This episode opened up at the Crash Down, with a blissfully happy Liz musing on the perfect day that she was having, while a very unhappy Maria remarks on what a lousy day that she was having. Max and Michael walk in, much to Liz’s sheer bliss, as she and Max smile sweetly at one another. Michael is clearly unhappy about being there though, and he tells Max that him and Maria had “sort of broken up,” and that he wasn’t sure if it was completely over between them. This ambiguity is quickly cleared up when Liz and Maria walk over to their table, each with a cherry coke in hand, and Liz hands Max his cola with a big smile on her face, sweetly telling him “it’s on the house,” while Maria hands Michael his cola with a sneer on her face, coldly telling him “it’s $1.25.” Michael angrily gets ups to leave, and knocks over his cola, and it spills on Max’s school books, and Michael discovers a drawing that Max made of the symbols that he and Liz saw in the cave that River Dog had shown them. Michael recognizes the drawing, and he asks Max what he’s been hiding from him.
The next scene finds Maria sticking pins in an alien “voodoo doll,” hilariously reflecting the anger and hurt that she feels towards Michael, when Alex walks in to the Crash Down. Alex questions Maria as to why she believes that Max, Michael, and Isabel might be aliens, and she tells Alex the story of how Max saved Liz’s life. Alex then says that maybe he’ll talk to Isabel about it, (summary writer’s note: good choice! ;-)) and Maria cautions Alex not to get too involved with any of the aliens, because they’re “heartless.”
Back at the Evans house, Max talks to Michael and Isabel about his drawing and his and Liz’s experience with River Dog, and Michael reacts angrily to the inference that Max couldn’t trust him to act in a rational manner with this information. Max tries to explain that they were all under intense scrutiny at the time, and he asks Michael to “leave it alone for now,” and that they all formulate questions and see River Dog again, as a group, when the time was right. Max then leaves to go on a date with Liz. Michael immediately tells Isabel that he is going off to see River Dog, and leaves, much to her chagrin. The next scene finds Michael at the Mesaliko Reservation, where he meets up with Eddie, and he demands to see River Dog, who is in a tent participating in a group ritual called a “sweat.” Michael then participates in this “sweat,” and begins coughing violently, and he leaves the tent. We next find Alex questioning Isabel about her alien origins, and she shows him Max’s drawing. Isabel tries to explain that in many ways, they are as “human” as anyone else, with the exception that they can manipulate the molecular structure of things, which she demonstrates by turning a bottle of ketchup into a bottle of mustard. We next find Max and Liz out on a date at a Chinese Restaurant, with Liz teaching Max how to play pool, and the sweetness and affection between them is a joy to behold. Liz remarks that her parents are away for the weekend, saying that they were at a star gazing campout to observe “Venus in the Morning Sky,” and Max remarks that “I thought that she was standing right in front of me.” Joey and Dawson, move over! Liz and Max are the sweetest couple I’ve ever seen! J Max and Liz begin to kiss, only to be interrupted by Maria, who tells them they need to get back to the Crash Down, stopping them dead in their tracks with the words, “It’s Michael.” They rush back to the Crash Down to find a worried looking Isabel standing over a very sick looking Michael. Michael suddenly recovers, though, and he reacts defensively, and Isabel demands that they all leave, leaving Liz and Maria at the Crash Down. Maria and Liz then compare notes on their experiences with Michael and Max over ice cream, in a really sweet scene that wonderfully illustrated the close bond between them. Maria warns Liz about getting too involved with Max, saying while she was “Teflon, babe” and could walk away from Michael, she could tell that Liz and Max had this whole “look into my eyes soul mate thing.” Liz expresses optimism that everything will work out between her and Max, but that they have to prepare for anything that comes their way. Alex takes Isabel to the UFO Center, and he shows her an exhibit of a place in Peru that had symbols that were similar to the ones in Max’s drawing, and when she expresses disdain for his theory, he blurts out “What if this can help you find your planet?” to her obvious horror. This remark is overheard by Max’s boss, who warns Alex to not joke around about such things, and Isabel chastises Alex for behaving so foolishly. Suddenly, there is a commotion, as Michael has turned violently ill, with his eyes turning white, but Max rushes over and puts sunglasses on Michael, and he tells his boss that Michael has migraines, and he and Isabel help Michael out of the UFO Center, taking him to the Crash