blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Resident Alien (2021) s02e06 – An Alien in New York

There are a couple big surprises this episode, which sees Sara Tomko and Alan Tudyk going to New York City to find another alien from Tudyk’s species. It’s not New York, New York, it seems to be the more Manhattan-y streets of Vancouver, but they do a decent enough job of it. Tudyk hates all the people, the smells, and probably the noise. There’s a lot of street noise; it’s particularly good sound for a show where they don’t have to think about constant background noise very often.

The trip to New York doesn’t start the episode—they first started talking about it in the episode before last but got busy with more pressing matters—instead, it’s trip prep, which includes the two big surprises. If you haven’t read the comic, I guess there’s another surprise later on, but the New York stuff is the most faithful adaptation of the comic’s plot to date.

One of the surprises is a profoundly affecting character death (including a montage with Bee Gees accompanying—lots of great songs this episode); it follows a hilarious scene for Tudyk and Gracelyn Awad Rinke. Judah Prehn and Meredith Garretson aren’t in this episode, which means Rinke’s got to tell Tudyk she lost his silver Starman space ball on her won, and then Levi Fiehler will be free for a character development arc with Alice Wetterlund since wife Garretson and son Prehn aren’t around.

The other surprise involves Tudyk’s human version before the alien arrived and killed him. The episode opens with a flashback to human Tudyk and town doctor Jan Bos in some kind of trouble with a New York company; serious trouble. And, of course, human Tudyk’s going to be a bad guy who kills Bos, but the show hasn’t explored their relationship (or Tudyk’s motive) until now. The surprise isn’t that flashback, however. It’s alien Tudyk having found a big bag of cash hidden in the house, presumably a pay-off. He doesn’t tell anyone about it until now when Tomko complains they’re low on spending money for their trip.

The bag of cash also has some clues about Bos’s murder, which gets Tomko into investigation mode. When they get to New York, she wants to investigate since the company’s there, while Tudyk’s fixated on finding his alien brethren. The investigating has some ups and downs, and ends with them in a trendy gallery where someone gets Tudyk to take LSD.

At first, it seems like LSD doesn’t work on aliens… but, no, it does, and gloriously so.

While Tudyk and Tomko are out of town, there are character development arcs for some of the other cast members. First, sheriff Corey Reynolds makes an effort to help mayor Fiehler, leading to Fiehler and Wetterlund’s arc. Then deputy Elizabeth Bowen toggles from her unapproved UFO investigation to trying to figure out what Reynolds has been so upset about lately.

It’s a nice arc for Fiehler and Wetterlund, with some good comedy moments. The Reynolds and Bowen arc is a lot more dramatic, again with some great acting from Reynolds.

The cliffhanger’s a little abrupt, but otherwise, it’s a very strong field trip episode. The show’s never gotten out of its little mountain town like it does here before, and they do a good job of it.

Lea Thompson’s directing again and just as solidly capable as last time.

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