So here's the thing about two-hour finales; there is a ridiculous amount of content to devour and react to. And you can walk away feeling overwhelmed in the worst possible way.
But on the flip side, there is also a general rush that comes from getting to watch a season close things out with a bang, and an elongated installment makes you feel like you're watching a feature film and not a piece of episodic television.
Basically, there are pros and cons, and Roswell, New Mexico Season 3 Episode 12 and Roswell, New Mexico Season 3 Episode 13 would fall under the pro list. As we were gifted a wonderful ending to a rejuvenated season.
One of the best things Roswell does is mix in the action and the emotions.
The characters and the relationships have always been the selling point, and they always will be. But this season, in particular, they did an excellent job blending in the fights and the science in a way that worked very well.
The finale was no exception, with both hours flowing nicely and delivering on all levels.
Jones keeping everyone trapped in his mind was short-lived, but it was a perfect set-up for what was to come. I imagine that Jones came out of the womb master-manipulating everyone he met because he's so damn good at it.
And he tries again to do that with biting words and hard truths, and it almost works to a degree.
The scene of them seated around the table trying to fight off Jones' words is almost more exciting than any action sequence they could have given us.
Dallas: Is there any way I can skip the rest of this awkward family reunion?
Jones: Family? These people barely see you as a friend. You're the cosmic MacGuffin to them. They just want the equation that's in your head.
Isobel: That's not true, Dallas.
Dallas: I have heard way worse in reddit threads.
But Dallas' subsequent injury and Jones' kidnapping of Michael sets a bit of a timetable that is only exacerbated in the second hour.
Much time is spent with characters talking, mostly about fears and regrets, but it's realistic to see people conversating about what they feel when so much is at stake.
Liz is petrified, and for a good reason, as much of what happens next is dependent upon her. And she's also scared she's going to lose Max, which is another justifiable fear.
While Max and Liz are the star couple, their road has been filled with roadblocks, which was rather heavy on them this season. They have continuously struggled to communicate effectively and put themselves in the other person's shoes.
They both have selfish tendencies that conflict with one other, and in order for them to move forward, they both had to be willing to admit their faults to not only each other but themselves as well. And now that they're at this point where they both feel understood by the other, they can actually move forward and beyond the past.
It's got to be terrifying to see your happy ending just within reach but know that it could be taken from you by the end of the day.
Saving Max has been a cornerstone of the series, and hopefully, it will be retired after this season, but it does work here when Max finds out there's a possibility that the plan to stop Jones means he would lose his powers forever.
Max is primarily defined by the fact that he is an alien that needs protecting. He has always been the leader of the pod squad, the anointed one, and suddenly learning that one of your key characteristics could be stripped away gives way to an awfully big internal crisis.
It's normal to wonder how people will see you and feel about you when you lose a piece of yourself. And as Jones reiterated time and time again, the alien powers are an integral part of their species.
But Max is so much more than his powers, even if he struggles to see that because his powers are all he's ever known. Saving Max has never been about saving Max the alien. It's always been about saving Max Evans, brother, boyfriend, friend, and well-meaning do-gooder.
This would have been an intriguing story for Max to ponder throughout a few episodes instead of it being shoehorned into the middle of hour one, but it did give us Alex and Max together, which was a little awkward but fun.
In a main cast this large, it makes sense that not everyone hangs out all the time, but it's wild that in three seasons, Max and Alex have never had a one-on-one. And of course, it revolves around reassuring Max that he is the best person to ever exist, but listen, that is 90% of the conversations Max is involved in.
Alex: So, wait are you afraid that you're gonna lose your purpose if you're not their savior anymore? Max, your siblings don't love what you can do for them. They love you.
Max: What about Liz? I mean she fell in love with an alien. I mean, what happens when I'm no longer the secret to the universe.
Alex: Well, I mean you're not built for just one thing. You're not just an alien. You're not just a brother. You're not just a clone. You're Max Evans. No matter what form that takes.
But speaking of Alex, he is mainly relegated to Lockhart Machine duty, and that machine really became the guest star of the season, didn't it?
All things ended up flowing through it. And in the end, it was what Jones was after, outside of the science, of course.
The Jones and Michael battle was a long time coming, and their scenes together were electric, and we were robbed of seeing them on-screen more this season. Their confrontations in the bunker were all about leverage, and each man doing his best to break the other essentially.
