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24 March 2017 @ 10:09 pm
X-Files, Season 2, Episodes 4-6  
I didn't stop watching, I just got very sidetracked!

The best line in my notes for this episode is "collective unconscious dream woo woo bullshit," because that's the perfect explanation of this episode's Mulder Moment. You know what I mean. When Mulder says, "But what if it's [incredibly unlikely woo woo explanation]," and everyone explains why that can't possibly be true, and then it is. I was fine with sleep deprivation research, but I'm not sure that we needed extending the collective unconscious into other people's brains and convincing them that their nightmares are really happening.

When they first revealed that Preacher was sending the dreams to others, I immediately to turned to softlykarou and said, "He's using Phantasmal Killer." I spent the whole time thinking that Preacher was a wizard and thinking about spells per day and it completely took me out of the episode.

That said, the mood was great, and I liked the conversation at the end between Preacher and the doctor. How should blame be apportioned? The soldiers were volunteers, but this experiment obviously wasn't approved by an ethics board and I doubt any long-term studies were done of its effects. This is X-Files, it was probably just two people in black suits in a room saying, "What if...you never had to sleep again?" and then cackling evilly and approving a $1 billion secret budget appropriation. I wish they had taken the time spent on magic dream power and spent it in culpability, on "you did this to me" vs. "your hand pulled the trigger." Or at least spent a little more time than a single conversation.

I also liked Krycek, even though I realized almost immediately that he was evil. It's not just that he stepped out of a 1950s recruitment ad for the bureau, though that was part of it; it's that he was being too accommodating of Mulder. I mean, Mulder is a nutjob, and the only reason he's sympathetic is because this is X-Files so he's always right. It was when Mulder explained his theory that Augustus Cole is a sorcerer with the dreamspun bloodline and Krycek was like, "Yeah, that totally makes sense."  photo emot-ms.gif No! No it doesn't! It's the most ridiculous possible explanation and there's no reason you should believe it. Even if it is right. Honestly, I think they should have delayed the reveal for at least a couple episodes. Keep the suspense going.

I suspect Krycek will be compromised/redeemed (replace as applicable based on your employment by MAJESTIC) by associating too much with Mulder and turn on the bad guys, but we'll see.

Duane Barry
This episode would have been much more effective if the aliens hadn't clearly been people in suits. I could see the seams where the gloves met the rest of the outfit! They should have stayed behind the plastic sheeting with the white light and remained silhouettes.

The rest of the plot is very strange, and I'm not sure if it's because it's a two-parter and it'll get resolved next time or if there's genuinely something I'm missing. Mulder has no hostage negotiation training, but gets called in to consult on the hostage scenario for unclear reasons. The other agents think that Barry is delusional and are clearly annoyed when Mulder starts feeding into his delusions, but isn't that why Mulder was called out in the first place? Because the government knows that Barry was actually experimented on, and they want Mulder there to...what, exactly? What is this supposed to accomplish for MAJESTIC? Is it all a disinformation campaign, where Mulder was supposed to feed into Barry's delusions, screw everything up, and be horribly discredited? If so, that's almost how it worked out. Especially when he asked Barry if he was telling the truth, which led to Barry going into a rage and this quote:
softlykarou: "Mulder, you are a fucking idiot."
My favorite part was at the end after the hostage situation had been resolved, when the lead negotiator told Mulder that X-rays found bizarre metal implants in Barry's body, in his nasal cavity, teeth, and belly, just as he describes, and even gives Mulder one. Then she just leaves. It's easy to think she's in on the conspiracy, but I think a simpler explanation is likely--she finds the concept uncomfortable, so she's going to ignore it. That happens all the time in real life, and right now I'm rereading From a Buick 8, where a big chunk of the plot is about that very human tendency. If that happens a lot, it helps explain why a world of man-eating bigfoots, alien abductions, mutant flukemen, murderghosts, and evil clones still remains wainscotted instead of leading to all-out war against the supernatural.

The truth is out there, but it's kind of weird so leave me out of it, thank you.

I had to laugh at the Netflix blurb for this episode:
Mulder attempts to rescue Scully after she is abducted by a deranged man who believes in UFOs.
Why is Mulder kidnapping Scully??  photo emot-sweatdrop.gif

Poor Skinner. Caught between a rock and a hard place. I have to imagine every morning, he wakes up, drinks his coffee, and stares into the middle distance while muttering to himself before heading into work and wondering what it is that Mulder has done now. And then he goes to work and finds out, and yells at Mulder. Or, as softlykarou put it:
"You're a loose cannon, Mulder!"
I'm surprised that Krycek made his villain turn so quickly. I suppose after they immediately revealed that he worked for MAJESTIC in the first episode that he was introduced, that it wouldn't be long before Chekov's gun was fired. But maybe draw out the anticipation a bit? I mean, Chris Carter had a twenty-three episode-long arc before the alien invasion of Earth, right? Take some time.

I did like that he just vanished into the ether once his cover was blown and that the mysterious contact told Mulder that MAJESTIC can do anything they want. Skinner seemed to give up pretty quickly for being told that Krycek hadn't come to work and his phone was disconnected, though. Surely he could at least have some agents go to his house? How much does he know? Is he working for MAJESTIC, or aware of them? Is reactiving the X-Files part of a long-term plan to discredit Mulder, like Cancer Man seemed to indicate was the point of keeping him around?  photo ashamed2.gif

It's like when Mulder was talking to Scully's mother and asked her why she wore a cross if she was a skeptic. Mulder doesn't seem to realize that just because you believe in one thing you don't have scientific proof of doesn't mean you immediately have to believe in everything. The existence of aliens does not prove the existence of murderghosts or vampires. These are all discrete phenomena.

Also, Duane Barry proves that you should never trust someone who talks about themselves in the third person.
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