Sunday, February 28, 2021

Resident Alien, Season 1, Episode 2: Homesick

This week on Resident Alien, Harry steps up his attempts to "silence" Max for good (!), and is unprepared for the emotional side effects of taking a human form.

This week's episode also ramps up the funny, as it makes full advantage of star Alan Tudyk's comedy chops. His portrayal of an alien here is top notch, as he plays Harry as equal parts pompous, ominous and hopelessly innocent.

Homesick was directed by Robert Duncan McNeill, who played Tom Paris on Star Trek: Voyager. McNeill helmed four episodes of Voyager, and apparently liked life in the director's chair. He's become quite a prolific director since, working on dozens of TV series over the years. 

I honestly don't have much else to say about this episode, so let's get on with the reviewin'!

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
On a mountain near Patience, Colorado, a hiker trudges through the snow. He stops at the edge of a sheer cliff to take a selfie. Right on cue the edge gives way, and he falls over the cliff and plummets helplessly through the air. He's stunned though when he suddenly stops six feet from the ground, suspended by some sort of invisible energy field. Unable to free himself, he begins calling for help.

Picking up where we left off last week, Dr. Harry Vanderspiegel, who's secretly an alien posing as a human, enters his exam room for his first appointment of the day. His patient is Max Hawthorne, the young son of Patience's Mayor Ben Hawthorne. Max can somehow see through Harry's disguise, and screams at the sight of him. Harry, who's desperate to keep his secret, threatens to kill Max (!). Terrified, the kid leaps out the window.

Max runs down the street as his parents chase after him. He hides under a bench, telling them that the alien who tried to kill him in the previous episode is really the doctor. Ben talks him out from under the bench and takes him to work with him for some reason.

Cut to the Mayor's office, which has been taken over by Sheriff Mike Thompson. When Ben complains, the Sheriff says he has real work to do— like finding out who killed Sam Hodges, the town's previous doctor. Max pipes up and says he knows who killed Hodges. The Sheriff's all ears until Max says Harry's an alien and is probably the one who did it. After the others leave, Deputy Liv Baker tells Max she's also the town's police sketch artist, and offers to draw Harry's alien form for him (Plot Point!).

Back at the clinic, Harry thinks to himself how easy it is to be a doctor, as all he has to do is look up any procedure on the internet. Unfortunately it's not that simple. His next patient is Judy, who's there for a pelvic exam. While consulting his phone, Harry accidentally takes a photo of her naughty parts. The rest of his examinations are equally awkward.

Sometime later Harry & Asta (the nurse at the clinic) visit the local diner. Asta introduces Harry to her father Dan, who's the cook. Dan pulls Asta into the kitchen and tells her there's something wrong with Harry, as he senses nothing when he looks at him— as if he's a blank slate.

While Harry waits for Asta, he glances out the window and sees the streets are plastered with wanted posters featuring his true face, drawn by Deputy Baker (told you it was a Plot Point!). Apparently Max took her sketch and whipped up the posters.

We then see Harry back at his cabin, packing his bags as he prepares to move on. Suddenly he stops, saying he still needs to find the missing component from his crashed ship in order to complete his mission. He then thinks back to how it took him weeks to control his new human body, as we get a good old fashioned montage sequence of him learning to walk and eat. He decides against moving away.

Harry then calls Max, pretending to be a friend from school. He says he saw the posters and spotted the alien get on a bus and leave town, so Max no longer has to worry about him. Max sees right through his clumsy ruse and says he knows he's the alien. Max says if Hary kills him his parents will know he did it. Foiled again!

The next day at the clinic, Asta introduces Harry to her cousin Kayla and infant nephew Sage. Harry's both fascinated and repulsed by the baby. Jay the intern appears, and Asta forces her to apologize to Harry for calling him a douche bag last week. Asta asks how Jay's coping with Dr. Hodges' death, and tells her she's there for her if she ever wants to talk. Jay says she's fine and hurriedly leaves.

That night Harry experiences an "emptiness" inside him. Assuming he's hungry, he wanders over to The 59. There he talks with D'Arcy the bartender, She offers him a shot of whiskey, but he declines it, saying last time he drank it he tried to kill someone. Thinking he's kidding, D'Arcy jokes about being a murderer and says if he does kill anyone to make it look like an accident.

Unaware that she's joking, Harry realizes he can get away with killing Max as long as he makes his death look accidental. While he's contemplating that, D'Arcy invites him to take her bowling the next night.

The next day Ben comes to the clinic for a therapy session with Harry. As Ben drones on about his problems, Harry fantasizes about various ways to kill Max. Dr. Hodges' widow Abigail then barges into the office, demanding to know if Harry really thinks her husband was poisoned. Asta hurries in and rushes her out of the office.

Asta goes to the Sheriff and tells him that Abigail was disturbing a crime scene, and may even be the one who killed her husband. The Sheriff says he's already gathered all the evidence he needs from the office, and claims Hodges' wife has a rock solid alibi.

Harry watches as the two argue, fascinated by human emotion. He flashes back to the night he crash landed on Earth four months ago. Needing food, he located a barn, found a cow and began drinking directly from its teat. OK, that was weird and pointless.

