You can tell that the last 12 months are getting to you when you’re wavering between laughter and tears while watching a Syfy dramedy.
Even a show as good as Resident Alien shouldn’t have me swinging so wildly, but Resident Alien Season 1 Episode 4 doubled down on what makes humans so human, and that only proves that this last year has been slowly killing us.
If you don’t live alone, maybe it didn’t hit you as hard as it did me, but even if you are surrounded by family, being absent from others you love for extended periods is kind of hell on earth.
Everyone needs to belong to something bigger than themselves. Yes, there is strength in numbers, but maybe it’s simpler. Maybe humans just feel better when they know they are not alone on this earth.
As Harry becomes more human all the time, he’s recognizing how much his friends and family meant to him. Without emotions, it must have been easy for him to leave his planet for the great mission on earth, even if he did it in the wake of his wife’s death.
Harry has entertained the idea that humans are a far more emotional being than his people who seemingly don’t laugh or cry. But as he embraces what makes us distinctly human, I have to wonder if his species is physically or mentally incapable of the same or both.
Even propagating the species doesn’t mean that you need to take a wife. We see animals who copulate with every available healthy partner to ensure their species’ survival. We know that Harry’s race is intelligent. And we know that they’ve been annoyed with humanity enough to want to end it.
So what’s holding them back?
Yes, I know that all of those are pointless and that we’ll probably never understand, but in light of Harry’s burgeoning emotions and how he continues to feel new things about his home, it seemed worth at least a little discussion.
But back to me and the dastardly 12 months in our wake. The Cheers theme really struck home. In February 2021, who doesn’t want to go to a place where everybody knows their name? Just like Harry is realizing what he left behind, Resident Alien reminds me of all that we’ve lost in the last year.
It’s astounding when you take a minute to think of it. So, we’ll stop doing that again and focus on the show.
Harry’s dream made it seem that he likes where he is now despite how he explained to Asta later how much he yearns for home. I can’t escape the feeling that if he returns, he will still be alone because nobody else will have been enlightened to the beauty of friendship, togetherness, and love.
Won’t he be an odd duck, wishing to gather with others to enjoy a meal, when they eat only to survive? If Harry is as intelligent as he claims to be, then he has to have that same feeling niggling away at his brain.
That he can go so soft is delightful when he can also wish children dead and carry them callously up the stairs in two duffle bags. Harry is a perfect vehicle to explore the best and the worst the lifeforms have to offer, human and alien.
Max and Sahar are starring in their own movie (cue Sahar’s Elliott and ET like bike-riding moment), trying to expose Harry as an alien.
But as clever as they are, you are also keenly aware they’re still children when Max prefers his parents’ divorce to dinner with Harry, and they take tinfoil hats to his place to protect them from alien invasion.
On another program, the duo might be too silly, but with Harry an emotional child (but growing all the time), he acts as the thread holding the kids’ antics together with deeper issues, such as Liv and Asta both struggling with their self-worth.
I guess I shouldn’t limit that struggle to them alone. Every character on Resident Alien is faced with something that makes them feel less than in the company of others.
D’Arcy doesn’t see her accomplishments because all she brought back to Patience was a shattered leg. Kate doesn’t recognize her family’s stability or Ben’s love when she learns he never told her about dating D’Arcy back in the day.
Sheriff Mike belittles Deputy Liv in his quest to feel bigger in his britches, and Asta used every ill-gotten belief about Dan raising her against his wishes to give up Jay instead of raising her himself.
That one really hurt. Asta grew up thinking that Dan felt forced into raising her. She didn’t realize that Dan could have decided against it, too. Nobody forced him to take her under his wing; it was something he wanted to do, and he loves her dearly.
Asta was so lost in her relationship with Jimmy that she didn’t allow herself to be loved, not even by the man who raised her. It’s hard to think about the decades lost because she thought she was acting in everyone else’s best interests and letting sleeping dogs lie and all that.
Asta: Are we going to be OK?
Dan: Even when we’re not OK, we’ll always be OK.
Instead, she could have kept Jay and raised her with the full support of her Ute family. Their togetherness and acceptance of Harry showed him right away how special being in a crowd could be. But Asta never felt it fully. Hopefully, she’ll get the chance to make things right with Jay.
All of this was pretty heavy stuff. But that didn’t mean the laughter was left behind.
Sheriff Mike might be an ass to Liv, but he’s got some good in there. And Corey Reynolds is doling out lines that take me by surprise. Who doesn’t love that?
When Harry rightfully got annoyed at the continued disruption of his peace and quiet (and his ability to bury the dead body), Sheriff Mike didn’t let a good opportunity for a zinger pass him by.
Harry: This body needs ten hours of sleep to function, and your domesticated wolf woke it up before even six hours.
Sheriff Mike: Well, it must suck to get so much sleep and still look like shit.
And when the kids were bicycling down the middle of the road, Sheriff Mike didn’t give them a free pass for their age, even if he was damned glad to see them outdoors and not staring at a screen indoors all day like kids tend to do.
And how can you think poorly of a fella who cusses while apologizing for cussing? It’s so rich!
I do like the fact that you kids are outdoors. You’re not stuck inside with your face glued to some screen. That’s good. Alright, now go have fun; be safe. Get that reflector fixed and get yourself some all-weather tires. And next time, you use your hand signals. You know how the saying goes, right? If you don’t use your arms to signal, a truck will rip ’em right off. True story. Alright. Be safe.
That is an “old saying” that I want to stick around.
Alice Wetterlund was brilliant.
See ya around, sister wife.
From D’Arcy inserting herself into every available situation with Harry to getting under Kate’s skin without thinking about it twice, her timing is out of this world.
Alan Tudyk was perfect, as usual. Being a part of his performance on the basketball court must have been so much fun for the others involved. And every time Harry laughs, something inside of me bubbles over thanks to Tudyk’s delivery.
Harry’s first kiss with D’Arcy was one of the ugliest, messiest kissing scenes in television history, but it still wasn’t D’Arcy’s worst kiss. No wonder she starts drinking at the beginning of her shift!
[after his first kiss with D’Arcy] Ah! It’s rigor mortis! My penis is dying!
And rigor mortis? Puhlease. It’s so obvious, but scenes like that are never the focal point. They’re little asides that, if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss entirely.
So yes, my love affair with Resident Alien continues. Thank God for bright spots, especially those that remind us how together we all are when we can feel so damned alone these days.
I can guarantee that you missed something from the hour, so give it another whirl and watch Resident Alien online because you know you want to.
Thanks so much for reading and making this journey of life a little less lonely. Now, hit the comments, Resident Alien Fanatics. Let’s get our discussion on!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.