Monsters, despite being a deserving close-up of fan favorite Maria, focuses on the bigger picture of what these kids have gotten themselves into. With just one small event, they’ve lost control of their futures, and their lives, and now just the idea of being who they want to be seems like an unattainable dream.
The episode starts off exploring Maria, and her reaction to being included in this big conspiracy. Her role is easily the most important at this stage, since she’s the only one in the know who has no big connection to this secret. Liz’s life was saved, and she has this strange connection with Max. Maria, though, was dragged into this, yeah partially on her own terms, but she couldn’t have known what she was in for when she demanded the truth from Liz. And what reason does she have to lie to those around her, particularly to someone who appears to be there to help?
The idea of her breaking down and confessing is explored in both a comedic and dramatic sense. I loved those ridiculous dreams (“Some people are just pigs”), and Isabel’s dream-walking ability is one that needs to be explored more since it’s one of the most fascinating alien abilities we’ve encountered so far. Majandra Delfino pulls off a crazily great frightened rabbit performance during her final confrontation with Valenti, and the script gives her a greater purpose and motivation to stay strong in the face of future adversaries.
I love that the show’s central antagonist during these early episodes is someone who doesn’t stand firmly in enemy territory. This episode reiterates the information the pilot gave us about Valenti’s father, who was laughed out of town, and his position as Sherriff, when he discovered the truth about Roswell. There’s more to Valenti’s witch-hunt than just proving his worth, he’s trying to clear his father’s name. It’s a worthy cause, and one of the reasons why you can’t help but feel sorry for him when he fails for a third time to get the truth out of these kids.
Despite it being the central event of the episode, the main theme here is the kids’ futures, and how this massive secret will change that. Liz’s fascination with Max is given another great spin here, as her desire for control is questioned by Topolsky. In a way it makes sense for her to be so sucked in by Max’s story. Even though it’s fascinating, and he proves a worthwhile study tool, he’s something that she can’t control. For once, he’s something that she can’t explain with test tubes and microscopes.
'Monsters' begins the show’s upward trajectory, character-wise, by giving each of the central teens a more defining position in the story; best episode so far.