We asked Roswell star Jeanine Mason and creator Carina Adly MacKenzie all about that mysterious alien stowaway and Liz leaving Roswell and Max behind.

By Ruth Kinane
June 15, 2020 at 10:01 PM EDT
Roswell, New Mexico
Credit: John Golden Britt/The CW
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Warning: This article contains spoilers about Monday's episode of Roswell, New Mexico.

Howdy... Max?!

If you haven't yet watched the season 2 finale of Roswell, New Mexico, stop reading right now. Go watch it (or hibernate in an alien pod until you can) and then come back here to hear what series star Jeanine Mason (Liz Ortecho) and creator Carina Adly MacKenzie have to say about that shocking final moment.

After a season of heart problems (romantic and literal), threesomes(!), abductions, and plenty of family drama, the second season of the CW extraterrestrial drama came to close on Monday night, sidestepping a literal explosion but still managing to make our minds explode. Yup, in the final moments of the episode, Max (Nathan Dean Parsons), Isobel (Lily Cowles) and Michael (Michael Vlamis) arrived in a cave that housed an extraterrestrial cage containing another alien who looked exactly (plus an impressive beard) like Max! Is it an evil twin? A doppelgänger? A dark part of Max himself?

We asked MacKenzie for the inside scoop and all the other insight on the twists and turns of the final episode. Plus, Mason dishes on Liz's decision to leave Roswell and Max behind.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let's start at the end. Can you tell us anything at all about Mr. Jones a.k.a Other Max?

CARINA ADLY MACKENZIE: Nathan wasn't working a whole lot at the beginning of this season and we decided we're going to put him to work double next year. I will say, it's been in the works for a while. That scene with his hand on Nora's shoulder was one of the first scenes of the season that we shot and it's one of the last ones that you see, so we've been building to it. I'm excited to tell the story of Mr. Jones next season.

I mean, I'm sure you can't answer but I'm going to ask anyway: Is he a twin? A doppelgänger? Some alien then we haven't heard of yet?

MACKENZIE: Yeah, I'm not going to answer that question. I'm starting a year of my life of trying really hard not to answer that question.

Were you excited at the idea of two Maxes when you first found out, Jeanine?

JEANINE MASON: Yeah, our minds were blown. What I love about the character of Max is he's all things good, decent and righteous and now to turn that on its head and make him all the opposite things... I'm excited for Nathan to have that as an acting exercise and I'm so excited to support him through season 3. Also, for fans, it's going to be really jarring and disorienting, and anything that requires us to watch more attentively and sit on the edge of our seats, and really question the things we know to be true, I think is so smart and exciting and engaging. I'm also interested to see how and when Liz will find out. She's also a prime person to be taken advantage of and duped by it.

"Howdy, partner" was such a great last line for the season. Was that yours, Carina?

MACKENZIE: That was me. I felt like it was the correct mix of amusing and menacing and Mr. Jones is going to be really fun to write because that's sort of where he lives: between amusing and menacing. Nathan loves that beard. He walks differently when he had it. His whole vibe changes. He becomes this, like, Silver Lake bartender guy, who I don't know.

We saw Liz decided to move to California at the end and Max chose not to follow. Why is their relationship failing right now?

MACKENZIE: Max has had secrets his entire life. He's a very, very, very good liar because his entire life he's had to lie to everyone who loves him and he hasn't yet learned how to be a true partner to Liz. He makes a lot of promises and doesn't follow through. That said, Liz's ambition is overwhelming to her and what she's doing with the alien DNA is unethical. It's not right. In her mind, it's "I'm taking a risk, but I could possibly save so many people." In his mind, the risk is too great. You don't just get to mess with somebody else, even if she's saying it's not hurting anyone. There's this moment in the fight where she says, "I'm not hurting anyone," and he just looks at her with this searing look and it's like, no, she is. They're hurting each other. I think that politically right now, they are on opposite sides of a major issue that affects both of them. We wanted to tell a story in which the conflict in their relationship just comes from the two of them. It's not about Diego. It's not about California. It's about Liz and Max and they're not able to align right now. They love each other so much, but sometimes that's just not enough.

