This post was originally put on What the Fangirl.
I was itching to get my hands on this week’s episode of The Aliens. I had many expectations on how this episode would go, and none of them were met. In one way, this is a good thing. It means the writers aren’t being predictable and keeps the audience engaged. On the other hand, many of the core issues I’ve had since the Pilot were glaringly obvious in episode four. I don’t know who any of these characters are as people. I can’t tell if they’re acting out of character, because many of them haven’t been defined. As a viewer, there’s a group of characters I don’t care about. Fabian could kill this lot next week, and I wouldn’t bat an eye.
It was the tale of two episodes. I thoroughly enjoyed the first thirty minutes as it delivered everything I hoped. Those last fifteen minutes, though, jarred me as a viewer. It left me unable to root for any of the main characters except Dominic.
This review contains MAJOR spoilers for the episode!
When I reviewed the Pilot, one point I mentioned was I wish The Aliens was longer than six episodes. Truss is a great example of that. We got so much fantastic character development and reveals from him this week. I wish it had come much earlier and was extended throughout the series. Instead, it was all crammed in such a small space that it was hard to fully flesh out everything with Truss. That didn’t stop him from making an impression on me. I don’t put minor character names to memory unless I care about them. While I’ve been lovingly calling him “Dick Cop,” Truss earned his name this week.
The biggest surprise was that Truss has been sleeping with an alien woman. Having that extra layer that he’s not the high and mighty corrupt cop really pushed the character along especially when he defended her. It also let me down a bit. When Dominic revealed that Lewis was half alien, I waited for a realization to hit Truss. What if he had knocked up his girlfriend and made another Lewis? This could have been the bridge between the two species. Lewis would be the first, and Truss’ baby could be the second. Sadly, we didn’t get to that point which is a huge missed opportunity for the story.
A lot of my issues with Lewis are channeled through Truss. While our favorite Dick Cop stayed true to who he is, it threw Lewis into the wibbly-wobbly mess of a man I hated in episode two. Truss could easily see through Lily’s antics and failed to get that through to the stupidly love struck Lewis. Still, I was hoping to get more with Truss. I wanted to have him and Lewis somehow meet in the middle. Lewis needs those human interactions to balance with the alien ones. It leaves me wondering what kind of story they’re trying to tell. As far as I can see, everything is awful and no one is going to be happy. Wasn’t this supposed to be a comedy? Maybe Truss did escape the worse of it when he died. He might just be the lucky one.
Dominic is beginning to get on his feet. He’s finding his voice and learning through trial and error. Last week he met Paulette, the alien activist, who was going to be this positive influence in his life. When he realized that she was not the loving gal he thought, Dominic chose sides with Lewis. Dominic didn’t hesitate to tell Lewis he was an idiot for going with Lily. By far the best moment was Dominic outing both Lewis and Truss’ secrets. It was a short scene that made the three of them work together. It shows you shouldn’t ignore the little guy. Dominic was always watching and listening while working at the border. No one paid attention to him, but he probably knows everyone’s secrets. Luckily, Dominic is a good person. He’s the person that I wish Lewis would pay attention to.
The promo for next week’s episode had Dominic holding a gun to someone. If they rip apart all this fantastic character development for Dom like they do every other week with Lewis, I might rage quit this show. Dominic and Holly are the only real reasons I’m sticking around anymore. Sorry, Mr. Socha. I adore you, but I can’t stand your character. Here’s to Dominic and Holly having a strong finish!
Wrap up those Pros!
The opening scene of Truss beating up the alien that called his girlfriend a whore– This was a fantastic scene. As I mentioned, it gave Truss many new layers. It also pushed Lewis away from the humans more. He went to his father, but it left him alone once again. Antoine didn’t want Lewis to be part of his mafia. It was nice development for both Truss and Lewis.
The cold opening with Antoine– We first get him walking among the people. Antoine is kissing babies. He accepts gifts. Lewis sees how loved his father is. It’s nice and dandy. Antoine sends Lewis on his way, heads into the building, and then proceeds to threaten Lily. He presses a knife to her throat threatening to kill her if she doesn’t leave town. That dichotomy of his characters was a strong opening few minutes.
World Building-While I still feel these guys are mutants or Inhumans, we got some nice world building around the aliens and Troy this week. In past weeks, Paulette screamed there was no proof of an alien ship crashing to Earth. While that may be alien propaganda for her cause, Dominic added to my mutant theory. The aliens report about having amnesia about the initial crash. Dom adds that some of them believe that humans brainwashed the aliens. This is a massive development!
Dominic pointed out Paulette’s actions were reminiscent of the Nazi party’s rise to power. In the 30’s, Hitler prayed on the anger in Germany. They lost World War I. As the losers, the country’s trade was demolished. Most of the population was poor as taxes were crazy high to pay back the Allies. Hitler used this anger and poverty to rise to power. It’s why after World War II at the Second Geneva Convention that the Allies didn’t repeat their mistake to punish Germany. They didn’t want another Hitler to rise to power. Dominic recognized this fear mongering in Paulette. It’s also defines the population of Troy by showing the city’s emotional state.
Paulette– I warned last week that Paulette might be the militant kind of activist. I totally called it.
