, sure, but they’re family. And both of them want to have kids. So, if it’s not possible to have a baby with a human, Michael offered to give Isobel his “alien gravy.”

Both Isobel and Michael would be great parents, but that doesn’t mean they have to be romantically involved. And I love that this show didn’t make a big deal out of two people discussing having a kid together.

Since we learned that Maria’s grandmother is actually Louise and Bronson’s daughter, we know that aliens and humans can have children. Still, it’s nice to know that Isobel and Michael have an option if things don’t work out differently.

Alex had a mini family reunion of sorts when he called on his brother Gregory for some help in tracking down Louise’s grave. This isn’t the first Manes brother we’ve met, but Gregory was the first that proved that it is possible to escape that family — something that Alex has longed to do. He doesn’t want to be tied down by that tainted legacy. But, at the same time, Alex is someone that wants to see the good in people. He doesn’t want to lead a life full of anger and regret.

Which brings us to Jesse Manes, who after his stroke appeared to have turned the corner. Until, as we saw last week, that was shot down. Not that Alex knows it. Jesse is playing his son — and he’s playing him good.

Gregory tells Alex he should break free of the family. That he doesn’t think he can be free until he knows Alex is free. Gregory wishes he’d protected Alex more when they were kids, and as he’s grown up, he’s recognized the importance in escaping that hell. But you could tell Alex wanted to believe that his father has turned the corner. He believes the stroke melted away the psycho part of him. Not that Gregory is going to believe him, but he tells Alex that he can hate their dad for him, if he wants. And I immediately need Gregory to be a recurring character on this show.

As Alex got one perspective, he got the other side from Michael, who knows better than to trust people that have already shown their true colors. Michael and Alex are opposites — which is why they work so well together. While Alex wants to see the good in everyone, Michael knows better. So when Alex suggests his father has changed, Michael laughs in his face. Because he doesn’t believe it for a second. A tiger can’t change its stripes — especially when that tiger hunts and kills aliens.

Alex promises that he won’t forgive his father for what he did to Michael — his hand, his mom — but he doesn’t want to be stuck in this endless cycle of hate. Michael might find strength in hate, but Alex finds strength in hope. And he wants so badly to believe his father has changed. Which breaks my heart knowing Alex is going to find out the cold, hard truth.

Max is reaching his breaking point

Ursula Coyote/The CW

The natural reaction to Max’s return from the dead is one of concern. Although, Max will be the first to tell you he’s fine. But, as we saw in this episode, that’s not necessarily the case.

The events of the season 1 finale ring louder than ever at the moment. How after Max killed Noah, he felt a power in it. It’s something that made him feel good, killing Noah. Max has been struggling with the darkness inside of him that comes with saving people — whether that was Liz or Rosa, which killed him.

That darkness is no joke. It’s the reason why he was so adamant about Liz not bringing him back — he was afraid that he would hurt people, that he was dangerous. And part of him needs confirmation about whether that’s the truth or not.

Max is tortured by a memory from his childhood — of him being chained up — and his mind is attempting to connect the dots. The thing he keeps coming back to — the thing he’s been telling himself since he was stuck in that state — is that he’s dangerous, which means he could hurt those he loves. So it made sense to him, in his mind, that he was chained up for a reason — that he was the person that represented the danger.

It doesn’t help that Max feels disconnected from Isobel and Michael — the only other people like him on this planet — and he feels alone, especially as Liz turned to her ex-fiancé for help with her father. That part is silly, of course, but the mind doesn’t distinguish from relevant and petty. The feelings exist regardless, and Max feels alone.

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It all comes back to the not knowing — that one memory of him chained up as a child. Perhaps if he had answers, it would help him get some clarity, some peace of mind. Perhaps it would help him feel like he wasn’t alone. Which is exactly why he took the serum that helps jumpstart memories, and he saw that memory more vividly.

Young Max was chained up and his mother Louise came to free him. She wasn’t afraid, she was relieved she’d found him. She freed him from those chains and then came face-to-face with the presumed “devil” Louise had mentioned in flashbacks — a hooded figure that soon went to battle.

While the memory didn’t provide all the answers, it did help ease Max’s mind in knowing that he wasn’t the danger they were running from. Not that it magically cures his current state of mind — the belief that he’s dangerous. He still killed Noah, he still liked it, and it’s still a high he chases. But at least, for now, he has a little bit of clarity when he had none to begin with.

Liz’s biggest fear becomes reality

John Golden Britt/The CW

The great thing about Roswell, New Mexico existing now is that it’s able to reflect the present day, while also being a show about aliens. The reflection on society, it grounds the show — as much as you can ground a show about aliens. And something this show hasn’t shied away from since the pilot is the immigrant experience — the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

This season particularly on Roswell, New Mexico has showcased Arturo — Liz’s father and undocumented immigrant — and his journey towards becoming a U.S. citizen. While there was a beautiful moment in learning that Arturo was getting close to achieving that, his journey and the representation of it would mean nothing without shining a light on the ugly sides of this country and how it’s handled undocumented immigrants.