Harry meets D'Arcy at the bowling alley for their date. They run into Judy (the pelvic exam), who hands them their shoes. Sheriff Mike's bowling with his league, and is eager to see Harry's bowling skills. Harry grabs a ball, stares at the lane and realizes the game is a simple matter of mathematics. As he swings the ball backwards, he accidentally lets go and it hits Sheriff Mike square in the crotch!

Later over dinner, Harry asks D'Arcy when the snow will melt on the mountain (where he's been searching for his missing ship component). She says it could happen in as little as a week, which alarms Harry. She then goes on about how she used to be a skier, and severely injured herself when she couldn't stop. Her story makes him realize that "not stopping" is how he can kill Max. He abruptly gets up and leaves.

Harry sneaks into the Hawthornes' yard and cuts the brake lines on Max's bike.

At the clinic the next day, Harry's shocked when Ben brings Max in to get stitches. Seems cutting his brakes didn't kill him after all, but only banged him up a little. Max is a bit less terrified of Harry this time, now that he knows he has the upper hand and can report the alien to the authorities any time he wants.

Harry tells Max he'll numb his arm if he's a "good boy," but Max tells him to do his worst. Harry then stiches up Max's arm without a local anesthesia. Max grimaces in pain, but refuses to give in to Harry. As Max leaves, he tells Harry his shoe's untied, and the alien falls for the well-worn gag.

That night, Asta eats dinner with Dan. He suggests she cut off some of her hair in honor of Dr. Hodges (I assume it's a Native American thing?). She agrees, and he cuts off a length of her ponytail.

The next morning, Asta tells Harry that the last time she saw Hodges alive, he asked her to play cards with him. She declined, wanting to hurry home. Now she wishes she'd played after all. She also tells Harry that Dan isn't her real father, but a man who took her in and raised her after her mom left. Unsure what else to do, Harry asks if she wants to play cards. He wonders how he's able to "feel an emotion that's inside someone else."

Sometime later, Harry's searching the mountain again. He says he realizes now that the "empty felling" inside him isn't hunger, but loneliness. His detector leads him back to the Patience Coal Mine, where he finds a sample of tellurium, whatever that is. He takes the sample home, melts it down and creates a small anti-gravity disk. He says once he completes his mission and fries every living human on Earth, he can use the tellurium to fly back home. All he has to do is find his missing device.

Cut to two snowmobilers on the mountain. The come across Selfie Guy, whose frozen, desiccated body is still hovering in mid-air (along with a couple of eagles). This time though, we see the snow's melted, and Harry's full-sized anti-grav disk is lying below the suspended man.

Thoughts:
• This episode is bookended by Selfie Guy, a hapless hiker who becomes hopelessly trapped by forces not of this Earth. Several things here:

At the beginning of the episode, Selfie Guy accidentally falls off a cliff. Instead of splattering to the ground far below, he becomes suspended ten feet off the ground, caught in some sort of anti-grav field.

At the end of the episode, a couple of snowmobilers  the long-dead body of Selfie Guy, who's been floating in place for four months. It's a gruesome discovery, as his body's all withered and decayed.

I dunno... I get that the producers wanted to show he'd been stuck there for a long time, but would his body really deteriorate that much in a frigid environment like this? Wouldn't it be perfectly preserved, like it'd been kept in a freezer?

Also, this episode also gives us another flashback of Harry's ship crash landing in the mountains. If you look closely, you can see a lightning strike knock one of the glowing rings off the side of the ship and send it flying.

In the final shot of the episode, we see the snow on the mountain's melted a bit, revealing that Selfie Guy (along with two hawks or eagles) are suspended above a large metallic disk.

Is this disk the same one we saw get blasted off the spaceship? It would make sense. This disk obviously has anti-gravity properties— something that would come in handy on an interplanetary craft. 

It's pretty obvious this is the component Harry's looking for, that will help him repair his ship, complete his mission and return home.

• As regular readers of my reviews  (both of you!) know, I like to try and figure out where various series film their location shots. Most of the Arrowverse shows are filmed in Vancouver, so it's fairly easy to find the buildings and streets they regularly use.

Despite the fact that Resident Alien takes place in the fictional town of Patience, Colorado, it's filmed in Vancouver as well. The interiors are all filmed on a soundstage there, while the exteriors are shot in the tiny town of Ladysmith. It's located on in British Columbia on Vancouver Island, which is about twenty miles from the city of Vancouver.

Since Ladysmith's such a small town, it's pretty simple to scope out the locations they use.

Near the beginning of the episode, we see Max run screaming out of the clinic— where he's just encountered Harry again— and race down the street in terror.

Here's the real life location of the clinic. You can identify it by the three distinctive protrusions above the windows in front, as well as the large sign on the side. In reality the building's a mundane old credit union a block or so from Ladysmith's business district!

Oddly enough, the clinic seen in Pilot is a completely different building from the one in this episode! I can think of two reasons for this: A: the producers changed their minds and went with a location that looked less like a grocery store, or B: the owners of the first building decided a filming crew was causing too much of a disturbance and told 'em to get lost.

