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Recap: Resident Alien Episode 7 makes you question your existence — in a good way
**SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers ahead for Resident Alien Season 1, Episode 7, “The Green Glow.”**
Resident Alien is pushing a lot of story this week, as significant turns and revelations put Harry (Alan Tudyk) closer to satisfying his mission to bomb humanity for an extinction-level event. Most significantly, “The Green Glow” succeeds with its thematic aims concerning humanity’s finite existence as experienced by an alien who comes from a galaxy of infinite possibilities.
Harry’s opening narration zeroes in on this theme by commenting on how humanity — a species designed with a limited lifespan — always “wanted to go to the universe” but is unaware that the universe has come to them. Audiences see the path of a meteor from deep space as it crashes into a prehistoric ocean mass on Earth. Alien microbes break off from the space rock and evolve into an octopus.
So, yep, alien life swims among us. Or, in the case of Resident Alien, these lifeforms don’t so much “swim” as find themselves confined to a lame aquarium in a small-town sushi/ramen bar home.
A race of beings looking to the stars for life other than their own, being unaware of said life living literally in their own backyard, is one of the many ironies Harry conveys to us this week while suffering a mini-existential crisis. Instead of having an epiphany or change of heart, though, Harry doubles-down on completing his mission to destroy humanity while, ironically, experiencing more things that make his targets arguably worthy of a pass.
“The Green Glow” devotes considerable runtime to pairing off its ensemble to further explore how humans sometimes feel more alien when around their own kind. The team-ups this week include Harry and Max (Judah Prehn), the Mayor (Levi Fiehler) and his estranged wife (Meredith Garretson), and Harry with, um, Dead Harry.
The latter is what Harry hallucinates when he self-medicates. Harry justifies making this questionable choice because this is how he observes humanity dealing with failure. He takes some pills, passes out, and has a lucid dream in which Dead Harry confronts him in the cabin. Here, Dead Harry slings the worst insult he could at Harry: He calls him “human."
“You were sent to destroy humanity, but humanity destroyed you,” Dead Harry proclaims before Harry wakes up, sobers up, and seeks out a “day job” since he is no longer the town doc. That search ends in a mopey game of Galaga and Harry’s Lebowski-level dance with marijuana.
Harry continues to be torn between humanity’s more “basic” pleasures that are foreign to his alien race and honoring his race’s desire to nuke those same humans. This sends Harry to seek the help of his child nemesis: Max.
The only kid in town who can see Harry for his true self is this close to having his folks send him off to a special school to help Max with his “imagination issues.” Harry, though, needs Max’s help to find his still-missing device, which has the titular green glow. Because Max can see Harry, he can also see the glow. Max agrees, on one condition: Harry must overturn his diagnosis so Max doesn’t have to be sent away to the Donnelly Institute. Harry agrees to help his nemesis, which in turn helps Mayor Ben and his wife, Kate. Well, kind of.
After Harry succeeds in getting Max’s parents to reconsider sending their only son away, Kate and Ben have their most honest conversation yet about their marriage. (Here, marriage takes on another example of confinement, as the pressures of being married hold Ben and Kate back from being emotionally honest with each other.) When Kate gives Ben the green light to feel comfortable with challenging her, Ben takes her up on it. She tells Ben that she “wants a partner to tell her when she is wrong.”
So Ben does exactly that, in regards to her plan to send their boy away. This brings them closer, but only for a moment. Because Ben gets more honest about Kate’s behaviors than Kate is ready for in ways that are ineffective and, quite frankly, unfair to Kate given how big a deal this mini-repair they made moments ago is to their marriage.
Their brief closeness is interrupted by more gaps in their communication, all but reaffirming Harry’s opening commentary about how humanity’s reach often exceeds their grasp. Especially in the seemingly simple task of sharing feelings with your partner.
This all rockets to the episode’s final revelations and the season's biggest discovery yet. Harry finally locates his glowing device on a dangerous glacier, just as General McCallister (Linda Hamilton), David (Alex Barima), and Lisa (Mandell Maughan) realize Harry’s alien ship in their hangar came to Earth to destroy them. They learn this just as they get a location on the key artifact David needs to gain access to the craft: Max’s bedroom. Which puts the kid in danger.
Not as much danger as Harry, Asta (Sara Tomko), and D’Arcy (Alice Wetterlund) find themselves in, though, during the final moments of the episode when they fall through the glacier and into an icy chasm.
With that, the episode comes full circle: full-sized alien sinks into the very Earth where his early ancestors spawned. It seems highly unlikely that Harry will reconsider wiping out humanity despite almost killing himself in the process, or question what it says about his race if they are willing to use Harry to commit genocide.
But that struggle for self-reflection is consistent with Resident Alien’s ambitious, nuanced story so far. Because Harry is right: Humanity spends more time wanting to explore the Final Frontier than they do trying to figure out themselves. Here’s hoping by the end of the season, Harry learns from his target’s mistakes.
New episodes of Resident Alien premiere Wednesdays on SYFY at 10 p.m. ET.