Roswell: New Mexico 1x01 Reaction
First things first, this reboot has a different taste than the original. From the trailer alone it seemed like Liz already knew everything in the first few seconds simply because she was returning home in her late twenties/early thirties. That’s not the case which you find out if you keep watching the trailer. It’s basically the same retelling of the pilot but they’re older. As someone that watched Roswell when I found in tenth grade (2009-2010), I found it odd that they were older. For some reason, I felt like I wouldn’t connect with these new characters even though I’m now closer in age to them.
At the 01:30 mark you can see that this version of Roswell is a little more woke/progressive. Throughout the episode they talk about racism, being that Roswell is in New Mexico, which is close to the border. Liz is on her way back into town because she lost her grant money due to a certain Dorito wanting to build a wall and what do you think she sees on her way into town? An Immigration checkpoint disguised as a DUI checkpoint. If we’re going to make a reboot from the 90s/2000s let’s do it right.
They’re first meeting goes like this:
They realize who each other are and stare deep into their eyes.
Cue what’s supposed to be a ten year flashback to them saying their last goodbyes.
“It’s been a long time,”
[Max]: “Ten years.”
[Liz]: “You’re still in Roswell.”
[Max]: “You’re finally back.”
Initially, I thought I found this line cheesy, but watching it a second time I swooned. The thing about it is that it landed in a new way for me this time. The “You’re finally back” held another meaning, not just that they’ve reunited into what we know will be an epic love story, but also that we get to watch this play out again. Hopefully. I had my suspicious before watching it that it’d get cancelled. I hope I’m wrong now.
The made Sheriff Valenti a woman instead of Kyle’s dad. I’m not sure if she’s his mom or aunt, but she doesn’t seem as suspicious as our beloved OG Valenti was. Her intro made Liz realize that there was a high school reunion around the corner and then proceeded to tell her that she didn’t need to be breathalyzed because she was always a good girl. The way she said it focused on her specifically. This scene is important because we later find out that unlike the OG, the Ortecho (not Parker) family is hated due to Liz’s sister driving on pills in their teens and killing two girls. So not only is Liz back in a town where everyone hates her/her family - like it was her fucking fault lol - but she was categorized by the Sheriff as the good one. Rewatching it a second time, I’m realizing how good the writing is in some areas where I thought it was weak.
This is a small thing that’s not even a negative, but I loved how they did in the OG pilot, having that couple in town for the convention that witnessed Liz get shot. Their intro was funny, especially because Liz whipped out this bombass photo of an alien to show them. That OG opening scene was such a hook in how Max ran out the diner after he saved Liz. It introduced Maria as the hippy chick with her sniffing her Cypress oil and Valenti giving her a look. I didn’t realize that I subconsciously got that from her until I did it at my job last night with Chamomile oil. Along with that very cheerful way Liz said “Maria” when they were talking about Max Evans staring at her. God, I miss that show.
I like her father is Mexican in this instead of White. To my knowledge, Liz was supposed to be Mexican American. Now that I think about it, I read one of the books which explicitly says she is but they White Washed her for the show. If you look at the actress, Shiri Appleby, she looks of color but both of her parents were White on the show. Her best friend, Maria was White passing, but also Hispanic. I don’t want to say this was on purpose, but...what are the odds? Back to my point, the reboot constistently brings up ICE, checkpoints, the wall, deportation, illegals, and racism. It’s not overbearing, it’s realistic. Especially with where the state falls and just the climate of American Nationalism today. Also the conversation it brings up about Max being an alien and a cop. Ye ye.
Right before we finally get this shooting scene, and I say finally because it happens in the first three minutes of the OG, we see Liz and Max have tender moments. It’s nice to see Liz be as effected by Max as he seems by her. OG Roswell didn’t have Liz seem all that into Max when he was clearly into her until she found out for sure, but even then it was a montage of her looking off in the distance with a voiceover of her talking about outer space and someone becoming important to you or some shit that I liked back then.
Maybe I’m reaching for symbolism where there isn’t any, you can watch it for yourself and let me know. When Max arrived at the dinner to see her dancing in the alien work uniform, they were talking through a clear wall. I would assume her in that uniform with the antenna boppers behind the wall would be a metaphor for her being Mexican in general. Max can clearly see who Liz is through that wall. I could be reaching but if I’m not, good on the show. I’m not sure if I should be thanking Dorito for this scene or not.
I REALLY WANT A FLASHBACK TO THEM BEING LAB PARTNERS. Kay, done.
Holy dramatic save Liz scene. They made it a point to make it more modern and tangible when they use their powers versus a captivating Sarah McLachlan song that hooked me.
The ketchup bottle returns. Along with Max’s stupidity about the bullet hole that would be in her uniform or the glowing handprint. But stories need to be told so I’m moving on.
