Lots happens this episode, lots of good stuff. There’s maybe the funniest scene so far in the series—based on measuring breath lost to laughing—there’s a montage of great Corey Reynolds acting, there’s deputy Elizabeth Bowen not just getting some character development but a lot of it, there’s the new doctor in town (Michael Cassidy, who’s basically if Martin Donovan and Paul Rudd merged), there’s the murder mystery getting underway (and reminding a lot of the comic), and then there’s special guest star Linda Hamilton.
The episode opens in flashback—fifty years ago Maine, a little girl and her David Harbour-looking dad (it’s not him) seeing aliens—skip ahead to nearer the present and we learn the little girl has grown up to be an Army general played by Linda Hamilton. For a few seconds, it seems like they may be doing a riff of Hamilton as the Connor who survived but then they aren’t. Then it seems like Hamilton might be great. She’s fine. She’s not great. Hopefully it won’t affect “Alien” too much.
She’s in charge of the secret agents (Alex Barima and Mandell Maughan) after the alien. Only it turns out they’re just Army and Army Intelligence and their operation is off the books so Hamilton can get the tech.
Anyway, it’s the C plot. The A plot is Alan Tudyk being irrationally, uncontrollably jealous of new doctor Cassidy and gloriously making an ass of himself at every opportunity. The B plot is Bowen and Reynolds investigating how a stolen prescription pad might figure in to their murder investigation. For what seems to be the first time, Sara Tomko’s just support in the two main subplots—though she does get a great scene opposite ex Ben Cotton, who’s started bringing new girlfriend Jill Nixon around.
Tudyk’s also contending with unexpected wife Elvy hanging around and intruding on his mission, which seemingly should get easier to execute once he’s not stuck playing town doctor—great farewell but obviously not really because it’s a small town scene for Tudyk and Tomko when he leaves the clinic—but Elvy has all sorts of ideas for what they should do with their renewed martial bliss. The threat of that martial bliss leads to the aforementioned funniest scene in the show so far as well as the episode’s cliffhanger. It’s a dramatic, hard cliffhanger, but far less interesting than the softer ones having Cassidy around creates; it’s possible someone’s going to check up on Tudyk’s most self-serving diagnoses.
The episode’s got a new director to the show—Jennifer Phang—and new credited writers—Emily Eslami and Jeffrey Nieves—and they do some excellent work. The character arc for Bowen is the best part of the narrative, while Tudyk and Reynolds really just get to let loose with their performances.
It’s such a good show. I hope it gets renewed. Dang it.