The Aliens S01E04 “Episode 4” REVIEW

The Aliens S01E04 “Episode 4” REVIEW

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stars 3.5

Airing in the UK on E4 on Tuesdays at 9pm

Writer: Fintan Ryan
Director: Lawrence Gough

 

Essential Plot Points:

  • Having retaken his place as Leader of Troy, Antoine’s free to roam around the streets, and is even being given gifts of appreciation from passers-by. They’re really happy he’s knocked Fabien off the throne.
  • It’s not all fun and games behind the scenes, though – Antoine and Gaspard have Lilyhot tied up and are gearing up to murder her for her part in Fabien’s plans last episode. She uses her powerful manipulation skills to get out of it, though, using Lewis’s affection for her as leverage. But it comes with a price: Antoine essentially exiles her from Troy in exchange for not killing her.
  • Back at border patrol, Truss is having sex with an alien? How the tables have turned…! When another alien calls his girlfriend a “whore” as she’s passing through the checkpoint, Truss takes it personally, severely beating him up.
  • Lilyhot goes to confront Fabien to try and get him back in the game. Turns out that since his defeat, Fabien’s turned to orgies rather than making another go at starting a civil war.
  • Truss discovers that someone’s lashed out at him for beating up the alien in a less than conventional way – by pissing in his shoe.
  • He instantly blames Lewis, who confesses quickly, since he’s realised that it was Dominic. When Lewis confronts him, Dominic explains that he’s become a member of the Alien League, and in keeping with their rules, used “passive resistance” to fight back against Truss. Lewis is less than pleased.
  • He makes his way back into Troy to ask Antoine for a job, but it’s a no. Good Dad Antoine doesn’t want his son getting involved with the more violent side of his lifestyle.
  • Lilyhot calls Lewis asking to meet, which he doesn’t take well at all. Understandable, given her betrayal last episode! Still, when she says he can choose the meet-up spot, he agrees. When they meet, Lilyhot explains that she’s being kicked out of Troy, and she wants Lewis to come along with her. He says no.

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  • Turns out Truss has been following Lewis the entire time, and corners him after he leaves Lilyhot. He tries to arrest him, but Lewis gets away when an entire group of aliens (the Alien League, specifically) see him being restrained and brutally attack Truss. He uses a dog whistle to get away from them, and which Lewis also reacts to, revealing himself to Truss as an alien.
  • The Alien League chases Lewis and Truss across Troy, intending to kill Truss on sight. Luckily the one alien who finds them is Dominic, who manages to protect them from the League’s leader, Paulette. He also manages to out just about every piece of information about Lewis to Truss that Lewis really wouldn’t have wanted him to know: that his Dad’s Antoine Berry, that he’s half-alien…
  • Meanwhile, Fabien’s finding out about his son getting into a fight with another boy. He seems almost proud at first, but then he finds out that it’s because the other boy was calling Fabien “washed up”, and a “pussy”. Fabien doesn’t take well to that at all, and goes to shoot the naysayer point blank. He’s back in the game.
  • Lewis goes to Antoine for help, bit only ends up with Truss holding a gun to his head. Antoine argues that no matter what, Truss will only go back to the human side and out Lewis as being half-alien, making killing him their best option. Not liking the idea of being an accomplice to murder, Lewis smashes his Dad over the head and they escape.

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  • With no other options left, Lewis turns to Lilyhot, who successfully hides Truss from the Alien League. Seeing that maybe she does have a good side to her, Lewis agrees to go with her when she leaves Troy.
  • Lewis finally gets Truss to the tunnel opening, but they’re ambushed by a small group of aliens. They manage to stab Truss before he and Lewis escape, and he quickly begins to bleed out. Lewis promises to get him help – if Truss agrees to not reveal Lewis’s half-alien status to border patrol. Even as he’s dying, Truss absolutely refuses to “make a deal with a mork”. Lewis gives him multiple chances to reconsider, but eventually realises that Truss is set in his ways, and won’t change his mind. He silently stops the car in the middle of nowhere, and leaves Truss to bleed out.
  • Later, he phones Lilyhot and tells her he’s reconsidered going with her. She tells him that, yeah, she changed her mind as well – but we see that she’s sitting right by the entrance to the tunnel. Slighted by Lewis, she joins up with Fabien instead of leaving Troy.

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Review:

Antoine’s ruling the roost again at the start of The Aliens’ fourth episode, having knocked Fabien off the top last week, but that doesn’t mean things are suddenly going to start running smoothly again. Antoine’s no benevolent leader; he still does what has to be done.