Down, where they enlist Liz and Maria’s help. They bring Michael upstairs, and in a trance, Michael calls out River Dog’s name. Max and Liz drive out to the Mesaliko Reservation, and Eddie says that River Dog wasn’t there, and he doesn’t want to have anything to do with them, because they violated his trust, and Max reacts angrily, saying that he’ll wait for River Dog. While waiting for River Dog, Max tells Liz how he, Michael and Isabel met as children when they first came out of their incubation pods, and how even then, Michael exhibited the same wariness and tendency to be a loner that he exhibits now. He also told Liz that him and Isabel got separated from Michael and didn’t see him for three years because Isabel took Michael’s hand when the headlights that signified their first contact with human civilization approached, but Michael refused to do so. Max said that Isabel would cry every night after that, wondering where Michael was. I thought this was a telling scene concerning how close the bond was between Max, Isabel, and Michael, and what type of a special relationship that they shared. Max then mused on the possibility that maybe that this was just their life cycle, and perhaps that this was how they die, and he tells Liz that he would understand if she didn’t want to get involved with him because of all the uncertainty surrounding his very existence. Meanwhile, back at Liz’s house, Michael is getting worse, and a visibly upset Isabel tells Maria and Alex that only she can take care of Michael, and “not strangers.” Later, though, Maria brings Isabel something to eat, and an emotional Isabel, after acknowledging that Maria cares about Michael too, tearfully says that Max and Michael are all she has. Michael reacts violently to his illness, chanting and crying out, and Maria and Alex help Isabel tend to Michael. Michael hallucinates about being in a place filled with the symbols in Max’s drawing, and he sees a vision of a dead man. Back at the Mesaliko Reservation, River Dog finally shows up and tells Max and Liz to bring Michael to him. Max and Liz then come back to find Michael wrapped in a type of cocoon, near death, and looking like the person in his hallucination. We next find all the characters in River Dog’s cave, and he relates the story of how he saved the life of the original “visitor,” as he explains the ritual which will now hopefully save Michael. He says that the “sweat” that both the original alien and Michael participated in upset their “balance,” so they all have to participate in a ritual, fraught with a certain amount of risk, to restore this "balance” to Michael and heal him. River Dog then gives everyone stones which he says were from the original alien’s planet, saying that they contained the energy which was present in Michael’s own body, to restore him to health. River Dog has set up a circle with lines going out to everyone so they can participate in this ritual, and everyone readily participates except Liz, who is clearly troubled by all this due to her love for Max and her fear that something bad could happen to him. River Dog senses her fear, and tells her that she has to take a step back, a statement that will serve as a metaphor for what will transpire later in the show. The ritual works, and Michael recovers. As he comes out of his coma, Michael sees visions that contains parallels of how they all originally emerged from their pods as children, reinforcing the ties between him, Max, and Isabel, but also recognizing the ties he has with the new people in his life, especially Maria, who, in his dream, he kisses passionately. Michael then takes the rocks that were used in the ceremony, and fits them into designated places in the cave wall, and the stones light up in a star like “Vee” formation on the wall, and Michael recognizes that the paintings on the wall are a map to their home planet.
The last scene shows Liz writing in her diary, and reflecting on her fears about Max, that he too, could suffer the same fate as Michael. Max then comes to see her, and in a heartbreaking scene, he says that he has lost his “balance” due to his love for her, and that he can no longer fool himself into thinking that he could ever be normal. Liz apologizes for having doubts about him, but Max tells her that her doubts about him were true, and that they don’t belong together. With true regret, Max tells Liz that he’s as confused as she is, and that they both need to take a step back to find their “balance” again. A deeply hurt Liz then tenderly kisses Max goodbye, and she tells him that she just wants to remember, and a saddened Max says goodbye to her and leaves. Liz then looks up in the starry sky, and sees the same “Vee” formation that we saw in the cave, as we are left to ponder this sad development for the next month. I was very moved by this scene, and very upset with Max’s decision, and I hope they don’t keep this wonderful couple apart too long