Character Convo: Dissecting Roswell New Mexico's Maria Problem

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With shocking revelations, secret organizations, heaping doses of sci-fi, and alien family history, Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 has come to a close.

But there's a pesky, consistent issue that keeps getting under the skin of some of our TV Fanatics. The sophomore season promised to rectify the show's egregious sidelining, lack of screentime, and underdevelopment of Maria DeLuca, but did it?

TV Fanatics Berea Orange and Jasmine Blu sat down to chat about Maria DeLuca and her progress (or lack thereof). Check out our Character Convo below.

Goddess  - Roswell, New Mexico

Jasmine: Alright, I have moderately settled down some since watching Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 13, but now that it's over, can we go ahead and address the Maria-sized elephant in the room?

I had high hopes that the second season would do right by her after the first season, but it hasn't, and to be honest, I'm tired.

I still think the show shot itself in the foot and screwed her right out the gate by giving Alex her canon love interest, making Kyle Liz's first confidant with the alien secret, adding in the distance in connection between her, Liz, and Alex, and then, not actually replacing any of that with her own story.

It's not just me, is it?

DeLuca - Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 6

Berea: It is absolutely NOT just you. During Roswell, New Mexico Season 1, I was really into Maria’s character and her relationship with Michael.

But I could tell Michael and Alex were going to be the show’s endgame. It was so obvious from the very beginning of the series.

So I enjoyed Michael and Maria while we had them, while also not getting too invested in their relationship because I just knew it would end eventually. However, I wanted their relationship to end organically, not this plot-driven nonsense.

Miluca Breakup - Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 13

It’s clear that the intention was for Maria to be a step stool for Michael so that he would end up with Alex, and it was terribly done.

Michael got to allegedly be a good boyfriend, but that was all shown off-screen. And then we get an “I love you,” followed by a pointless breakup that I’m still trying to understand.

Were they trying to show Maria as jealous because of Michael fighting to find Alex? Even though she’s shown she’s not jealous of Alex?

A Mysterious Destination - Tall - Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 6

Jasmine: Yeah, part of the problem I had all along with this supposed love triangle is that a GOOD love triangle gives you a healthy dose of both options. And as passionate as people are about their preferences, we never know for sure which relationship will prevail.

For this show, it hasn't been the case. The show's skew is always toward Michael and Alex. The first season was about the "cosmic" love between them, and the season sidelined Maria the majority of the time.

During season two, they had Maria and Michael together, but apparently, most of their relationship was offscreen. Even Maria finding out and reacting to the alien reveal with both Rosa and Michael was cut away from.

Fork You - Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 13

And while Maria and Michael were together, it was still about Michael and Alex.

On top of that, Malex is all everyone prefers to focus on promoting and talking about most with this series, which is an entirely different irritation sometimes (particuarly with a female-led genre series starring a Latina!), so of course we all knew Maria and Michael were a bump in the road until we got to the favored Michael and Alex.

As viewers, we shouldn't know that, though -- we shouldn't have that much certainty. There's no suspense or intrigue, so why bother with a love triangle at all? Especially when it takes an already sidelined character like Maria and reduces her to a stepping stone.

Because the breakup was contrived and not earned, you have to earn that emotional payout. Instead, Michael learned how to be a boyfriend with Maria so he can be great with Alex, which is sort of what those final moments and his "It's not our time yet, but it will be" line implied.

DeLuca - Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 2

You're right; it completely undid what they gave us all season with Maria and Michael. Wasn't the whole point of that controversial threesome that Maria knew and accepted that Michael loved them both?

So to suddenly have her say now she knows she won't be the first choice or whatever, undoes everything they established all season for the sole purpose of ending this relationship they never invested in to move back to Michael and Alex (without making Michael the bad guy).

Maria was a plot device; again. I'm struggling with that, regardless of her romantic relationships. It continues to be an issue for her in general.

Maria Has the Truth - Roswell, New Mexico Season 1 Episode 2

Berea: That’s it, though, isn’t it? It’s not just about her relationship with Michael. She has been a plot device for everyone else this season. Every storyline they gave Maria this season was to prop up other characters’ stories.

