Review: The Aliens S1E2- The Rise of LilyHot
This article was originally posted on Geeky Girl Experience as we switched servers. It’s being reposted here with permission from the writer.
Welcome back to The Aliens! Episode two has come and gone. I enjoyed this episode much more than I did the Pilot. They addressed almost every criticism I had in my last review. The women ruled this episode leaving the guys behind in quality. Let’s get to this.
This review contains spoilers for the episode!
There’s a reason I named this article “The Rise of LilyHot.” Last week, she was more of a supporting character than the female lead. This week, Michaela Coel owned this role making it her own. Lily was Beyoncé in a group of dumbasses.
Establishing right away in the cold opening we see how she manipulates men around her. She plays with the female trope of vulnerability and only a man can save her. Once she gets what she needs, she drops them instantly. Sometimes they’re even covered in blood or dying. They’re slowing her down, so “Bye Felicia.” She can walk into Fabian’s den and command his attention. This is a massive feat since the men around him fear his Godfather like status. She’s ruthless in getting what she wants. In two episodes, one guy lost a hand while another lost an eye from her actions. To be blunt, she’s a badass bitch you shouldn’t mess with.
I’m still left with many of the same questions from last week. She’s clearly playing Lewis’ feelings for her. She also respects and follows Antoine (Lewis’ father and once a leader in Troy). But why? She talks about how there are no schools, no work, no real life in Troy. Antoine was the city’s best hope in becoming a thriving community. She’s reading to me as a character trying to move up the mob world and not someone trying to better the lives of her people. Lily needs an explanation of what exactly she’s trying to do over the course of the show. Which brings me to my biggest question about her:
Is LilyHot the real antagonist of the show?
Sure, they’ve built up Fabian as the mob boss baddie. It’s Lily, though, that’s disrupting Lewis’ life. She’s the one putting him in danger. She’s the one who almost got Lewis’ sister killed. Men are getting maimed in her plans. She’s the one leaving a body count behind her. I truly believe that LilyHot is the main villain of The Aliens.
I want to make it clear right away that Holly being a drug addict does not excuse her actions in this episode. She’s selfish and self centered caring only for herself. The drugs cloud her judgement endangering her son, Eli. None of this is okay.
Holly is a character I love to hate. She’s a terrible person choosing to be a drug dealer over acting like a good mother. Even Eli chooses to stay with his father over her. That being said, I’m highly sympathetic to Holly. I’ve known people like her through my family and friends. I’ve seen how drugs like that can trap you in your life. She needs professional help.
What I love about Holly are the glimpses of who she could be. While it’s not safe, the only job she knows is how to be a drug dealer. This is how she provides for her child. She’s trying, which is all that can be asked of her. Lewis was the favorite child, while it appears that Holly had to make her own way in life. Her mistake is she didn’t pick the right path. She now has to live with her actions. She mourns losing Eli to his father. Holly doesn’t have Lewis’ help. In fact, he berates her in every one of their interactions. She’s truly on her own. If she even had the slightest bit of support that Lewis gets from Dominic, Lily, and now Antoine, Holly could be a healthy person and a worthy mother.
Multiple times in my notes, I begged for Holly to have a redemption arc. I hope she gets it in the final episodes.
Lewis and Antoine’s first real talk: In his room, Lewis is hiding his father Antoine. Their first conversation was the highlight of the episode. We got glimpses of where Lewis came from. He’s been missing a place to belong. He’s been stuck in blissful ignorance running his routine life. With LilyHot disrupting him, he’s forced into an uncomfortable place unsure of who he is. He’s not ready to have Dominic or other aliens as friends. As he’s breaking down, Lewis begins to accept who he is. Character wise, it’s a gorgeous development for him. My only little critique is the camera angles. Antoine delivers this beautiful monologue about Lewis’ mother and wanting to keep his son. The entire scene is shot from the back of Lewis’ head, so we see very little of his reactions. Outside of that, it was a powerful moment.
World Building: Last week, I was critical about the lack of world building. Here, we got a lot of information about the state of Troy. Originally, there were no walls between the aliens and humans. Some aliens don’t believe they came here on a space ship, since there’s no proof of one. Gangsters like Fabian and the humans exploit the aliens for personal gain. There are no schools for children. There’s no work like factories to upkeep the town. There’s also some sort of political void after Antoine was incarcerated and Fabian came to power. Troy’s a character of it’s own. This was all information I wanted in the Pilot.
Pacing: The pace of the episode was far better than the last one. Everything in the Pilot was jammed packed and fast. Episode two gave us more time to process the beats and developments as they came.
Antoine: Introducing Lewis’ father, Antoine, provided the show with many necessary elements it missed last week. He gave us more background on Troy. It allowed for Lewis to develop more in his journey. We also got to see two sides of this character. He has the touching moment in Lewis’ room I described above. We also see he’s not afraid to brutally stab a guy in the throat and dump him on the street. He will be a force to be reckoned with in the rest of the series.
Dick Cop: I think the character’s name is Truss, but I prefer to call him “Dick Cop.” This guy is onto Lewis. Dick Cop discovered Lewis hid Antoine, an alien, in his trunk. I’m very eager to see what comes of this.
Focus on other characters: My other big criticism last week was how Lewis focused the episode was. This is his story, but all the other characters felt one dimensional. While Dominic waits for his big moment, I enjoyed getting more LilyHot and Holly this week. We finally got Fabian’s full introduction as a bad guy. But, this led to a problem with Lewis…
Missing: Lewis From Last Week: What happened with Lewis this episode? I get that he’s under a huge amount of emotional turmoil. His world is wrecked. His family fell apart. His life sucks right now. This week, Lewis was stupid, and I mean that he wasn’t thinking at all. They presented him in the Pilot as clever, resourceful, and able to think on his feet. He was awkward about it and got caught at times, but at least Lewis was trying. This week, he was dumb! For example, he opened a package with a picture of his father, a known alien convict, AND took a super secret phone call at work. His job as a border control officer has tons of cameras, and he was surrounded by other cops! Come on, man.
You would think he would exchange phone numbers with Dominic so the two don’t talk about their alien plans at work. He’s love struck by LilyHot, so I’ll give him some leeway there. We do dumb things when we’re in love. She’s also manipulating him. Lewis had a strong moral compass to protect those around him. I miss that man from last week. I would rather have a character that says no to Lily at the risk of losing his job and going to jail, than this wibbly-wobbly mess of a man.
Lewis, please start thinking clearly again. You were a delight last week. Stop being an idiot.
Fabian: Have you ever been around a peacock? They’re flashy and beautiful animals. The moment you mess with one, though, they’re mean as sin and will attack you. They’re protective of their babies too. Fabian is a peacock. He’s all show. I never felt Fabian was a threat especially when Antoine enter the fray. Sure, he blinds a guy, but that doesn’t make him the greatest villain of all time. As I said above, LilyHot is way smarter than he is. Fabian also clearly fears Antoine. Fabian’s power comes from being a mob boss surrounded by people. I would love to see how he fares on his own. As of right now, I’m not impressed with this little bird.
Though, I do want to note that I loved the first real scene with Fabian is with his family. It gave him motivation behind building this empire in Troy. That was by far his strongest scene.
Dominic: Dominic did nothing wrong in this episode. There wasn’t enough of him. His humor is a major highlight of The Aliens. They should use him every chance they get.
-There’s a woman in Troy spreading pamphlets that there’s no proof of the aliens crash landing on Earth. Are they really aliens then? Maybe because I work in a comic book store and around a lot of X-Men merchandise, but I keep getting a vibe the aliens are more like mutants or even Inhumans. Maybe they’re not aliens? Maybe they’re the next phase of human evolution?
-What is Lewis’ relationship with his nephew, Eli? Last episode, he engaged the school children and seems happy to see them. Every scene he has around Eli feels like a chore. I don’t mean it’s a chore to watch. It’s more that he’s obligate to put up with Eli opposed to loving him. Why not call in late for work to take his nephew to school? That’s what a good uncle would do. You take care of your family especially when the children are at risk around dangerous parents. Lewis hates Holly, but does he hate Eli too?
Like I said at the top, I enjoyed this week much more. I’m excited to see a war brewing between Antoine and Fabian. Both have children at risk, and Lewis will more than likely get caught in the mix. Last week was strong because Lewis and Dominic carried the episode. This week, everyone else got a chance to take the lead. I hope the rest of the series finds a nice balance between Lewis’ story with the rest of the cast.
I gave this episode 17 out of 20 missing Lewis reports.
See you next week!