A person from Harry’s past returns in his life in this week’s Resident Alien Review
It’s hard to compare anything to last week’s pretty amazing cliffhangers, but we’ll try anyway. In the last episode, we’ve officially learned that Jay is Asta’s daughter, the same one she gave up for adoption at age 16. What this means for their relationship remains unclear, but it is a major development to Asta’s professional and family life from here onward.
Meanwhile, Harry is still keeping his dead human body hidden away in the freezer. He had also sloppily kissed D’arcy for the first time. But all is not well during a break-in at home, and before the kids, Max and Sahar, can take evidence from the basement, they electrocute themselves while touching Harry’s alien device. Upset at this betrayal, before Harry can drag them away in some duffel bags… his Wife — yes, wife — arrives in town.
Picking up from there, this episode starts off very different from the other episodes of Resident Alien, in that we finally get to see Harry’s backstory. The genuine human Harry — and not our resident Alien Tudyk. We see how Doctor Vandershpiegel first met his wife, Isabel, who is an attractive artist based in NYC that he’d met at an auction. Their opening intro details how the two met and fell in love; a tone that’s contrasted by their present-day divorce, which Isabel reveals to Harry, unrealizing her real Harry was already murdered.
Love is in The Air?
So unsurprisingly, this episode is all about love. With Harry getting to know human love, he addresses his soon-to-be ex-wife, Isabel (Elvy), and, though it’s a rather love/hate relationship, it’s rather obvious Harry loves her company. Loves how she confuses every fiber of his being and loves how her embrace feels like warm ham. If only it weren’t for her snoring. It’s a funny arc, in that Isabel hates how Harry’s different and how he could abandon his life and home in NYC to be a small-town doctor. And though it’s overall a reluctantly cute story as Harry wants nothing to do with this stranger, it ultimately tenses when she finds Sahar’s Sari and accuses Harry of finding another woman. Coincidentally, D’arcy happens to break up with him mere moments before all these crazy reveals. Which poetically cultivates in a triangle, after she and Isabel drink together at her bar, unrealizing how they’re both complaining about the same guy.
What I love about this is how much it plays to Harry’s reluctant growth. Because just when he thinks it’s over with D’arcy and Isabel is leaving him so he can peacefully find his device and destroy the earth… Isabel makes them dinner. Out of the meat Harry locks in the freezer, which coincidentally, is hiding human Harry’s body. And in a moment of tension, we’re reminded why we love our spouses. As Harry’s wife, Isabel promises to be there for him no matter what. Again, rejecting this total stranger, we are reminded of another reason why we love our spouses, as despite his rejections she sings to him, “Nature Boy,” which weirdly touches his spirit. In a sort of fashion that can only be explained as a slip of being ultimately sentimentally human.
And sex. They have sex. How does that interspecies copulation work? I’m not entirely certain, though it is stressed Harry is human on a molecular level, albeit it’s never really explained. Harry seems to enjoy the contentment and, in the end, is able to find some sleep. Finding himself sort of secretly loving the idea of having a romantic partner, though he’s still conflicted as to why.
“I Am Feeling Attacked. I Am… Snowflaking.”
As for the children, Harry is mad at Max because he lied to him. Feeling slightly emotionally hurt as Max, with Sahar’s help, was simply trying to steal his keys over dinner. Though the conflict is ultimately resolved after Harry politely brings the children home safely (for someone who wants to kill them he seems to secretly actually care for their well-being) he denies every bit about the alien technology. But the little girl, Sahar, remembers riding bikes but not waking up in the cabin just now how that night resolved (by knocking themselves out via electroshock). Unwilling to let the kids foil him any longer, Harry sells the idea that Max has terrorphobia to his mother and offers that the boy go to a special school for kids with special needs like Max, down in Georgia. A sad betrayal that oddly makes sense.
Though, ultimately, the arc comes to head at a diner, where, after some very disgusting yet funny moments between Harry and the kids, they finally decide on a truce together. And, in doing so, slightly become friends, or so we believe. Because the truth is, whether it’s real or not, Harry is starting to hate how he’s feeling inside. And these kids, and his odd sympathies towards his enemies, are making him strangely vulnerable.
Mike Wants To Make Dad Proud
Beyond this, we get more decent side character development as Jay and Asta’s storyline comes to a head. Ultimately, we also learn how humans lie to protect one another from each other, leading Asta to deduce who’s really to blame regarding those prescription drug pads. She talks with Jay about their daughter.
Also in a surprise move, we meet sheriff Mike’s father, who seems slightly disappointed in his son. In return, Mike tries to solve the town murder yet, all the while, ignores Liv’s clues and sleuthing, particularly in her belief that the severed foot found in the lake is related. When she discovers Sam was indeed murdered with botulism poison (to the hopes of Sam’s ex-wife Abigail who would’ve gotten nothing if his death were a suicide), it brings a new life to Mike that he hopes will make his dad proud.
Even though it wasn’t fully addressed, I think the Jay and Asta storyline will have major implications later on in this season. There’s a tension here that affects Asta’s family life that I do believe will pour into the series, as Asta (and in turn D’arcy) are sort of Harry’s anchor to his humanity.
This episode was interesting mostly in the sense that we do get some romantic backstory. I also really liked how they hid all signs of Isabel up until this episode, as her reveal and later history make for a compelling character analysis of the person Harry’s human counterpart used to be. Isabel is a woman in love with her husband, who is, in turn, a different man/alien. And yes, it’s creepy. It’s confusingly inhuman.
Which is sort of what this series is about.