There’s a really fantastic moment when the two collide, and the ICE agent calls Liz a waitress. The way Jeanine Mason plays it, you can see the thought cross Liz’s mind that for a second, she thinks about saying, “But I’m a SCIENTIST!” Instead of trying to be more perfect or worthy for them, she owns who she is in that moment, a waitress, and instead pivots to something tactically useful: as an owner, she can kick them out. It’s a small moment, but in the context of an episode about a woman who was once a girl who had no one like herself to look up to, who never dreamed she could be published, it makes it easier to understand the woman who bases her identity on her science, who can’t give it up, even for the man she loves. This is her American Dream.
But then there’s Diego. In flashback he criticizes Liz for always having to “act perfect” and years later, in the diner, seems to want to quiet her when she chooses to speak up to defend herself and her father. While there are merits to a number of approaches to law enforcement, that’s Liz’s choice. Diego might have been able to throw down the trump card that political (and likely financial?) privilege affords him, but that doesn’t mean he gets to tell Liz how to feel or how to handle her business, something the writing subtly put forward.
I could be wrong here, but it reads to me like he’s meant to be someone whose family has been in American longer than Liz’s – and certainly his parents are documented – so even though he’s also Latinx, he simply doesn’t have the same experience as Liz. He is still benefiting, in some ways, from the same system that oppresses him in other ways.
Another show might have placed more emotional weight on Flint offering Michael that Alex could go free, but only if Michael released Flint and turned himself in. The Roswell writers seem to be broadcasting that this is not even a question for Guerin. Instead, the big moment came earlier, when Michael confronted the human form of all his fear, hatred, stigma and shame, as well as Alex’s. But instead of beating Jesse Manes within an inch of his life, which would clearly be his preference, he chose Alex’s route and delivered what’s frankly a bigger blow to the elder Manes: a speech about how loving Alex made him understand humanity and that there’s a better way than violence.
Isobel and Rosa had some much-needed time together. They’re two of the strongest characters, but also two people who have been through so much (wow, all of these characters have actually been through so much. Can they get a group rate on therapy?) Isobel’s willingness to be kind and up front with Rosa beget an openness from Rosa. It’s no coincidence that the conversation we saw wasn’t about Noah, but was instead about the two women connecting over vulnerabilities. Pain doesn’t have to match in order to build a bridge between two people. It’s good to see Rosa in a place where she can stand back from her own and examine it at a distance, as well as see someone else’s pain and have the emotional bandwidth to reach into her own painful memories to extend an olive branch.