Welcome back, residents of Patience! Resident Alien’s latest outing is deeply profound, brimming with nuance, poignancy and a smattering of heart. It’s not uncommon for this series to take the profundity route, but “The Ghost of Bobby Smallwood” tackles a challenging subject — death. Nobody likes to talk about it. Resident Alien infuses so much humanity and depth, as does the consistently brilliant Alan Tudyk as Harry. His scene with Gerard tore my heart asunder and repaired it within seconds. Tudyk is a comedic pro, but his handling of an alien grappling with human emotions is award-worthy in my eyes.
Ready to delve into “The Ghost of Bobby Smallwood”? Let’s get to it.
Where’s Bobby Smallwood?
We open with a flashback to Patience, 81 years ago. A young boy and girl, who are brother and sister, slink through the woods, chasing after a rabbit that’ll become dinner. The boy, Bobby, follows said rabbit into the collapsed mine. You know the one — where 59 died to save one. The sister calls out for Bobby, but to no avail. He never emerges again. Could this be the Bobby Smallwood, a.k.a. the one in the episode title (the answer is “yes”)?
Later, Harry (Tudyk) wakes to find an overly cheerful Asta (Sara Tomko) with two cups of coffee in hand. She claims she hasn’t felt this good in a long time. Harry’s mind erasure worked a little too well. Asta doesn’t even recall the alien baby egg hatching. Thus, he concocts a lie about communicating with the egg and learning from it that his people have no plans of eradicating Earth. He leaves out the inconsequential bit about a new alien race overtaking the planet to destroy it all.
Next, the pair discuss Harry’s newfound fear of death. Asta believes he’s suppressing his feelings. After all, he did almost die the night of the party.
Then, Harry presents the conclusion of the autopsy to Sheriff Mike (Corey Reynolds), Mayor Ben (Levi Fiehler), Deputy Liv (Elizabeth Bowen) and Detective Lena Torres (Nicola Correia-Damude). Harry believes the man was shot in Patience, not Jessup, much to Ben’s dismay. He still asserts this is solely a Jessup case. Of course, we know the truth.
Making House Calls and Office Threats
Ellen (Diana Bang) informs Harry he must make a house call to bring pain meds to Gerard, an older man who’s dying. Harry flinches at this news, claiming that Gerard’s on death’s door, so why bother? Also, stop eating his yogurt, Ellen!
Harry wanders into his office to find D’Arcy (Alice Wetterlund) relaxing on his couch. She grills him regarding Asta’s whereabouts. Harry urges D’Arcy to keep the knowledge of Asta killing a man under wraps. D’Arcy obliges but warns our fave alien doc that if he harms Asta in any way, she’ll take action. It won’t be pretty.
Later, D’Arcy runs into Kate (Meredith Garretson) outside the gym. D’Arcy apologizes for withholding the kiss for so long, while Kate apologizes for what she said to D’Arcy at the party. It’s all water under the bridge now!
Meanwhile, Harry learns from a patient that a “chupacabra,” a.k.a. the alien baby (AB), was taking milk from his cows. So, Harry visits this man’s farm to catch said alien baby in milky action. Unfortunately, the man barges in guns blazing and scares AB away.
There’s a New Therapist in Town
Mike offers marital advice to Ben, who’s down in the dumps. He advises Ben to take Kate to a public place to talk. That way, there are witnesses should the conversation go south. Who knew therapy was 100 percent of a sheriff’s job? I love the Mike and Ben scenes — the Odd Couple-esque dynamic between them must be so fun to explore.
Next, Asta waltzes into the 59, newly invigorated and living her best life. D’Arcy wonders why she’s so happy. Asta forgets D’Arcy went on a date with Elliott, alarming D’Arcy. Suddenly, Asta hears a pool ball roll across the table, sounding like a gunshot. Uh-oh. Maybe Harry’s extraterrestrial magic is wearing off.
Meanwhile, Mike and Liv scope out the dock where one man found a boat from two fellas AB consumed. Lena arrives on the scene, calling them out for keeping her out of the loop. Liv determines the “missing” men are from New Jersey, while Lena finds a vehicle they drove with NJ license plates. Jay (Kaylayla Raine) confronts Asta outside The 59 for standing her up on her birthday. Of course, Asta doesn’t recall making plans for the hangout because of the memory wipe.
