Resident Alien Episode 8's title, “End of the World As We Know It,” is an appropriate one, as this week, our heroes' worlds are upended...
**SPOILER WARNING: This story contains spoilers for Resident Alien Season 1, Episode 8, "End of the World as We Know It."**
... when Harry’s (Alan Tudyk) true alien self is revealed.
The latest episode of this scary-good series gets considerable mileage out of Harry’s struggle to stay hidden in the skin of the very thing he’s been sent to Earth to destroy. Moreover, he's forced to rely on the very human Asta (Sara Tomko) to keep him alive. The show’s best and most compelling episodes so far are those that milk the tension between Harry’s secret and his true self, investing Harry’s struggle with the rich dramatic irony that comes from an alien on a genocidal mission forced to live as and amongst his targets. This week, though, Harry isn’t the only one dealing with self-discovery; D’Arcy (Alice Wetterlund), Mayor Ben (Levi Fiehler), and, to a degree, Asta find who they are as Harry struggles to pretend to be something he’s not.
Harry’s identity crisis picks up where “The Green Glow” left off: with Harry and Asta trapped within the icy confines of a glacier after falling down a deep crevice. With his leg busted and his “breathing duct” filling with blood, Harry needs Asta’s help to get out of this mess and complete his mission. (Classic Harry: When confronted with opportunities to change his tune — or, at the very least, abort his mission — he doubles-down on the whole genocide thing, even if it means taking advantage of his unsuspecting friends/future victims.)
Meanwhile, D’Arcy gets quite a rewarding B-story as she ventures out of the crevice alone to get help for her friends below. In doing so, we learn more about the leg injury D’Arcy suffered when both her bones and dreams of being an Olympic skier were shattered. When she’s not recording comical “In case anyone finds me…” video confessionals on her phone, she pushes through her past trauma to climb up and out of a literal and psychological hole. D’Arcy’s major character development here is the beating heart of the episode. One minute, the show delivers a great “dad joke” when Harry reveals to Asta his very unpronounceable real name, and the next, we see D’Arcy realize that the past shapes you, sure, but it doesn’t define you.
Asta, as always, is a great foil for Harry — and she acquiesces pretty well to the revelation (after a momentary freak-out) that her friend is a walking X-File. Her lack of judgment and overwhelming concern for her unknown killer’s well-being makes her scenes with Harry in the crevice both funny and poignant. They also make us want to yell at her through the TV screen to let him bleed out, or, at the very least, not to retrieve the device that will napalm all of humanity. (Spoiler alert: She doesn’t do either.)
Topside, Mayor Ben and Kate (Meredith Garretson) make small but significant gains in their marriage, albeit after overcoming some truly comical hurdles. After Mayor Ben and Sheriff Mike spar in their office — by way of a hilarious opening-and-closing of their window blinds at each other in protest — Ben overcompensates for his passivity when it comes to taking charge in both his job and marriage. He puts on a macho act, much like Harry puts on a skin suit, and switches up anniversary dinner plans on his wife last-minute. He orders (incorrectly) for her, and picks something he hates (snails) for himself.
When Kate eventually sees through her husband's act and he comes clean, Resident Alien continues to be a surprising source for one of the more realistic portrayals of marriage on television. Mayor Ben thinks too much with his heart, which gets in the way of his brain doing the effective communication thing. Thankfully, Kate picks up on this and clarifies that, sure, she wants a partner who challenges her, but she also wants one who helps her feel like she’s on a team.
By the end of the episode, that’s (for the most part) exactly where we leave the two.
Where we find Harry and Asta in the episode’s final moments is far more dramatic. After D’Arcy (still unaware of Harry's alien identity) helps hoist a concealed Harry free from the glacier, Asta smuggles him off to her father Dan (Gary Farmer) for help with the tiny problem of, um, amputating Harry’s leg. He seems to be suffering from extra-terrestrial gangrene.
Harry would have lost a lot more than just a limb if not for Asta’s care. However, all this kindness does is buy Asta, her dad, and everyone else in this town a day’s respite from Harry’s plan to annihilate them. With three people now aware of Harry’s true identity between Asta, Dan, and Max (Judah Prehn), it’s only a matter of time before Harry’s secret becomes poison.
When the truth does get out, it seems fair to assume we can expect Harry to find Asta's demeanor changed from what it was while trapped in the ice.
New episodes of Resident Alien premiere Wednesdays on SYFY at 10 p.m. ET.