This week, TBS’s alien abduction comedy PEOPLE OF EARTH bounces back from a bit of a treading-water episode, “Always A Day Away”. “Why Can’t We Be Friends” (and, yes, the question mark is absent from the official episode title), directed by Jennifer Celotta and scribed by Alyssa Lane and Alex J. Sherman, puts the wheels in motion for an exciting home stretch of shows during the People of Earth sophomore season’s second half.
Beacon investigative journalist and alien abductee Ozzie Graham (Wyatt Cenac)’s long-promised, oft-delayed meeting with his former boss — and alien abductor — Jonathan Walsh (Michael Cassidy) is finally on the cusp of transpiring. While alien robot Nancy (Debra McCabe), functioning as the fugitive Walsh’s security detail, keeps watch with a sniper gun outside, Ozzie and Walsh meet at a cabin in the woods.
Because Richard Eugene Clancy Schultz (Brian Huskey) — nice to hear him state his full name here, for the record — took a week off to mourn Nancy’s supposed death without alerting his tech company job, he discovers he has been canned. FBI Agent Alex Foster (Nasim Pedrad), facing pressure from the higher-ups after Ozzie shook her off at the end of last week’s episode, goads him into joining her crusade against Jonathan Walsh during a meeting of Ozzie and Richard’s alien abductee supper group, StarCrossed.
In the cabin, Jonathan Walsh finally comes clean to Ozzie. He peels off his human flesh to show that he is in fact a Reptilian, a scaly green alien with a humanoid build and face. Walsh abducted Ozzie and most of the other members of StarCrossed 30 years ago. They represented a solid cross-section of young humans for Walsh’s research. There is an alliance between Reptilians, Whites and Grays, who have been working together to take over earth for years. Phase one is subversion from within. “Monsanto, your presidents, we’ve got you guys looking at tiny little screens 20 hours a day,” Walsh confides. Though “historically, phase two’s don’t end well,” Walsh tells Ozzie he hasn’t gotten his marching orders yet.
Walsh needs Ozzie’s help, to recruit other influential rogue aliens (we discover that Walsh’s fellow eccentric earthling billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Rupert Murdoch also qualify) who have become human sympathizers. Ozzie needs to convince StarCrossed that they can trust Walsh.
As soon as Agent Foster and Richard arrive at the cabin site, Foster cuffs Richard to her car steering wheel and insists on making the bust of Walsh alone.
The Reptilian assassin (Paul Lieberstein) in cahoots with Alex Foster’s FBI superior, Agent Jim Saunders (Kevin Hanchard) — also an alien — pretends to be a Russian FSB agent, knocks out the Nancy robot, overpowers Agent Foster, then finally kidnaps Walsh and Ozzie with an expressly-relayed plot to murder them both in the woods. Richard, seeing them escape, honks the car horn, waking the Nancy cyborg. Nancy rescues Agent Foster, who herself had been handcuffed to the cabin fridge (there’s a preponderance of hand-cuffing in this episode).
Walsh and Ozzie stage a faux fight to overpower the Reptilian assassin, called an “Assessor” in the episode credits. Ozzie is thrown loose during the scuffle. The Assessor prepares to blast Walsh, until Ozzie jumps in front of the Assessor’s extraterrestrial phaser, taking the brunt of the blast.
Foster and Richard, with some lucky guess-work, have traced the Assessor’s car and come upon the scene of the crime. Ozzie lies limp on the ground, as a nebulous blue light hangs in the air above him (presumably, this was the locale of Walsh and the Assessor’s next move). Ozzie’s energy is almost spent. Quietly, he insists that Foster find and trust Walsh. Walsh, Ozzie insists, has the truth. Then, he collapses.
So… is Ozzie, the nominal star of the show, possibly dead? I’m going to venture a guess and say no. Ozzie was our window to this world throughout the first season, as he uncovered the astounding truth about StarCrossed and his own boss and past. This season, he was the bridge between the rational thinking of Agent Foster and the wacky lunacy of StarCrossed’s spacier members, like Richard and team leader Gina (Ana Gasteyer). Now that Alex Foster is on the cusp of achieving extraterrestrial enlightenment herself, maybe Ozzie has become a bit narratively expendable. But I still think that he is the story’s emotional center, and that there’s no way he’ll be staying dead for long.
What has become of Jonathan Walsh? How will Agent Foster weigh her FBI training and her past, steeped in cold hard rationality, against the mounting evidence that there really is something strange in the neighborhood? Time will tell. It’s exciting to see People of Earth pick up steam once again.
Season 2, Episode 5 (S02E05)
People of Earth airs Mondays at 1030PM on TBS
Alex Kirschenbaum | Contributor