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Episode Notes and Observations by Gale Dumont

A Roswell Christmas Carol

This week: We get a good, old-fashioned Christmas miracle as we're magically transported (well, mood-wise) to 1998 -- yes, that's right, *first season*. Michael and Maria are cute, Brody's daughter is cute (and now, cancer-free!), Isabel has a Christmas-shaped rod up her ass (but in a cute way), and Max feels waaay too much guilt about watching a man die (okay, not so cute). And there's midnight services and talking through windows and really well-timed snow, and carolers and kicky little hats and probably some kind of nog, and my *God* I feel like I'm talking about Gilmore Girls or something. Gack. But, you know, in a cute way.

GALE EXPLAINS IT ALL, Or, Why There's No Notes This Week:

Hi. As you will all no doubt notice when you scroll down, there aren't any wacky notes for this ep. This is because I originally watched it at my parents' house, and *they* were watching something else while ARCC taped. So, no notes for this one. Plenty of wacky observations, though. Come and see!


All right, let's get it out of the way: this ep was left out of first season, wasn't it? They just had to re-edit a few shots (okay, half the show), and bam! Christmas special to keep us all from killing them. It gave me that whole kind-of-awkward, really-cute feel that first season did (and if you put it before Blood Brother, you can almost get away with the whole Alex-be-gone aspect), except that Michael had crappy hair, and Brody was there, and Max mentioned the white room. Oh, and Tess was there, too, but since it's the holidays, I'm gonna try to go easier on her. Just for this week, I promise. I'll be back to all-caps ranting and blinding hatred next time.

First of all, Izzy: no more Vivarin for you. Yow. I come from a long line of people who kinda like Christmas (read: we put some tinsel on the mailbox, and a fake wreath on the front door, but other than the tree, that's *it*), but most of my neighbors suffer from the same malady, namely that Christmas Must Be The Biggest, Bestest Holiday Ever. (And yeah, I know "bestest" isn't a word. I've trained you all well.) It makes more sense in the context of her "just for one day, I want to be normal" speech -- especially lately, when she's not been having a whole lot of normal in her life. Makes sense that she'd want some, especially around this time of year. Just -- Isabel? You might want to tone it down for next year. I think you're scaring your parents. Thanks. Katie does a good job balancing frantic and a little melancholy (in addition to saving Michael's ass and smirking about it -- remember *that* Isabel? Yeah, so do I), and while I like the curls for the holidays, they don't need to unpack their bags.

I still like Maria, but having met Amy DeLuca, I now understand where the good-women-bad-relationship-choices gene comes from. Sweetie, you like Brody, he likes you; good, great, fine. That does *not* mean you have to marry him and raise his child, who's, like, almost half your age. Flirting is good. Flirting is fine, considering that technically you're still jailbait. Flirting is not synonymous with "May I be your daughter's stepmother?", okay? Okay. She and Michael are just cute (I have *got* to find another word to use) -- see, Candygirls can get reasons to keep living, why can't *we*? Oh, what? It's the holidays. I'm allowed to be bitter.

Christmas miracle #1: I didn't want to kick Michael's ass this week. No, really, I didn't. I felt for him with the gift-buying situation; I *hate* buying gifts, absolutely loathe it, if only because I don't want to disappoint the people I'm buying them for. And I'm not even in a relationship this year. Yeah, that's always fun: what to buy someone you love, or at least moderately care for and regularly feel up, so she (or he) doesn't kick your ass and dump you? I approve of his choice of gifts -- the bumper works practically (and how cute was it, watching them finish each other's sentences?), but you can't go wrong with jewelry. I'll say that again, for any men in the audience: You can't go wrong with jewelry. I didn't even hate the Monkee hair this week. God, I'm going soft in my old age.

Amy, I liked seeing you again, but here's a hint: Christmas is a time for *family*. Not to be with the guy you're kind-of-but-not-really dating. You have a daughter. Remember her? Flirts with British guys, has good hair this year, can really sing? Any of this ringing any bells?

Points for Diane *and* Phillip -- in the same week, even! -- but it would have been nice to see Jeff, too. Mmn. John Doe. That's good pie.

Is it so much to ask that we get to see Alex? Please? *Once*? It's the holidays, for Chrissakes. At least give Liz or Maria a throwaway line about him and his parents visiting family or something. God. Forget someone much, Darth?

