Control (2)

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Out of control

First of all, a massive shout-out to The Platypus Solution, who stepped in and saved my lame ass after a losing scuffle with TiVo threatened to derail this week's recap.

Previously: Jesse, on bended knee, asks Isabel to marry him; she says yes. Max moans about contacting his son and sees the spaceship in the storage facility; Joey and his gun deliver a message yet again; Max talks about the shape-shifter. Joey gets smoked, Cal Langley (slumming guest star Joe Pantoliano) strides into a restaurant, then confronts Max in the Paramount film archive, blows him against the wall, and starts a fire with his multi-purpose power-hand.

The episode begins with a way-too-long close-up of Max's closed eye. Eye, eye, and more closed eye, and then open eye, and we pan slowly away to see Max's face lit by flame. And then we pan even further out to reveal the fire, burning…halfway across the room. That shape-shifter really isn't too effective with the scary death-threat thing if he can only create a flame several feet away from his intended victim. Kind of a letdown, really; I'm ready to watch people (especially Max) burst into flame. I'll have to forge ahead through my haze of disappointment.

Cal Langley, in full bald glory, puts his foot on Max's chest and asks what he's doing there. Why, just searching for some old film stills so he can watch some real actors at work! Max says he's looking for the ship from the '47 crash. Langley smells a conspiracy, and asks with whom Max is working. The bottom of the barrel, Langley, the bottom of the barrel. Max insists that he walks alone; Langley growls that he'll kill him if he's lying. Looks like he'll kill him if he isn't. Langley asks how Max got to LA; Max rattles off his driving route. That's just too sassy and insouciant -- what balls, Max! Literalism in the face of death. Langley, like me, is not amused by this cutesy behavior, and calls Max a "prick." Words right out of my mouth. Max asks if Langley kills everyone who discovers he's an alien. Langley changes the subject, which for me means, "Why yes, I do," and wonders why Max thinks he knows where to find the ship.

Max tells him that he knew it was in Utah, which rings some sort of bell, since Langley then hoists Max up against the wall (he's obviously standing on a block here, since Joe P. can't be that strong) and demands to know who else possesses the Utah intelligence. Max complains about the smoke, and coughs a few times for annoying emphasis, so we know that we're still in California; Langley courteously extinguishes the distant fire. Max climbs off his block so they're face to face as Langley deadpans, "So, this is the mighty king of Antar, a low-rent Tom Cruise with a ten-dollar haircut?" This insider, self-referential, pat-ourselves-on-the-back twist, so prevalent in last week's Paramount fest, is really lifting Roswell to a new level of intelligence. Because nobody's ever done that before. It's really nifty. And that haircut cost at least $12.50 -- just look at the attention to highlight (the fire really brings it out)!

Langley -- emotive actorly intensity flaring -- tells Max he has no idea what he's getting himself into; Max responds that he's come all this way to find him, and that he needs his help. Langley is supposed to be his protector, for God's sake. Langley (and now we get a close-up of his expensive-looking, frameless, wussy designer glasses) informs Max that he does not wish to be called "protector." Well, yes, says Langley, I was indeed put on your ship to protect you, but that was fifty years ago, and I really don't appreciate you barging into my sweet LA producer lifestyle, full, I'm sure, of cocaine and hookers, and telling me I have to watch out for your sorry ass. Sort of -- this little expository exchange is so mind-numbingly boring that I must resort to poetic license or die. And then Langley puts out the fire with his special hand.

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