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'Resident Alien' star Meredith Garretson reflects on Ben's tender post-car crash moment
"When the s*** hits the fan in life, all of the stuff that feels important inside your own head, it falls away."
Arguments are fleeting. Community is forever.
The town of Patience showed its true colors in the penultimate episode of Resident Alien's second season with a touching display of how the love and support of tight-knit communities supersede petty squabbles. Considerably stressed out by the resort plan that has put him at odds with his own wife — and pretty much every other citizen living in the sleepy Colorado hamlet — Ben Hawthorne (Levi Fiehler) starts to sleepwalk and suffer from nightmares, which result in a deficit of beauty rest. This mental and physical exhaustion comes to a head near the end of Episode 15 when the mayor falls asleep at the wheel and veers off the road.
Save for a few bruises and scratches, Ben comes away from the accident unscathed. This close encounter with death forces him to address the confront deep-rooted insecurities that have haunted him his entire life. "I've been trying so hard to change this town, to make it perfect," he tells his wife, Kate (Meredith Garretson). "But it already is... at least to me. And I don't want it to change. I'm just so tired of trying to get everyone to like me."
"It was kind of no acting necessary for me because when the s*** hits the fan in life, all of the stuff that feels important inside your own head, it falls away," Garretson tells SYFY WIRE of filming the profoundly emotional bedside exchange. "I think that scene was so easy to move through because Levi is one of my best friends in real life and I care so deeply about him. He infuses Ben with so much humanity ... The writing of that scene was so beautiful because each of them comes in so loaded. He's been going through this insanely hard time, which leads to this traumatic crash moment, and this feeling [that] nobody cares about him. It broke my heart every time we did a take because the crash is a realization for her, too. It's like, ‘All this time, we've been fighting about these things, but you’ve been going through so much, and there are things about you that I didn't know. I didn't know you were sleepwalking as a child.' He's having these things come back because he doesn't feel cared for now and I am a part of that."
Kate tries to assure her husband that everyone loves him, but Ben rebuffs the idea, asserting that the people of Patience only see him as the mayor. This couldn't be further from the truth, however. As soon as word gets out that Ben has been in an accident, everyone shows up at the local health clinic to make sure he's doing alright.
"Shooting that scene was heartbreaking, but more than that, it was so important," Garretson concludes. "Every time he said the words, ‘I feel like nobody likes me, nobody cares about me,’ it was so important to be there for this person and to bolster him up and tell him, ‘That's not true, you have value, you have you have meaning.’ I think in the end, it's such a gift to our relationship and for the audience to get to see that. Because that is the core of who we are and how we feel about each other."
The Season 2 finale of Resident Alien airs on SYFY next Wednesday (Sep. 28) at 10 p.m. Eastern. New episodes are available to stream on the SYFY app and Peacock the day after they air. A third season has already been ordered.