Michael is his father's son in the fact that he's strong, intelligent, and cunning as all hell. But where Jones is singularly focused on himself and getting the ends to justify the means, Michael has Nora's heart and her capacity to love.
It's why Michael will never turn into his father because his heart is too big. He's been given a very tough hand, but he has still been able to find the joy in life, which will always win out for him.
Jones underestimates Michael in many ways, and Michael puts up a very good fight against Jones in the junkyard. But Jones has had a million lives and a ton of time to sharpen his powers, while Michael has pretty much just been sparingly learning on the job for years.
Side note on this whole story, is Sanders okay? Jones just like squeezes his chest, and then we don't see him again! And Michael's wound was incredibly gross, and Maria pouring straight liquor on it was gross, and stapling it shut was equally as gross!
Did I mention all of that was gross or…?
But anyway, while the whole squad has a plan, Jones has his own agenda as well. And as usual, he's one step ahead of everyone, and is it really a shock that multiple people are in danger before we even get into the final hour?
The plan to kill Jones is a convoluted one, and if you were able to pick up on everything and how it was supposed to work after one viewing, you are much better than me. It can be a struggle to piece all the science together and remember things from weeks ago that come back around again now.
But in the end, everything culminates in the ultimate battle by the radio tower, which involves the whole cast contributing something to the Jones takedown.
Possibly the highlight of the season, and maybe the series, was the image of Liz staring down the barrel of a shotgun and peering at two men who have the face of the love of her life.
I was barely breathing during that whole sequence, which is shot brilliantly and strips away the noise to hone in on this Liz moment. Liz is the star of this show, and it's potentially her most significant moment yet, as she goes back and forth trying to make this insane decision.
Kudos to both Jeanine Mason and Nathan Dean, who are so good here. It truly is an edge-of-your-seat kind of scene, and damn if I couldn't tell who was who until Jones inevitably slipped up.
Can you imagine, though, if she had killed Max? Of course, it would never happen, but the POSSIBILITIES.
The ending is predictable in a way, but it's still a great time. Switching Max and Jones back and forth works better than it has any business working, and even a fire extinguisher being used during an intergalactic alien battle feels appropriate and not corny.
With Jones dead, it sets the characters up to rejoice fully for the first time all season. Finally, they get to breathe and be okay before the next thing happens.
And let's dig into the characters and relationships a bit now.
First of all, Michael and Alex deserve the world.
While Echo has been a rollercoaster ride, they've at least gotten to have some smooth patches along the way. Malex has never been afforded that luxury. And it's only now in season 3, after years and years of pain, they get to feel something good.
Their talk in the bunker, along with others this season, just highlights how far they've come and how much they want to be with each other. Michael gets scared and isn't sure how to approach Alex, but he admits as much and then has the complicated conversation.
Michael: What if I have to kill my own father? You gonna love me then? Am I still gonna love myself? That self-loathing is what caused this mess between us for fifteen years. What's winning gonna do? Is it gonna set us right back to square one? Are we gonna be able to survive that war again if it does?
Alex: No, listen to me. We are not who we were in high school. Let alone a year ago. We already defeated one monstrous father, and we will do it again.
And Alex listens to him. He doesn't interrupt or try to make him feel like his feelings aren't valid. But he also lets him know that they are in it together. It's no longer Michael on his own and Alex on his own. They are together, and they will figure out the next step together.
When the dust settles, and they get to stand in front of that hideous statue, that's the moment of all moments. That's two guys who've been to hell and back realizing that they've made it out the other side.
Alex taking that bandana off is done so artfully, with no words spoken but just gentle looks and caresses. That chapter will never be closed, but it can be amended and written a new ending.
This truly feels like the start of something completely brand new for the couple, as they're both laying themselves entirely bare for each other and their love. It's so exciting for both the fans and the couple to venture into this Malex territory.
I already touched upon Max and Liz, but they just got all the romance in this finale. I mean, how they managed to make a scene in which Liz was sticking Max with a long needle, sans anesthetic, sexy and sensual, is beyond me.
But their reunion does feel earned and appreciated after much time apart. They are each other's person, and they are willing to fight for each other. And that's all you can want for the main ship of the series.
Isobel has quite the journey both here and throughout the season. Unfortunately, she's been so laser-focused on fighting and winning and proving someone wrong that she's lost sight of herself.
