It’s also a great sign of how Roswell is growing into its second season that a few of its stumbling blocks from season 1 – what to do with Isobel, how to keep Maria more involved with the main group – have been resolved rather handily. If anything, the show now struggles with having too many interested characters to focus on.
And in spite of the introduction of Liz’s former fiancé Diego, there’s something genius about realizing that a show’s main ‘ship just isn’t the will they/won’t they thriller, instead moving it to the steady couple that gets together early on, a slot usually reserved for the B or C couple. Liz and Max are interesting people, it’s just that, as Liz makes clear in this episode, their love story isn’t the most interesting thing about them. Even when it is, their vibe is better suited to another dynamic.
Cam and Liz’s friendship continues to be far more interesting than any rivalry between them would have been. They have an easy give and take that translates from sarcasm to favors, as Cam uses her badge and her blondness to help Liz get Arturo out of ICE custody. That entire storyline is packed with bits of truth. From the names of people who have died in detention and the laws regarding ICE showing up at hospitals to Liz’s lifelong fear of this moment and the way the agent mispronounces Mr. Ortecho’s last name even though Liz has said it so many times. Liz’s arrest for graffiti, a nuisance that many of the characters have dealt with, is a reminder that for some, anything less than perfect is unacceptable.
Alex and Michael’s fight was similarly layered with meaning, though of a very different variety. Even their fights feel palpable in a way that only arguments between those who love each other do, the way they snap over one another’s words, anticipating what they’re saying. It’s clear that this argument, about Alex’s belief in the good in people and Michael’s tendency to nurse his pain, is part of the longer conversation of their relationship. I’m glad someone finally confronted Michael about keeping his wound wrapped, and it had to be Alex, though I think he’s wrong about the meaning and Michael will one day quietly tell him so.
It’s interesting that Alex is painted as the optimist and Guerin the pessimist, because right now the other track is about Alex’s need to accept and explore his queerness. That’s not to say Michael has it all figured out, but it does make me wonder what the internal disconnect is for Alex. Alex tells Michael “Your anger made you feel safe. You miss your injury because you want to hurt,” but maybe trying to bury how much his father and others hurt him has prevented Alex from getting to a place of real acceptance. Obsessing over an injury isn’t healthy, but neither is distancing yourself from the pain to the point where you never let it heal.