During the first season, we kept hearing about how great friends she and Rosa were. And in Rosa’s absence, she and Liz got close. And yet, we did not see those friendships this season.

She found out Rosa was alive, and we didn’t see much more between the two of them since. I can’t even remember if we got any Maria and Liz scenes this season. You would think we would’ve gotten a big friendship scene between the three women after Maria found out Rosa was alive. They definitely dropped the ball on that one.

Making Amends - Roswell, New Mexico Season 1 Episode 7

And what about her relationship with Isobel? They always had a somewhat catty relationship, and now we find out they’re related. Even this revelation felt like it was mostly about Isobel than it was Maria.

We didn’t get to see Maria really get to process this or discuss it with her mother or anything. Not even a “You WILL NOT believe what I just found out” conversation with her alleged best friend, Rosa.

The writing for Maria has felt more like filling a quota. “Let’s include Maria in this storyline, but let’s not give her too much involvement. We just want to show how this affects [insert literally any other character here].”

It seemed all of her significant moments and most of her character development, happened off-screen, which is completely unfair to her character.

Clues - Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 10

Jasmine: The way they handle friendships in this series may be my villain origin story. They kept telling us that Maria, Alex, and Liz were best friends and that Maria and Rosa were best friends, but they struggle to let those relationships flourish.

Liz and Alex barely interact. There is a pattern of Maria being left out of things in season one with Liz, and then Maria going through things, and Liz barely showing up in season two. I don't even know when Liz and Alex found out about Maria's brain thing and alien roots because we never saw it.

You can count Maria and Rosa's interactions on the one hand. Rosa showed up to tell Maria the truth, but they cut away. They mentioned they were talking to each other, but it was offscreen.

Maria and the Ortecho sisters  - Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 5

Maria showed up to hold the Ortecho girls' hands that one time. And then they had a scene in the episode before the finale I think.

You're right; all of Maria's prominent moments that served her specifically happened offscreen. Maria eventually finding out about aliens was one of the biggest cliffhangers, and there was no payout from that because they brushed past it.

The focus on her family started out about her but quickly shifted to Isobel, and then to Alex and Michael, which we saw in the finale with Nora and Tripp paralleling Malex. We didn't learn anything else about Bronson or Patricia, was it? Even Mimi's abduction got overshadowed by Jenna's and has been inconclusive.

Contemplation - Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 9

Also, what was with Mimi's box? It seemed like Maria only had a scene to randomly break up with Michael, and then she was never shown again. Wouldn't the contents of that box finally be about Maria?

Why couldn't she be there when they opened it? The second it became about her learning her history, again, they cut away to something "more important."

Other than Maria being part alien and connected to Isobel, do we know anything else about MARIA and what her storyline is supposed to be? Because you're right, they're trying to squeeze her into a storyline instead of just giving her one.

And the increased quantity of screentime this season is not synonymous with quality. I'm losing faith that they know what to do with her, and that's disconcerting.

Isobel, Michael, & Maria - Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 10

Berea: It’s very evident they don’t know what to do with her. And whenever they do get an idea of what to do with her, they put little to no effort into it.

What makes this whole thing with Maria worse is that she is the only black main character. I know the show prides itself on diversity and, in some ways, they’ve succeeded. But with Maria, they have not.

She's the only black main character on the show, and they've reduced her to a sidekick only meant to serve her counterparts. Whether it's intentional or not, the connotations are not good.

At this point, I can only hope they don’t box her into the “strong black woman who doesn’t need a man” trope. It’s a pattern we’ve seen too often. I know this can seem like a foreign concept, but strong black women deserve love, too.

Her Own Savior  - Roswell, New Mexico Season 1 Episode 9

Jasmine: I agree. I'm now resigned to the fact that they don't know what to do with Maria, and they probably never will.