Brody is just a big ball of fuzzy British orange-haired love, isn't he? I'm serious, y'all. I still miss Milton, but not as much as I figured I would, and that's all because of Brody. He does a nice job with Sydney (who, by the way, is a damn Hummel), is obviously attracted to Maria but isn't all Grant-gross about it (Grant. Remember him? Yeah, me neither), and routinely gets hijacked by nigh-omnipotent aliens. Desmond Askew is the kick, and not just because he's two-and-a-half months older than I am.

Ah, Kyle and Jim. God, they're fun. Bill and Nick hit every men-living-alone stereotype possible (short of underwear strewn about the house as a whole, but hey, we've still got 12 weeks to go), including being unable to cook, keep chip crumbs off the living room table, and not moving -- from *bowling*. Maybe they don't like living alone, but they're used to it, and they've got it down to a by-God science. I was *rolling* during the Bill-shoving-the-Ruffles-bag-in-his-pants scene; Darth, if you're taking notes, feel free to have Bill be funny more often. However, please don't confuse "funny" with "object of mocking and/or ridicule" (re: Alex's striptease). Thanks. Plus, they clean up nice. Good for them.

Tess... I only hated her once this ep. Look, it's the holidays, all right? Jeez. She was almost tolerable in her scenes with Kyle and Jim (and, as someone else astutely pointed out, if we see Tess, we're more likely to see Kyle -- though that's not a reason to keep her around), and -- here's the really scary part -- Emilie comes dangerously close to being able to act for, oh, most of the episode. Tess is obviously suffering from not having a normal, stable family environment before, and she's imposing it on the Valentis with a vengeance. A little rude, but in-character. In other words, yes, she's still annoying, but not as annoying as any week previously. Except when the Pod Squad is gathered in Michael's apartment and she's agreeing with Max's plan, and I wanted to hop through the TV and beat her head against the counter until she spat bone. But maybe that's just me.

(Sidebar: In a perfect world, Tess would sit down for five goddamn minutes, think about it, and realize that no, she *doesn't* love Max; she was just programmed to want to by Nasedo. He obviously doesn't love her back, and is unlikely to; and, in my more charitable moments, I'd like to think that she's not stupid enough to beat the horse after it's pronounced dead, y'know? In said perfect world, she and Kyle would naturally, slowly progress towards an honest-to-God relationship, taking their time, not letting anyone else rush them. It would be very sweet, and I wouldn't even gag that often. Once every couple weeks, maybe, to make sure the muscles still worked. But then, in a perfect world, "Surprise" would be a terrible, terrible nightmare and I wouldn't get stomach cramps every time I watched TL&V. End sidebar.)

Liz has cute hair this week, and gets to listen patiently to everyone else's problems -- but other than that, Shiri kinda gets the week off, which sucks, mainly because except for EotW, she's gotten the *season* off. Yeah, writers, I understand that you're trying to flesh out the rest of the characters besides Max and Liz, but that excuse only works to a point, and it only works if you let the rest of the characters *be on the show* (Alex? Come home, sweetie. We've got cocoa). I don't mind the sci-fi that much, except that you're avoiding the relationship aspect of the show -- you know, the reason we all fell in love with it? -- entirely. And if you really loved me, you'd blow the granilith to pieces in the season finale. Christ, I hate that word. Anyway.

While I appreciate your circumstances -- dead, like, two days before Christmas, and you've got a cute little blonde daughter with a stuffed bunny -- Dead Guy Whose Name I Never Bothered To Learn, you annoyed the shit out of me this week, and not just because you were the winner in this week's "You Saved Liz Parker"-Recap-the-Pilot-to-Prove-a-Point sweepstakes -- and hey, thanks for that, Spanky; you saved Michael or Isabel the guilt trip. I'm still trying to figure out if you actually *were* a ghost, or just Max's guilt and angst given hallucinatory form; if you were a ghost, you should have been wearing a lot more chains and brought three buddies with you to show Senor Presidente the true meaning of Christmas. And possibly a small boy to run out and buy a plump Christmas goose. Blah blah blah, happy ending. Now get on the 5:15 bullet train to heaven, and please please *please* let the sliding doors hit you on the ass on the way.

And now, Max.

Look, don't get me wrong: I love me some Leader Man. I've said that numerous times, and I'm not about to stop saying it anytime soon, unless they decide to replace Jason with, like, Barry Watson or something, in which case I will throw a temper tantrum, beat up a bunch of stuffed animals, and pray for sweet, sweet death. So in other words, I like Max. Quite a bit, actually, and not just because I'd pay real money to eat dinner off his stomach. But here's something to keep in mind, Darth and Co.:

He's. Not. Jesus.

