I’m worried I’m overthinking the season finale. I’m also worried I’m under thinking it. It’s a good season finale, with show creator Chris Sheridan getting the script credit—something he hasn’t had since early in the show’s run—and nice direction from Robert Duncan McNeill. It wraps everything up neatly while getting things in shape for a second season, including some big character development for some of the supporting cast.
It also does a big reveal regarding the mystery, which otherwise gets forgotten—presumably it’ll matter next season because it fundamentally changes some assumptions characters have about one another. But that big reveal also makes one of the other parts of the episode a complete waste of time. Vaguely amusing depending on how much you like when Alan Tudyk treads water—and he’s perfectly good at it—but it’s still just treading water while the currents rage around him.
This episode’s got big arcs for kids Judah Prehn and Gracelyn Awad Rinke, teenager Kaylayla Raine, and then Prehn’s parents, Meredith Garretson and Levi Fiehler. There’s also a lot for Alice Wetterlund, who bounces around the main cast like a pinball; Wetterlund and Raine have the most “human” arcs of the episode. There aren’t any more aliens revealed—well, not exactly—but everyone else’s arc either directly involves alien Tudyk or suspicions of aliens.
Just to mention it before I forget. Couple great seventies songs this episode, plus a wholesome Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds remix. There’s some big special effects sequences for the season finale stuff, but the emotion and humanity they find using the songs is what’s really impressive. Good special effects are just a given in 2021. A good, song-driven action sequence? Not as easy.
Lots of great performances. Sara Tomko gets a couple big scenes, a couple little ones; she’s actually in the episode the least of the regulars (outside maybe sheriff Corey Reynolds and deputy Elizabeth Bowen, who are around but support). Some really good stuff for Tomko, though it definitely seems—even if I’m not overthinking it—next season will give her even more opportunities.
Prehn and Rinke are fantastic as always. Particularly strong work from Fiehler, Wetterlund, Garretson, Raine. Reynolds and Bowen get a bit of good stuff but just a bit. They too have a lot of promise going forward.
Outside the one “wasted” scene and a little bit too distant narrative distance in the third act, it’s a very nice performance from Tudyk, who’s mostly by himself this episode with a momentous character development arc.
“Resident Alien” started the season getting better and better only for a big wipeout. It’s been building itself back up since and the season finale’s a nice, sturdy finish with setup. I’m back to eagerly anticipating season two.