With about ninety percent of all news being focused on Covid-19, it’s up to shows like CW’s Roswell, New Mexico to take our minds off the pandemic for an hour. Unfortunately, that means focusing on every other political issue under the sun, whether we like it or not. And that’s pretty much what happened in the May 4 episode “Say It Ain’t So.”
The episode predominantly follows FBI Agent Charlie Cameron (played by trans actor Jamie Clayton) searching for her missing sister, Deputy Jenna Cameron (Riley Voelkel), with Max (Nathan Dean). Together, they come across what may be a deeper conspiracy.
Or, rather, they would if the show were as invested in that plot as they were about politics. A good portion of the episode instead seems determined to tell us how awful conservative Roswell is. For example, Max interviews noted homophobe Master Sergeant Jesse Manes (Trevor St. John) on Jenna’s disappearance. When they meet in a restaurant, Jesse mourns the time the place “catered to a more civil clientele. People who actually respected the history of this town.” Max fires back sarcastically, “Well, if only someone would make America great again.” Heaven forbid we go one time without someone claiming the MAGA slogan is bigoted.
In another example, Max finds Jenna unconscious in a remote warehouse and brings her back to a hospital. The very moment she wakes up is used as another “joke” against Trump about how “emotional” he is.
Jenna: Oh good, you’re alive. How long was I gone?
Max: Uh, well…Taylor Swift is president.
Jenna: Oh, that’s good. Someone less emotional in the Oval Office.
These issues are sadly not limited only to Max, and they only get worse from there.
Another character continues to explore Roswell, only to come across a mean female street artist. The artist jabs, “She doesn't talk like an illegal, but she def looks like one.” Apparently, even the young, artsy types are racist conservatives in Roswell, New Mexico. They certainly don’t call this show “science-fiction” for nothing.
Finally, we follow Alex Manes (Tyler Blackburn), one-third of the previous threesome and son of Jesse Manes, strangely being apprehensive about flirting with a gay man. His new love interest Forrest (Christian Antidormi) implores him to get over it, if not for him, then because it “pisses off all the bigots and homophobes” in conservative Roswell. Here I thought their mantra was “love is love.”
Alex: Hi. Listen, um, about today.
Forrest: You don't have to explain. Look, I'm a big believer in enthusiastic consent, so... If you're not into me, it's...
Alex: No, it... It's not that, trust me. It's just that I... I still have my dad's voice in my head telling me that being seen with a man in public is an embarrassment. To my name and my uniform.
Forrest: Well, there's nothing like a dad voice to mess up a perfectly good date.
Alex: It's also just that... I mean, Roswell's so conservative. This bar is filled with cowboys. If you want to go someplace private...
Forrest: Look, I like you. But I don't want to climb into somebody else's closet.
Alex: I cannot tell you how badly I want to be done with this frickin' closet.
Forrest: But you're not. And that's okay. Really. Listen, if that voice in your head ever shuts up, give me a call. Because between you and me, making out with a hot guy in public is only made hotter when it pisses off all the bigots and homophobes.
What Roswell, New Mexico lacks in quality, it makes up for in quantity. That is, the number of petty political issues in a desperate attempt to stay relevant. It was old even before Covid-19.