Max runs down the street from Harry and hides under a bench, as his embarrassed parents attempt to coax him out.

This area's located on 1st Avenue, which is Ladysmith's main street. Note that it looks like the producers added Max's hidin' bench in front of the building with the striped awnings.

Next up is what I guess you'd call City Hall, which houses the Mayor's office as well as the Sheriff's station. It's the tall brown building near the center of frame.

This building's also located on 1st Avenue (as most businesses in Ladysmith are!). 

Note that this location causes a bit of a continuity error. As seen above, when Max ran out of the clinic, he hid under a bench in front of a building with striped awnings. This location is clearly just a hundred feet or so down the street from the City Hall. The clinic's nowhere in sight!

I suppose it's possible that Max was so terrified he ran several blocks before stopping and hiding under the bench. More likely though, the producers just filmed his scene while the crew was already set up on the street and hoped the audience wouldn't notice. But we did notice, guys. We noticed.

Harry exits the diner and walks up an inclined street, where he spots dozens of wanted posters featuring his alien face.

It took a while, but I managed to track down the street in question. You can see the angled road, the distinctive white railing and even the utility pole that Max plastered with posters. There's just one thing missing— the diner in the background!

As you can see, Google Maps hasn't updated this particular street view since 2012, so it's entirely possible the diner was built sometime after that . On the other hand, I can't find any evidence of a Joe's Diner anywhere in Ladysmith, BC.

I'm betting there isn't a diner there, and the one we see in this episode has been CGIed into the background behind Harry.

Just in case you doubt my claim that Resident Alien is filmed in Ladysmith, BC, I offer this scene as proof. At one point Asta peddles her bike past the LADYSMITH TRADING CO. LTD.! How's that for evidence?

Once again, like pretty much every business in town, the Trading Co.'s located on 1st Street.

Lastly there's Harry's lakeside cabin. According to the producers it's not an actual house, but a fa├žade built just for the show, located in Howe Sound at Britannia Beach in British Columbia. 

• OK, this is some hardcore nitpicking, but whatever. At the clinic, Harry enters and Asta introduces him to Judy, who's there for a routine pelvic exam. Asta then excuses herself and leaves the room.

Yeah, I don't think so. There's no way in hell a nurse would ever leave a female patient in a vulnerable position like that alone with a male doctor. Not in our current highly litigious society. That's a sexual harassment lawsuit just waiting to happen.

• Hands down the best and funniest part of this episode was the scene in which Harry attempts to improve his bedside manor and reassure a worried woman who's come into the clinic:

Asta: "She just found a lump in her breast. Why don’t you try to be a little more calming this time?"
Harry: (annoyed at her condescension) "I know what I’m doing."
(Harry enters the exam room and speaks with the patient.)
Harry: "I see you found a lump in your breast."
Worried Woman: "Yes."
Harry: "I’m glad that you came in and that you’ve been so diligent with your health. As you know, self‐examination along with appropriate screenings can greatly increase your odds of early detection, so I don’t want you to worry. Many women find lumps in their breasts all the time, and most of them are nothing, okay?"
Worried Woman: "Okay."
Harry: "Good. Now let’s get a look at that tit."

HAW! I laughed so hard at that last line I actually got choked.

Nice Attention To Detail: When Max accuses Harry of being an alien, Deputy Baker uses her police sketch artist skills to draw his otherworldly form. Later in the episode, Harry finds dozens of wanted posters— featuring his alien mug— plastered all over town by Max.

Note that Max's writing skills haven't quite matured, as his poster reads, "havE U seen this alein?" He also advises people to call him before 7pm on weeknights, which is no doubt when he probably goes to bed. Well done, Resident Alien Props Department!

• Setup & Payoff Alert: When Harry calls Max at home, we see he's reading a conspiracy theory website detailing how tin foil hats protect against alien mind control.

At the end of the episode, we see Max took the advice to heart, as he's indeed sleeping in a tin foil hat!

• Harry calls Max and tries to convince him that the alien he's looking for has left town. When Max asks if he's sure it was THE alien, Harry says, "Yes, he was very handsome, like a young Jerry Orbach." Naturally a youngster like Max has no idea who that is. Ha!

Last week in Pilot we saw that Harry learned to speak English by watching endless reruns of Law & Order, so it makes perfect sense that he'd imprint on Orbach.

• After Harry's phone call ruse fails to work, he begins fantasizing about various ways of killing Max. Note the running joke in each of his scenarios, as Max's sneaker always falls to the ground a second after he's killed.

I'm betting the two of them will continue their Coyote vs. Roadrunner adversarial relationship all season, as Harry keeps trying to murder Max in order to shut him up and keep his secret. Having an adult alien constantly being outsmarted by a kid is comedy gold, and Alan Tudyk and young Judah Prehn are great together.

By the way, I read the first three volumes of the Resident Alien comic, and Max isn't in any of them— he's a completely new character made up just for the series.

• D'Arcy makes a date with Harry and insists he take her bowling. Strangely enough, he's never heard of the game and has no idea what she's talking about.

