Review: ‘Resident Alien’ Delivers a Mid-season Cliffhanger in “Alien Dinner Party”

This is the Resident Alien half-season finale before we take a break for a few months—and it is pretty marvelous. I thought going into it that we’d be seeing a lot of chaos and action and maybe alien-fighting, per the last episode. Instead, though, this is a screwball comedy party, all relationships and gags and occasional skittering alien babies, with every character getting a moment to develop and be weird. It’s masterful.

Having said that, the intro is in fact action spy stuff. General McCallister (Linda Hamilton), a high-level US military alien hunter, meets disgraced agent David Logan (Alex Barima) on a bridge. McCallister tried to kill him for not being sufficiently hardcore. But Logan has found one of Harry’s mysterious silver alien balls, and yes the genital joke is intentional, though they don’t make much of it in this scene.

Logan offers to trade the ball for the return of his pension and a promise that McCallister won’t kill him, but before they can make the deal, someone shoots him—a mysterious dude in the trees whose eyes appear to have horizontal lids. Logan falls into the water; McCallister escapes.

And on to the main episode where there is less shooting, until the very end.

As you remember, we closed the last episode with Harry (Alan Tudyk) and Asta (Sara Tomko) returning from New York with the hybrid alien/human baby egg that an alien named Goliath handed off to Harry. Astid’s father Dan (Gary Farmer) drives them up to Harry’s home, where they discover many of the main characters gathered to give Harry a surprise birthday party and try to woo him back to being the town doctor. The party is led by Mayor Ben (Levi Fiehler) and includes his wife Kate (Meredith Garretson), town bartender D’Arcy (Alice Wetterlund), Sheriff Mike (Corey Reynolds), Deputy Liv (Elizabeth Bowen), and Liv’s husband John (Trevor Carroll).

Resident Alien
Image via Syfy

That’s a lot of people on stage! And more to come. It’s a surprise the cabin can hold them all, plus Liv’s deviled egg recipe. And the alien egg baby. Eggs and people; they proliferate.

Harry is not pleased to have a party because (a) he hates people in his house, (b) he is trying to hide an alien egg, and (c) he is unimpressed with birthday parties (“Everyone who has been alive has been born, it’s not special.”) Ben really, really won’t leave though since he wants Harry to be town doctor. So Harry scurries downstairs to put the baby in the apocalypse-proof bunker he built because he thinks his people are coming to destroy the earth.

But (of course) the baby hatches quickly as soon as Harry turns his back. It smells of sulfur and may eat people, so that’s not great. Harry finds the remains of the egg, and then starts to try to search the house surreptitiously, without telling Asta, because he sometimes inconveniently doesn’t tell her things. He is an alien, what can you do.

Kate gains superhuman powers of smell when she is pregnant, which she thinks she really might be; to avoid throwing up she rushes outside. That leads to one of the series’ loveliest shots, as the camera pulls up and away from her, into the low stratosphere, showing the forest before gliding off towards town—which is the transition to where Ben’s son Max (Judah Prehn) and his (smarter) friend Sahar (Gracelyn Awad Rinke) are being watched by babysitter Nurse Ellen (Diana Bang).

Sahar and Max chat about the secret military anti-alien force, and suddenly they realize (well, Sahar realizes) that Dr. Ethan (Michael Cassidy) disappeared last summer just after Max told the men in black that Ethan was an alien. That means that Ethan’s been imprisoned, and that the military will be back for Harry when they realize that Ethan is human. They need to go warn Harry and Asta right away, Sahar says.

So they knock Ellen out by showing her nature documentaries. She isn’t really asleep though. But she lets them go anyway. Because she’s a terrible babysitter.

Back at the cabin, Kate tells D’Arcy that after Harry told her about his trip and seeing art galleries and hipness in New York, she really wants to move to the city. D’Arcy says she still can, and convinces her to take a pregnancy test in the bathroom. Kate pees on D’Arcy’s hand, in the first of several uncomfortable encounters in that bathroom.

Kate doesn’t want to tell Ben she’s pregnant because she doesn’t know how she feels or how he feels. D’Arcy reassures her by telling her whenever she is sad she can “think back to a time when life was simpler and you were just a woman pissing on another woman.”

Asta’s dad is grilling a steak; he puts one piece of meat down and it disappears, because the hungry baby alien took it while you blinked.

Harry admits to Asta that the alien baby who possibly eats flesh is out of the egg and into the party. Asta wants to send everyone home, but Harry won’t let her because there is pie coming and he wants to eat pie.

Deputy Liv tells Asta about the alien encounter when she was a kid, and says it would be awesome if there were aliens in Patience. Asta says there is no way aliens are in Patience, nope nope nope.

She is then distracted when Jay (Kaylayla Raine) —the daughter she gave up for adoption—shows up with cake and pie. Asta has been trying not to pressure Jay for attention, but Jay comes right over and asks Asta out to lunch for Jay’s 18th birthday. Asta says she would love to and is so overcome she heads for the bathroom while Jay goes off to eat as much food as she can.

In the bathroom of doom, Asta gets herself together, and then sees the alien baby in the toilet. It has a big head (cute!) and teeth (uh oh.) It leaps out and away and outside, leaving Asta considerably freaked out.

