Resident Alien Episode 1 recap: What is Harry’s mission?

RESIDENT ALIEN -- "Pilot" Episode 101 -- Pictured: Alan Tudyk as Harry Vanderspeigle -- (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY)
RESIDENT ALIEN -- "Pilot" Episode 101 -- Pictured: Alan Tudyk as Harry Vanderspeigle -- (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY) /

Resident Alien is a brand new Syfy series starring Alan Tudyk as an alien who crashlands on Earth and gets stuck there. To survive and complete his mission, he must take on a human’s identity and try to blend in, which is around where we begin Resident Alien Episode 1.

Shortly after, his spaceship lands near the remote small town of Patience, Colorado. Seeking refuge, the alien finds a cabin situated near a lake and a lone resident inside, who happens to be Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle. The alien subsequently murders poor Harry, throws his body into the lake, and then transforms into him. Left to his own devices, this new Harry spends his days on fishing trips and learning everything he can about humans by using the internet and binge-watching Law & Order.

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The first true test of his new human skills comes when Sheriff Mike Thompson (Corey Reynolds), who likes people to call him “Big Black,” and his Deputy Liv Baker (Elizabeth Bowen), come to him for assistance.

A man has been found murdered in Patience. Normally, they would go to the town doctor, but unfortunately, their town doctor, Dr. Sam Hodges, was killed! And since Harry is the only other doctor they know nearby, he’s the only one they know of that can quickly arrive on the scene and deduce the cause of death.

It only takes Harry a few seconds of being with the body to determine how he died. Harry believes Sam committed suicide because his alien superintelligence immediately makes him realize that the cuts are only consistent if Sam stabbed himself in the neck with his scalpel. However, Sam’s nurse, Asta Twelvetrees (Sara Tomko), points out that this doesn’t make any sense. Sam was a doctor, and if he were trying to commit suicide with a scalpel, he would know to cut his carotid artery — not randomly stab himself repeatedly. Obviously, there is more to the story.

Resident Alien Episode 1
RESIDENT ALIEN EPISODE 1, “PILOT” — Pictured: (l-r) Levi Fiehler as Mayor Ben Hawthorne, Meredith Garretson as Kate, Judah Prehn as Max Hawthorne — (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY) /

Resident Alien Episode 1 recap: How will Harry deal with Max?

Apart from being inducted as the town’s doctor in the wake of Sam’s sudden death, Harry has another significant problem to contend with, in the shape of a young boy named Max. Max has a one-in-a-million genetic mutation that allows him to see through Harry’s human disguise to the alien within.

To make matters even more complicated, Max is the son of the town’s mayor, Ben Hawthorne (Levi Fiehler). Mayor Hawthorne is the one who sent the sheriff to recruit Harry in the first place. When Max notices Harry walking through town,  he immediately starts screaming his head off. I mean, that’s understandable. I would, too, if I saw a random alien walking around.

Harry decides that he’ll have to kill Max, so he doesn’t risk blowing his cover. But when he sneaks into the kid’s house while he’s asleep, his plan quickly goes awry. Max starts screaming for his parents, and Harry barely makes it under his bed before Max’s parents burst into the room. Luckily for Harry, they don’t take Max’s shouts about an alien hiding under his bed seriously, assuming he’s merely had a nightmare.

After his failed attempt on Max’s life, Harry gets caught up in his myriad of other issues. Still, Max comes back into focus in the final moments of Resident Alien Episode 1 when he winds up being Harry’s first official patient as the town’s new doctor!

Resident Alien Episode 1 recap: Who murdered Dr. Hodges?

Once it’s discovered that there must be more to the story than Sam Hodges committing suicide at random, Harry is convinced to stick around town a little longer by Asta, who seems to take a liking to him despite his oddities. Asta invites him to the local watering hole 59, named for the town’s story about a collapsing mine and the 59 miners who went back in, sacrificing themselves to save one man left behind. Harry tries whiskey for the first time and even lets loose and dances with Asta while catching the eye of the bartender, Darcy (Alice Wetterlund).

The following day, he agrees to help Asta collect her things from her ex’s house and discovers that the man Asta once married is an abusive jerk. Technically it’s none of Harry’s concern, but he can’t leave Asta with him. He returns to the house and comes close to murdering Asta’s ex by yanking him through the wall and choking him out.

He and Asta drive off and pull over in a quiet area near a cliff face after the ruckus. There, Asta opens up a little to Harry, revealing that she often feels like an outsider in Patience, which is why she likes Harry. She can sense that he’s an outsider too because wherever he learned his violent techniques — it wasn’t in Patience.

Later, Harry attends Sam’s funeral, and because of a comment Asta makes about him being a “breath of fresh air” in this town, Harry realizes how Sam died. He interrupts the funeral to open Sam’s coffin (because he’s an alien without any idea how social norms work!) and confirms his theory to Asta in private. Sam stabbed himself because his throat was closing up, and he was attempting to give himself a tracheotomy. And why was Sam’s throat closing up? Because he had been poisoned! So yes, Sam was murdered, after all.

Resident Alien Episode 1
RESIDENT ALIEN — “Pilot” Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Sara Tomko as Asta Twelvetrees, Alan Tudyk as Harry Vanderspeigle– (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY) /

Resident Alien Episode 1 recap: What is Harry’s mission on Earth?

In the episode’s final moments, we get an additional flashback to four months prior, when Harry’s spaceship first landed on Earth. It turns out seeing Harry’s spaceship soaring through the sky gave Asta the courage she needed to leave her husband. Of course, she didn’t know what it was, but I’m guessing she saw it as a comet or shooting star.

We also find out that Harry was supposed to drop a device on Earth and then keep going. He was never meant to set foot on the planet. Now he’ll need to find the body of the real Harry before someone stumbles across it,  the remnants of his spaceship if he ever wants to get home, and the device.

As to what his real mission was, well, it looks like it might succeed. Harry delivered a device that will trigger a massive human extinction event to kill every person on the planet. If he doesn’t want to die himself, he’ll need to leave ASAP. And according to Harry, the timer has already begun on when the device will trigger the event.

And as for why the aliens want to kill the humans, it’s not yet clear. And surely Harry might have a change of heart once he’s gotten to know the fine folks of Patience? I guess we’ll have to watch the rest of the season to find out!

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New episodes of Resident Alien air Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.