Cocogurl wrote: I think if Max did, he wouldn't played back and forth games with Liz throughout season one and he wouldn't have treated her like a doormat in season 3.
To my mind, season 3 was a waste of time. I think I watched it once, so it's a blip on my radar.
As to season 1, I do see it differently. If Max is "controlling," I think it would help to remember the context of his actions, and not just his actions. Again, I think this speaks to how little, if any, attention is paid to Max as opposed to Liz.
Ever since he more or less outed himself as an alien by healing Liz, Max was under unparalleled scrutiny. The kid was watched everywhere he went, all the time. He was stalked. First by the sheriff, then by the FBI (and eventually the Special Unit) when Valenti went to them for help. And let's not forget Hubble, a bona fide alien hunter, the guy who kidnapped Max and so terrorized him that he had a complete breakdown, screaming at Valenti "You want me?! Here I am!!"
Please ... how can the guy *not* be controlling? Whose life is at stake? Max is desperately trying, while being watched day and night, to not give himself away as an alien. Call them stupid, but nobody thought about Michael and Isabel being alien. The one that was watched - on camping trips, in the hospital (they're checking out his friggin' garbage!), on road trips, in school, walking down the street, cameras in his friend's apartment, in his own home when he comes in to find the sheriff with his mother - was Max. My gosh.
And I know that a lot is made of Liz and Isabel telling Max that he's controlling, and that him taking a step back was playing games. Taken in the context of what is going on in his life, who can blame him? Right before Max tells Liz that he needs to take a step back, what happened? Two things. Liz couldn't bring herself to take part in the alien ritual. But before that - and this is critical - when they are out at the reservation, Max confides in her. He wonders if this is their life span, if what is happening to Michael is just part of what happens before they die. He doesn't know. The guy is scared. And Liz is clearly uncomfortable. When Max reaches out his hand, she looks like "please don't touch me, please don't touch me." Max sees it, clearly. While I've read plenty of fics about how Liz is hurt that he took a step back, I've never found a Max point of view fic about this.
Right after that, when the sheriff comes along after the fire, he chats up Max's mother, leaving her pamphlets on grease fires, creating doubt about her son in her mind. So, Max has already seen Liz's reaction (and she already knows he's an alien), he's never been sure (for whatever reason) of his mother's acceptance, he's being stalked 24/7 by so many, and along comes Isabel who decides that *now* is the perfect time for them to tell Mom the truth.
Plus Liz had already given him evidence fishy enough. Why would a suicidal person buy concert tickets for a future date with his girlfriend? That doesn't make any sense. And he had no reason to commit suicide. He had the girl of his dreams and was happier than ever about that. I think Liz had given the aliens plenty of evidence there to be suspicious about.
When Max went to Valenti, all he had was Liz's opinion that Alex wouldn't commit suicide. That was it. And he was bombarded with evidence.
Valenti didn't take it all at face value. He went to the scene himself, he interviewed the truck driver and was so skeptical that the driver was furious, thinking that Valenti wanted to blame him for Alex swerving into his lane. He interviewed the delivery kid, got line-for-line what Alex said. He saw the interviews of Alex's teachers, his failing grades. He saw the pic that Liz showed him of Alex, and to Valenti it was just one more piece of evidence that Alex was self-destructive.
Liz never told Max any of this, when she went to visit him. So Max was caught flat-footed. And he listened to Valenti's professional opinion - based on all the evidence that he'd seen in the file that he showed to Max - that Alex committed suicide.
So Max is placed between two people he cares about, with completely different opinions, and he's conflicted. At that point, that's all he was - conflicted. He's not sure. And Liz jumped all over him. Not only that - she adds the completely new belief that Alex was murdered!
Now, right about here, I would love to read one fic where Max can't just automatically trust Liz, because Liz has spent previous months and months leaving Max, ignoring Max when she got back from FLA, clearly moving on from Max (new attitude, new job, new life), dating boys more normal than Max (look, Max, at Liz straddling Sean at Amy's house; remember, Max, all that bare skin showing when you found Kyle and Liz together), accusing Max of being okay with Sean being stabbed, telling him she was suffocating because of him and then dancing like she didn't have a care in the world after she'd gotten rid of that millstone. That there is no basis for Max to just automatically buy into Liz's hot new theory, just because she's Liz. But most, if not all, of the fics that I read set during this period celebrate Liz "getting a spine" and standing up to Max, even though she'd made a complete mash of the whole thing.
Now I don't feel that this is where Max's POV was in CYN. I don't think it was about who'd been there for and who hadn't. I think it just all boiled down to the fact he didn't want to believe that Alex's death was alien related. He'd always been scared that his alien identity would hurt the people he cared about and now Liz was basically bringing that horrible fear to life and he didn't want to believe. I think it was just easier to believe suicide than think it had to do with aliens.
Again, this is not how this started out. Liz never pulled Max aside and talked to him about any of this, before she sprung it on him in the room after the funeral. All Max said was that he saw the file and the evidence was convincing. From that moment on, Max says nothing. Everyone else argues. Then, Liz pulls out her murder theory. Forgive Max if he thinks that Liz has a screw loose. Then, Liz says that it was an alien. And Max says that's not what happened. Michael and Isabel and Tess all chime in, and Liz says it might be Kivar, because he's still jonesing for Vilandra. Isabel goes ballistic, this coming not long after her finding out that Vilandra betrayed her brother for Kivar. Now, Kivar kills Alex because of her? Max steps between them. There are reasons Max said and did what he did!
Again, I have less of an issue with Max not believing Liz because she never prepared him for *any* of it, including what he would run up against when he talked to Valenti, someone he trusts implicitely.
He still had Michael and Isabel. And it was his bad decisions that drove them away.
The thing is, I just wish that more attention was paid to everything that, as the leader, Max was responsible for, and how harrowing some of it was. The one that just breaks my heart for him was when he alone took the risk to change the bones, so that Michael wouldn't be under suspicion. If it all went south, Max would be going right back to that White Room ... and don't think he didn't know it, or wasn't scared out of his mind. But he soldiered on, and did what needed to be done anyway. Nasedo dying in his arms right after that? Another breakdown for Max, one that has him running thru the streets like all hell is behind him. Or taking the risk of discovering whether Brody was an innocent, stopping Michael and Isabel from killing him. If he was wrong, only he would die. But he did it anyway, because he didn't want them to have the guilt of possibly killing an innocent on their souls.
Or taking Isabel to Valenti when she was having the dreams, believing in her, depending on Valenti, only to have him lose his job protecting them, and having Kyle blame him (and only him - I don't see Kyle blaming Isabel or Michael) for it. Or, having to go to NY with only Liz's cryptic comment about the granolith, and having the responsibility of making the decision as to what to do about it (with pressure from five planets, no less), all basically on the fly.
Or the guilt of watching a man die, knowing he could do something about it, but not daring to because he not only had the safety of the others to think about, but he couldn't face another White Room experience.
All this, on a 17 year old's shoulders. No wonder he finally cracked under the pressure. Yet, the focus is all on Liz, and these things are reduced to bad decisions, or playing the king card, or being controlling.
Even the White Room - Max's watershed moment - has been co-opted by Liz, to a degree. I think I read more fics about *Liz* being in the White Room than I do about Max.
None of this, to my knowledge, is explored in any great degree in fics that I can see. I know how Liz feels about everything. I'd love to know how Max feels about anything. And I'm still waiting for the fic where Liz realizes that the decision she made to leave Max and push him toward Traitor!Tess was the wrong, and that Max had been right about that all along.