The Morning After is as typical a second episode as you can get. It’s not a bad follow-up, but it’s not necessarily one that’s all that surprising. Despite its shallow misgivings, there’s an effortless movement in the script that manages to further develop the show’s underlying narratives and flesh out the characters that didn’t really get a chance to shine during the pilot.
The Morning After succeeds where the pilot didn’t in bringing the supporting characters more into the fold than the previous episode, with Michael and Isabel in particular. Both characters are given ample shine to show some different sides to them, which in turn allows them a greater foothold in the series itself. Michael’s volatile home life becomes a huge issue later on this season, but the seeds of his discontent are sewn wonderfully here, as his impatience and general dissatisfaction with life are more believable, since he’s the one who needs to find out the truth more than the others, to escape his situation in this world.
Despite the supporting cast making a stronger impression, Max and Liz still remain the biggest players. The writers milk that awkward attraction for all its worth here, but Shiri Appleby’s easy performance as a vulnerable, but curious girl make those scenes a lot more tolerable then they would otherwise. Liz and Max are still in that weird pre-relationship state where there’s so much to learn, and everything is so mysterious and beautiful that you can’t help but follow Liz as she gets sucked into this strange and weird world.
There’s a nice amount of mysterious government and alien weirdness bubbling nicely in the background, that was played cleverly off the mysterious appearance of Ms Topolsky (Julie Benz, that woman can’t age). The episode still exhibits some awkwardness, probably the symptoms of a new show still finding its voice, but it still maintains the appeal and charm of the pilot.