The 'Resident Alien' finale perfectly wraps up the humor, heart and suspense of the first season without taking shortcuts or striking false notes.
- 👽 Alan Tudyk's reckoning with his own humanity, leading up to a devastating breakdown, marks a high point in the show's acting.
- 👽 Solving short-term problems with longer-term questions offers a skillful way to pave the road for drama in Season Two.
- 👽 Even if the intertwined fates of Harry and Max offer a provocative final moment, it smacks slightly of sitcom suspense.
This post contains spoilers for Resident Alien
Read our last review here.
After retrieving from alien “tracker” Peter Bach (Terry O’Quinn) the last piece of technology needed for his doomsday device, Harry Vanderspiegle (Alan Tudyk) prepares to complete his mission to destroy all life on earth. But as he contemplates mortality — and more importantly, the human impulse to kill — in the opening scenes of the season finale of Resident Alien Season 1, audiences learn some intriguing information about his deceased counterpart (aside from the fact that D’Arcy found his body in a storage freezer: the real Harry murdered Sam Hodge by tampering with his insulin before the fateful night that an alien killed him and stole his identity.
No one (including alien Harry) yet knows this fact, but D’Arcy (Alice Wetterlund) is still understandably upset the next morning when she meets Sherriff Thompson (Corey Reynolds) and Deputy Liv (Elizabeth Bowen) at Harry’s farm, especially after she finds that there’s no body and Harry seems quite alive. Across town, following Ben (Levi Fiehler) and Kate’s (Meredith Garretson) dinner date with Lisa (Mandell Maughan) and David (Alex Barima), the government agents searching for Harry, their son Max (Judah Prehn) retraces Lisa’s steps in his bedroom, discovering that she stole the sliver of alien technology he borrowed from Harry. When Max sneaks off to warn Harry, Lisa and David tail him. In the meantime, Asta (Sara Tomko) bails a belligerent D’Arcy out of jail.
Back at Harry’s cabin, he prepares to deploy his doomsday device — well, until a radio ad for pizza reminds him not to kill everyone on Earth on an empty stomach. But after Sahar (Gracelyn Awad Rinke) detains Lisa and David, planting Max’s phone on their camper in order to trace their whereabouts, she and Max find Asta at Dan’s (Gary Farmer) diner to tell her about the agents hunting for Harry. Before Asta can warn Harry, Liv reaches out to examine the foot recovered behind Harry’s cabin, prompting her to begin questioning the sequence of events where her new alien friend replaced the real Harry — including what he might have done to get rid of his human counterpart.
Simultaneously, Max and Sarah find themselves cornered by Lisa and David, who will not stop until they find their target; but after Lisa threatens the children and locks up Kate at gunpoint, Ben intervenes and he and Kate exact violent retribution against the government agents until they flee in fear. Meanwhile, Harry makes a fateful discovery when an attempt to test his device in order to destroy the dead Harry’s body indicates that he might die himself if he fully sets it into motion. Has he become “infected” by humanity, succumbing not just to the biology of the foreign species he’s been sent to kill, but their emotional volatility as well? Before he can figure himself out, Asta shows up to give him a piece of her mind about killing the real Harry, prompting an emotional outburst. She leaves him in tears, and he lashes out by finally setting his doomsday countdown in motion.
During the standoff at Ben and Kate’s house, Max confessed that the town doctor was the alien, and Lisa and David apprehend him — Dr. Stone (Michael Cassidy), that is. But when black-clad forces descend to take Stone away, David discovers that he’s been used to locate the alien and then be liquidated as human collateral. Before Lisa can follow General McAllister’s (Linda Hamilton) orders and kill him, however, passersby threaten to see, leaving David’s fate a glaring question mark in this ongoing saga.
Despondent, Harry races to the site of his ship with plans to detonate the device and return to his planet. But Asta and Max show up there as well, and he interrupts his departure in order to save them from the government agents. Asta prevails upon him to save humanity, offering her friendship, and he decides to dispose of the device in space en route home. But as he reflects on his journey, the failed mission and the life lessons he learned, he realizes an immediate truth that must be dealt with: Max stowed away in his ship.
With the imminent risk of copping out on its wry tone and its pitch-black plotting, Resident Alien Season One comes to a close pretty brilliantly, giving many of its supporting characters a much-needed win, and the leads some important developments to take into the recently-announced Second Season. So what, then, are audiences supposed to do with the information that the real Harry is a murderer? If this show has successfully demonstrated one thing, it’s that the writers and cast are more than capable of satisfying viewers while keeping them on their toes.
Todd Gilchrist is a Los Angeles-based film critic and entertainment journalist with more than 20 years’ experience for dozens of print and online outlets, including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly and Fangoria. An obsessive soundtrack collector, sneaker aficionado and member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Todd currently lives in Silverlake, California with his amazing wife Julie, two cats Beatrix and Biscuit, and several thousand books, vinyl records and Blu-rays.
Get the latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!
Thank you for signing up to Whattowatch. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.