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Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle (pronounced /ˈvændəɹˌspiːɡəl/, VAN-dər-SPEE-gəl) was a doctor that lived outside Patience, Colorado that was killed by an alien who took over his identity. He was portrayed by Alan Tudyk in the science fiction comedy television series Resident Alien.

Character overview[]

Harry Vanderspeigle was a medical doctor who originally began his career as a clinical psychologist. He ran the pathology lab at Rutgers. Since 2004, he would vacation in a lakeside cabin, for a week at a time, on the outskirts of the remote town of Patience, Colorado, along with his wife Isabelle, whom he married in a whirlwind romance. When the two became estranged in late December, he broke the pattern, fleeing to the cabin to escape her. He became referred to by the people of Patience as the "doctor by the lake." He stayed there several months and one evening, for unknown reasons, visited the town proper, where he tainted the insulin supply of the town doctor Sam Hodges of the Patience Health Clinic with Botulinum A toxin, a move that would eventually result in the doctor's death. He then returned to his cabin, where his life unexpectedly came to an end when he was killed by an alien who entered the cabin. The alien then assumed his identity, only to then take on the role of the new town doctor at the clinic where Hodges had worked after being called in to perform Hodges's autopsy. Prior to marrying Isabelle, Harry had a another wife with whom he had a daughter, Liza. He was "rednecky" and kept loaded rifles all over the walls of his cabin.

Plot summary[]

Harry Vanderspeigle became estranged from his wife Isabelle and traveled to Patience where, on the city's outskirts, he and his wife had a vacation cabin. Once there, he traveled into the town proper, where for unknown reasons, he poisoned the insulin supply of the town's doctor, Sam Hodges, with botulinum toxin. Some months later, Hodges unwittingly injected himself with the poisoned insulin, resulting in his death. After placing the poison, Vanderspeigle returned to his cabin, when an alien crash-landed somewhere in mountains of the area. The alien eventually made its way to this cabin. Harry attempted to fight it off, but proved no match for the alien's strength, and was killed when he was tossed through the frozen lake into the icy waters. It then assumed his identity in its entirety. The alien then began searching for the body, the discovery of which would put an end to his ruse.

Eventually, a fisherman discovers Harry Vanderspeigle's severed foot while trawling the lake and reports the discovery to Patience's sheriff, Mike Thompson. Thompson declares that he is going to have the foot sent off to Denver for a DNA test. The Vanderspeigle alien, seizing his opportunity, claims to have experience as a pathologist and offers to take a sample so that they need not have to send off the entire foot. Thompson agrees to this and Vanderspeigle then talks a parent into having him perform a circumcision on their child, then gives the foreskin to Thompson to use as the DNA sample.

The body of Harry Vanderspeigle in his own freezer

Thompson, however, worried that there is a serial killer in the area, decides to launch a full search of the lake by the cabin to find the rest of the body. While he, his deputy Liv Baker, as well as the the mayor and his wife search the lake, the police dog Cletus is left on the shore and ends up discovering the body. The dog's barking alerts the Vanderspeigle alien, who claims the body and hides it in the cabin's freezer. When the search is called off for the evening, Thompson returns and finds Cletus barking furiously. The dog leads him directly to the freezer, but the Vanderspeigle alien opens it to reveal a number of packages labeled as meat products. Thompson tells Vanderspeigle that Cletus is crazy for meat, and this must have been why the dog was barking. He clears out, leaving Vanderspeigle to crow to himself over his successful hiding of the body.

The corpse of the dead Vanderspeigle in a nightmare

At some point after this, the Vanderspeigle alien heads up to the living room of the cabin from the basement only to discover a woman standing there, who claims to be Vanderspeigle's wife. The woman is, in fact, Vanderspeigle's wife, albeit estranged, and the two are in the process of getting a divorce, which had been initiated by Isabelle. She is thrown off when the alien Vanderspeigle immediately signs the divorce papers, but the two then end up trying to rekindle the romance, Isabelle unaware of the new Vanderspeigle's status as an alien.

