Episode 1.07: River Dog

Isabel steals a necklace! The Evans’ house gets broken into! Michael and Maria hate each other! Or do they? This week, hosts Aliza, LaRena, and Lisa are discussing season 1, episode 7: River Dog.

Liz showing alien symbol pendant to woman on Mesaliko reservation

Sources & Notes

  • As LaRena mentioned, in the books, aliens need only two hours of sleep per night. No word yet on whether that’s canon for the show as well.
  • In episode 2, it’s unclear if Max’s room is on the 1st or 2nd floor, so I can’t fault this one for inconsistency. However, on re-watching the sexy break-in scene to verify, I did notice that when Max wakes upon hearing a noise, his bedside clock reads 1:20-something, but when he and Michael are talking 30 seconds later, it’s 2:23. So that’s fun.
  • The Evans house is a split level. Sheriff Valenti is pictured in Figure 1 below standing in the doorway next to the stairs.
  • Screenshots of Topolsky’s office from one scene to the next are coming soon as figures 2 and 3 below.
  • The Mescalero Apache reservation is a 1.5 hour drive from Roswell, making it the most likely candidate for the inspiration for the fictional Mesaliko reservation depicted in the show. You can learn more about the tribe on their official website. In their words, “No other Native Americans in the Southwest caused the terror and constant fear in the settlers as the Apaches did throughout their existence.” COOL.
  • Learn more about the Three Rivers Petroglyph site, which may have inspired the alien cave paintings, on New Mexico’s tourism website.
  • Bill Sadler and Nick Wechsler did indeed hang out and get to know each other’s mannerisms, as discussed in the book Crash Into Me: The World of Roswell, by Robyn Burnett. And they’re still in touch. In a 2015 interview, Bill said he and Nick get dinner together whenever Bill goes to L.A. Here’s the photo of them together from October 2019. So cute!
  • Liz drives Maria’s car to the reservation, as pictured in Figure 4 below.
  • Aliza found her information on Native people’s preferred terminology on the website for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, which is a museum that DC-area native Lisa highly recommends visiting.
  • Todd Thawley’s performance as Eddie in Roswell‘s “River Dog” aired one week before his performance as Hus in Buffy‘s “Pangs,” one of the most deeply problematic episodes of that entire series. As we mentioned, Todd and his wife, Lenore Davis-Thawley, now run the non-profit organization the Healing Hunter Foundation in memory of their son. The couple owns Lightning Cupcakes & Cakes in Warren, OR; according to their website, a portion of their proceeds are donated to the Healing Hunter Foundation.
  • If you want to read more about the controversy over the Washington, D.C. football team’s name, here’s a piece that discusses the advocacy American Indians have been undertaking since 1972 to try to convince the team to stop using the racist name. (Warning: While the article itself avoids using the racial slur, someone on the editing team threw it into the headline, and there’s a link to a related article that also uses the word.)
  • As we mentioned, the movie theatre is showing two Hitchcock movies, Secret Agent, from 1936, and The Lady Vanishes, from 1938. The marquee is pictured in Figure 5 below.
    Unfun fact, in case you didn’t know: Hitchcock was a bad person, who pulled cruel “pranks” on cast and crew members and who sexually assaulted and emotionally abused Tippi Hedren.
  • The exchange between Michael and Maria, where she calls him out for being sexist, is as follows (with thanks to Roswell Oracle for their episode transcripts):
    MICHAEL: I’m telling you, the plan sucks the big one, all right? They’re out there on my vision quest, and I’m sitting here in the kitchen with 2 girls yakking.
    MARIA: Interesting. Um, Michael. You know, some women of the, uh, 20th century might find that last remark just a tad bit offensive.
    MICHAEL: Why?
    MARIA: Why?
    ISABEL: Welcome to Michael Land.
    Maria and Isabel exit together so they can make out while chanting, “Down with the patriarchy!” At least, that’s how it happened in my head.
  • The 420 sticker on a door at the Crashdown is pictured in Figure 6 below.
  • Here’s a 2000 interview (originally for Playboy, but linked here to the full text on Crashdown.com, because ew) where Majandra Delfino acknowledges that people in high school “called me ‘fish lips’ and would make fish faces at me. But my mom always used to tell me that when I got older, people would be envious of my lips. And she was right.”

Our Next Minisode

For minisode 0.07, we’ll be discussing the 1994 Showtime movie Roswell starring Kyle MacLachlan, Martin Sheen, and for some reason, Dwight Yoakam. If you want to watch along with us, you can find the movie on YouTube here or here with Spanish subtitles si está practicando su español.

My recommendation for this movie would be to start at the beginning, watch until you get bored (for me, this happened about 2 minutes in), and then just go ahead and skip to 1:09:40, where Martin Sheen finally shows up and gives us a solid 12 minutes of exposition before sliding his sunglasses on in that cool-guy way and heading off into the sunset. Don’t worry, we’ll fill you in on everything else that happens (it’s not a lot).

Feedback

We want to hear from you. What did you think of the depiction of American Indian characters in this episode? Did we miss anything or hit any wrong notes in our discussion? We would especially love to hear from anyone with a Native background, as we recognize the limitations of our own European-descended perspectives.

Images

Sheriff by the stairs
Figure 1: Sheriff Valenti by the Evanses’ staircase
Topolsky's office in the morning
Figure 2: Topolsky’s office in the morning…
Topolsky's office in the afternoon
Figure 3: …and the same wall (with one of the same artworks) in the afternoon
Liz in Maria's car at the Mesaliko reservation
Figure 4: Liz in Maria’s car at the Mesaliko reservation – note the reddish color and the alien antenna topper
Movie theatre marquee
Figure 5: The movie theatre marquee
420 sticker at the Crashdown
Figure 6: Look over Maria’s shoulder for evidence that someone at the Crashdown is a-blazin’