This is odd, as earlier in the episode we see Harry's quite adept at using the internet. He even fakes being a doctor by easily looking up numerous medical procedures on his phone. So why doesn't he just google "bowling?"

Later on we find out the thought apparently never occurred to him, as he's still ignorant of the game and how it's played when he shows up at the alley.

To make it even stranger, at the end of the episode he senses that Asta's feeling sad and offers to play cards with her. So he understands the concept of games and other recreational activities. And he doesn't seem confused by the cards when she deals them out to him, implying he's familiar with whatever game they're playing.

Apparently the producers needed to fill this episode with some more "Stranger In A Strange Land" humor, and came up with Harry's bowling confusion, despite the fact that it makes no sense.

• At one point Asta tries to get sullen teen intern Jay to open up to her and express her feelings about the death of Dr. Hodges. Of course Jay's horrified by Asta's amateurish attempts at psychotherapy and hurries off.

I'm still standing by my theory that Jay will turn out to be the baby that Asta was forced to put up for adoption when she was sixteen. Why else would they have included her character?

• Ben has a therapy session with Harry, who he believes has clinical psychology training. Harry couldn't care less about Ben's blatherings though, as he spends their time doodling various idea for killing Max.

I'm intrigued by Harry's drawings, as they look exactly like something a human would sketch. One would think an alien mind would render concepts that are completely incomprehensible to Earthlings. Did taking on human form affect the way Harry draws?

• I gotta say, the last thing I expected to see on this show was an adult alien physically torturing a child in order to assert his dominance over him! You're weird, Siffy Channel!

• Near the end of the episode we see a montage of the various townspeople relaxing after hours. Deputy Baker spends her evening in front of the tube, and has clearly developed a crush on TV celebrity Giorgio A. Tsoukalos.

In addition to being the subject of a popular meme, Tsoukalos is a ufo-logist, who subscribes to the theory that aliens interacted with ancient man and helped us build monuments like the pyramids and Stonehenge (something that's actually touched on earlier in this episode).

I think I see where this is going. Due to her infatuation with Tsoukalos, Deputy Baker will end up being the first adult to believe Harry's an alien.

• Harry finds a deposit of tellurium in the local mine, and uses it to cobble together a small anti-grav disk.

Oddly enough, tellurium is a real substance! It's a rare, silver-white metal that's related to selenium and sulfur. It's sometimes used as in semiconductors, which makes its use here all the more plausible.

Gosh, if only Harry would share his formula with us, we could have anti-gravity technology right now!

• This Week's Best Lines:
Harry: (voiceover) "All beings of the universe are different. For instance, my people are brilliant. Humans, on the other hand, are so dumb that they think the leading cause of death is heart disease. It’s not. It’s almond milk. Even the Grey aliens won’t touch the stuff."

Max: "Sheriff, I’d like to file a murder complaint. I know who killed Sam Hodges."
Ben: "What are you talking about?"
Sheriff: "Is that so? All right."
Ben: "Sure, have a seat."
Sheriff: "Go ahead and lay it on me, little deputy."
Max: "It’s the new doctor. He’s an alien."
Ben: "Okay, on that note, I’m gonna need everyone out. Kid’s a little delusional with a fever. Maybe no talking for a day."
Sheriff: "Wait, wait, wait, wait. An alien? What you mean? Like, he ain’t got a green card or something?"
Max: "No, like, alien alien from outer space."
Sheriff: "Outer sp..."
Ben: "And shoot me."
Sheriff: "What the hell are you teaching this kid, huh? You know I could lock you up for lying to an officer of the law? That is a crime. You’re committing crime."
Ben: "Got a sick kid, okay? Gonna need everyone out. Got a sick kid. Just..."
Sheriff: "Yeah, he’s sick all right. (to Max) Let me ask you something. You got HBO in your house? Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to watch Oz Season One, and then come back and tell me if you want to go to prison!"

(Harry nervously gives his first ever pelvic exam to Judy.)
Harry: :Okay, I see your problem. You sat on an earring."
(He tries to pull if out.)
Judy: "No! That…"
Harry: "Sorry."
Judy: "That’s supposed to be there."

Harry: (thinking about Max) "This kid is a menace. He just won't give up. Where was that effort from the humans when we were helping them build Stonehenge? A bunch of idiots just sitting around drinking mead, making us do all the work. Lazy druids."