Michael is a yes for me. I like this actor’s first impression more than OG Michael, but I still carry a special place and my heart for him and Maria. We’ll get to that later.
Isabel is a no for me. To be fair, she’s just the same as her Katherine Heigl counterpart. So I assume she’ll get more likable. Whereas Michael is a dick, he’s sarcastic but you can see there’s a lot more going on with him and there was. With Isabel, at this point, there isn’t much else to her besides her worry for her brothers and her hate for Liz, which is annoying. Goes to show that not all characters are written equally. I’ll just get into it now.
Michael is assumably Bi or Pansexual in this reboot, therefore adding an interesting layer to his character than the OG character. He’s working on finding out about the ship and their origins same as OG Michael but it seems like that’s all his life has been about for the last ten years. MAY I ADD, we found out that our beloved Alex is not only thriving (partially handicapped) but entangled romantically with Michael. The representation! Can you say give me more?! I’m literally desperate for this ship and I’ve only seen two episodes. Isabel looks like she only has her marriage going on. That’s it. I’m sure more will be revealed, but she seems really static and flat at this point, which makes her more unlikable ontop of being an antagonist for Liz. I’d like to point out that I don’t like couples/ships that are already together when the show begins. As a fiction writer, I love to see the story play out and develop. If they’re already together there isn’t any tension really, no pull and push. They just are. And that’s boring to watch for me. So that’s another reason for me why Isabel is lackluster. However, I know she’ll be a baddie once things start to stir.
As someone who is really close and attached to her sister, I would be absolutely devastated if she died in any sort of way. If she died while intoxicated and killed two people with her, I’d be angry at her too. Like Liz, I’d run away and I’m not sure I’d deal with it properly. It was heartbreaking to watch Liz have to essentially nail the coffin shut again after ten years by beating the cross back into the ground with a stone after someone vandalized it. You can see she hasn’t dealt with that pain and loss in a healthy way. This goes back to the wall metaphor I talked about earlier and how Max can see clearly through that. We find out later that he knew Rosa and knows more about her death than we were lead to believe. As the audience, we can easily deduce that Max just knows more about Liz than she knows about him. Which is why I like the fact that show her being affected by his presence as he is hers. It gets boring watching a guy swoon over a girl or vice versa without the other giving them the time of day.
Another fucking layer, Liz mentioning to Max that her mom suffered from mental illness and she thought that’s why Rosa took the pills. She’s scared she’s going crazy like them. I’m glad mental illness is being talked about more these days and not swept under the rug.
Why did it take us until the 20:00 minute mark to meet Maria? I like this dark skinned and older version of Maria because she’s doing palm readings. I don’t remember OG Maria being psychically inclined but I’m not saying she wasn’t. I’m down for this Maria becoming like a Bonnie Bennett. Maybe not a whole ass witch but spiritually and intellectually heightened would be cool to see. Also, her many bracelets are so cute and a few were on Rosa’s grave. It makes me wonder if it was just a way to introduce Maria or will they come back at a crime scene or something later?
Also hello Tyler Lockwood. This Kyle seems more likable out the get go.
“I know people were terrible to you when Rosa died. But people here are good to me.” - Max to Liz. Ummmm...
Liz talking about how Michael was this genius and should’ve gone off to change the world breaks my heart because he stayed in Roswell to find answers. But Max’s state has never been more iconic, “I don’t think Michael cares enough about the world to change it.” Absolute facts, my guy.
What I like about this reveal isn’t the reveal itself because it feels lackluster, but I like that there isn’t this big to do around Liz trying to figure out what Max is. She isn’t thinking Vampire, Werewolf, or Wizard, or even a Demon. She’s just like we need to converse so I know the facts. I really appreciate the symbolism of a White guy telling a Mexican American girl he’s an alien. The reason I’m so interested in these details is because they weren’t there in the 90s. Television and Society weren’t as open eyed as we are today, especially with social media highlighting everything. So this reveal and feel that these two have with each other is different than 90s Max and Liz.
Sidenote: It’s taken me at least an hour and half to write while watching this forty minute episode. Naturally, I got hungry. So I made a bowl of bran flakes. In my midst of eating I rubbed my eye and some crust fell, maybe in the bowl. I’m going to be frank, I think I’ve eaten it.
