Alien Nation #20: Rebirth

Matt has a near-death experience that forces him to confront a childhood trauma. George coaches Emily's little league team, by the book.
REVIEW: Too much and too little happens in Rebirth, so it feels like an unsatisfying mish-mash. While it probably wouldn't do to have a Newcomer Jesus, healing the sick and raising the dead, the mundane truth doesn't really explain Matt's miraculous resurrection. His subsequent quest for answers provides a random collection of scenes that don't really gel into a hole. There's the Newcomer religion (one of several - which has always been a nice touch - with humans participating as well, though it does make me wonder why Cathy - a sort of zen Buddhist - is praying to Celine like the Franciscos) and it journey crystals, initially fascinating, but abandoned before it can yield something of import (and it's got its own red herring in the cremated body that was apparently legit). There's his childhood trauma and the memories of his father getting shot, which plays strangely and turns out to be far less surreal or meaningful than they seem at first. And there's the Newcomer that seems to visit him in a dream and heal him, but who turns out to be just a criminal who talks too good a game. None of these amount to much, and I'd go so far as to say our transitions from one element to the next creates an irritating, disjointed feeling.

The regulars do their best with it, and it's especially sweet that Cathy comes to the hospital to be with the Franciscos, and later makes him dinner. George's homoerotic farewell to his dead partner, groping Matt's pecs, is an ill-conceived moment however. Gary Graham makes Sikes more at peace after the ordeal, though the script soon calls for anger and emotions less comfortable for the actor. His feelings towards his attacker, Peter Rabbit (I kind of want to groan here), never come into sharp focus. Or maybe he's playing a part for the other cops who don't know his agenda. But then that agenda has to do with a father he hated still in a coma after 25 years (who's paying for that room?!). It's really very melodramatic.

Usually, the show's subplots follow the same theme as the A-plot. That's not quite true this time. George coaching baseball provides comedy in an otherwise heavy episode, but its only other function is acting as a dodgy trigger for Matt's trauma (he played baseball the day his father was shot). I mean, he seems to have learned baseball from reading books and looking at pictures, but can't muster any ability. There's some fun in that. Emily's the wise one here, coaching her dad on how to handle the human kids quickly getting bored by his lectures. In the end, it's just another false lead, taking us nowhere at all.

THE MOVIE LEGACY: Newcomers sticking up a convenient store was the crime that launched the film; it seems to recur from time to time on the show.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - I wish I could like it more - it tries to flesh out Matt a bit more - but it feels haphazard and full of red herrings.



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