(Harry tries to fool Max into thinking he's gone, by pretending to be a friend from school.)
Harry: (in a high-pitched voice) "Hi, is Max there?"
Kate: "Who’s this?"
Harry: "I’m a friend of his from school. My name is…Elvis."
Kate: "Yeah, okay. (handing the phone to Max) "Max, friend from school."
Max: "Hello?"
Harry: "Hi. I saw your poster on the street."
Max: "Yeah?"
Harry: "And I saw that alien on a bus leaving town, so you don’t have to worry about him anymore."
Max: "Are you sure it was him?"
Harry: "Yes, he was very handsome, like a young Jerry Orbach."
Max: "Who? Wait a minute, I don’t know you from school."
Harry: "You’re right. I’m a post office man. I’m good with my eyes, and I saw that alien, and he’s gone."
Max: "If you’re a man, why do you have a kid’s voice?"
Harry: "Tricycle accident."
Max: "Uh‐huh. If you work at the post office, how much does a stamp cost?"
Harry: "One hundred dollars."
Max: "I knew it! You’re him!"
Harry: "One thousand dollars!"
Max: "I know it’s you, and guess what, alien, you can’t kill me. My parents know you’re after me, and if I die, they’ll know you did it, and you’re dumb. Stamps are like thirty bucks each, stupid."
Harry: "Don’t call me stupid… you little shit."
Max: (gasps) "S‐H‐I‐T is a bad word, stupid."
(Max hangs up.)
Harry: "That’s it. I’m going to kill him."

(Harry stares at Asta, Sheriff Mike and Deputy Baker as they argue.)
Harry: "I can read the emotions on their faces. (looking at Asta) Sadness masking as anger. (Looking at Sheriff Mike) Weakness masking as superiority. (Looking at Deputy Baker) This one’s like a pet rabbit that you yell at so much its hair starts to fall out."

(Harry goes bowling with D'Arcy, and runs into Judy.)
Judy: "So we meet again."
Harry: "Do I know you?"
Judy:
"Yeah, you had your hand inside me the other day."
D'Arcy: "Uh, narrow it down, Judy."

(Harry runs into Sheriff Mike, who's there with his league at the bowling alley.)
Sheriff: "Well, well, well, look who came into my house."
Harry: "You live here?"

If It Ain't Broke...

From the If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It Department: I was tooling around online a couple days ago, and came across a poster for Disney's The Mandalorian. Something about it seemed awfully familiar, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.

Ah, there it is! It's a dead ringer for the poster touting Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

I have a sneaking suspicion someone in the Disney Marketing Department was facing a tight deadline, and needed an idea for a Mandalorian poster stat. Fresh out of ideas, he (or she!) pulled a previous design from his (or her!) hard drive, altered a few details and voila! One poster for The Mandalorian, coming right up!

Don't worry, Disney Grunt, I'm not judging you here. As a fellow graphic designer, we've ALL been there, and are all guilty of... revisiting certain designs. I won't tell if you won't!

Friday, February 19, 2021

Frosty Got Back!

A few weeks ago I bought this little solar powered snowman, that "dances" when exposed to light. 

Imagine my surprise today when I turned him to face the window and noticed he has a little snowman ass! Complete with firm, supple cheeks.

Lemme guess, he poops snowballs, right? Yes! Landed the easy and obvious joke!

Once I got over my initial shock, it occurred to me that this thing's designed backwards. Wouldn't it make more sense to put the solar panel on the back of him? That way when he dances you could see his smiling face. As currently constructed, he'll has to be facing away from me in order to work right.
 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Resident Alien, Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

Welcome to the first episode of Resident Alien!

I'm a bit behind on this review, as I think they've already aired four or five episodes at this point. The reason I'm so late is because I just found out about the show! I didn't even know it existed until it popped up on the YouTube Channel on my Roku.

When I saw it was a Siffy Channel show I immediately wrote it off, assuming it was as awful as their other offerings and unworthy of my time. But then I saw it starred the always awesome Alan Tudyk. I've been a fan of his for years, so I thought, "Eh, what the heck" and gave it a shot.

Am I glad I did! Resident Alien turned out to be quite the pleasant surprise. It takes the well-worn "Alien Among Us" genre and manages to put a fresh new spin on it. In fact you could say it subverted my expectations.

Take Northern Exposure, add a dash of Twin Peaks, stir in some The Man Who Fell To Earth and you'll have a pretty good idea what this series is like.

I was very impressed with the above average writing, and the acting was top notch as well. I actually liked it quite a bit, and am looking forward to seeing where it goes. Even more amazing, I couldn't find much wrong with this first episode, which may be a first!

Let's get into the review!

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
As the episode begins, Doctor Harry Vanderspeigle is fishing on the lake next to his home outside Patience, Colorado. Sheriff Mike Thompson (who insists on being called "Big Black") and his quirky Deputy Liv Baker arrive at Vanderspeigle's home and call him back to shore.

Sheriff Thompson tells Harry they need him to come into town to examine a dead body and determine the cause of death. Harry's reluctant to go, saying they must have a doctor for that. Thompson says Unfortunately the victim IS their doctor.

Flashback to four months earlier, as we see "Harry" is really an alien named Hah Re (com-O-dee!). He's on a mission to deliver a "package" to Earth, when his ship is struck by lightning. He crash lands on a snowy mountaintop somewhere in Colorado. Hah staggers through the snow and arrives at the cabin of Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle.

The alien bursts into the cabin, startling Harry. He fights the alien, who picks him up and hurls him through a window. Harry lands on the upper deck, and the alien picks him up and hurls him into the frozen lake far below. Harry crashes through the ice and drowns.