Jeanine, did you feel like Liz was doing the right thing by leaving for now?

MASON: I felt certain that this was what was right for Liz. I was just grateful to our writers that they wrote her in a way that feels, to me, real and mature and actually indicative of a 29-year-old woman who says, right now, this is too much and I need my space. I need to reclaim my agency and I need to go. There's a sense with them and their epic love, the energy of Max and Liz, that probably plays into her being okay with saying, right now is not the right time. I can believe that maybe it will be later because we found each other after ten years before.

Speaking of breakups, Michael and Maria (Heather Hemmens) also ended things in this episode. Can you explain a little more of Maria's thinking there?

MACKENZIE: I think that Maria's reasoning comes from not wanting to hold anybody back and not wanting to hold herself back. She's made Michael a lot of promises. She's promised that she isn't going to leave him alone and she realizes that she can't keep a promise to herself while also keeping a promise to Michael. In her mind, she's in this difficult situation in which she's watching the man she loves go racing to save someone else that she loves, but then wants her to stay out of the fray. Rather than spend the rest of her life fighting about that, she's just got to let him go. It's kind of heartbreaking. I really loved that scene. Both her actors did a phenomenal job. They both called me and were like, "Wait! Why?" just freaking out. Sometimes I think you have to take a big step back and look at the bigger picture and the bigger implications on your life. We're not telling stories about high school kids. We're telling stories about people that are almost 30 and they're looking for life partners and I think she realizes that he's not hers and she's not his.

I have to ask about Alex's song. Did you write that, Carina?

MACKENZIE: I wrote it with Leslie Powell and Charlie Snyder and I'm super proud of it. My cut of the royalties are going to The Trevor Project, so I'm very excited for people to finally hear it. There's lots of little throwbacks in there.

How has it been having both Shiri Appleby and Jason Behr on set this season?

MASON: I mean, so wonderful. One of the biggest gifts from this job is just how it's a family within a family within a family. That's a really unique experience to get to have and one that's been positively received by the fans, the original fans and fans of the book series. Then also on set, it's fun to see the excitement on our faces of them coming in and joining forces. There's this feeling of disbelief sometimes where I'll look over and I'm just marveling at it. I told Jason like a year ago I was obsessed with Colin Hanks. We'd been joking about it and I was like, "So, now we're at a point where if I saw him at the grocery store, I could tell him we're friends? That could be my intro?" Now he says he's trying to finagle something. I don't know what, but I'm going to die.

The show does so well at being relevant and part of the conversation. Is there one scene, storyline, or interaction your most proud of this season? The scene with Liz and Max in the diner in the penultimate episode where Liz tells Max, “You don’t get this. That’s not your fault it’s just the reality of our experiences,” really stood out to me.

MASON: It's our favorite thing about the show and that we're supported, to be honest, and have our eyes open in that way is such a gift. It's just amazing the timing of last week's episode, alongside these conversations that are happening about Black lives matter and how much they do. It was so powerful. I think that's the kind of stuff that the universe is able to reward you with, when you do something that is right and you're willing to have a conversation that maybe everybody else is dancing around a bit. It was powerful for me to sit there and work on those lines and load them up with all the feelings that I do very much share about, I can love and emphasize with you and you can love and emphasize with me, but you have to understand that it's nothing negative to say that you're not going to ultimately understand. That doesn't mean you can't be an ally.

MACKENZIE: In the current climate, I'm really grateful that we get to ask questions and have tough conversations about race and privilege and misogyny and all of these tough conversations that we're able to reflect on. We just sort of live in that world. Seeing what's been going on in the world lately, I've just been very proud of our show and that no matter what we're going through as a society, I feel like we have been asking relevant questions during our time on Roswell. It makes things feel a little bit less trivial.

Can you tease anything for season 3?

MACKENZIE: The interesting thing is that before we took our extended break, we were planning on a season about racism in the police department. So during the break, we're doing a whole lot of thinking about how we're going to take a look at our plans with new eyes.

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Roswell, New Mexico

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