Ultimately, things go south when the alien Vanderspeigle begins drugging Isabelle in order to give himself more time to search for his spaceship. She then leaves him again and he falls into a low ebb, having also recently been replaced as the town doctor of Patience. He then self-medicates and has a nightmare featuring the corpse of the human Harry Vanderspeigle. In the nightmare, the corpse Vanderspeigle chastises the alien for having sex with his wife, telling him that he wasn't very good at it. He shouts at him for taking over his life and tells the alien that he is a failure and that his failure makes him something even worse - that it makes him human. He then comes at the alien Vanderspeigle with a knife and then, after the alien seemingly wakes up, comes at him again, telling him he is still dreaming.

While searching for his humanity-killing device, the alien Vanderspeigle becomes trapped in a crevasse with D'Arcy Bloom and Asta Twelvetrees. During this incident, Twelvetrees discovers the alien's true nature, but keeps it a secret from Bloom, who manages to rescue them all. Bloom knows that her friend is hiding something, but is not sure what. While the Vanderspeigle alien and Twelvetrees are out of town attending an alien convention, she pays a visit to Vanderspeigle's cabin and sneaks into the basement. There, she discovers the lock on the freezer and breaks it open using an ax, discovering the body of the human Harry Vanderspeigle.

Bloom reports her finding to Sheriff Thompson and Deputy Baker, but by the time they all arrive at the cabin, the Vanderspeigle alien has hidden the human corpse. Thus, Bloom is treated as being crazy and when she tries to insist on remaining, is hauled off to jail. While Thompson wrestles her into the sheriff's car, Deputy Baker discovers the boot of the human Vanderspeigle on the shore. She meets with Asta Twelvetrees and compares it to the foot that she previously discovered, finding it to be a match. Later, the Vanderpseigle alien prepares to activate his device to kill all humans, but hesitates, deciding to test it first by using a targeted version of its effect to dispose of the human Vanderspeigle's corpse. He then has another hallucination of the corpse, who tells him that he's just stalling and he's afraid to kill all of humanity. He tells him that he's been infected with humanity and calls him out for taking him away from Isabelle, telling him that Isabelle cries every day for him and that when he killed him, he killed her. It finally gets to be too much for the alien, who shouts at the hallucination to stop. He then tells the corpse to just sit and stay silent if it agrees that he could press the button to kill humanity at any time. Getting no response, he vaporizes the corpse, but in the process accidentally catches a bit of the blast, damaging a small part of his body. To his shock, he realizes that something of what the hallucination was saying is true and that if he is on Earth when the device goes off, then he too will be killed.

Harry ultimately decides not to kill everyone using his device, after Asta helps him to see that to do so would be to kill her as well. However, Mike Thompson and Liv Baker being to piece together the clues of the human Harry's activities, remaining ignorant of the greater truth of the alien's presence on Earth. They speak with a realtor who reveals that Harry Vanderspeigle was planning to sell his cabin, but ultimately backed out of the deal. This and other clues bring them back to the cabin and once there, they discover a loose floorboard with botulinum toxin underneath. Sheriff Mike then declares that Harry is under arrest, at which point the alien Harry declares that they're going to have to catch him first and begins darting wildly up and around rafters. As Mike starts shooting wildly, Asta pleads with Sheriff Mike not to hurt him, explaining that he's an alien. The alien Harry then alters Sheriff Mike and Deputy Liv's memories. They are led to believe that they were approached by "Agent Fisher," who told them that the FBI was taking over the case and that he could only tell them one thing: that Harry Vanderspeigle was definitely not the murderer. The trick largely seems to work, however, Deputy Liv is confused when Sheriff Thompson brings her back a dress from dry-cleaning that she can't remember ever having dropped off. Meanwhile, the alien Vanderspeigle tells Asta Twelvetrees "you're welcome," expecting her gratitude for having killed the man who killed her friend Sam Hodges.

While preparing for a trip to New York in the hopes of finding another alien, Asta tells Harry to eat a lot before they take off as she maxed her credit cards paying for the plane tickets. Harry tells her not to worry, that they can just use some from the "money bag." To her shock, he produces a bag filled with stacks of money. Also inside the bag are photos of the human Harry Vanderspeigle and Sam Hodges, as well as members of their families and Asta, as well as Sam's medical records and a note from Sam reading "Harry, you wanted more evidence against Galvan/Powell Group. Here. Call me." Asta explains to Harry that this isn't normal, that people just don't have bags of money lying around their home. If they do, they either stole it or it was a payoff for doing something bad. She looks up Galvan/Powell Group and, discovering that it's in New York, decides to tack an investigation of it onto their trip. Meanwhile, a flashback shows Sam Hodges paying a visit to Vanderspeigle's cabin many months before. He confronts Harry with the photos, worried that Galvan/Powell is threatening the both of them and saying that they need to go to the authorities. Harry tells him to calm down and to just keep bringing him medical records while he finds other proof against Galvan/Powell. After Sam leaves, however, Harry places a call and tells the man at the other end of the line, Tanner Corrington, hat Sam was just there and is threatening to go to the police. "What do you want me to do?" he asks.

