Since last week’s big cliffhanger and series low episode (way low), “Resident Alien” has gotten its second season renewal. Apparently it wasn’t in danger of not getting a second season; it’s Syfy’s highest rated original in years or some such.
This episode does nothing to assuage about the overall quality of the show. It’s an all-action episode—with asides—as Alan Tudyk, Sara Tomko, and Alice Wetterlund try to stay alive in a glacier crevasse, the townsfolk perturb their arcs (not knowing the three are missing).
Shannon Kohli directs, doing a fine job; Taylor Christine writes (or gets the writer credit), also doing a fine job. Though the stuff with Tudyk, Tomko, and Wetterlund is all high stakes action drama, so it’s sort of a gimme. But the episode starts and finishes a character development arc for Levi Fiehler, playing off last episode’s events, and while it can’t right the ship (or it can’t guarantee righting the ship), it’s very nice to see the character work getting done.
Also Corey Reynolds isn’t cruel in this episode and his now even more troubled relationship with deputy Elizabeth Bowen gets some promising work done here too. It’s measured—the episode also ends on a cliffhanger so they’re definitely getting it geared to the season finale, but it’s less passively arranged chess pieces and more character agency.
Good performances in town from Reynolds (obviously) and one of Fiehler’s best performances in the series. His wife, Meredith Garretson, ends up playing support to him—other than when she bumps into evil Special Forces lady Mandall Maughan (Garretson and Maughan could be twins; seriously, when they run into each other—in a very obvious homage to a famous bit—I thought another shapeshifter alien had arrived). Bowen doesn’t get much but she’s real good too. Things seem in better shape. Also Gary Farmer’s around a bit, which is never bad.
But the spotlight is on Tomko as she has to help Tudyk survive some unpredictable injuries as they have some lengthy heart-to-heart conversations. Tudyk’s good too and often really funny, but half his face is in makeup because of aforementioned injuries; not to mention he doesn’t emote a lot in the part. But when the heart-to-hearts hit, they hit well.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens next—not just in the plot (though it’s certainly getting a lot more familiar having read the comic)—but in the show’s quality level. Like I said, this episode doesn’t resolve quality pitfall of the previous episode… it just delays that verdict.
Fingers crossed. Especially after the episode reminds of Tomko’s considerable ability.