Season 2 | Episode 5 | “The End of the World” | Aired Oct 30, 2000
Season 2 of Roswell is such a mixed bag of emotions. It has some of the absolute most memorable episodes, as well as some of the most ludicrous sci-fi storylines. Aliens who shed their skin (aka the Skins) and doppelgängers (or “dupes”) of the Royal Four aliens take up much of the middle of this season.
It picks up at the end of the summer after Liz had walked away from Max, which only made him yearn for her even more. One of the best friendships formed this season has to be Max and Maria. In the premiere, we get the hint that he’s been bugging her all summer to get any updates he can on Liz, since she hasn’t been talking to him.
You’ll recall how Max, Michael, Isabel and Tess learned of their true identities as royalty from their home planet, and their destiny is to defend against their enemies and return home to save their families. Everyone is assuming the roles they lived in their past lives, as much as they hate it. On the other hand, they’re all rejecting their destiny in terms of romantic relationships.
That’s where this episode, “The End of the World,” comes in. Opening with a flash-forward to 2014, we see Future Max and Liz frantic about something in the Granolith (another sci-fi element introduced this season) just before Max travels back in time to the “present” (the year 2000). Check out those wigs!
Cut to Liz, Maria and Alex in the Jetta on their way to visit a psychic since they’re all dealing with different issues regarding their respective alien relationships. Alex was given the “I just want to be friends” speech by Isabel yet again. Liz is still trying to keep her distance from Max even though he’s so persistent about rejecting his destiny with Tess. Then there’s Maria, who is almost officially back with Michael—except for one little problem in the form of Courtney, the new waitress at the Crashdown, who has an annoying crush harboring on an obsession with Michael.
The psychic tells Alex what he already knows and fears about his future with Isabel: It’s a platonic friendship. As for Maria, she says that the next 48 hours of their relationship could make or break them. Perhaps most interesting of all, Liz’s tarot cards read that Max will choose love over his so-called destiny.
Liz is happy with that news, until she gets a visit from Future Max. She rightfully freaks out because she’s been duped by Nasedo appearing as Max before, so to prove that he’s really himself, Future Max predicts when his younger self showed up outside her apartment with a mariachi band to win her back. Liz can’t even fully appreciate how adorable current Max is before Future Max finally explains why he’s here: The earth is taken over by its enemies in 14 years and it’s imperative that Liz helps change the future.
Apparently, the closer 17 year old Max and Liz grew, the worse things got with Tess. This all boils down to Tess, who is the worst. “So you want me to help you and Tess get together?” Liz asks Future Max. It can’t be that simple, of course, as Max answers, “I need you to help me fall out of love with you.”
Meanwhile, Michael (or Mikey G, as Courtney calls him) accepts an invite into Courtney’s apartment when he gives her a ride home from work. He uses this as an opportunity to snoop around while she’s in the shower because, as he says, “A clean girl is a sexy girl.” Finding a cabinet stocked with skin lotion could be unusual, but before he gets the chance to find anything else, Maria shows up. She gets there just in time to see Courtney wrapped in a towel and jumps to the wrong conclusion, but Michael knows he’d better not stick around any longer after that.
It isn’t until later, when Courtney shows up at Michael’s apartment under the pretense that they’re going to hook up, that he discovers the truth about her. A piece of skin flakes off into his hands and her identity as a Skin is revealed.
Liz and Future Max think that maybe giving her blessing to Tess and attempting to set Max up with her might do the trick. Obviously Max won’t give up on Liz that easily just because Tess is reading a book he’s interested in. Liz’s second attempt is to approach Max as honestly as she can possibly be without telling him the whole truth of his future self coming back to save the world. She points out again how dangerous Max is for her, and no matter how much she may love him, she wouldn’t want to die for him. That almost worked, as Future Max’s hand started vanishing, but it wasn’t quite strong enough.
The third time is always the charm. Liz got the idea to make Max think that she slept with Kyle after hearing how heartbroken Maria was when she walked in on Michael at Courtney’s apartment. Kyle, by the way, is a changed man this season, after Max saved his life. He came back from the summer an enlightened Buddhist, and his new sense of self only makes him funnier. As they’re undressing and getting into her bed, Kyle tells Liz that he’s here to help and his “body is merely a vessel.” Oh, Buddha Boy.
Future Max knows that this plan worked as soon as his younger self appears outside Liz’s window. Max doesn’t exactly run straight to Tess, but she finds him devastated in the park and offers to just sit with him.
Liz asks Future Max to dance with her before he completely disappears. He had told her earlier that in his timeline, they had eloped to Vegas when they were only 19. All their friends were there to celebrate with them, and they danced to Sheryl Crow’s “I Shall Believe.” Now that they’ve changed the future, Liz just wants to share her wedding dance in case she’ll always be alone. Max isn’t convinced that she’ll be alone, but she’s not so sure when she says: “Don’t you realize what you are to me? What you’re always gonna be? You’re the love of my life. Everyone else is gonna be second best. There’ll never be another you.” Then they dance, and he finally vanishes when she’s mid-twirl.
Like I said, this season is a roller coaster of emotions. Next week I’ll be jumping to another fan favorite, “A Roswell Christmas Carol.” That’s another one you’ll need tissues for, but in the sweetest possible way.