Asta Learns the Truth
Later, Asta asks Harry if he erased her memories. As intrusive and icky as it is, and the fact that Asta didn’t give her consent, Harry’s alien heart was in the right place. Harry fills in the gaps for her, informing her that she killed someone to save him. Asta explains that the beauty of humanity is feeling everything. That’s why they’re called feelings. She urges Harry to confront his fear of death and accept that everyone will die one day. I love how her motivational speech to Harry mirrors what Mike tells Ben — that we have to face our fears.
Then, Lena bonds with Mike, much to Liv’s surprise (and maybe slight envy). Lena was a former NYPD detective, while Mike worked in DC. They even have a mutual contact. Hey, she might not be so bad after all.
Once again, Asta persuades Harry to stop relying on coping mechanisms and distractions to prevent him from fully feeling the breadth of his emotions. He forgoes that to watch Season 5 of Law & Order instead because that requires less contemplation and far less ruminating on unpleasantness.
Sahar (Gracelyn Award Rinke) spots Bobby Smallwood while walking her dog. We see Bobby’s sister, now an older woman, approach Bobby, calling him by name. However, her granddaughter leads her away. Bobby flees the scene, with Sahar in pursuit.
Meanwhile, Elliott (Justin Rain) takes D’Arcy to a dig site wherein some assholes plan to build on sacred land. He’s responsible for finding Native artifacts, relics of a village long gone, and chronicling them for safekeeping. Elliott notes that a backhoe impedes his work, so D’Arcy moves it. It’s a sweet gesture. She has ample experience with driving backhoes, apparently.
Later, Ben takes Kate to Joe’s Diner, where he lets slip that he’s afraid of her. He’s scared to tell her, well, anything. Kate storms out while Ben stews in misery and shame. As it turns out, Mike’s advice fell flat.
Mike and Lena question Judy (Jenna Lamia) without Liv, so she arrives late to the party. Judy confirms the appearances of the missing men that came to her hotel. It appears Liv feels replaced by Lena, but who can replace our fave deputy? No one, that’s who!
Ben arrives home with leftovers and an apology. Both admit they’ve changed over the years, as have their communication methods. They reminisce about the early years when they could easily talk on the phone for hours. Kate wonders whether this is simply how things are now.
Then, Ben calls Kate while she’s in the kitchen, and he’s still in the living room. They talk on the phone for three hours while sitting mere feet from each other. Ben and Kate fall into a smooth rhythm once again. This scene belongs in a rom-com. It’s super sweet.
Next, D’Arcy wakes in Elliott’s bed the following day. She gathers her clothes, planning to slip out undetected. However, D’Arcy changes her mind, instead returning to bed to cuddle with Elliott. That’s my girl. Accept that love you deserve!
Meanwhile, Sahar and Max (Judah Prehn) meet in their secret camper in the woods. She introduces him to Bobby Smallwood, who the alien baby now occupies. More like AB constructed Bobby’s body after stumbling upon his remains in the collapsed mine. Sahar urges Max to keep AB a secret from Harry. She believes Harry harbors a nefarious plan for AB, so she wants to train AB to be good. So, stop eating stuffed animals, alien baby! They hold zero nutritional value.
Later, Asta finds Harry eating his weight in food at the diner. It’s all the comfort food he could order on the menu. I feel this image (hard). Once again, Asta encourages her alien pal to reconcile with his fear of death. It’s a natural part of life.
So, Harry does his house call with Gerard (John Innes). They discuss death and how Gerard no longer fears it. It makes life all the more precious. Harry should live it up instead of letting the inevitable loom over him. After their profound conversation, Harry administers medication, but it’s meant to kill the older man. It seems Harry and Gerard struck an unseen agreement involving Harry giving him these drugs. Gerard thanks him before slipping away. Harry, emotional, asks, “What’s it like?” to no one. God, this scene delivers a swift punch to the gut.
Meanwhile, Asta writes Jay a letter for her 18th birthday. She places it in a box with letters she penned for her daughter every year since birth. Harry savors a piece of pie, taking Gerard’s advice to heart. I’m not crying; you are.
This episode exudes warmth and thoughtfulness, with each character embarking on their respective journies. It’s rare to find a comedy, let alone a sci-fi comedy, this relatable. Harry might be the lead, but the humans around him help carry this show, influencing our fave alien to embrace humanity.
Plus, “The Ghost of Bobby Smallwood” sets the stage for the remainder of the season. Asta knows the alien baby is on the loose, but she doesn’t know about Goliath’s warning. In addition, neither Asta nor Harry know about AB transforming into Bobby Smallwood. That’ll undoubtedly play a significant role in the episodes to come. I can’t wait to see which way the dominoes fall.
Resident Alien drops new episodes every Wednesday at 10/9c on your Syfy affiliate.