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15 February 2016 @ 11:25 am
X-Files Episodes 21-24 and Season End  
Episode 21: Tooms
This is one of those episodes that makes softlykarou angry because it has psychologists on TV, and that never ends well. Especially here, where we're supposed to believe a hibernating snakeman mutant from the 19th century who spends all his awake time murdering people and literally goes into murder trances over the course of the episode can fake normality for six months enough to fool multiple psych evaluations? No, that's dumb. I'm just going along with it because television.

I did love Mulder's single-minded devotion to THE TRUTH. He knew that his testimony about a century of murders would come across as bullshit and be actively counterproductive, but hey, it's the truth! Have to tell the truth even when it hurts! He has about as much respect for proper procedure as DELTA GREEN

The first appearance of Cancer Man! It's weird how this wasn't that long ago and yet smoking indoors seems like a relic of a bygone era, and so it makes him seem transgressive and kind of a dick instead of the local representative of MAJESTIC. I did love the exchange at the end, though:
"Do you believe him?"
"Of course I do."

Episode 22: Born Again
I figured this was going to be another murderghost episode like Shadows was, but they pulled a twist! It's actually reincarnation! That's basically indistinguishable in practice from a murderghost! And since it had a psychologist, it also led to this:
Mulder: "Michelle's reaction to the regression does not shake my faith in hypnosis as a tool of psychological healing."
softlykarou: "Fuck you, Mulder."
Mulder plz.

So, we know that ghosts are real, but that doesn't necessarily imply an afterlife. The murderghost from "Shadows" episode could have been a remaining psychic emanation of Mr. Graves, impressed upon the luminiferous aether by the circumstances of his death blah blah blah, but this has straight up reincarnation. Souls are real, the afterlife is real, and X-Files is going to do as much with that as Star Trek does with transporter immortality because it's not the point. But that was my takeaway from the episode.

When I turned out that Charlie Morris had died during an investigation of the triads, I was really hoping for a Big Trouble in Little China crossover. I mean, Lo Pan wouldn't be any stranger than some of the other stuff Mulder and Scully have dealt with. But it was not to be.

Episode 23: Roland
I'm impressed. I thought they'd wait at least two or three seasons before they used a psychic brain in a jar.

The real reason this episode stood for me is the performance of the actors who played Roland and Tracy. Even softlykarou was impressed, which I think is saying something. Even though intelligence is not a fluid which gets divided up between pairs of twins, a sensitive portrayal of people with developmental disabilities (and not just for the 90s!) goes a long, long way.

The motivation made no sense, though. The brain in a jar was pissed off because the scientists on the team he was on were...continuing his work? After he died in a random car accident that they had nothing whatsoever to do with? I guess you could argue that the lead scientist was a dick who was going to steal all the credit, but how could the brain in a jar have known that since his telepathy was specifically cast as twin telepathy? And why kill the rest of the team? All I can conclude is that being a brain in a jar makes you evil, which is admittedly consistent with the 50s B Movie sources.

Also, A+ on the Beakman's World reference. I used to watch that all the time as a kid!

Episode 23: The Erlenmeyer Flask
a.k.a. The One Where X-Cell Investigates a Deep One hybrid. Come on--green blood, can stay underwater indefinitely, super strength? That scientist was injecting humans with Deep One DNA. The extra base pairs are from the way Xothian genetics work. That was softlykarou's observation, along with this quote born of long suffering:
Mulder: "I don't even know what I'm supposed to find!"
softlykarou: "Welcome to DELTA GREEN, Mulder!"
I loved how they had to spend all that time explaining the Human Genome Project and DNA base pairs and so on. Maybe that it's not as common knowledge nowadays as I think, but it's definitely better known.

I knew Deep Throat was going to die because of a spoiler on the internet I saw while looking something unrelated up, but really, he put himself in enormous risk by constantly showing up. Like, when he was lurking outside Mulder's apartment--I'm surprised that MAJESTIC didn't just snatch him then. But admittedly, it's because he had bad information. He figured that alien baby was the only source available and was willing to trade it for Mulder, and then at the end Cancer Man completes his six-pack of alien babies in the Secret Projects vault at the Pentagon.

There's also more of MAJESTIC killing people and making it look like an accident, back when we thought the government could just kill people secretly in car accidents before drone strikes and passing laws that target vulnerable groups for deliberate neglect. MAJESTIC just likes the more direct approach, I guess.

Season One Thoughts
This is definitely a show I would have loved if I had watched it back when it was originally airing, but I'm not super keen to watch it now. I mean, I enjoy it a lot when I'm actually watching it, but softlykarou and I are also watching Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig now, and given the choice, I'll usually suggest that instead of X-Files. Some of that is because X-Files episodes are twice as long, but that's not all.

I think the main reason that what I really want is DELTA GREEN: the TV Show. Mix X-Files together with True Detective and throw out all the monster-of-the-week episodes that serve to just dilute the focus on MAJESTIC and Mulder figuring out what's wrong and I'd be glued to the television set. I realize that was a huge gamble in the 90s, because you were never sure who would be watching on any given week and if your show was tightly-focused and continuity-driven, you'd risk losing a ton of viewers as they lost the thread of the plot. But I think it would have been a better show if it were more focused, and not only because the monster chase episodes leave me with tons of questions about the world of X-Files like how come no one believes in psychic powers if apparently you get them from any significant life trauma?

I'm in for another few seasons at least, though!
 
 
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