Lilyhot’s first on his list of things to deal with. Antoine’s not impressed with her after last week, and would happily leave her for dead. It’s a bit of a shock to see the normally headstrong and confident Lilyhot tied up and begging for her life, since it’s seemed like she’s been the one in charge for so long. Not anymore. She even admits to Lewis that she’s failed – although maybe that’s just a ploy to get him to follow her out of Troy. Lewis brands her a liar, and he’s not wrong; even as a viewer it’s difficult to tell if anything she says is the truth or not.

Still, after using and deceiving Lewis for so long, her affection for him is really believable. It’s when you see her crying as she realises Lewis has left her behind at the end of the episode that you think, huh. Maybe that’s one thing she hasn’t been lying about.

Lewis goes through a whole rollercoaster of character development this episode, particularly when it comes to his treatment of his dickhead co-worker, Truss. (He should have left him for dead earlier. The man has no soul.) He goes from bottling his own Dad to save him to leaving him to bleed out in a car – probably the starkest evidence of the effect the Troy lifestyle is having on him. Honestly, it seems like Lewis is really starting to gel with his secret alien life, from protecting Dominic from Truss’s wrath to asking his Dad to give him a job in Troy after the corruption he’s seen at border patrol. It’s a little worrying, to say the least. Still, he’s finally managed to drag himself out from under Lilyhot’s constant manipulation, so that’s something.

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Truss has been teetering on the “chaotic evil” alignment from the start of the series, and it’s this episode that shows us that he really deserves to be there. It’s bad enough that he can brutally beat up an alien right in front of his co-workers, but even worse that despite Lewis’s multiple attempts to save his life, Truss hands-down refuses to make a deal with him. He would literally rather die than protect the identity of the man who’s tried to protect him. It makes you wonder why we were even shown that he has an alien girlfriend at all, since it didn’t help him in any way or add anything to his character. It looked like we were going to see another side of Truss – that he’s secretly an alien supporter, or something, but in the end nothing came of it. And now he’s dead. Shame.

There’s still a fair bit of mystery surrounding the Alien League that’s amped up this episode. Sure, we’ve seen glimpses of it before, mostly in the form of Paulette handing out flyers and shouting from a pedestal, but this sudden appearance of a League thet’s not afraid to use violence to get what it wants seems really sudden. They’re hellbent on killing Truss once they find out he’s a human, for one thing.

Presumably word’s spread about Lewis being Antoine’s son, which would explain why he didn’t attract much of the violence – the League’s beef is with humans. But do they just want to separate themselves from humans, or actually go out and start killing them? That’s still unclear, too. We hope we’ll find out more about them soon. Maybe from Dominic, since he’s apparently a full-on convert now. It’s almost surreal to see someone so lovely and kind-hearted get swept into yet more violence and anarchy.

This episode manages to keep the overall great quality of Aliens up, but events seem to be progressing with an almost indecent haste, leaving some plot points vague or unexplained. But it does seem to be setting the pieces in place for what should be a terrific finale.

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The Good:

  • Antoine’s love for his son is chillingly juxtaposed with his almost casual attitude towards committing horrific crimes to great effect, and Smiley plays it really well.
  • Morality be damned – it was good to see Truss get what was coming to him, especially after his complete shut-down of Lewis’s repeated requests to keep his identity secret.
  • The will-they won’t-they between Lewis and Lilyhot is being handled well, and is an intriguing part of the plot, especially given just how shrouded in mystery Lilyhot continues to be. Plus it’s nice to see that Lewis isn’t just driven by his desires – he might have a massive crush on Lilyhot, but he won’t follow her to the ends of the Earth after everything she’s done to him. Good choice.
  • There are some great one-liners this episode. Particular highlights include, “You’re interrupting my orgy,” and, “In Germany, in the 1930s, there were people who went door-to-door. And the name of those people… was the Hitlers!”

 

The Bad:

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  • The Alien League would have benefitted from a more gradual introduction, including some details about how Dominic went from burning his hair with some kids last episode to joining in the hunt for Truss this episode. It all seems really sudden – too sudden, in fact. How did Paulette amass such a following in such a short period of time?
  • Although Truss is supposed to be a hateful character, there are moments when he comes across as unrealistically terrible. He strays from “character you love to hate” territory into something genuinely awful.
  • Plus it seems that, from a plot point of view, there was no reason to show Truss as having an alien girlfriend. If anything, it made him an even more confusing as a character, since surely having an alien girlfriend would make him at least a tiny bit sympathetic towards aliens? But it doesn’t at all. It could easily have been explained away as some weird taboo fetish he has, but it’s pretty clear that’s not the case either. So… why?

 

And the Random:

  • That Dominic even mentions the Nazis this episode is pretty poignant when you see that the Alien League have their own armbands with symbols brandished across them..
  • This week’s awesome music cue: The Slit’s cover of “Heard It Through The Grapevine”.

Review by Jessica Anson


 

Read our other reviews of The Aliens

 

 

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