blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Resident Alien (2021) s02e10 – The Ghost of Bobby Smallwood

There are some fine performances this episode, but the whole thing seems strangely off, starting with the opening involving the kid who gets lost in the mines back in the thirties. It’s been a setting detail from the first season, but now we’re seeing it happen for some reason. By the time it’s relevant, the episode’s a third done, then it’s not clear why it’s more important for another third. In the meantime, there’s a lot of country music and sad regular cast members.

Except, of course, Sara Tomko, who Alan Tudyk brainwashed last episode to forget killing a bad guy to save him. He also wiped her memory of meeting estranged, given-up-for-adoption daughter Kaylayla Raine, who Tomko then stood up because she didn’t remember making plans. It ends up being an excellent episode for Tomko, as far as acting fodder, but the entire thing is a do-over of last episode.

They get away with it because it’s believable for Tudyk’s character, but… it’s not great plotting.

The script’s credited to Christian Taylor, their first credit. There’s some good stuff, and there’s some middling stuff. Good stuff is Tomko, Tudyk, hilarious deadpan nurse Diana Rang, and some of Alice Wetterlund’s romance arc. The middling stuff is Corey Reynolds getting excited to work with neighboring town’s detective Nicola Correia-Damude because they’re both from the East Coast. Last episode, Correia-Damude thought Reynolds was a loud-mouth doofus, this episode, she thinks he’s a loud-mouth from DC and full of good ideas.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Bowen’s jealous Reynolds isn’t paying attention to her professionally again, which was a big—and seemingly resolved—story arc.

Then there’s mayor Levi Fiehler and his wife, Meredith Garretson, having marital problems. Fiehler makes the mistake of asking Reynolds for advice and taking it. Just like Wetterlund’s arc with beau Justin Rain, the episode rushes into the fire, then puts it out immediately. Big, easy-to-resolve stakes.

Wetterlund and Rain are at least cute. Fiehler and Garretson are annoying.

Cute, but annoyingly not in the episode enough are Gracelyn Awad Rinke and Judah Prehn. At first, it seems like Prehn’s going to be off-screen the whole episode because he doesn’t figure into parents Fiehler and Garretson’s lives this episode at all, but then he shows up to check in with Rinke and set up something for later.

The episode seems discombobulated. Director Kabir Akhtar doesn’t do a bad job—and does quite well with some of the performances—but he also doesn’t save the episode from the meandering script.

Or the grating country songs over all the heartache and sadness scenes, which are most of them this episode.

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