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'Resident Alien' 1.09 Review: Welcome Aliens

As the Resident Alien inches closer to completing his goal, the risk of being exposed for who — and what — he really is run greater than ever.

Asta (Sara Tomko) and Harry (Alan Tudyk) visit a UFO convention in order to find the alien technology that he needs to complete his doomsday device in Resident Alien.
(Image: © Syfy)

Our Verdict

As skillfully as the show has navigated its expansion of Harry's world, venturing into the real consequences of his true identity risk changing the show's tone.

For

  • 👽 Sherriff Thompson's reconciliation with Liv was one of the most touching, wonderfully bizarre moments in the show so far.
  • 👽 Guest star Terry O'Quinn brings absolute conviction to his 'alien hunter' role — especially what drives his search.

Against

  • 👽 D'Arcy's discovery may completely change the show — justfiably, but at the risk of veering away from its impish escapism.

This post contains spoilers for Resident Alien.
Check out our last review here

Following the amputation of his leg, Harry (Alan Tudyk) awakens in his own cabin and happily juiced up with morphine to dull the pain. But when he spots the device that he risked their lives to retrieve — not a “radio,” as he told Asta (Sara Tomko), but the final piece in his doomsday device — he rushes her out the door, eager to finish his mission. But while Asta unconvincingly lies to D’Arcy (Alice Wetterlund) about what she did after abandoning her at the hospital, Harry discovers that his device, in fact the power source for his weapon, is damaged.

Max (Judah Prehn) and Sahar (Gracelyn Awad Rinke) check in on him after Max warned him not to go out on the glacier, and they point Harry to a destination where he might be able to find alien “stuff:” a UFO convention. Harry is offended; “my people are not a costume,” he balks. “Welcome to my life,” responds Asta, familiar with that feeling as an indigenous person. Unexpectedly, the panelists’ pictures and theories are incredibly accurate, although Harry has real feelings about each species (“little green men, they’re cute… but they so know it”).

The next morning, Sherriff Thompson (Corey Reynolds) shows up for his regular breakfast with his father only to discover Liv (Elizabeth Bowen) sitting in their booth. Liv leaves and Mike complains before his father offers some important wisdom about needing a partner who provides unvarnished truth. Returning to his office to contemplate the chain of events that led to late doctor Sam’s death, Mike utilizes Liv’s research — and remembers a few of her insights — to solve the case, arresting Sam’s widow Abigail (Deborah Finkel) for poisoning him.

During a presentation by Peter Bach (Terry O’Quinn), an alien “tracker,” convention guests are invited to share stories about their alien encounters. After several horror stories, Asta queues up to talk about her sighting of Harry’s ship several months prior, and without “outing” him argues that aliens are not monsters, and in particular, Harry made her feel safe. Harry seems like he’s affected by her confession, but responds with a succinct “nope” when she suggests they’re here to do good, especially after another person reveals that she has alien technology still inside her — exactly what Harry’s looking for.

Jay (Kaylayla Raine) approaches D’Arcy to interview her for the school paper. Although she’s initially unimpressed by her heroism, Jay is surprised to learn that Asta could have died — a twinkling of feeling she didn’t know she possessed. Across town, Kate (Meredith Garretson) invites a couple of new friends to dinner: Lisa (Mandell Maugham) and David (Alex Barima), impersonating a couple that recently moved to Patience. Kate is excited about the idea of a couple they can socialize with, but Ben is fixated on dinner that he didn’t have, and Lisa is disappointed that they didn’t get to meet Max. Lisa eventually steals away to look for clues about Harry, almost getting caught after finding a piece of his ship that Max stole while they were hanging out.

At the convention, Harry realizes that Peter possesses the same ability as Max and is able to see his true form, and he and Asta attempt to escape without being discovered. He eventually confronts Peter, discovering that he has the technology he needs, but Asta starts to have second thoughts about helping him. Liv and Sherriff Thompson reconcile over a spirited duet of “The Wind Beneath My Wings” during karaoke at D’Arcy’s bar, prompting D’Arcy to venture out to Harry’s cabin to figure out why the two people she should be spending time with after their shared accident have all but disappeared. Instead of finding them, she uncovers the frozen corpse of Harry’s human counterpart.

Resident Alien was recently renewed for a second season — great news for fans like yours truly who enjoy its skillful combination of fish-out-of-water comedy and the slightly larger stakes of its science fiction mythology. But the penultimate episode of Season One is promising — even threatening — for shit to get real; and how they handle these leaps into new narrative and tonal territory will test the audience’s enthusiasm to see where the story goes. For better or worse, Tudyk has done such a good job making us invested in his mission that watching him navigate his way through a world where D’Arcy  (or Asta or anyone else) looks at him as a murderer, an extraterrestrial more dangerous than his oddball personality suggests, hints at taking the show away from the things that are appealing about it suggests both an interesting opportunity, but also some major risks.