There are leading ladies, and then there’s Roswell, New Mexico’s Liz Ortecho.
We’re only a few episodes deep in Roswell, New Mexico season 1, but I already find myself developing a profound appreciation for the show and its characters. I can’t get enough of those sexy aliens, I’m obsessed with the amazing Maria and Alex, and I’m growing increasingly intrigued by Kyle. That being said, there’s one character who’s already risen above the rest.
Liz Ortecho is the female protagonist I’ve been waiting for.
I didn’t expect to love her. Usually in this kind of supernatural romantic dramedy I find myself feeling most connected to the sassy best friend or even the love interest. While I love the lead, it’s never to the same level as the supporting characters who continue to save them from one impending doom or another, week after week.
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly am already primed to fall head over heels for characters like Maria, Isobel, and Max, but I already appreciate Liz in a way that I didn’t see coming.
Since the lead in a TV show is a part of almost every plot line, it’s common for them to be watered down, or to be used as someone who is simply affected by the decisions of the other characters. They become the object around which the world orbits, rather than a functioning part of it. After a few seasons, they can start to lack definition or even agency.
To be fair, there’s still plenty of time for that to happen to Liz, but I don’t think that’ll be the case. She’s come out of the gate so strong. Liz began surprising me in Roswell, New Mexico episode 2, and she hasn’t stopped since. She’s nothing that I expected her to be (keep in mind, I have not watched the original Roswell series, so my expectations weren’t based on that).
First of all, she’s a biomedical engineer and they’ve already begun to use that part of her personality in the series. She loves science and even employs the scientific method in her actual life problems. When was the last time you formed a “hypothesis” about something your significant other was doing? I can already tell that this logic and rationality is going to be one of the coolest things about her character.
Her sister died, but she’s not victimized by that. In fact, she’s furious. Her emotions rarely fit into the neat little box that they’re supposed to. As far as she knows, her sister made a really stupid decision and now Liz doesn’t have her anymore. She’s feels both the anger and the agony from that, and it’s equally fascinating and heartbreaking to watch her deal with it. Loving an addict ranges from difficult to nearly impossible and Liz Ortecho is painting a beautiful picture of everything that means.
She knows she’s not perfect, but she still has the utmost respect for herself. Her family is shunned by some in Roswell, but she doesn’t question her right to be there. She fully admits to not understanding her relationship with her “perfect” fiance, and instead of staying in an easy place where she wasn’t feeling anything, she took the risk to leave and find herself.
And then there’s the guy. Most of my favorite Liz Ortecho moments have to do with Max, but not in the way you might think. When she wanted to kiss him, she asked what she wanted. When she was questioning him, she took a step back but held her cards close enough to get the information she needed. When Max was out with another girl, she didn’t cry about it. She got high on a rooftop with her friend and talked about Chads.
And here’s the kicker. When Max Evans confessed his lifelong love for her, she didn’t run into his arms. She actually collected her thoughts and feelings and realized that she had suspected this guy of murder only moments before so maybe she should wait before pledging her heart to him! I’m sure she’ll ultimately make the decision that logically makes sense to her, and I hope it does bring her to Max, but I love the route that she’s taking to get there. She’s making choices for herself.
She’s smart, strong-willed, and self aware. She’s the kind of female protagonist you trust to get herself out of sticky situations. Not the kind that you’re praying will be saved, as is too often the case. She’s the kind of protagonist that will push the supporting characters into action, rather than simply being their launching point. She’s taking charge of her own story, and she’s the female protagonist that we deserve in 2019.
Add to that the fact that she’s played by the beautiful and talented Jeanine Mason, and it’s clear that Roswell, New Mexico has a winning formula with Liz Ortecho. I absolutely can’t wait to see how she drives her story forward as the show continues.