The first four episodes of RESIDENT ALIEN have established a cast of quirky townsfolk for alien castaway Harry to play off of. The show has done a great job of seeding characters early and growing their roles (D’Arcy, Deputy Liv) as well as introducing strong new characters (Sahar). For some reason, though the show is already populated with a large cast of interesting supporting characters, a new character, the real Harry’s wife, showed up at the end of the last episode. She feels inauthentic and contrived to manufacture a romantic triangle plotline that wasn’t necessary. I think the show is worse for it.
RESIDENT ALIEN already is chock full of plotlines, including Harry’s mission, his war with Max, his attempts to fit in amongst the humans, the murder mystery that originally dragged him into town, two mysterious people (?) tracking him, his pseudo romance with D’Arcy, Asta giving up her baby for adoption, the theft of a prescription pad, and Deputy Liv’s confidence. There is a lot going on, and the show doesn’t always move each story forward. Perhaps in recognition of this, the murder mystery is brought back up in a funny way that almost admits it is being dragged out. Just when we think we might make some progress on a thread that began in the plot, it is largely shoved back aside and the show is hijacked by her, with a side of the Asta storyline that I already was iffy about. At least with Asta, I care about the character enough to become somewhat invested in the plot. Harry’s wife literally materialized out of nowhere and doesn’t seem to add much. Meanwhile, many of the established plots continue to dangle.
If I sound down on this episode, it’s because the show has raised my expectations by being so good. The episode did have some high points. Harry’s feud with Max and Sahar progresses in a satisfying way. Child actors can be hit or miss, and both of these kids deliver strong performances. It’s fun to see them play off of Tuydk’s Harry and I’d rather see more of them than Harry’s wife. Speaking of Tuydk, this episode features a flashback to the real Harry. While it didn’t add much to the plot, seeing Tuydk play a normal person reminds us how remarkable his performance as an alien is, providing the perfect amount of inhuman awkwardness and stilted delivery while giving the character some heart.
If you’ve become invested in the Max-Harry plotline, this episode has a good payoff. If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, Tudyk’s performance is enough to carry the episode. Heck, it may be worth watching the episode just to see if you agree with me about Harry’s wife, as I am sure she will have her share of fans out there. If you haven’t seen RESIDENT ALIEN yet, I don’t recommend starting with this episode as it wasn’t the strongest. This episode also seemed to have more cursing than a normal episode, so take that into account before you watch with your kids.
The fifth episode of RESIDENT ALIEN premieres today. Check back next week for my thoughts on the next episode of the series.
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