Spoiler-Alert! In the latest Resident Alien, Harry processes new human emotions for the first time, attends his first date, and tries to vanquish his nemesis. We break it down in our Resident Alien review featuring interviews with Alan Tudyk and Alice Wetterlund.
What makes the premise of Resident Alien work really well is that it plays off the classic fish-out-of-water trope. As Harry (Alan Tudyk) learns the subtleties about being human. In Resident Alien episode two, Harry deep dives into his understanding of humanity while filling in as the town doctor. A task which he’s not well suited for (being an alien and all).
It is in these unhinged Alien Tudyk montages, where Harry unabashedly learns more about human anatomy, human rituals, and human emotions, that makes for some of the best comedic moments in the series. More than anything else, we get to see Harry grow as he begins to process his newfound human feelings more.
Harry Versus Max
Almost immediately into the episode, “Homesick” focuses on the series’ antagonistic relationship between Max and Harry. The resilient Max is determined to share to the world Harry’s secret as an alien, a truth no one in town believes only because Max is a child. In this episode, Harry tries his best to tie loose ends, all for a very silly cartoonish type of approach that the series has a fun time exploring. We asked Tudyk a bit more about Harry and Max’s rivalry in the series:
“Yeah! He’s a great nemesis to have. Then as the season goes on, like how some nemesis, sort of progress, they could become friends,” Tudyk explains before jokingly digressing, “Like Magneto and Doctor X. Doctor X, Is that right? That doesn’t sound right. Professor X! Please don’t share that. I’m pretty sure he does have his doctorate but uh, let’s not split hairs, if he doesn’t, than he’s being lazy and needs to get his doctorate!”
The actor concludes, “In that same way, their rivalry has its own kind of friendship.”
Indeed, seeing Harry, an adult alien super-genius, be repeatedly foiled by a child actually reminds me of early-season Family Guy. Where baby Stewie sought to kill his mother, Lois, in frequent attempts on her life that hilariously fail. Given longtime Family Guy veteran Chris Sheridan as the showrunner, I think Resident Alien emulates a lot of early Family Guy’s situations, though mostly with Harry in the Stewie role as he oddly tries to understand regular people he deems inferior to himself.
Harry Goes On A Bowling Date
In the process of getting to understand his new human emotions, Harry lands himself a date with D’arcy, the bartender who was romantically interested in Harry in the pilot. Bonding over hotdogs and Harry being a potential serial killer (jokingly… we hope), we asked Alice Wetterlund why D’arcy was just so interested in Harry, and if perhaps, she could just find a nice guy (I’ll admit this last portion was more for me as I might have developed my first fictional TV crush).
“Um, she doesn’t want a good guy that’s the thing. People like D’arcy are complicated, fun, sort of life of the party characters. They don’t want to just settle for the good guy,’ Alice explains while subtly also breaking this writer’s heart, “She’s got to be intrigued and she needs somebody to keep her on her toes. That’s the only thing she’s interested in. Bad boys, weird boys, or the broken guy, and when Harry comes along, maybe on the spectrum, but super talented and knowledgable but also just a huge asshole at the same it’s like: DREAMBOAT.”
There you have it. If you’re an asshole bad boy broken guy, that is the secret to winning D’arcy’s affections (so there’s still hope for me yet!). Anyway, after some ball tossing, Harry and D’arcy share a moment over hot dogs, as D’arcy reveals herself to be an Olympic level skier who’d got caught in an accident and was forced to retire. Despite the moment of emotional intimacy, Harry takes away only one thing: that accidents can happen to humans, and so, is inspired with a new method on how to kill Max.
Lessons On Caring By Asta Twelvetrees
In “Homesick,” we get some insight into Asta’s world as we meet her stepdad, Dan, a Native American who almost immediately takes a disliking to Harry (because Harry has no aura). Dan helps Asta get through a tough time by helping her with some of their tribes’ rituals of mourning and loss. With Asta really missing Sam, a confidant and father figure, her sadness is something Harry takes notice of, as he bluntly reminds her that there was nothing she could’ve done, even if she had been there when he died.
It’s a sweet scene that sees Harry empathize with Asta, making him all the more conflicted. He begins to realize humans are all connected, by such a complicated yet wonderful range of feelings, and worries about the human emotions growing within him. Harry misses home. Even worse, he’s suddenly starting to care about people.
For all the fun explorations about being human in this one, there’s a very negative human emotion that lingers with Harry. An emptiness that Harry confuses as hunger which doesn’t seem to go away. Though pretty great at reading human emotions, his inability to process his own complicates things, as his people normally don’t have “feelings.” What he actually longs for is companionship. And it’s a really heartfelt arc that we’re going to explore this season that feels so incredibly human.