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Recap: Halloween & predestination paradoxes come to Patience in 'Resident Alien' Season 2, Episode 12
We did NOT see that coming for the whole Goliath storyline.
Trick or treat, smell Harry's feet / Give him some good pizza to eat / If you don't, he doesn't care / He'll rip you in half with his unearthly strength. That's how the old human rhyme goes, right? In any case, All Hallows' Eve descended upon the town of Patience in this week's episode of Resident Alien and with it, a rather grim vision of the future and a major sci-fi twist that reframes everything we learned in the first half of Season 2. While he recently came to terms with his fear of death, the extraterrestrial pretending to be Doctor Harry Vanderspeigle (played by the inimitable Alan Tudyk) has started to grapple with his identity. Is he an alien? Is he a human? Or is he something in between?
**SPOILER WARNING: THIS RECAP CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR RESIDENT ALIEN SEASON 2, EPISODE 11, "THE ALIEN WITHIN"**
We open 60 years in the future. A wrinkled, old Harry Vanderspeigle reflects on his time spent as a human, telling us that Asta (Sara Tomko) died years ago. Oh, and did we mention that the entire planet has been destroyed?! Yeah...we probably should have led with that. The lake outside Harry's once-idyllic cabin has become a parched desert and the blazing mountains in the distance have more in common with Mordor than they do with the natural beauty of Colorado.
It seems that the other alien race was successful in its invasion of Earth. There's no immediate explanation, however, as the episode shifts back to present day, where young Harry continues his search for the alien baby, desperate to hear the rest of Goliath's message.
Down by Hawthorne Creek, Deputy Liv (Elizabeth Bowen) and Sheriff Mike (Corey Reynlds) take samples, discovering that the water is indeed full of hazardous chemicals. Liv compares herself to Erin Brockovich, prompting Mike to go on a tangent about teaching Bigfoot how to love. They head upstream and come to an impoundment pond, which is essentially a man-made dam into which mining companies can dispose of their toxic runoff. The worst part? This type of corporate practice is 100 percent legal!
Liv suspects that the pond — which belongs to a shell company owned by the Galvan/Powell Group (*gasps in mock astonishment*) — has begun to leak into the fresh water supply, and someone is trying to cover it up. They bring this information to Sam's wife, Abigail (Deborah Finkel), theorizing that the doctor was killed when he got wind of the conspiracy. The investigation is being handed over to the FBI and Mike apologizes to Sam's wife with a "limited-edition" Sheriff's Office hat, which surely makes up for the fact that her reputation was permanently smeared in Season 1.
Now that the case is under federal jurisdiction, Detective Torres (Nicola Correia-Damude) takes her leave, though Mike doesn't seem too torn up about it. When Liv asks why he didn't ask her out, he says that he's not interested in putting more roots down in Colorado. In fact, he's thinking about heading back to D.C. where there's more action.
With Halloween fast approaching, a joyous Harry begins decorating the health clinic, endlessly tickled by our macabre tradition of using human skeletons as celebratory ornaments. Asta shows up just then, demanding to know more about the impending invasion, but Harry is just as much in the dark as she is. There are dozens of species throughout the universe, he explains, and it could be any one of them.
Asta speculates that Harry doesn't know because he's becoming more human by the day. The offended Dr. Vanderspeigle refutes this, asserting that he is and always will be an alien attracted to birds and their "hot, sexy worm breath." Yes, someone actually wrote that dialogue, and we love it.
However, this gets him thinking: has he really gone native? When D'Arcy (Alice Wetterlund), preparing for her big skiing comeback, turns up to the clinic with serious pain in her knee, Harry offers a prescription and words of encouragement like any decent human might do. This confirms what he's been dreading: Harry is starting to care for people beyond Asta. This terrifies him and so, he heads up to the mountains — stripping naked, retaking his alien form, and planning to live a life of apathetic exile in the snowy peaks above Patience. The only problem? There's no food up here, so he heads home, only to find that his alien body isn't very conducive to life in a cabin built for a shorter species.
