Review: ‘Resident Alien’ Sets the Scene for Chaos in \\”Escape From New York\\”

Resident Alien, Episode 7: “Escape from New York”! Shout out to Snake Slissken, and we are almost done with the season! Or so I thought because I thought it was 10 episodes. But! Tonight they said the next episode was the half-season finale, and sure enough, upon further Googling, it turns out this is a 16 episode season. So we are almost half done. Adjust your calendar accordingly, earthlings.

This episode didn’t entirely gel for me, I think because it shifted a bit towards action and drama, which left a bit less room for silliness. It was still quite watchable, though; just not my favorite of the season.

We start off some years in the past, with some guy painting a sign. He hears a sound, goes into a cave, and finds Goliath coming out of white light that makes wet sounds when you touch it. Goliath emerges, the painter guy trips in surprise and horror and conveniently brains himself on a rock. Goliath examines the paintbrush, and that’s apparently his super painter origin story—which is kind of glib. Couldn’t he have figured out he’s a painter at some point a couple of days after the instant he arrives on earth? But that’s origin stories. And television.

We jump up to present day, where art dealer and Goliath buddy Violinda Darvell (Maxim Roy) tells Asta (Sara Tomko) that she knows Harry (Alan Tudyk) is an alien. Then she tells Asta she knows Goliath. Then she tells Asta that Goliath is dead, and shows her his standing alien fossilized corpse, with its four arms and big eyes. It is weird, and Asta is upset, because a) weird big dead alien fossil and b) they were counting on Goliath to help them save the world from Harry’s alien buddies, and Goliath can’t do that because he’s a dead fossil.

Harry calls just then, and he looks like an alien, because apparently, LSD is an antidote to his alien cloaking power. He is very high and wandering around some sort of street costume party, so everyone thinks he’s human. He is freaked out when he sees someone remove an alien head and reveal a human underneath. (“Do I have a human inside of me? How many licks does it take to get to the human?”)

Resident Alien
Courtesy of SyFy

Asta goes and finds him, and then they put ice on him which helps restore him to humanness for some reason. She tells him Goliath is dead, and he is sad about it, though he was already sad because he figured Goliath had become too human. (He doesn’t know the half of it.)

We cut away briefly to see Agent Lisa Casper (Mandell Maughan) walking away from the pizza restaurant where Harry and Asta first got on Goliath’s trail. She killed the poor pizza guy. Because she murders everyone. That’s her sole character trait. It’s good to have a focus.

Harry and Asta get ready to head back home via plane, and Harry moans about being lonely and starts to talk loudly in his own bizarrely strangled language, which no one notices because it’s New York. But then Asta happens to reveal that Goliath’s body is fossilized and standing, which is not how these things are supposed to work, Harry tells her. Something is weird (or, you know, weirder even than alien fossils). So they rush back to the art gallery—and we see that they’re being followed by a couple of thugs from the Galvan Powell Group, a mysterious organization to which human Harry had some sort of nefarious connection.

Back at the gallery, Violinda tries to stall them and get them to leave, which is not in keeping with her earlier attitude; there seems to be some plot consistency problems here. In any case, Harry is not to be dissuaded, and not only sees the statue but bashes it open, revealing an egg. Goliath apparently had a baby with Violinda via genetic manipulation. Harry wants to take the egg with him, but Violinda again tries to get them to leave, sans blue alien egg.

Just then Agent Caspar comes in the front posing as a customer. She asks about purchasing a Goliath painting. Violinda goes out to put her off, carrying the egg in a bag. Asta is in the back with Harry and recognizes Caspar from a police drawing. She and Harry don’t act quickly enough though, and Caspar figures out something weird is going on because the bag is leaking alien goo. She shoots Violinda in the leg, takes the egg, and then Harry comes out and beats the tar out of her, throwing her through a skylight, because he’s an alien and in alien vs. assassin, aliens win. (What about alien vs. T. Rex or ninja? Maybe next episode we find out.) (Caspar escapes though.)

Violinda figures if there are assassins running around trying to get the egg, she’s probably not the one to fight them off, so she lets Harry take it. He and Asta rush out of the gallery and see the Galvan Powell thugs coming after them. They run in the other direction, and then Caspar also starts running after them, and shoots the thugs dead, because what she does is shoot people. Harry and Asta get in a taxi before she can shoot them though.

The taxi takes them to a train, since they figure they can’t get a big blue egg through airport security. Asta asks Harry when the egg will open, and Harry has no idea; human/alien mixes don’t come along every day. He does muse, though, that the alien will be just like him; an alien with human feelings. Aww.

Inevitably, like in a James Bond film, Caspar shows up again, and accosts Harry while Asta is out getting snacks. She demands the egg, but he is a super-powered alien, and easily dodges around her blows in a very wittily choreographed fight scene, in which she looks like she’s a super ninja and he looks like he’s barely trying. He chokes her with his little extra alien hands, which alerts her to the fact he’s an alien, and then throws her out the window—apparently to her death, though my guess is she’ll be back. Asta returns, learns Harry killed someone else, and is miffed. Harry asks if she remembered to bring the ice cream sandwich.

