blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Resident Alien (2021) s01e03 – Secrets

I would feel a whole lot better about where this episode of “Resident Alien” seems to be sending Sara Tomko if it had passed Bechdel for longer than three lines. Three lines with a female writer (Njeri Brown). We get a lot of backstory into Tomko—with zero mention of the long-term abusive boyfriend from the pilot—including a big, out-of-nowhere reveal (this episode is where having read all the comics is no longer relevant) and some good character development for Tomko and dad Gary Farmer.

But it would be much better if Tomko and Alice Wetterlund had something to talk about except boys in general and Alan Tudyk in specific. Wetterlund is still hung up on Tudyk, even though he walked out on her during their date and is completely disinterested whenever she throws herself at him. There’s even, like, relevant boys stuff they could talk about but it might screw up the surprise so they don’t… also Wetterlund doesn’t really do anything. I mean, she starts the episode causing an avalanche (with dynamite) for a laugh, but later on when it’s time to party with Tomko they go drink beers, watching the cops drag the lake for Tudyk’s source human’s body, and talk about dudes.

It’s very underwhelming and seems like a waste of time for the Tomko subplot. She again gets her own.

Also getting his own subplot this episode is kid who see’s Tudyk’s alien form, Judah Prehn. He’s getting bullied at school for thinking there’s an alien in town and soon becomes friends with fellow bullied child Gracelyn Awad Rinke. Rinke doesn’t get a name yet. She’s just the Muslim girl. She’s good too, potentially even more likable than Prehn. Though Prehn and Tudyk argue on the street and it’s glorious. It’s also a little weird as a main recurring subplot.

The A plot this episode is about sheriff Corey Reynolds trying to find a body in Tudyk’s lake (the aforementioned corpse of Tudyk’s human source). Tudyk’s got insomnia over it, which is basically his main subplot. Initially they just find a foot, but since it turns into the body hunt… it’s just an escalation of the A plot. Some great moments for Reynolds again.

We also get a little bit more with deputy Elizabeth Bowen, who always gets something to do, but this episode it’s opposite Tudyk so more relevant.

There’s another alien flashback, this time involving a cowboy hat—and possibly retconning the pilot some more—and it figures into the somewhat predictable soft cliffhanger.

Also there’s again a lot of music. A lot of music. It’s a little more relevant at times and diegetic but it feels like they’re trying too hard .

So some asterisks and consternation, but the show’s still really funny, well-acted, and well-produced. I think it almost completely having thrown off the comic’s yoke might have me worried.

Though I wanted it to pass Bechdel a whole lot better than it does, just because.

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