Harry and Asta arrive in New York and head to the headquarters of the Galvan/Powell Group. There, she tells Harry to wait outside while she investigates. Harry, however, slips away into a pie shop. While there, he is confronted by a man who asks him what the hell he's doing there, why he's in New York. The man is apparently Corrington, the guy whom the human Harry talked with on the phone, and tells him that he was supposed to stay in Colorado and do his work. He asks him to at least tell him that he destroyed the medical records, but is unsatisfied with Harry's response when it becomes clear that he is just telling him what he wants to hear. He leaves, telling Harry he has no idea who he's dealing with and is making a huge mistake. Asta then comes over to Harry's table, revealing that she heard everything as she was turned away quickly by Galvan/Powell's security.

The two go about their business in New York, seeking an alien named Goliath. They are eventually caught up by an agent from the government, Lisa Casper, who is also seeking aliens, and discovers them with a woman named Violinda Darvell and an alien egg from Goliath. When they give her the slip, they are pursued in turn by two agents from Galvan/Powell, who end up being shot and killed by Casper. They then escape Casper, who is ultimately killed by Harry on the train back to Colorado. Harry and Asta return to Harry's cabin, only to discover that some of the town's other residents have put together a surprise party for Harry's party. During the party, the egg hatches and the alien baby from it escapes outside. Harry tracks it down and through it receives a message from Goliath. He is then, however, shot. It turns out that Corrington has pursued him back to Colorado. Harry seems barely fazed and tells the man that he shot him. "Yeah, like you shot two of my guys in New York," replies the man, having no clue what is really going on. He tells Harry that he never should have made him kill Sam Hodges, that he should have just taken care of it himself. He cocks his gun to shoot Harry again, only to be shot in the back and killed by Asta. D'Arcy Bloom then stumbles onto the scene.

Appearance[]

Harry was a human Caucasian male, clean-shaven with short, light-brown hair. He wore glasses.

Quotes[]

"Is there someone in here?!" - Harry Vanderspeigle's last words, "Pilot"

"You have nothing. You lost your device. You can’t even find your spaceship. You had one simple mission. You completely failed. And that makes you more than just a loser. That makes you human."
"Don't call me that. That's the most hurtful thing anyone has ever said to me."
"You wanted to destroy the human race. The human race destroyed you, you sad, pathetic, stupid little shit stick."
"Now that is the most hurtful thing anyone has ever said to me."
- A hallucination of the dead human Harry Vanderspeigle, talking to the alien, "The Green Glow"

"You know, you're just stalling. You're afraid to kill everyone."
"No, I'm not. My people do not feel fear."
"Yes, but you're not your people anymore, are you? You've been infected with humanity."
"I don't need to listen to this!
- A hallucination of the human Harry Vanderspeigle and the alien Vanderspeigle, "Heroes of Patience"

"What do you want me to do?"
- Harry, speaking with a man from the Galvan/Powell Group about Sam planning to go to the police, "An Alien in New York"

Trivia[]

  • Resident Alien showrunner Chris Sheridan stated in an interview following the series finale, "Heroes of Patience," that the show's second season would explain the reasoning as to why the human Harry Vanderspeigle murdered Sam Hodges. He explained that "I always knew that at the end of Season 1, we would find out who did it. In Season 2, we’ll explore why. We'll get a sense of what was going on in the town, who the players were, what drove this guy to this place where he had to kill the town doctor."[2]

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References[]

  1. Harry Vanderpspeigle's date of birth is seen on a driver's license file in the episode "Old Friends."
  2. Syfy Wire: Resident Alien Boss Breaks Down Season 1 Finale, Teases More Hijinks, Drama & Linda Hamilton in Season 2 by Josh Weiss. April 1, 2021.


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