Hah Re then morphs and takes on the form of Harry in order to blend in. He practices controlling his new body and learns English by watching reruns of Law & Order (Important Plot Point!). He also spends a few hours each day searching the mountain for his ship's payload, in order to complete his mission.

Up to now Harry's avoided going into town, because even though he looks and sounds human, there's clearly something "off" about him. Unable to think of an excuse, Harry agrees to examine the dead doctor. He follows the Sheriff to the clinic.

Once there, Harry meets Ben Hawthorne, the young, inexperienced Mayor, who welcomes him to Patience. Harry sees the body of a young woman lying on an exam table, and assumes she's the deceased. When he touches her she jumps up, startling him. She says her name is Asta Twelvetrees, the late doctor's nurse/assistant.

Harry then sees Hodges' body lying under a sheet. He sniffs the corpse (?), gives it a cursory look and notes several puncture wounds in its neck. He says the stab marks were self inflicted and says the doctor murdered himself. When the Sheriff asks why Hodges would do that, Harry says he doesn't know and leaves. The others stare at one another, unsure of what just happened.

Ben follows Harry out of the clinic, and begs him to perform an autopsy on Hodges, to make sure his death was a suicide. Harry agrees, as he appears eager to "cut into a body and pull out the organs."

Harry then walks down the street, as Ben's wife Kate and his young son Max approach. Max looks up and somehow sees Harry in his true alien form. He lets out a bloodcurdling scream and dives into his mother's car. Harry notes that only one human in a million has the "genetic mutation" that allows them to see through his disguise. Obviously Max is one in a million.

Later on Harry wheels Hodges' body into the lab and begins the autopsy. Asta appears and insists on helping, as she was close to Hodges, and doesn't believe he killed himself. Harry's not happy with the intrusion, but agrees to let her help.

After the autopsy, Asta says she's going to the bar across the street for drinks. For no good reason, she invites Harry— who she openly admits is creepy— to come. He defers at first, but realizes socializing would help him to fit in with humans. He tells her he'll meet her later.

After Asta leaves, Harry cuts Hodges' skull open so he can squeeze his brain between his fingers (???). Unfortunately, Hodges' wife— who doesn't know her husband is dead— picks that moment to enter the lab looking for him. It doesn't go well.

Harry joins Asta at the bar, called The 59. Asta begins telling Harry her life story, saying she left home when she was sixteen and married a biker. Unfortunately they split four months ago, Since Harry has a truck, she asks Harry if he'll help her move her stuff out of her ex's house. Asta's friend D'arcy, who's the bartender, then begins aggressively hitting on Harry. 

Harry asks why the bar's called "The 59." D'arcy says the town motto is "Fifty Nine Died To Save One," and tells him if he sticks around long enough he may find out what it means (Plot Point!).

The three begin doing whiskey shots, and Harry becomes intoxicated for the first time. Against his better judgement, he gets up and dances around the bar.

Hours later Harry & Asta leave the bar, and she tells him to pick her up at 10am the next morning. After she leaves, Harry congratulates himself, saying no one could tell he was different. He then remembers that Max could see his actual form, and decides to hunt the kid down and kill him (!).

He drives around till he spots Kate Hawthorne's car in front of a house, and determines that Max lives there. He climbs into Max's bedroom window and clamps his hand over his mouth. He tells the struggling boy that he's not going to hurt him— just kill him. Max bites Harry's hand and begins screaming bloody murder.

Ben and Kate enter Max's room just as Harry dives under the bed. Max tells them the alien's back, but of course they don't believe him. They tell Max he can sleep in their room tonight. As the three leave, Max turns back and sees Harry flip him off from under the bed.

The next morning Harry wakes with a raging hangover, and erroneously deduces that if whiskey affected humans the way it did him, they'd never drink it. He looks for the device again, and comes across a mine entrance labeled with a sign that reads, "Fifty Nine Died To Save One."

Later on Harry returns to the clinic, where the Sheriff accuses him of "stealing" Hodges' body. Harry admits he took it, and shows them that he placed it in a snow bank behind the building to preserve it until the coroner arrived (???). I assume this scene was meant to show us that Harry's quirky?

Inside the clinic, Asta introduces Harry to Jay, a troubled young girl who works part time as an intern. Harry comments on her birthmark, thinking she has a fly on her neck. Jay calls him a douchebag and leaves. Since nothing really comes of this scene, I'm assuming it's setup for a later episode.

Harry drives Asta to the home of her ex, Jimmy. She grabs her stuff and Harry carries it out to his truck. Unfortunately Jimmy picks that moment to return. He naturally assumes Harry is Asta's new boyfriend, but she tells him they just work together. Asta tells Harry to go, as she and Jimmy have things to discuss. Harry gets in his truck and leaves.

As he drives off, Harry tells himself he needs to stick to his mission and not get involved with the natives. It's clear that Jimmy's an abusive spouse though, so against his better judgement, he turns around and returns to the house. He peeks through a window and sees Jimmy hitting Asta and shoving her to the floor.

Harry smashes through a wall, grabs Jimmy and hauls him outside. He begins choking him, but Asta rushes outside and begs him to stop. Harry releases Jimmy, and Asta kicks him in the side while he's down. Harry & Asta leave together.