It shouldn't be this hard, you know? But apparently, it is. I'd argue they have this issue with Isobel and Kyle as well this season, but it's been consistently an issue with Maria since Roswell New Mexico Season 1 Episode 1.

Yeah, even if subconscious, we can't dance around the fact that the only black main character suffers this much narratively.

She had inadequate screentime, has been cast aside often, and she's served other people's storylines. Of course, there is the romantic relationship aspect too.

Maria and Isobel - Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 10

It's all done now, but yes, it's refreshing to have a non-heteronormative relationship with Michael and Alex. I, like you and everyone else, enjoy them too.

That said, Maria and Michael as an interracial relationship, especially with a black woman, isn't exactly status quo or "normative" either. I do feel like that's overlooked often here; it was worthy of consideration too.

Oddly enough, I thought they were subverting that "strong black woman (who doesn't need a man)" trope with what they were doing with Maria and Michael.

While other characters were on a "Maria is her own savior" kick, Michael was the only one who knew Maria could handle herself, but he was also there to help her shoulder things too. It's probably why the minority of viewers enjoyed the dynamic so much even in the first season.

Michael Comforts Maria - Roswell, New Mexico Season 1 Episode 7

He was always sort of "I know she's good, but I got her anyway," and that was genuinely so invigorating.

I do think many people don't realize that black women aren't combatting the "weak and dainty Mary Sue who needs constant saving" or whatever trope. It's actually more of the opposite, so it was nice to see someone actually giving a damn and willing to take care of and look after this woman who takes care of others so much.

It's what made her first time breaking down with him so touching. No, she didn't NEED a man taking care of her per se, but she opened herself up to want it anyway. But then they pulled back on all of that a lot, so maybe my interpretation was wrong, and it never stopped being that trope.

Well, what do you think they can do better with Maria next season? Do you think they can improve this or is it too far gone?

Maria DeLuca - Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 5

Berea: Yes, I thought they’d subverted that “strong black woman” trope, too. But now I’m not so sure.

I’m trying hard not to wash my hands of the show for next season. They can definitely improve, but I’m skeptical of them actually doing it.

Ideally, I would like them to dive further into Maria’s character without Isobel or Michael. Let’s see more about her relationship with her mom. Maybe even have her investigate her family history a little.

I’d love to see these alleged friendships she has. There needs to be more content of just her, Liz, and Rosa.

Group Hug - Roswell, New Mexico Season 2 Episode 1

It was a travesty when Liz gave Rosa the necklace that belonged to Maria. They stole a good moment between the friends, and ideally, I’d like them to fix that by focusing more on these friendships.

Eventually, she deserves to date someone who can give her their full attention. As you said, they’re having an issue writing Kyle too. Maybe they could possibly have something in the future?

Kyle and Maria  - Roswell, New Mexico Season 1 Episode 7

Jasmine: Yeah. Am I done watching? Maybe not, but there is ample room for improvement.

I would love to see more friendships across the board. I can take those over most romantic relationships anyway, so I'm with you on that. I adored Maria's scenes with Alex this season. Their car ride scene was among my favorite moments.

I'd definitely appreciate more friendship with Rosa, Liz, and others. I even enjoy her and Max since their karaoke scene. She's easy to play off of, and Heather Hemmens has chemistry with everyone.

Sherri Saum as Mimi - Roswell, New Mexico Season 1 Episode 7

My wishlist is the same as yours. I want to learn more about Maria's history and powers/abilities. I want to explore her friendships and familial relationships more. As a Sherri Saum fan, the more Mimi they give us, the better.

Yes! We Kyluca fans are a small, humble group. I'm thrilled that the army is growing. Welcome aboard!

Over to you, Roswell, New Mexico Fanatics. Do you agree with us about Maria? What is your wishlist for her character next season?

How did you feel about Maria's arc during this season and/or the series? Did you think Maria and Michael's breakup was contrived? Are you hoping for more focus on friendship? 

Hit the comments below. If you want to understand what we're talking about, feel free to watch Roswell, New Mexico online here via TV Fanatic. 

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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