Liz had taken her father in for some health tests, for his diabetes, when ICE had shown up at the hospital demanding to take another undocumented immigrant. Liz immediately began to worry, but not panic, as she knew that she had to get her father out of there immediately. He was on the path to citizenship, but he wasn’t there yet. Unfortunately, Arturo chose that moment to come back into the waiting area, where an ICE agent was waiting. Given that he didn’t have papers, he was taken into ICE custody.

For Liz, this is the moment that she had been dreading for her entire life. It wasn’t an “if,” there was a “when” component to Liz’s thinking, as she unloaded on Jenna. Liz had spent her entire life living in fear of this exact moment — even going as far to not tell Santa Claus where they lived, in case he decided to take her parents away. And, suddenly, it was happening. When all they did was go to a hospital, somewhere you should be protected.

Liz blames herself for what happened to Arturo, of course she does. That’s our Liz — self-sacrificing and ready to lay down her life for those she loves. She’d rather take the blame than have them suffer. Liz thinks if she helped him take better care of his health that they wouldn’t have had to be here, and he wouldn’t have been detained.

Liz is the one that takes care of Arturo. What would happen if she can’t do that anymore? It’s enough to nearly drive her to a panic attack, but Jenna helps calm her. Before they head to the detention center, Liz makes a mystery phone call — and I knew immediately who it was. Someone she wouldn’t have called unless the situation called for it — her ex-fiancé.

At the detention center, Liz and Jenna had no luck trying to get Arturo out. He was set to be transferred to El Paso for his deportation hearing, and Liz was left spiraling with what to do.

Which is why it was a complete shock when she walked into the Crashdown and found her father there — working, smiling, safe, free. Turns out, that mystery call was in fact Diego, and he’d helped free Arturo. Diego’s mom is a senator — and someone that’s always loved Liz — so she made it happen.

In a way, having Diego be the one to help Liz felt right. Because it brought a sense of closure to the situation. Liz had just up and left Diego — and hadn’t spoken to him since. In coming back, they hashed things out, and it’s all good.

Well, Diego did warn Liz that she could be facing some trouble down the road following her behavior at the detention center. But, she’ll deal with it when it comes.

Definitely not alien abductions

Ursula Coyote/The CW

While “big bads” tend to get a bad rap, they’re essential to storytelling on television. These big bads challenge our characters in ways they haven’t been challenged before, which helps them grow and also serves as a learning process.

Last season, Noah was the big bad — one that many of us never saw coming. The build up and the subsequent reveal made for some special television. Considering Noah was a pretty impressive big bad — absolutely terrifying in every regard, which is exactly what you want — the question becomes: How do you top that?

At first, I thought Max was going to develop into the “big bad.” That his family would eventually save him from the brink. But with the new information from the past — about what really went down in 1948 — it’s something sinister that we still don’t quite have a grasp on. Louise mentioned a “devil,” and it certainly answers the “why” of “why did these aliens flee to Earth?” Clearly, they were running from something. And that something nearly found them.

During these 1948 flashbacks, Louise mentioned that a “devil” was coming. Max, who was spiraling in this episode, thought she was talking about him, perhaps. Because, in a memory, he’s chained up as a little boy. Maybe he was the danger? But after Max took some of the anecdote known for bringing back memories, he saw that memory more vividly. Young Max was chained up and his mother, Louise, came to set him free. A hooded figure appeared and began to fight her — until Max was jolted back to reality. Perhaps this hoodie is our “devil?”

Ever since Noah hinted that Max was the “savior,” it’s been alluded to that there are people “coming” for Max. Hell, even Noah was going to use him as leverage to get home. And this show isn’t known for glossing over Easter eggs like that. I fully expect that we’re going to get some development sooner rather than later.

Interestingly enough, there appears to be multiple big bads this season. Unfortunately for us, there don’t appear to be any alien abductions taking place in Roswell. Although, honestly, that might be safer than what’s actually happening. Whatever organization has been kidnapping people, drugging them and stashing them later is scary because of the unknowns. Why are they doing this? Who are they? How does this end?

I don’t even know if one of these big bads is like a decoy or something. Or, hell, maybe we get a two-for-one special this season. That this “devil” will get all the hype, meanwhile this sinister organization kidnapping people will prove to be even more dangerous. A reminder that, sometimes, the worst kind of danger lurks right under your nose — and isn’t alien, but quite familiar.

Roswell, New Mexico airs Mondays at 9/8c on The CW.

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1 Comment

  1. I absolutely live for your reviews of RNM! The only thing is that it was revealed in this episode that Louise is not Max’s mother. (Also the episode title is American Woman…).

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