Asta has Harry drive her to a lookout spot, and the two get out and stare at a scenic mountain. She admits she became pregnant when she married Jimmy at age sixteen, and he forced her to give the child up for adoption.

The next day we see Harry at the burial service for Dr. Hodges. He approaches Ben, and asks him why everyone in town is calling him, believing he's the new doctor. Ben says it's because he is. Asta thanks Harry for coming and says he's "a breath of fresh air" in the town. This sparks an idea in Harry.

He marches up to the casket, and to the horror of everyone assembled, throws open the lid. He begins sniffing Hodges' body, as Asta drags him away. He tells her he knows how Hodges died— he couldn't breathe for some reason, so he attempted to do a tracheotomy on himself. Unfortunately he wasn't quick enough. Harry says that explains the self-inflicted stab wounds on Hodges' neck. Asta asks why Hodges couldn't breathe, and Harry says it's obvious that someone in town poisoned him.

Flash back to four months earlier again, as Asta walks out on Jimmy. She looks up and just happens to see Harry's damaged ship streak across the sky. She takes this as a sign and drives off.

Sometime later, we see Harry staring at the night sky. He says he was taught that the human race's biggest weakness was their need for connection, but now thinks it's their biggest strength. As proof, he recounts the tale of The 59— when the Patience Coal Mine caved in, fifty nine miners managed to escape. One was trapped inside though, so the rest went back in to save him. Unfortunately the tunnel collapsed and they all perished. "Fifty nine died to save one."

The next day Harry searches the mountain again for his missing payload. He detects a piece of it and digs it out of the snow. For some reason, the fragment is labeled "FULL EXTINCTION EVENT." Harry says the human race may be redeemable after all, but unfortunately for them it's too late. He says it's only a matter of time before he finds his device and wipes out the entire population.

Later on, Harry reports for duty at the clinic. Asta tells him he has a patient in Exam 1. Harry enters the room and sees Max, who lets out another bloodcurdling scream.

Thoughts:
• When I first sat down to watch the show and this logo popped up, I audibly groaned. I can't believe I'm saying this, but somehow the Siffy Channel managed to produce a series that's actually worth watching! Believe me, no one's more surprised than I am to hear me say that, as they're perennially the worst They're like the Sony of TV networks.

Resident Alien is based on the Dark Horse comic book of the same name, written by Peter Hogan and illustrated by Steve Parkhouse. It debuted in 2012, and is still going strong.

The series appears to be based on the first miniseries of the comic, titled Welcome To Earth! Amazingly, some scenes look like they jumped right off the printed page!

The series makes some major deviations from the comic though. The biggest difference has to be Harry's personality. Although Comic Harry is ostensibly an alien, he acts pretty much like a normal human. He's occasionally puzzled by an unfamiliar Earth saying, but other than that he's virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the cast.

Fortunately, TV Harry is much more eccentric and... well, alien, as he struggles to understand the baffling behavior of the humans around him. I have to admit, I much prefer the TV version of Harry.

Other notable differences: In the comic, Harry's spaceship is shot down by an American fighter jet and crashes in a desert in the Southwest. He's then pursued by Men In Black, who track him by following his ATM withdrawals. 

Comic Harry eventually moves to Patience, Washington (not Colorado), where he invents the identity of Harry Vanderspeigle and buys a remote cabin. He uses his psychic abilities to mask his true form from the locals.

As I said, similar, but with some major changes. It was probably a good idea to get rid of the Men In Black angle, as we've been there and done all that in the theater four times now. Not sure why the series changed the setting from Washington to Colorado though.

• With its glowing engine pods, Harry's spaceship reminds me a bit of the Nebuchadnezzar from The Matrix Trilogy.

• I like Harry's cool little secondary arms that fold up into his torso when he's in alien form.

• So hold up— just how does Harry's morphing ability work? At one point he says, "Only one in a million humans have the genetic mutation that enables them to see through our genetic reconstruction. Yet somehow, in a town of a thousand people, there is a runny-nosed kid who can see me in my true form." 

"Genetic reconstruction" implies that Harry physically altered the appearance of his body. And that's exactly what we see during the impressive morphing sequence. His skin bubbles and changes as his body LITERALLY modifies its shape. The transformation was clearly physical— there's no illusion or holographic projection involved.

In the comic, Harry doesn't go through any such metamorphosis— he uses his powers to alter the perception of the people around him, so they see him as human. This explanation sounds like the way Max is able to "see through" Harry's disguise.

It's like the show's using both methods to alter Harry's looks. Nice try, writers, but you can't have it both ways! Pick one and go with it!

• As is typical in "Alien Assimilating Into Human Society " stories, Harry learns about our ways and how to speak English by watching hours and hours of TV.

In particular he watches a lot of Law & Order— specifically Bounty, the second episode of the fourteenth season— in which Lennie Brisco tells a suspect "There's no such thing as hooker-client confidentiality."

Also, Harry's fascination with police procedural series explains his deductive and forensic abilities, as well as his fondness for figuring out mysteries.