Harry warns Asta that outside probably isn’t safe now with the alien baby there, so of course cut to Max and Sahar sneaking towards the house. Nobody who has watched this show at all thinks that they’re in any real danger. But nonetheless! They see a raccoon (aw) and then they see it get dismembered by alien baby (bleh.) They scurry up a tree, which probably the baby could climb, but it doesn’t, because again, not that kind of show.

Asta tells her dad the alien baby hatched and is dangerous, so they all need to keep everyone indoors. Dan dissuades Sheriff Mike from going outside to spread his dead partner’s ashes right now. That probably brings us to the end of Mike’s arc of grieving his former partner, which is good, because that is my least favorite arc.

Harry tells Asta the baby will come back inside to eat its eggsack, and then maybe to eat the humans. They decide maybe they need some guns; they are all loaded because as Harry says, “the real me was rednecky.”

Ben goes downstairs with Harry to ask him to be the town doctor; Harry watches the translucent baby teeth haver sneak up on him, and has to pull Ben away. Then the baby hides in the punch; it apparently gives the punch a spicey flavor.

resident alien season 2 episode 8
Image via Syfy

Ben gets a call from a resort that says it is planning to build in Patience. This sets up a cascade of revelations and recriminations. D’Arcy is mad at Ben for lying to her when she took him rock climbing; he told her the pictures would be for the town’s website, rather than for a resort. D’Arcy hates the idea of a resort. Then Kate is made at Ben for not telling her that he and D’Arcy were rock-climbing when she was out of town; he lied and said he hadn’t done anything with anyone at all.

Sheriff Mike comes up to reassure Kate that D’Arcy kissed Ben earlier, not the other way around, which isn’t exactly helpful. Kate doesn’t care about the kiss, but is mad that D’Arcy and Ben lied to her about hanging out together (in her house. Smoking dope. In her son’s room. With an alien cannibal baby. No, not that last part.) Kate feels betrayed by D’Arcy, who she thought was her friend (she is! But you know, it’s complicated.) Kate’s also mad at Ben for lying to her, and also because the resort means he’s going to be mayor forever and she will never get out of Patience, which she reveals she hates and has always hated.

Also! Kate tells D’Arcy that she is afraid of relationships and that’s why she kissed Ben. D’Arcy tells Kate that her communication with her husband sucks and he is afraid to put pictures on the wall he likes because of her. And Kate tells Ben she’s pregnant, and so he’s upset she didn’t tell him that.

Kate storms off; Ben goes to find her in the bathroom of doom. “You’re probably at this point well aware, but you’re married to a dipshit,” Ben apologizes. They agree that they never talk, and whenever they have something difficult to discuss they just have sex. (Which is how Kate ended up pregnant, no doubt.) So they decide to talk about the pregnancy. Then they have sex in the bathroom, loudly, instead.

Somewhere in there Harry and Asta have started to spread the story that a rabid raccoon is loose. When the lights suddenly go off, they blame it on said raccoon biting through the wires, though really it’s the wire-biting alien baby.

Max and Sahar manage to get inside and tell Asta and Dan about Ethan being captured and the possible return of the men in black and also that there’s an alien baby on the loose. Asta knew that last bit, but the rest is useful info. She sends Dan to take the kids home.

The alien baby is hiding under the couch where Liv and her husband are talking about how it’s fun to see other couples fight, because they are bad people (Not really. But kind of! But not really.) Liv hears the baby alien noises and recognizes them from her UFO encounter; she decides she’s going to bring an alien tracker to Patience, which will presumably figure in later episodes.

D’Arcy leaves because she is upset about the argument with Kate. Asta follows her and convinces her to call back Elliot, the nice guy who hit on her earlier in the season but that she then stood up. She texts him “hi”, he texts “hi” back. That’s a good start.

Harry has also gone outside to find the alien baby. There it is on a tree. It is cute. It jumps on his head and sinks its octopus limbs into his brain, which is unexpected. He then has a dream vision meeting with Goliath (the alien who gave birth to the baby.) Goliath tells Harry that their people aren’t coming to destroy the planet, because another alien race is already on earth and is going to take over. Goliath is just about to tell Harry which alien race…

…when Harry is shot! The perpetrator is the guy from the mysterious Galvan Powell company. He says he hired (human) Harry to kill the former town doctor, Sam Hodges. Now he’s tying up loose ends. But like most supervillains, he spent too much time talking. Asta shows up with a rifle and shoots him. She looks stricken as you might expect, because unlike Harry she cares about killing people.

And that’s the cliffhanger ending!

Like I said, it’s a fun episode. Given all the characters and plotlines, it’s also remarkably thematically tight, as a (semi-silly) meditation on pregnancy, birth, and children. Alien Harry’s human/alien egg has the same birthday as human Harry, who alien Harry killed; symbolically Harry is giving birth to his human self as an alien. The hyperbolic fear of alien baby devourment is linked to Kate’s less hyperbolic fear that her baby will devour her life, and contrasted with Asta’s fear that she’ll be shut out by her own child Jay. Bad babysitter Ellen is a more naturalistic reflection of even worse babysitter Harry. And so on; the show keeps birthing variations on babies and birth, like alien replicas crawling out of human eggs or vice versa.

Supposedly the second half of the season is coming in the summer. They’ll have trouble surpassing this episode, but I look forward to seeing them try. See you back here when they do.

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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.