At the beginning, I mentioned there were a few characters I didn’t care about anymore. Lily is the queen of that group. Michaela Coel is so fantastic in the role! I wish they gave me a reason to care about Lily, because Miss Coel is so talented.
There is absolutely no reason why me, the viewer, should root on Lily. In four episodes, she has used and abused Lewis, almost gotten him killed, and pushed for a war between Fabian and Antoine. I’ve said it for three episodes, and I’m saying it again:
We have no back story for Lily. This is writing 101! What is her inciting incident? What are her motivations? What made her target Lewis, bust Antoine out of jail, and try to cause turf war with him and Fabian? She doesn’t seem like she wants to save Troy and liberate it from the humans. Every one of her confusing moves seems selfish. She grew up in this terrible city, but so did Dominic. You don’t see him putting people in harm’s way.
Lily tells Lewis that he’s a special snowflake so therefore she loves him forever and wants to run away with him. Did she fall in love with him as she gave him to Fabian to get his foot nearly burned off? How romantic! Can you hear my sarcasm? No? Let’s try this again:
Lewis and Lily are perfect together! Their third date must be when she slits his throat to sell his blood on the black market! They’re about as sane and not toxic as Bella and Edward from Twilight! We should totally root for them to get together, guys!
The Aliens is glorifying an abusive relationship. As someone who went through three abusive relationships, I will not support this kind of writing. It’s atrocious. Now if Lily came out of this wanting to be the new leader of Troy by pitting all these people against each other, then that would make her a fantastic character! If she was the main villain, then all of her actions in these four episodes would make sense. It looks like they wrote her to be a romantic lead with Lewis. I can see the writers want me to root for her and Lewis to get together. I’m sorry, but I cannot support that kind of toxicity. It’s triggering and leaves me hating both her and Lewis as characters.
At the end of the episode, she goes back to Fabian. Lewis didn’t meet her to run off into the sunset together. Lily cries in the backseat of the car, and I just don’t care at all. She brought everything on herself. I have no sympathy for this character anymore.
Lewis was fantastic in the first thirty minutes. This felt like Lewis from episodes one and three. When Truss beat the alien at the border, Lewis wanted acceptance with Antoine. When his father tried to kill Truss, Lewis was the hero saving Truss and stood by him. He accepted Dominic’s help to move them through the city. We had a human, an alien, and a half-and-half all working together for a single cause. It looked like we were finally getting the compromise and acceptance story that I hoped Lewis would get. He has this opportunity to be a hero to both worlds and unite them.
Then, Stupid Lewis from episode two had to rise from the ashes and destroy everything. He ignored both Dominic, an alien, and Truss, a human, who both warned him that Lily was bad news. He was going to run off with the woman who tried to kill him forty-seven times! Lewis is so out of character in the last ten minutes as he lets Truss die. This is not the hero who rocked the first half of the episode.
We only have two episodes left of The Aliens. Four episodes in, I don’t know what kind of story they’re trying to tell. Is Lewis trying to save both worlds? Does he want to find acceptance? Does he want normality? I don’t have that answer. Every other episode they rip apart whatever advances he makes. What is Lewis’ overarching story? That is what we need at this point.
My theory is he’s on a one way ticket to die in some way in the finale episode. Which would be a shame. I wish Truss did get his girlfriend pregnant. Then Lewis would have a baby to try and save, because then it would be like him. He could be the new leader of this half-and-half society. Instead, they’re trying to make us root for Lily and Lewis, because apparently that’s way more important.
Wrap up those cons!
Missing: Key Dialogue: There were two scenes I felt were missing from the episode. First, I wish we knew more about Truss’ relationship with his alien lover. Did he love this woman or use her for sex? That would shed two different lights on him.
Second, Lewis leaves Lily’s apartment to go with Truss. When they goes, Dominic is left with Lily. Dominic clearly doesn’t like Lily. What happens in that scene between these two people who care for Lewis?
Fabian- I don’t even know what to make of Fabian anymore. I never saw him as a threat in the first place. He’s a child pretending to be a mob boss. Now, he’s losing his mind as his power slips away from him. Honestly, Fabian doesn’t need to be in the series at all. Antoine should have killed him last episode, so writing wise, we would have the time in this episode to develop Lewis’ story.
Holly– I really missed Holly in this episode. As one of the two characters I still care about, I want to know how she’s doing. Did she make up with her alien coworker? Is work doing well? How is she doing overcoming her drug problem? At this point, I want her to have a happy ending more than Lewis.
As the episode progressed, I began to wonder if the costume designers of The Aliens were fans of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye. I’m sure there’s no relation, but many of the costumes choices reminded me of the comic. Everyone in Troy dresses like the Tracksuit Mafia. Then, Fabian’s jacket matched Clint Barton’s costume. It’s petty, but I giggled throughout the entire episode at this. If Lewis gets a dog named “Lucky,” I’ll lose my mind.
If I rated the first thirty minutes of the episode, I would give it a solid 18 out of 20. The last ten minutes destroyed that. I give episode four of The Aliens my lowest rating of the series yet:
13 out of 20 questions about how they will save this once awesome show.