• Harry spends much of his time searching the nearby mountain for missing components from his crashed ship. Note that he apparently built a detection device out of an old fishing net! Haw!

• The show takes place in the fictional small town of Patience, Colorado, but is filmed in and around Vancouver (what isn't these days?). Harry's cabin was filmed on Britannia Beach, while the mountaintop scenes were shot at Rainbow Mountain and the Pemberton Ice Cap.

The town of Patience is actually Ladysmith, located on Vancouver Island. It's a small little town that's only accessible by ferry! 

Note that while this establishing shot uses Ladysmith's main street, that mountain in the background is clearly a digital matte painting. As I said, Ladysmith's located on an island, and there's no terrain like that anywhere nearby.

• Overall I was very impressed with this episode, as the writing was above average and the performances were top notch. That said, if I had to come up with one complaint though, it'd be Asta's relationship with Harry.

Their friendship happens wayyyyyy too quickly. Harry consistently acts like a serial killer, and Asta's clearly put off by his personality. But then immediately after he performs the autopsy on Dr. Hodges, she invites him out for a drink! What the hell? 

I get that the writers needed to speed things along in the pilot, but their friendship moved a little too fast, and felt unrealistic and unearned.

As if that wasn't enough, Harry meets Asta at The 59 for drinks, and D'Arcy the bartender instantly starts hitting on him. What the hell?

Does Harry exude some sort of alien pheromones that makes him irresistible to women?

• Alan Tudyk is amazing in everything he does, but he's especially good here. He gives Harry a bizarre personality that's cold and creepy, yet somehow oddly endearing. I can't think of any other actors who could've pulled that off. 

Tudyk's been in dozens of movies and TV shows over the years, including A Knight's Tale, Firefly, V and Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil (which I HIGHLY recommend!).

He's also done extensive voice work in animated features, such as Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia and Ralph Breaks The Internet.

He's also the go-to guy when you need someone to voice and motion-capture a robot character. He played Sonny in I, Robot, as well as K-2S0 in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

• Harry joins Asta for drinks at The 59, Patience's local watering hole. Later he finds out the bar was named after the local mining disaster, in which fifty nine miners died in a cave in while attempting to save one.

The story's based on an actual mining disaster that happened in Crested Butte, Colorado, in which a gas explosion cased the mine to cave in, killing fifty nine miners.

The real disaster happened on January 24, 1884. For some reason they changed the date of The 59 tragedy to January 17, 1884.

• After Harry realizes Max can somehow see his true form, he attempts to kill the kid tp prevent him from revealing his true identity. 

I'm assuming that Harry trying to kill Max will become a running gag in the series, and I'm personally OK with that.

• Asta introduces Harry to Jay, a troubled young teen who helps out at the clinic. 

Hmm... Later on Asta infodumps her backstory to Harry, saying she married Jimmy and became pregnant when she was sixteen, and he forced her to give up the baby for adoption. Because of that, she tries to help kids like Jay stay off the streets so they don't make the same mistakes she did.

I wonder... is Jay gonna turn out to be the baby that Asta gave up? I guess it all depends on how old Asta's supposed to be. If Jay's eighteen and Asta had her when she was sixteen, that'd make her thirty four now. Actress Sara Tomko, who plays Asta, is currently thirty eight, which is pretty close. So it's entirely possible that Asta's secretly Jay's mom! 

Stay tuned to find out if I'm right, or seeing story arcs that just aren't there.

• When Harry innocently comments on Jay's birthmark, she calls him a douche bag. The Sheriff also calls him a "taint" after he makes an inappropriate comment.

I loved the scene in which Harry looks up both words and reacts with shock & horror when he sees google images of them! Once again, Alan Tudyk's a comedy genius.

• Harry takes Asta to Jimmy's house to pick up her things. Jimmy unexpectedly arrives and confronts the two. Asta tells Harry to go, claiming she'll be OK.

As Harry drives off, he realizes Asta's in danger, and reluctantly turns his truck around. He peers through a window and sees Jimmy hit Asta and knock her to the floor. Harry punches through the wall, grabs Jimmy by the shoulders and hauls him outside.

Harry's really lucky that Jimmy just happened to be directly in front of the wall he smashed through. Just a second earlier Asta herself had been standing in that exact spot! He could have easily grabbed her and yanked her through the hole instead!

•  Asta asks Harry to drive to a scenic lookout so she can gaze at a mountain. As they stop, she removes her shoes and walks barefoot through the snow to the edge of a cliff. I'm assuming that must be a Native American thing?

I wonder if we'll find out Asta's from a real tribe, or a made up TV one? If I had to bet, I'd say it'll be the latter.

• At the end of the episode, Harry finds a piece of the component he's been looking for. For no good reason I can think of, this chunk of metal is labeled "Full Extinction Event."

That... that doesn't make a lick of sense.

OK, I get it— this is the writers' way of letting us know Harry's mission is to wipe out all human life on Earth. But why the hell would his doomsday device be engraved with its purpose? Think of it this way— would the Army have written "Blow Up Hiroshima" on the side of the Little Boy bomb in 1945?
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