Recently, I have been watching Roswell on DVD. I finished Season 2 a couple of days ago and I had some thoughts about some things that have bugged me since I first watched it years ago.
I never saw the show when it was originally on the air, rather, I started watching it after the show went off the air and the SciFi channel (now Syfy) was showing reruns. I absolutely fell in love with the show because it featured several things that love. First, there were my two favorite love story archetypes: the Romeo and Juliet romance (Max and Liz) and the bad boy becomes a better person for the sake of love (Michael and Maria). Second, there is the whole enhanced powers thing (see the second point in my blog post re Ben from Falling Skies) which I have always liked.
The first season sucked me in as few shows have ever done. Then there was the second season. While I love the first part of the season (the Skins/Dupes storylines), I was less than thrilled with the last two storylines (Gandarium and Alex's death). The Gandarium storyline was just stupid, but the storyline revolving around Alex's death has always infuriated me because of the way Liz treats Max and everyone else.
In the first part of the season, Max comes back from the future to warn Liz that the world is coming to an end because Max and Liz grew closer and froze Tess out. So (future) Max comes back to get Liz to help (present) Max to fall out of love with her. After a couple of failed attempts, Liz finally comes up with the idea for (present) Max to find her in bed with Kyle, thereby causing him to feel betrayed and disrupt their romance. Fast forward to after the prom. Alex dies in a car accident and Liz is convinced that an alien killed Alex. All the evidence points to a suicide, but Liz refuses to believe it and says that Alex's death was Max, Michael, Isabel, and Tess' fault. This (obviously) causes a massive rift to form in the group and Max, who has been getting closer to Tess as she helps him recover memories from his life on Antar, ends up sleeping with Tess. Meanwhile, Liz is obsessed with uncovering the truth and ends up alienating everyone. Ultimately, she convinces Michael and Maria to help her and it comes out that Tess accidentally killed Alex because she tried to mindwarp him one too many times in an effort to get the other hybrids to return with her to Antar. Tess ends up going back to Antar while she is pregnant with Max's baby while the other hybrids stay behind.
Sounds like a nifty idea, and it was. My problem with it lies in the fact that Liz ends up more or less getting a free pass on being absolutely horrible to everyone else while Max ends up being the bad guy. Max only grew closer to Tess because Liz kept on pushing him towards her. Then, Liz has the gall to be upset that Max and Tess actually slept together! I get that she never slept with Kyle, but the thing is that she did everything she could to push Max away and then is surprised and upset when he does what she has been pushing him to do! Add to that the fact that she says outright that Alex's death is Max's fault and then later claims that she never blamed him and he just takes it. Also, she tore the group apart for no good reason with her investigation. Was she right? Sure. But the problem is that she never really tried to get the group to work together to find the truth. Instead, she was so singularly focused on proving that she was right and Max was wrong that she ripped the group dynamics to shreds.
Now, I will admit that Max was not a saint during this whole thing. He did feud with Liz, although he did also try and heal the rift (which she rebuffed soundly), and he did force Isabel to stay in Roswell. However, unlike Liz, he paid for his mistakes. He was (as always) focused to trying to hold the group together and keep them safe. After Alex's death, he was hit with several blows ranging from Isabel's sudden (to him) desire to leave Roswell, Liz's accusations, and Tess' convincing him that his son was dying. So, he reacted to the situation he thought he could control (Isabel) very, very badly.
Liz, on the other hand, never paid for her actions. Even into the third season, she blamed Max for things and caused him a lot of emotional hardship. She voluntarily decided to help him search for his son, but eventually even used that as an excuse to leave him for a while.
While I have no objections to Max paying for the bad things he ended up doing, I really wish that Liz had been forced to face what she did and had paid a price like Max did. Instead, she ends up being the "aggrieved" party merely because she happened to be right about what happened to Alex, as if being right excused everything that she did.
Now, don't get me wrong, I do love the show. In fact, I would say that along with Babylon 5 and One Tree Hill, it is one of my three favorite shows. Regardless, this particular storyline always irritates me and I just needed to get it off my chest.