ROMANTIC MOMENT SPOTLIGHT: MAZ AND LIZ FROM THE ROSWELL CHRISTMAS EPISODE
THE SHOW: Roswell
THE PAIRING: Max Evans (Jason Behr) and Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby)
THE EPISODE: “A Roswell Christmas Carol” (aired December 18, 2000)
THE ROMANTIC MOMENT: Max shows up at the Christmas service to tell Liz he believes in her.
Since it’s the holiday season, I thought I’d turn to the past for a Christmassy romantic moment. Picking just one is not easy as there are so many great Christmas films (It’s a Wonderful Life, for instance) and TV specials with memorable romantic moments.
From the entire movie of Love Actually to the proposal in While You Were Sleeping at the train station, Edward Scissorhands carving snow for Kim, Cameron Diaz learning how to cry in The Holiday, to even the Doctor and Rose in The Christmas Invasion as they start to fall in love all over again.
But there’s one moment that is particularly nostalgic to me. And that’s the end scene from Roswell’s second season episode, “A Roswell Christmas Carol.”
Roswell was my favorite show for the few short seasons it was on, and I looked forward to every episode about the Romeo and Juliet story between Max and Liz in Roswell, New Mexico.
Star-crossed love between an alien and a human girl with fantastic writers running the show such as Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) and Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), you just couldn’t go wrong.
It’s rumored that at that time, the pilot was the highest-rated pilot 20th Century Fox had done up to that point, so it’s surprising they didn’t actually pick it up.
The show eventually found its home at the WB, and while it didn’t have huge ratings, the series gathered a large cult following (with the fans helping get a second season for the series by sending Tabasco sauce to the network).
Some of the best episodes include the pilot episode when Max saves Liz at the Crashdown Cafe, “Heat Wave,” the future Max episode, “End of the World,” “River Dog,” and more!
All these years later, the show still stands the test of time, with “A Roswell Christmas Carol” as one of the best episodes. And a personal favorite of mine.
A ROSWELL CHRISTMAS CAROL
It’s Christmas time, and Max, who can heal others with his alien powers, witnesses a father die to save his daughter. With all of the witnesses watching, Max chooses not to cure the father so as not to expose his secret.
Soon, he finds himself haunted by the father, who blames him for not healing him.
Eventually, to make up for it, Max and Michael travel to Phoenix to heal a friend’s daughter who has cancer.
Seeing the other children dying, however, Max decides to save as many of the sick children as possible with his gift. The episode is about faith, family, and of course, romantic love.
MAX AND LIZ – THE BUILD UP
Toward the end of the episode, Max goes to see Liz. She’s getting ready for the local church Christmas Service. Max, however, has no intention of attending, making him a little bit of our “Scrooge,” despite his heroic adventures to save all the children.
Liz is touched by what he’s done, but she gives him a warning.
“As beautiful as that is, Max, you can’t keep doing it. I know it seems like there’s no reason for those kids to have cancer or for a father to get killed saving his child, or for any of it, but maybe there is. Maybe there is someone or something out there that’s planning all of this. And maybe you have to respect it. You’re not God, Max. You’re the one that told me that.”
Based on his expression, it’s obvious they don’t entirely see eye to eye here, but they love each other, and she wants his support.
“Will you come to midnight service?” Liz asks, hopeful.
“I’d like to. But I don’t believe in God.”
Liz can’t hide her disappointment, but she does her best to cover up her feelings.
“Merry Christmas, Liz.” Max says before he leaves, knowing he’s let her down.
Waiting for him to be gone, Liz returns the sentiment.
“Merry Christmas, Max.”
MAX AND A CHRISTMAS ANGEL
Soon after, Max finds himself walking down the street with the father who’s been haunting him. Max promises to look out for his family, and when Max drops the father off at his house, the ghost tells him to “Get outta here.”
“I don’t know where to go.” Max claims.
“It’s Christmas. You should be with your loved ones. That’s where I’ll be. That’s where I’ll always be.”
The father then approaches his doorstep and goes inside to watch over his own family as an angel. His whole life is now about being with his loved ones forever.
As “Silent Night” plays, Max turns inward, clearly thinking about his own loved ones (his parents, his sister, his friends, and especially Liz) all getting ready to attend the Christmas Service without him.
Yet seeing this man who can’t be with his family physically, Max still doesn’t plan to attend.
MICHAEL GIVES MAX ADVICE
Later, Michael (clearly dressed up to go to Midnight Service) comes to see Max at home.
“You’re going to midnight service?” Max questions him in surprise. “You don’t believe in anything.”
“Gotta hedge your bets Maxwell. I’ve had my prayers answered twice in the past two days.”
Michael then takes Max to give him his Christmas present: Seeing their friend Brody celebrating Christmas with his daughter now free from cancer.
But has Max seen enough to change his mind and embrace the Christmas spirit for the first time even if he doesn’t believe in God? Has his best friend, Michael, influenced him in any way? Has Liz softened Max’s heart?
THE ROMANTIC MOMENT: MAX AND LIZ
The episode’s final scene, which brings me to the romantic moment, is set with everyone at the midnight service. Everyone but Max, that is.
As “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful” is sung by the church choir, Max appears from the street, walking toward the crowd.
First, his family sees him, then Liz, who he sits next to. She has a huge smile on her face, unable to contain how happy she is to see him there.
She leans over to him and says, “I thought you didn’t believe in God.”
He then takes her hand and holds it in his own. “I believe in you.”
It’s innocent, sweet, and perfect. And just when you think the episode is over and there’s nothing better that can be said or done, something happens.
As the choir reaches a new crescendo, snow starts to fall out of the sky like a small Christmas miracle. Max and Liz look up in wonder, and she smiles.
The camera pans away as we watch the snow fall on the audience, and the choir continues to sing.
It’s a beautiful romantic Christmas moment of true love, one that will always be one of my favorites.
What is your favorite romantic holiday moment in a Movie or TV show? Did you love the Roswell Christmas episode and this classic Max and Liz scene? Let me know in the comments!
(Update: For more Roswell goodness, check out the new CW series starring Jeanine Mason as Liz Ortecho.)
Photo Credit: 20th Television