‘Roswell, New Mexico’s Otherworldly Obsession with Trump and Fake News

CW’s sci-fi alien drama Roswell, New Mexico continues to push its narrative that illegal immigrants are marginalized victims while legal immigration is pushed by bigots. In the meantime, however, the show also manages to throw digs at Trump and apparent “fake news.” Let the record show that these jabs make even less sense and are even more annoying.

The February 12 episode “Don’t Speak” continues Liz’s (Jeanine Mason) investigation into her sister’s car crash death ten years ago. Drama ensues when she suspects her love interest Max (Nathan Dean Parsons) of being behind what she believes to be a murder. In researching her sister’s death, Liz comes across recordings of police calls made on the same night which include a man claiming to have seen three bodies floating in mid-air.

Liz recognizes the man’s voice as Grant Green (Peter Diseth), a local podcaster who promotes alien conspiracy theories. He’s also the one from the pilot who remarked in a not-so-subtle rant that that aliens will “rape and murder and steal our jobs.” Since the series has been front-and-center about comparing extraterrestrial aliens to illegal immigrants, Grant plays the role as the obnoxious Alex Jones-stand-in.

Liz tracks Grant to his studio where he suddenly holds her at gunpoint. She says that she believes his theories on aliens to learn about what he saw. He admits that he has footage of the floating bodies from that night but that he’s been paid to keep them hidden and obscure the news with his false alien ramblings. This leads to a very pointed and predictable dialogue on “fake news” by Liz before both of them are shot by an unseen assailant.

Grant: I always knew we weren’t alone. Now, as I got older, I tried to fight it. You know, deny what I knew in my core was true. They exist.

Liz: Rosa… Y-y-you had this the whole time? Why didn’t you tell anyone about it?

Grant: Because I’m not stupid. I took the money, rather than a slow death.

Liz: What money?

Grant: What– no, I’ve said too much. People who talk end up dead.

Liz: You literally talk more than anybody has ever talked ever, in history.

Grant: Well, not about anything real.

Liz: I get it. So someone pays you to flood the airwaves with bogus conspiracy theories and extremist propaganda, and anything real seems small in comparison. Alien fake news.

Grant: You should hear my 9/11 theories.

Liz: Who paid you to stay quiet?

Man: All you had to do was not talk.

The shooter behind the voice is revealed to be Wyatt Long (Dylan McTee), a local described by Liz as “a racist with a chip on his shoulder.” Originally, he was introduced as the brother of a girl killed in Rosa’s “accident,” but now it seems like he has a deeper role in this story than we thought. For now, it’s showing that racists, fake news, and criticizing “aliens” go hand-in-hand.   

Roswell, New Mexico is not the first place to suggest that “aliens” coming to “rape and murder and steal our jobs” is fake news (even if it might have some truth), but it does have the strangest counter-argument. Not only does Grant, the anti-alien podcaster, not believe what he’s saying, he’s being paid off and threatened by local racists to say it. Sounds to me like the writers are bigger conspiracy theorists than he purports to be.

In keeping up with the “fake news” theme, last week’s episode shared some false stories of its own. Max bemoans being unable to help a hospital with no power saying, “People here are suffering, and what do we do? We brought a few water bottles. Why don’t we throw some paper towels at ’em while we’re at it?” This, of course, refers to the media’s deliberate manipulation of Trump’s visit to Puerto Rice following Hurricane Maria.

Of course, this blatant attack on “fake news” isn’t the only issue. Over these past few weeks, Roswell, New Mexico keeps throwing in other random, nonsensical “Easter egg” hits at Trump and other conservatives. A few weeks ago, Liz mocked Kyle’s (Michael Travino) suggestion to alert the government about Max, saying, “Right, so the president can sic the Space Force on our local bookworm?” Last week, there was a reference to Maria’s (Heather Hemmens) bloody interpretative dance protesting “Sarah Palin’s moose slaughter.”

The people of Roswell, New Mexico may hate fake news, but they hate Trump and conservatives more. And the series is all the more unbearable because of it.

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