Review: ‘Resident Alien’ Reclaims Its Grumpy Groove in “The Wire”

The season 2 premiere of Resident Alien was disappointing and confused like an octopus out of water and dumped into space-time, but less funny. I’m happy to say that in Episode 2, “The Wire,” the octopus has found its footing (feetings?) and we have entered a more familiar grumpy groove.

The good news is that space-alien-turned-doctor Harry Vanderspiegel (Alan Tudyk) is back to being a confused, sympathetic, but cheerfully blood-thirsty supervillain, who, as he says, wants to “kill all the bags of douches”, meaning you, me, and everyone else on earth…with one exception.

The last episode ended with Harry’s octopus pal informing him that Harry’s people are going to come and destroy the planet themselves since Harry failed (Harry is distantly related to octopuses, or octopi. Or both.)

Harry is cool with the universal extermination…except that he doesn’t want his one friend Asta (Sara Tomko) to die. He has a frightening zombie apocalypse dream and decides to build a bunker to protect himself and Astid and that octopus. Luckily he has a circular alien doo-dad that used to be his ship that turns into a bunker when he drops it into a hole leading into his basement. Convenient!

Resident Alien
Courtesy of Syfy

Meanwhile, Max (Judah Prehn) is experiencing early puberty and lots of facial hair because he stole one of Harry’s alien spheres and it messed with his hormones. Max and his friend Sahar (Gracelyn Awad Rinke) try to get Harry to help them but he laughs at them and says they have small brains.

Meanwhile meanwhile, Mayor Ben Hawthorne (Levi Fiehler) is being trolled by a rival mayor. Said mayor runs ads about how the doctors in Patience keep dying and if you go fishing in Patience you’re likely to pull out a severed foot. This as you’d expect is actually something of a tourist attraction, but Ben doesn’t want death tourists because he is uptight.

The other major plot involves that severed foot, as it happens. As we learned at the end of last season, Harry was not a nice person before the alien killed him and took his skinsuit. In fact, doctor Harry, the human, murdered the former town doctor, Sam Hodges.

Sheriff Mike Thompson (Corey Reynolds) and Deputy Liv Baker (Elizabeth Bowen) have only just gotten wise to human Harry’s nefariousness, and they spend most of the episode tracking down incriminating evidence about the evil Harry who killed one dude because they don’t know he was killed by the evil Harry who is trying to destroy the world.

So why did Harry the human murder? We’re still not sure. But the investigative duo learns that Harry the human had some financial troubles and was planning to sell his house some six years back. And he was also fired from his hospital job for taking some botulism samples. Botulism is what killed poor Sam. So Mike (who put Sam’s wife in jail for the crime, oops) and Liv head out to Harry’s cabin.

Astid gets there before them, though; she is planning to share a pizza with Harry. He shows her the bunker, and belatedly realizes that he forgot to tell her about the end of all life on earth. She is upset that he is going to kill everyone and also doesn’t want to stay in a bunker with him for a year pooping in a bucket with a condescending octopus heckling her. Who can blame her?

resident alien the wire 2
Courtesy of Syfy

So Astid tells Harry to call his people and tell them to cut out the genociding. He says he can’t, but (as we learned in a poker game scene earlier) he is terrible at bluffing. Astid is better at it and pretends she is going to electrocute herself in the tub if he doesn’t stop the invasion. He relents and goes off to eat pizza and build a gadget to phone home.

At which point the law arrives. Astid answers the door. She says Harry’s in the basement; the Sheriff and Deputy go down there…and find Astid?!  Harry was using his supertech to take her shape. Didn’t know he could do that. We’ll have to see what other tricks he’s got up his tentacle next week, though, because that’s the end of the episode.

So what do we think of this one? First of all, we learned the important lesson that summarizing this series with all its characters and subplots and meandering storylines is not easy! I didn’t even mention the cute Astid/D’Arcy (Alice Wetterlund) aww friendship scenes, or the new elderly replacement town doctor, or Astid getting warned away from her birth-daughter by birth daughter's mom. It’s a lot of people and plots that are going to die when the octopus people land and kill everyone!

And obviously, an octopus apocalypse is to be frowned upon. Or is it? The series has a lot more snap now that we know the end of the world is imminent again—and especially now that Harry is cheering said end on once more. We haven’t quite gotten up to the speed of absolute top-flight Resident Alien, but this episode was entertaining to watch, and you can feel the twisted momentum building. I’m much more confident about the remainder of the season than I was at the end of the last episode. “My dreams have turned evil,” Harry intones over his pie. Thank goodness

This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Noah Berlatsky is a freelance writer based in Chicago. His book, Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics was published by Rutgers University Press. He thinks the Adam West Batman is the best Batman, darn it.