Maria "Mrs. Poole" DeLuca is instantly comfortable in her role as the archetypal crazy gal next door, seeing as her character construction has had three years to transcend that description, but hasn't. She enters the house with a spirited, "Hey-ho!" Oh, I so enjoy this outfit, in her floral patterned shirt and capri pants that match the nylon couch in the middle of the kitchen. She's looking for her "good-for-nothing boyfriend," who we learn is "on Neptune" buying her a birthday present. Mrs. Maria Poole sits down on said couch and begs for more info: "How much is he gonna spend? Tell me everything!" And then we're back, Unwacky Non-Neighbor sadly explaining, "He wants to take me out for my birthday next week, and I don't know." And, see, this right here is my real problem with this episode, I think. Now we're all dour and serious, because that was just a silly sitcom, but this -- THIS -- this here is real life. But that's a faulty equation, because rather than "sitcom campiness" versus "real-life pathos," what's really being juxtaposed here is "a stupid show about aliens" and "a stupid show about aliens," which has a really six-of-one-half-dozen-of-the-other quality I think they're just not getting. Talk about sex with Michael is resolutely ignored by me.
Knock knock. Isabel gets up to answer it, and discovers, I think, one of the now-unemployed members of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones (referred to these days as "The Television Without Pity Television Without Pity Bosstones," perhaps?) standing on the other side. It's a guy in his twenties wearing a fedora-type hat that threatens to incite a zoot-suit riot at any moment if we're not all very, very careful. But it's the "sale rack at Chess King" sweater that screams, "Employ me!" It's all a muddle of information I don't quite know what to do with. He asks if she's Isabel, and she responds warily that she is. He's "Eric Hughes, Jesse's friend from Cornell." And though living a life of paranoid delusion so vivid that it makes her think she's living in a '50s sitcom, she nevertheless drops her guard enough to invite a perfect stranger into her home just because he drops the name of someone her husband once knew in college. Let's file that under "Sense, Makes No" in the Roswell glossary and move on with our recapping day. Zoot Suit Eric tells her that he "just had a gig in Texas" and decided to stop by. Eric apologizes for not being able to attend the wedding, but he had "this gig in Saint Paul, and then another gig in Chicago." Uch. "Gig." It's the '50s everywhere now, daddy-o. Also, when people say they had a "gig," they're begging people to ask what they do for a living. Isabel bites, asking the logical question: "Are you a musician?" Eric laughs twisting-of-the-French-handlebar-moustache-ily, and clarifies, "No. I'm a reporter."
Exit applause for Squiggy Valenti and Mrs. Maria Poole, who use the word "reporter" as a panicked cue, leaving Samanthabel all alone with Eric "Scoop" Hughes. Scoop is wearing a trench coat now, and it dawns on me that the only reason we didn't know he was a reporter from the get-go is because he's lost the little card sticking out of his hat reading "Press" like Fozzie Bear in the opening scenes of The Great Muppet Caper. He adopts a strangely Bogie-after-really-invasive-oral-surgery accent, acting from here to Sputnik with the line, "I must say, I was pretty surprised to hear old Jesse was getting hitched. You must be…something out of the ordinary." We were all surprised, Scoop. Isabel awkwardly asks him how long he'll be staying Roswell, and Scoop explains, "My editor's been driving me crazy. Says I have to come up with a slam-bang piece of investigative journalism. Something that really knocks the lid off the place. Or I gotta find another line of work." Scoop leaves the hat on when we chung-chung back to present day, Isabel telling Scoop that he has to stay with them because "Jesse is so excited to see you. He's always talking about you and the guys from the fraternity." ["Yeah, I'll bet he is. Did someone order a pizza?" -- Sars] Scoop thanks her and agrees, thinking maybe he'll find a story here and adding, "This is Roswell, after all. So, know where I can find any aliens?" Isabel laughs. The credible threat to their safety in this context is zero.