With making this reboot a ten year gap in age there comes ability to make up the past and twist it to your benefit. Isabel’s power reveal is that Michael wants her to prepare to manipulate Liz’s mind to make her leave if she looks like she’s going to tell their secret. Just. Like. She. Did. Ten.Years. Ago. I need to know more. From what we’ve been show in the pilot, Liz started to have feelings for Max when they became lab partners in senior year. We got a flashback of Rosa and Liz talking about how “Max Evans has been making moon eyes at you all our lives and two weeks before graduation you decide to look back?”. First off, that line was perf. Secondly, Liz leaving apart from her sister’s death makes more sense because it did seem like they had a semi solid bond before she left. Especially because in return she said something along the lines of, “Graduation is making me think of things I’ll miss when I go. Maybe I don’t want Max to be one of them.” We didn’t see a scene yet of her actively leaving and why she decided to not have this conversation with Max, so it’s more interesting to know that Isabel played a direct role in her leaving. Which begs the question how long does that suggestion or manipulation last?
“There was never anyone around to help us understand. We grew up watching movies were aliens abduct people, violate them, and blow up the White House. I’m a son. I’m a brother. I’m a cop. My life was ordinary, which was fine until you blew back into it two days ago. You ask me what I am. I’m just a guy from Roswell.” FUCKING ICONIC. Also cue song that I don’t know but also played in the pilot of The 100 when Flarke had their glow in the dark scene (fuck my life).
These New Mexico aesthetics are killing me. Anyway, this six minute scene around the 30:00 mark is what saved the pilot for me because on my first watch I wasn’t into. It felt off, as most reboots would. I’m glad they did that scene so well. To me, it was well directed and produced (the cinematography) on top of a beautiful, earnest track with wonderful writing that brought me back to my early teens of fangirling (sigh, smile) and the visuals that remind me of why I want to move to Arizona (still need to write about that). I would assume that no one else would feel that way about that scene, but maybe someone somewhere does. OOF. That scene (check it out). Insert French cook kiss.
Gays, let’s talk about these Alex and Michael scenes. When Alex confronts Michael at the reunion about making Meth (he isn’t btw) because his air force coworkers found traces of chemicals similar to those in Meth when really they were chemicals from the ship or whatever, you can see the tension between them. Not until they kiss is it confirmed that they’ve had a romantic past but you can infer it. Sometimes you simply don’t know if you’re projecting feelings for characters when there aren’t any. I’m so glad that Michael is open sexually/romantically. Half way through the first time I was like no one is gay yet so who’s it going to be. Alex having left Michael behind or maybe ran away/stormed away from the looks of it, joined the Air Force. Michael being an alien has the grudge against the government about what he thinks the treatment would be of him if they found out and probably his identity struggle could be placed on them. OMG the more I think about this ship the better it gets with all the layers. They’re an onion. Donkey said it best. Alex is in the AF so he’s used to probably flying carriers and the like, but Michael has no memory of being in his spaceship. REGAORGTEOWIFNHWEOUFBEWOIFNROB RJGBEWOUFBEOU NRPIGHEWOB O
I’m going to patiently wait for tender scenes between them once they get past the initial drama of Alex taking Michael up in a ship under the Roswell sunset and letting him zoom through the sky to feel a little at home.
What have I gotten myself into?
I love the logic of Liz arriving at the reunion and seeing all the hateful stares, then Maria putting on her song that she danced to in the diner, and her being like, “Can’t leave now. This is my song!”. I’ll let it slide, only because it transitioned into another intense moment of Max staring at her and remembering their youth.
More gay shit. The lyric that blared when we see Alex tying his shoe on his mechanical leg while looking at an old picture of himself blow up for the reunion, “You can’t hide from who you are”. Michael has been saying things even in episode two to make us think that Alex was either uncomfortable with his sexuality or ashamed. My guess has to do with his dad, who I believed was in the military in the OG? Then they kiss and I’m happy. Ish. I don’t like pilot kisses or even third episode kisses. I like my kisses drawn out. Rewatching this episode, I was surprised at how much I did want Max and Liz to kiss during that six minute scene when I initially was cringing.
The ending scene of Isabel confronting Max about telling Liz while he watches her dance with Marie is just amazing. He said, “She wasn’t scared. She wasn’t angry. She didn’t run away. We can trust her.” You bet your ass you can. Homegirl was pretty much unphased actually. Maybe she can just relate to his experience more than Liz Parker. I’m not saying I didn’t like Liz Parker or relate to her. I’m just saying Liz Ortecho is a lot more relatable to me now.
As if this whole review/recap didn’t spoil everything, I don’t want to touch on the last minute or so because if you haven’t watched it, it’s a doozy. And something that definitely didn’t happen in the OG at all.
Obviously I’m not a critic that knows what the hell she’s talking about, but I’m going to give this pilot a 10/10 after a second watch. Everything came together more with that rewatch and I ended up liking it and relating to it a lot more. I didn’t realize all those tiny details about Alex and Michael or Max and Liz, so I now am more invested. I really hope this doesn’t get cancelled. It’s so much bEtTeR tHaN rIvErDaLe that gets the worst rep for writing but all the views in the world.