That's why opening herself up to something with Anatsa is lovely for her because she's not only putting herself out there but letting someone else in. They get a sweet reunion and a hot kiss here, but it's going to be overshadowed by the emergence of Kyle and Isobel as the next big couple.
It's going to happen, guys. Having Kyle flat out admit he's interested means it's just a matter of time at this point. And I'm on board, though I do wish we'd gotten more time to explore Isobel and Anatsa this season.
What was the point of having Anatsa and Max hook up way back when? It didn't move the plot forward or contribute much beyond visually showing us that Max was "getting" over Liz.
It would have been better if she had still had interactions with Max as a reporter but had talked to Isobel in Roswell, New Mexico Season 3 Episode 1 instead of Max.
Either way, Kyle and Isobel make a lot of sense on paper, and they have chemistry, so I am excited to see where it leads. They both have a way of connecting to the other and seeing those small pieces of each other that they keep buried just under the surface.
Maria and Greg are still going strong, and good for them! Maria deserves some happiness, and Greg's expanded role has worked for what it was. They were able to integrate him in a way that felt organic because logically, he's known everyone most of his life, even if they weren't a part of his circle.
She has grappled with whether or not to explore her powers, and deciding now that she doesn't want to end up like Mimi is a bit of a retreat from how she was feeling at the end of Roswell, New Mexico Season 2.
I have to assume things will continue to be complicated on this front, as there is no guarantee Liz will be able to find the solution for her. But it sets up a nice new arc for Maria moving forward.
Rosalinda is official! And what a beautiful encounter between the often forgotten brother and sister, with Kyle being the one to help facilitate Rosa's next steps in her second chance.
Getting out of Roswell is not a bad thing, even if it's temporary. And her fears are understandable, but she's put in so much work to get to the place. It's deserved, and it's such a massive accomplishment for her to get something for herself. She's earned it.
Whether Rosa comes back or not remains to be seen, but considering we will be heading into yet another mystery in Roswell, New Mexico Season 4, there's a good chance she will be back just in time for the chaos to resume!
We've got a naked woman, presumably the vessel Jones contacted through the Lockhart machine, spouting Liz's name like a mantra. And she goes right to…SHIRI APPLEBY?
When I say that final shot made me gasp, I mean it.
I will never rag on Roswell for how they choose to close out their seasons because they always do it in style! And now we get to spin our wheels for however many months as we try to figure out what in the hell they can do to top a superb third act.
- If this is the last we see of Heath, I would like to apologize to him. He wasn't a bad dude, and I was wrong to doubt him so much initially. He's a very good friend, and he just wants to do what he can for those he loves. You can't fault him for that.
- Dallas, my love. Glad to see you are on the mend and beyond happy that the aliens are welcoming you with open arms. If the powers that be wanted to bump Quentin Plair to a series regular next season, I would approve.
- That outdoor patio at the Pony was such a genius move, especially considering they shot this season during the height of the pandemic. It was gorgeous, and they used the space effectively.
- Of all the guest stars this season, Eduardo was my favorite. And watching Kyle step up to protect him when they just met like two days ago was a blink, and you'll miss it scene, but super sweet. If he comes back, they should definitely explore his dynamic with Kyle more.
- There was not enough Arturo this year.
- My name is Whitney Evans, and I can count on one hand the number of times someone has called me by my full name. Meanwhile, a day can't pass without someone saying Max's full name approximately 72 times.
- They played us with the Malex 'I love you's' being cut, but I am willing to let it go FOR NOW. If only because all their scenes were beautiful.
- Jones will most certainly not be resting in peace, but guys, he was a GOOD villain. He gave us everything we could want in a foe, and I will say it until I'm blue in the face; Nathan Dean did an incredible job. Listen, he will be missed, I'm sorry. Good villains like Jones are hard to come by.
This is the most fun I have ever had covering a show! The comments have been lovely, and it's been a blast to cover one of my favorite shows week in and out with readers who adore it as much as I do!
We're firmly in that dreaded hiatus time now, but that gives us plenty of time to speculate about what's next!
Who is the naked lady, and what does she want?
Is Rosa gone for good?
Leave those comments down below one final time (this year), and remember you can always watch Roswell, New Mexico online via TV Fanatic so you're all caught up!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.