Down at town hall, Mayor Ben Hawthorne (Levi Fiehler) lays out his plans for a luxury resort in Patience. The idea is met with overwhelming backlash from the town's lifelong citizens who don't want their quiet home choked with traffic and big chains that will bankrupt the mom and pop business like Dan's diner, for instance. Ben counters with the argument that more money in the local economy would allow them to clean up the contaminated creek and provide more resources for the school and sheriff's department.
Asta, D'Arcy, Liv, and Kayla (Sarah Podemski) aren't convinced in the slightest and conspire to sabotage the resort. At the same time, Kate (Meredith Garretson) tells her mayor-in-crisis husband to ignore the naysayers and do what he thinks is best for the town. She later gives up this way of thinking when Asta, D'Arcy, Liv, and Kayla show her how much sentimentality will be destroyed if Ben gets his way. Forming strong connections to people and places is what humans do, Harry says in voiceover: “Sometimes, they are not even attached to what something is, but a memory of what something used to be or a dream of what it might become.” It's enough to bring a tear to your eye.
Sahar (Gracelyn Awad Rinke) is also determined to find the alien baby and hopes that it will return to the RV while she and Max (Judah Prehn) are at school during the day. She gives Max one last chance to help, unaware that the entire school is now under surveillance by Lt. David Logan (Alex Barima). Moreover, General McCallister (Linda Hamilton) has gone undercover as a new lunch lady called "Agnes." Fitting that she'd be in disguise for a Halloween episode.
Harry breaks into the school bathroom with a plan to kidnap Sahar and use her as bait to lure in the newborn. The two ultimately agree to work together and head out in search of their quarry, stopping for some much-needed pizza on the way. The timing of their departure couldn't be worse as the child shows up at the school moments later, looking for Sahar. Logan sees the boy on his surveillance camera and works out that he must be the alien since his appearance is that of a boy that went missing (Bobby Smallwood) decades prior. Max brings the baby home, but it escapes and heads for the RV, where the General's operatives lie in wait. Harry and Sahar show up too late as the vehicle is airlifted away with the child inside. Harry comforts a distraught Sahar, once again proving that his feelings toward humanity have begun to soften.
He heads home and sits down to enjoy more pizza and tells a flustered Asta about the young alien now in government custody. Asta begins to sift through Harry’s unopened mail and finds a package from Violinda Darvell (Maxim Roy), Goliath’s human partner in NYC. It’s a book of Goliath’s artwork intended for the baby. One of the pieces shows Harry and Asta standing barefoot in the snow the day Harry protected Asta from Jimmy in the pilot episode. No one else was around that day, so how is this even possible?
Episode 12 answers this mystery by fast forwarding back to the post-apocalyptic future that opened this week's story. Shedding his wrinkled and deteriorating human body, Harry wanders the decimated planet in alien form for several centuries. While he once hoped to see Earth and its people erased from the universe like Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, the cosmic visitor now considers this little blue marble to be his home and vows to do whatever is necessary to save it.
The solution comes in the form of shimmering, trans-dimensional portals — presumably a byproduct of the invasion that led to the downfall of Earth, though the show has yet to provide a clear answer. Harry steps through one of these doorways and finds himself in the Brazilian rainforest, 33 years in the past (subtracted from present day, of course), accidentally causing the death of the local man (played by David Bianchi) we saw back in Episode 7. See where this is going yet, folks?
Harry assumes the man's form, effectively creating a predestination paradox (sometimes known as a closed-loop or causality loop). Goliath was not another member of Harry's species...he was Harry! The title for Episode 13 — "Harry, a parent" — is starting to make more sense now...
New episodes of Resident Alien air on SYFY every Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern before hitting the SYFY app and Peacock the following day. The hit show has already been renewed for a third season.