There’s a lot going on this episode. “Resident Alien” will go for (single camera) sitcom type laughs but still manage to run as a full hour long (forty-four minute) show. I was wondering if they’d be able to keep up the energy from the first episode when not doing a pilot and they succeed. Outside maybe way too much accompanying sad songs on the soundtrack in the last ten minutes, they excel.
The episode—written by show creator Chris Sheridan—does some “season order” corrections to the pilot, like introducing Gary Farmer as Sara Tomko’s father and everyone seeming to forget her previously established abusive boyfriend backstory. Tomko gets a bunch to do this episode—Alan Tudyk’s got like four things going on, Tomko sharing in one of them, then she’s got her own one with Farmer as her sidekick. Then there’s a sixth one, tied to the prologue, which seems like it’s one of Tudyk’s but is actually separate….
Very full episode.
It starts (after a mysterious prologue) with Tudyk’s first day as the town doctor, which is where the previous episode ended. Here we get the resolution to cliffhanger—young Judah Prehn being able to see Tudyk’s true alien form (one in a bazillion chance), screaming, running out. It’s going to set up a whole plot with Tudyk plotting against Prehn and then bickering with him, which is going to have threads for mayor Levi Fiehler and sheriff Corey Reynolds, who continues to be hilarious.
Then Tudyk’s got his subplot with bartender Alice Wetterlund, who’s not hiding her being interested in him; though Tudyk’s entirely oblivious. They go bowling. It’s funny.
So far the show seems to be leveraging Tudyk’s comedic abilities—his performance is a fine mix of Jeff Bridges Starman and John Lithgow “3rd Rock” as he tries to grapple with his new human emotions—and Tomko’s dramatic sympathies. Farmer helps.
High points include the first day of doctoring montage, Reynolds as a trash talking bowler, Tudyk fantasizing about killing a little kid, and the flashbacks to Tudyk as an alien where the gross but not like violent gross shines.
There’s less developing Tudyk and Tomko’s relationship than expected—especially since she’s his sidekick at the clinic—but the parallel character development works out just fine.
Besides the too many songs, “Resident Alien” is doing just fine. The adjustments from the pilot may even be for the better long-term… we shall see.