Okay? I'll say it again, in case you missed it the first time:

He's. Not. Jesus.

Really, he's not. God knows how the Christians in the audience are taking it; I was getting mildly offended, and I'm not a Christian. I like him, Darth -- love him to pieces, in fact -- but he's *not* God. "Leaving Normal" -- remember *that* ep, Darth? Yeah. Max basically said that no, he's *not* God. He couldn't save Grandma Claudia, and she wasn't a roomful of cute little kids with various kinds of cancer. And now, a year later, he *cures cancer*. And possibly changes water into wine, and heals a few lepers, and, y'know, raises the dead. It's been that kind of week.

(Again, before the flames start, this is *not* a character assassination; I save those for Tess. But if you're going to establish someone's personality, please please *please* try to keep things consistent. Maria should not be a science geek, and Liz shouldn't have a great singing voice, unless the granilith somehow switches their brains with their bodies or something equally inane. While Max sure as hell wanted to help those kids, that doesn't mean he should have been able to. As previously stated, he is not God. He is also not Jesus, or Buddha, or any other deity. He's a 17-year-old boy whose DNA is half-human, half-alien, and whose alien genetic structure is based on a dead king. He is in love with a human girl, who, thanks to his timely intervention to save her life -- under entirely different circumstances, mind you -- isn't a hundred percent human anymore. He sucks at pool, likes to listen to Counting Crows when he's depressed, and grasps the concept that there is not a woman alive who won't melt at the sight of a guy debasing himself by singing with a mariachi band. He. Is. Not. God. Darth, take notes. End sidebar, and back to the observations.)

Now, as far as the Dead Guy Guilt Express goes: it's about freaking time, especially in regards to what happened in the white room. A lot of people, both on the boards and the lists, have been sitting back and waiting for TWR to get mentioned at all. This seems like a fairly piss-poor payoff, but at least it's something. Max, a word of advice, babe: you usually feel guilt over something you did, but know/feel/think you shouldn't have. Saving Liz: *not* something to feel guilt over. The whole Pierce debacle (especially in regards to "Destiny"): something to feel guilt over, but not a whole hell of a lot. TWR: *not* something to feel guilt over, mainly because *you did nothing wrong*. Nasedo kidnapped Liz, forcing you to go after her (which, if Nasedo had thought for ten fucking seconds, he'd have realized you were bound to do); Nasedo could have assumed the appearance of an agent and released you from custody, or shouted "He's that way!" while you ran the other way, or *something*. But he didn't. Pierce didn't have to be a xenophonic asshole; he didn't *have* to subject you to electroshock, or a few rounds in the VR Who-Dies-First? chamber. I'm pretty sure any of the things he did to you fall under the definition of cruel and unusual, and while I feel a smidgen of bad for you and Michael that he's dead, it was necessary. Justifiable homicide: fun little words. Look 'em up, when you have a free moment. Have wake-up-sweating nightmares every few years, if you want, but don't go around listening to dead men. It doesn't help anyone, you least of all. So, to wrap *this* one up, it's perfectly okay to be frozen with fear; torture does that to a body. Guilt, Relax, have some cognac or something, and just let. It. Go.

And, um, Dead Guy? You didn't *have* to run out and save your daughter. You chose to do that. It's a terrible tragedy, and I'm sorry for your family, but it's not like Max shoved either one of you in front of the car or made the car speed up. He's not *Rath*, for Chrissakes. Pack your anger up again, bunky, 'cause no one here is buying.

Final count...4 out of 5 stars, minus a star because A) no Alex, and B) no hot Dreamer make-up sex. But other than that, definitely not bad. Cute. Really, really cute. And since it's the holidays, everyone -- yes, even Tess! -- gets a cookie. Mark your calendars, 'cause there's no way *that's* ever happening again. And for sticking around, y'all get cookies, too. God knows we deserve 'em.

Next week: We're given enough time for this to comfortably settle into memory before bam! TPTSuck are back with another craptacular second season car crash. Join us, stuff happens, at least one of the original cast (i.e., Bill, Nick or Colin) goes missing, and Tess sucks the life out of the show. Look, I haven't heard any spoilers about this one, okay? I have no freakin' idea.