Alien Nation #19: Crossing the Line

A serial killer from Matt's past returns to L.A. Emily learns the value of honesty. And first appearance of Det. Beatrice Zapeda.
REVIEW: That old trope? It's easily the weakest part of an episode that ostensibly about guilt, but isn't as strongly themed as most of the series. Matt is haunted by a serial killer that got away from him when he was a uniformed cop, and his descent into obsession when this "Doctor of Death" returns is gripping, if cliched. However, the Doctor isn't a particularly well crafted mass murderer, too rough to be a mastermind, and with unfocused motivations and habits. They had a decent chance to shock the audience by killing off the misused and uninteresting photojournalist Burns - a regular makes a better victim than a guest star, even when you're kind of happy to see him go - but it doesn't go that extra mile. It brings up the question of whether the media are more helpful or harmful to police investigations, but only on a surface level. Otherwise, it goes pretty much where you think it will, to a reprise of the events of long ago - this time with George in danger instead of a helpless nurse - and Matt putting the animal down.

The addition of Detective Zapeda, played by professional TV guest-star Jenny Gago, seems to lead nowhere - George can't really make use of this new partner because Matt never goes on his forced vacation - but looking ahead, it's because she's to be a regular from now on (although she doesn't appear again for a few episodes). She's sexy and competent, but one wonders if she'll bring more to the table than Dobbs, who seems to have disappeared now that we're past the point of needing a foil for Albert (who's evolved beyond the role of simple comic relief, though he does the occasional bit of slapstick). Just a tag-along while Matt goes rogue here, but that's already more than Dobbs ever did.

The subplot concerns Vessna's christening (or rather, its Tanctonese equivalent) and Emily thinking herself responsible for the baby's short illness because she shirked her responsibilities and didn't follow a tradition said to protect the child. That too ends predictably, with the bracelet Emily coveted winding up in the crib. Still, there's a sweetness about all this, and the ceremony shows, among other things, how close George and Matt have become. And that's the real joy of this show. I hope it allows itself a break from the standard cop drama when it goes into TV movies, because it's the characters that make the show, far more than the plots.

- We've seen this story a hundred times, but the characters are as engaging as usual, so I can forgive its lack of ambition.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine