Kara (magelette) wrote in idol_reflection,

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Essay: Michael Guerin (Roswell)

Title: Spaceboys Just Wanna Go Home
Author: magelette
Website: The Stronghold
Spoilers: “Graduation”
Email: anyalindir@aol.com

Note: This is a day late, and I think I wasn't even on the schedule, but...here's the contribution from the Roswell fandom *g*

Roswell is a very personal fandom for me. It was the first tv show that really drew me into the online community and got me back into seriously writing fanfiction. There was also one incident involving Brendan Fehr, El Torito and a basket of tortilla chips, but we aren’t gonna talk about that.

The dream couple of the show never really affected me. Whoo, Max and Liz. I could care less about another set of star-crossed lovers. It was about the bad boy who always followed in Max’s shadow, the one who seemed to get the shaft no matter what he did, when all he really wanted was to find a home.

I’m not an alien, I’m not a foster child, and I was never abused by my parents. But I could identify with the gruff porcupine attitude. I could see Michael using some of my favorite defense mechanisms. And I could understand the desire to find a place where you belong, being displaced from blood relatives and all that crap.

He’s the odd man out in the trio, the sidekick, general to Max’s King of Antar. When we first meet Michael Guerin in “The Pilot,” he’s sitting at the Crashdown with his best friend, Max Evans. Max is caught up in savin Liz from a bullet wound, so Michael, always the one to figure a quick way out, grabs the keys to the Jeep and hauls Max out of the Crashdown before the cops show up. But he’s more than the local hoodlum who ducks out of trouble. Michael has an odd honor code of his own. He doesn’t want to be close to people, but he can never quite leave Roswell, no matter how many times he tries. He’s passionate and volatile and doesn’t have control over his powers, but he is intensely loyal to those he loves. He’s intuitive enough to be the first to have visions that might lead them home, but he’s utterly clueless when it comes to figuring out human relationships. Michael Guerin is a man of contradictions, but his incredible heart and capacity for love (and the spiky hair) win me over every time.

Michael constantly fights his human side. Even in “The Pilot,” we know that his agenda is one thing and one thing only: find a way back to their home planet:
MICHAEL: Max, she's right, we're screwed. It's time to leave Roswell.
MAX: Michael, we can't just leave.
MICHAEL: Yea we can. We've always known this day would come. We said when it did we'd be prepared.
ISABEL: Michael, where are we gonna go. You know Roswell's home.
MICHAEL: Roswell's not home. It's not even in our solar system.
MAX: Well this is the closest thing we have to home right now.
MICHAEL: For you two maybe, it was you the Evans found on the side of the road not me. They're like real parents to you. My foster dad just keeps me around for the monthly check.

Where Max is Michael’s best and first friend, Maria is the first one we see that causes him to question his humanity. She has faith in him when he starts having visions about the geodesic dome in “285 South.” In a nookie motel somewhere on the way to Texas, they find out that their crappy lives aren’t that much different, even if one’s from earth and the other’s from another solar system:

MARIA: All right, how about just one personal question? You know, since I didn't turn you in back there. Why is it so important to you to find out where you come from?
MICHAEL: Because there's gotta be something better out there for me than Roswell, New Mexico.
MICHAEL: You think that's funny.
MARIA: No, no. It's just, um...when I was a kid, I used to stay up at night and, um, make up stories about my father...you know, and who he was and...what he was doing. And they all ended exactly the same way. He would come in a limo and pick me and my mom up and take us off to some exotic place where we'd live like royalty. Because, you know...I thought to myself...there's got to be something better out there for me than Roswell, New Mexico.
MICHAEL: Substitute a spaceship for a limo, and you know what I mean.

Michael can be defined by his relationships. Fighting his human side and his inherent longing to fit in with someone, Michael constantly puts off the people he’s close to. His fear of getting close to someone causes him to lash out at that person so that he frightens them away. He tried that tactic with Max and Isabel, when he refused to go with them after they hatched out of the pods (“The Balance”). He tried that tactic in “Heatwave” with Maria, when he figured out that she means more to him than making out in the Eraser Room:

MAX: What's wrong? Maria?
MICHAEL: It has gotten complicated. Suddenly, she wants to know where I'm going after school. She wants to have conversations. She wants to talk about my feelings. And now, she wants to go to a party together.
MAX: That thing at the old soap factory?
MICHAEL: Right. Like suddenly the eraser room's not enough. I can't let this become a public thing. I mean, she should know that. But all week long I've had this weird feeling. Like I was gonna hurt her or something. That just being who I am is gonna hurt her.

Michael and Maria have an on-again, off-again relationship throughout the series, one that you can use to chart Michael’s maturity level. First season is Maria beating down Michael’s stone wall.

MICHAEL: I have something to say to you. If anything like that happens to me again, like when I got sick, don't help me. I can't get indebted to anyone, and I can't get entangled. I got to be a stone wall. And when I'm around you sometimes, I don't feel like a stone wall anymore.
MARIA: Well, what do you feel like?
MICHAEL: I don't know. Like confused.
MARIA: Like human?
MICHAEL: Yeah, and I don't want to feel that way.

Everything seems like it’s going on track. Michael finds a stable homelife when he’s emancipated. He learns to trust Maria enough that he runs to her when he can’t deal with Hank anymore. And yeah, Michael’s still not the best boyfriend (the infamous gift of shampoo and conditioner in “Blind Date” so that Maria can save time when she showers). But he and Maria adapt. In “Sexual Healing,” Michael feels close enough to her that he sees flashes of her past when he kisses her. When Maria finally admits that she faked having visions, Michael kisses her on the forehead and forgives her, because she just wanted to feel close to him. But then Tess Harding, missing fourth alien, brings Destiny into their live in “Foursquare”, and basically hands Michael all the answers he’s ever wanted.

Michael is the first who wants to trust her, because he knows that she could hold the key to his past.

MAX: The goal is to stay in control. It always has been. Discovery on our terms...no one else’s. I mean, this whole search you’ve been on, didn’t you ever think it could lead to this?
MICHAEL: Lead to what? An answer to every question we ever had? Maybe Nasedo is here to make things better. Oh, I forgot, what could be better than your comfortable little life in Roswell, New Mexico. Why are you so scared to be alien?
MAX: Why are you so scared to be human?

The end of season one presents the choice that Michael will struggle with for the next two years of Roswell: does he want to be human, or does he want his alien destiny? The government finally catches up with the aliens, complicating matters when they abduct Max in “White Room.” With alien hunters after them on one side, and enemies from a previous life on the other, all of the aliens have to choose.
So season two rolls around, the season where we deal with the evil Skin aliens and find out more about Antar, the Roswellian aliens’ home planet. Michael and Maria have broken up (again) because Michael doesn’t want to involve Maria in the whole Destiny fiasco. But then Courtney, the evil stalker Skin alien shows up. Not only is she a stalker, but in “The Harvest”, we also find out that she’s also part of a cult to put Michael on the Antarean throne instead of Max.

MARIA: We're asking the questions here, ok? Now, why are you in Roswell? Where's the rest of your evil army? And most of all, why are you obsessed with my good-looking, if badly groomed boyfriend?
COURTNEY: I'm not obsessed with him, ok? I follow him in the...political sense.
MARIA: Our leader?
COURTNEY: We're not with the other skins. We're renegades who believe that if you were in charge instead of Max in the first place, that none of this would have ever happened.
MICHAEL: What are you talking about? In charge of what?
COURTNEY: Our planet, Michael. You don't remember any of this, do you?
MICHAEL: Suppose you tell me.
MARIA: Yeah, the short version, please.
COURTNEY: The short version...is that our planet was on the brink of a golden age, and then it all fell apart. You were the one who could have united our planet, pulled together the warring factions, brought peace. But you weren't on the throne.

(Note that Maria calls Michael her boyfriend, and even though they aren’t ‘together’ this season, they’re still paired up constantly. Even when he tries to get away from her, Michael still can’t distance himself from Maria.)

Exact clones of the Roswell aliens come in “Meet the Dupes”, trying to lure Max to New York City for a big conference that the NYC Dupes weren’t invited to. Michael gets left behind, because as second in command, he doesn’t have the same power and authority that Max did. And the peace conference would rather deal with Max anyway, as heir to the throne of Antar. And Brody, the cute, rich British abductee, moves to town and takes a liking to Maria. Michael juggles responsibility and school, finds out a bit more about his human roots in the form of genetic granddaughter Laurie Dupree. Not to mention that Christmas time finds Michael and Maria mysteriously together again, even though Maria actually contemplates marrying Brody so that they can take care of his daughter, Sydney, who’s sick with cancer. And then there’s prom, where Michael, who’s been trying to distance himself from Maria, takes dance lessons so that he can dance with her at prom. And Maria automatically accuses him of having an affair with Juanita, his dance instructor. Max is off exploring his alien side with Tess, while Michael and Maria seem to be getting things back on track. But then Alex dies.

And Michael’s there in “Cry Your Name” at the DeLuca household to take care of both the girls. And it seems like Amy DeLuca has actually forgiven him for everything he’s put her daughter through:

AMY: Oh, what a charming man. Ah, is Maria still asleep?
MICHAEL: Yeah, she keeps kickin' off the covers though.
AMY: Oh, she always does that. You know, I think this is the most time you've ever spent in my house.
MICHAEL: Yeah, I...I could leave if you want. Just, it's nice to be around people.
AMY: No, no. That's not what I meant at all. Ah, what I'm trying to say is that you've really been great for my family. And it's a wonderful thing to see my daughter loved. And I would like to see a lot more of that. And, as far as I'm concerned, you'll always be welcome in this house.
MICHAEL: Thank you.
AMY: Welcome on the couch.

But when Liz figures out that an alien must have killed Alex in order to get at Isabel, that drives a line between the three remaining humans and the four aliens. In “It’s Too Late and It’s Too Bad,” Michael still proves that he cares about Maria, even if he’s trying to convince her not to pursue the causes of Alex’s death. They fight throughout the episode, and the aliens talk of figuring out a way home. But Michael still admits that he’s drawn to Maria, and that leaving her will be the hardest choice he has to make:

MICHAEL: Sit down. We've been through some rough stuff lately. The thing is, you're right. I can't really imagine it happening, but I am gonna leave someday. It could be a year, or 2, or 50. But I'm gonna leave. It sucks. It's the choice we made to be together. But there is one thing that I can promise you, and that is that I can give you now.

Tess finds out she’s pregnant and Max continues to pull away from the others. And it gets complicated even further when Michael starts believing Maria and Liz’s accusations. The bomb drops when they realize that someone was using Alex to translate the book that would tell them how to use the Granilith and get home. And with the state of things being what they are, all the aliens jump at the chance.

In “Departure”, they have a day left on earth. Michael uses that day to finally let Maria see him, even if he doesn’t get the chance to tell her why:

Michael: There's a lot about you Maria. There's a lot about you, but I think what means the most to me is that you're open. You know I can look into your eyes and I can see you. I can see what you're thinking. I can see what you're feeling. How much I mean to you sometimes, how much I piss you off sometimes. But I can always see you.
Maria: I see you too.
Michael: No, no you don't see me. You know when Max and Liz would kiss, and Liz would get the flashes? And when we would kiss you didn't. I know how much that hurt you.
Maria: That doesn't matter to me anymore Michael.
Michael: The reason you didn't get the flashes is because I didn't let you get them. I didn't let you see me. I've never let anyone see me before...because there are things inside of me that I don't want people to see. There's things inside of me that I'm not so proud of. But I've thought about it, and I want you to see me.

After a round of sex and finally admitting they love each other, Michael tells her that they have about an hour left until he has to go. But before they leave, Liz finds out that Tess was the one who killed Alex. Tess takes the Granilith back to Antar, and once again, Michael’s stuck on earth after losing one more chance to go home. But this time, it's by choice, since he was the first to walk out of the chamber after hearing that Tess killed Alex.

Season Three is when Michael seems to accept the fact that he’s stuck on earth. He starts getting serious about school and takes a second job so that he can support himself better, but that ends up a bust when he gets his coworkers fired for stealing Snapple. “Michael, the Guys and the Great Snapple Caper” is where Michael finally figures out that he has put down some roots in Roswell, and that being attached isn’t necessarily so bad:

Michael: Yeah. It's weird. See, there's you and Isabel, and you guys are like family. And then there's Maria, and she's... Ah, she's Maria. And besides that, I've never had this feeling. But these guys...
Michael: It's cool. We can hang, and we talk, and we laugh, and it's like, uh... They're...
Max: Friends.
Michael: Something like that.
Michael: Anyways, I gotta go.
Max: Wait. Uh... You're gonna return them now?
Michael: Yeah. I'm gonna break in and put the Snapple back behind the fridge.
Max: Oh. And then what?
Michael: Then I'm gonna call 'em, and I'm gonna tip 'em off. Anonymously. And when they realize that nobody stole the Snapple and it was all just a big misunderstanding, they have no choice but to give our jobs back.

But responsibility gets to be a bit too much for him, so he drops out of school. Maria gets jealous that he spends too much time with the guys, but they get through it. But then an old boyfriend of Maria’s comes to visit, and she realizes how much she’s missed music. It’s Michael’s turn to get jealous, and his powers start acting up. And Michael and Maria finally have a confrontation about it in “Behind the Music”:

MICHAEL: You're gonna leave me for him.
MARIA: No. No. Ok, I'll tell him.
MICHAEL: Thank you.
MARIA: Hey, it's what I do. It's what I always do.

But Maria realizes what she’s giving up to be with Michael, and to be involved in the whole alien conspiracy thing. And she finally decides that she’s had enough:

MARIA: I just-- sometimes I just feel like I've paid this huge price for knowing Michael and knowing these aliens. It's like... God, I didn't think I'd end up here dealing with this crap every day. I mean, I love Michael, and I do sort of love this ridiculous soap opera, but... I just...I can't take it anymore. I feel like I'm trapped and I'm never gonna get out.

And this is where we realize how much Michael’s changed, and how much he’s come to depend on Maria. Because he doesn’t want to let her go:

MICHAEL: Why do you want out?
MARIA: Because, Michael, I don't think I've ever been in. I mean, this girl you've known for the past 3 years-- Maria-- it's just not me.
MARIA: Of course it's you.
MARIA: No, it's not the me I used to be.
MICHAEL: Things change.
MARIA: Yeah, things change.
MICHAEL: Just like that. Will you come back to me?
MARIA: I don't know.

So they go back to the same old song and dance. Michael plays Santa at the mall to be closer to Maria, Santa’s Little Helper. And it doesn’t work. And complications step in again when Michael finds out that his employer has been studying him in order to try and catch Max, because Max is valuable as a healer. Max ‘dies’, and Michael discovers that he’s developed some of Max’s powers because he is the designated backup leader in case anything ever happens to Max. When Michael finds out that Isabel’s husband, Jesse, has been working with the government to spy on them, he falls back into his old “human hating” routine:

Michael: - Max should have stayed dead.
Maria: What did you just say?
Michael: I'm the leader, now. This is how it should've been from the beginning.
Maria: All right, you know what, if this is a joke, please note that I am in no way busting up.
Michael: Look where following Max has gotten us. Alex died, Tess betrayed us. He doesn't even wanna be king. I want it, and I'm good at it. And I'm stopping this Jesse thing right now.
Maria: Jesse's not going to tell anybody.
Michael: Jesse is human. Nasedo had it right. When somebody finds out, they should be eliminated.
Maria: Well, if you follow that line of thinking, then that would apply to me, too, huh?
Michael: You said it, I didn't.

Max decides to take back the seal, and the two have their confrontation that’s been building for probably as long as they’ve been friends. Michael has followed Max all his life, and when he finally finds the meaning he’s been looking for, Max tries to take it away. Again:

Max: Michael, you have to listen to me.
Michael: Hey, don't give orders to me. You died. I'm king. [Michael opens his shirt to display the brightly glowing seal.] It's your turn to get in line.
Max: [swallows hard as he sees the seal, but stands his ground.] No.
Michael: Okay, then.
[Michael lunges at Max, sending them both over the couch, and they begin to fight. Michael punches Max, then opens a hand to blast him. Max grabs Michael's arm and deflects the blast into the nearby furniture, then uses his own powers to propel Michael away, flying back over the couch. Max scrambles over it to follow Michael.]
Michael: [Rising slowly.] You're going to be very sorry you did that.
[Michael grabs a tall wooden candle stand and punches Max with it, then swings it at him. They struggle, and Michael uses the stand to pin Max and try to choke him.]
Michael: Follow me or die again.
Max: I will kill you, Michael, if that's what it takes to stop you... but trust me as someone who just got back from there, you don't want to go.

But in the end, they still come back together as friends. Because as much as Michael fights people off, he’ll still never really leave the ones he loves:

Max: Look, Michael, uh, we both said some things we didn't really mean to... and I... I... just wanted you to know that, I uh...
Michael: Save the touchy-feely stuff, Maxwell. You're the king. You did what you had to do.
Max: ... I don't consider myself your boss.

Tess comes back with Max’s son. The alien-hunting arm of the government comes back in force, and Tess sacrifices her life to save their child. Max and Isabel finally tell their parents about their alien heritage, and the Evanses send their grandson off to a safe home, where he can grow up in peace. And to top everything off, “Graduation” is almost here. But the government is closing in, and Liz has a vision that they’re all going to be killed. Taking the threat seriously, Maria drags Michael to a psychic to see if the premonition will actually happen, and what direction their relationship will go in. When the psychic warns Michael to believe in love, and that will save them. And Michael, being his usual pragmatic self, thinks she’s a quack and leaves.

Michael is the first to leave Roswell when they realize their time is up. But before he leaves, he has to say goodbye to Maria one last time:

Maria: I thought you were leaving.
Michael: I am... but I just wanted... I dunno.
Maria: --t'say goodbye?
Michael: (struggles to form words, then speaks.) ...I wanted to say that this thing has been screwed up from the beginning. You and me. Us. Just the whole long, stupid story...
Maria: ...Thanks...
Michael: But I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's meant so much to me, y'know. From day one, from the moment I kidnapped you and stole your car... I knew you were the girl for me. I never wanted anyone else...
Maria: Michael... (takes a step towards him, sad, but touched.)
Michael: I still don't. Just... Wherever I'm goin', whatever I'm doin', just know I'll always love you.

Graduation day. A sniper is set up at graduation, but before he can fire, Michael rides up on his motorcycle and creates the distraction that saves the day. They all meet up at the pod chamber to decide who will stay and who will go. And after all they’ve been through, Maria actually chooses to leave with Michael.

Maria: I'm not going back, either.
Liz: No..? (smiles, but wonders...)
Maria: No... my future's here.
Michael: Maria... think about what you're saying...
Maria: (walks slowly over to Michael.) ...I have, and... this is my choice. This is what I want. And... whatever that is in the end, that's what it'll be... but... we're doing it together.

So Michael finally leaves the only home he’s ever known. But instead of doing it alone, he does it with his family, because he finally realizes that they aren’t the hindrance he’s always thought they are.

It comes full circle. As the advocate who always wanted to leave, Michael finds that no matter how he tries, he never can. He’s a man of contradictions because he forms the very ties he swore he never would. Spaceboy’s always wanted to find his home outside of earth, but he finally figures out that that’s where he really belongs, with Maria and the rest of the Roswellians. It took a single bullet to change their world, but somehow I don’t think Michael regrets it, since the three seasons of Roswell brought him what he always wanted—in a roundabout way.

And now for the fics. I stopped reading after sometime second season, so this list is sketchy at best. There’s a ton of excellent M&M fic out there, I just can’t list it all. Most of these are from the Roswell Underground fanfiction archive just because I used to co-run it, and that was where we put the majority of our favorite fanfic. I tried to get some non Michael/Maria fic in here too, but that was kinda hard to find. *g* (And shameless plug for the pre-series series that my co-webmistress Emily and I created, Roswell Elementary.

Reprieve by Natalie
Rating: PG-13
Brilliant Max and Michael interaction, as Max comes to terms with how much Maria has changed his best friend.

Souls Divided by Donna
Rating: R
AU where Michael and Maria don’t meet until they’re adults, but the same connection still binds them together.

Stranger than Fiction by Katjen
Rating: PG
Katjen is brilliant at writing Aus. In this story, there’s wonderful Michael/Isabel interaction as they figure out that the reality that they’re in isn’t necessarily the one that belongs to them. And yes, there is the prerequisite M&M action. *g*

First Night and Dietary Quirks by Ossian
Rating: G
Young Michael’s first days (and nights) on earth, meeting Max and Isabel, finding where he belongs.

Shelter by Ossian
Rating: PG
Liz and the Parkers give Michael shelter for the night. Good Michael/Liz interaction. We never got to see enough of this dynamic on the show.

Poker Night by Wendy
Rating: PG
Short, fluffy bonding between the men of Roswell.

Who I am, What I’ll Become, Where I’ll Be by Rae
Rating: PG-13
This was the first Roswell fanfic that dragged me in, and oddly inspired my whole obsession with Michael. Michael and Maria struggle with medical issues. Warning: tearjerker.

The Art of Being You by Deece
Rating: PG
Isabel gets drunk and magics Michael and Maria into switching places. Hysterical, especially Michael’s temptations to cop a feel in Maria’s body.

Special thanks to www.crashdown.com for their transcripts.
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