Eventually, they get back to Patience, where Asta’s dad Dan (Gary Farmer) drives them to Harry’s cabin. They go in and discover that Mayor Ben (Levi Fiehler) is there with other townsfolk to give Harry a birthday party. Harry tells them meanly to go away (do aliens even celebrate birthdays?) But as he does, the egg begins to crack—which means it’s going to be born on Harry’s birthday, maybe? Symbolism!

But why was everyone gathered for a surprise party? Well, for that we need to go back to the town subplots. There are a bunch! They are somewhat intertwined.

resident alien 7 1
Courtesy of SyFy

Last episode local bartender D’Arcy (Alice Wetterlund) slept over at Mayor Ben’s house, platonically. Ben’s wife Kate (Meredith Garretson) comes back home, and D’Arcy crawls out the upstairs window to avoid awkward questions. Kate immediately makes Ben take down a corny Live, Laugh, Love sign he’d put up while she was gone in a demonstration of corny independence.

Ben heads into the office, where he puts his cringey sign up in the office of long-suffering Deputy Liv (Elizabeth Bowen.) Sheriff Mike (Corey Reynolds) comes in with his arm completely numb. Dr. Smallwood (Eleanor Walker) gave him anesthetic for no reason because she’s no longer competent. He flops his arm around, knocking books off the desk, and demands Ben fire Smallwood before “a bunch of elves move into my tree trunk arm and start making cookies!” Ben insists Smallwood is competent because he doesn’t have anyone else to act as town doctor. He’s waiting for his own check up results which he insists nervously will be fine.

Mike and Liv leave to answer a complaint from some guy in an aggressively ugly pink shirt. He wants them to arrest Abigail Hodges (Deborah Finkel), who’s been charged with murdering her husband, Sam, the former town doctor. (Human Harry actually killed him; then the alien killed Harry).

Mike and Liv tell the guy to beat it and talk with Abigail, who seems to really be grieving. Mike takes a box of detective books that Sam asked him to have, and starts to really think he must have arrested Abigail wrongly.

Meanwhile, D’Arcy, a former champion skier, has returned to the gym after a decade off following a major leg injury. She is still nervous about doing leg presses, but lifts other weights, and then discovers that Kate is using the gym too. The two start trying to outdo each other on the treadmill, and for a minute it looks like they’re going to engage in embarrassing assholish competition. But it’s not that kind of sitcom, so they become workout buddies instead. They then go to the bar for a beer.

Kate thinks the beer tastes like soap and realizes that that’s what happened the last time she was pregnant.  She is really uncertain she wants a baby, because you have to put your life on hold for 18 years. But she thinks Ben wants a baby. D’Arcy knows that isn’t really true since she had a heart-to-heart with him about how he didn’t want another baby. She can’t tell Kate she knows her husband better than she does though. Kate and Ben demonstrate that just because you are engaging in lots of BDSM doesn’t mean you communicate well.

In any case, D’Arcy offers Kate a pregnancy test, but she doesn’t think she’s ready to know yet. D’Arcy encourages her to take one when she’s ready, and Kate encourages D’Arcy to try the leg press when she’s ready. They have a moment. Aww.

Meanwhile Ben goes to Dr. Smallwood’s, and she tells him he has terminal colon cancer. He is upset. Then she realizes she switched the chart by accident. Whoops. “It happens,” Smallwood says defensively. “Should it?” Ben asks. “No,” Nurse Ellen (Diana Bang) answers. That is solid screwball comedy timing.

Ben decides that he needs to fire Smallwood. He tries but he’s just too timid. So Nurse Ellen does it for him, with great cheer (as Dr. Smallwood notes somewhat resentfully.) Ellen also tells Ben that Harry is the only good option to replace Smallwood; she checked when she noticed Smallwood had switched the charts and that Ben would have to fire her. Ben says she could have switched them back. Ellen ignores him. (Diana Bang is really a treasure; they should give her more to do.) Ben decides that maybe a surprise party for Harry’s birthday could convince him to fill in as town doctor again.

Over to Mike at Joe’s Diner, where he talks to Dan about how he’s worried Abigail didn’t commit the murder, and he may be making another mistake like he did when he got his partner killed. Dan launches into his tragic backstory, about how his buddy was killed in Vietnam and he named the bar after him. I am getting tired of the tragic backstories, but Mike finds it encouraging and decides to start reinvestigating Sam’s death.

At the police office, Liv is staying late; she has posted a UFO picture and is reading internet comments, which is a bad idea. Never read the comments, her husband John tells her. Good advice.  Liv’s UFO investigation has been a slow-burning plot point; presumably, at some point, she is going to learn for sure aliens are real. Maybe next episode? Not yet anyway.

The next day Liv and Mike go to Sam’s office again; they rethink the case and figure he must have left a note if he knew he was in danger. The detective in the book Sam passed on to Mike hides documents in the back of paintings, so they look in the back of the pictures on Sam’s wall. Sure enough, they find a note incriminating the Galvan Powell Group.

And now we’re back to Harry’s return; Ben, Mike, Liv, John, Kate, D’Arcy, are all waiting there as Harry, Dan, and Asta come in—setting up much chaos for next time.

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This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Image Credit: SyFy. 

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.