Saturday, August 8, 2015

The X-Files - S2:E11 "Excelsis Dei"

[ S2:E10 "Red Museum" <<< Season 2 >>> S2:E12 "Aubrey" ]

The care at Massachusetts convalescent home Excelsis Dei (odd name) leaves something to be desired, and the elderly patients there are just dying to get even - literally. Like in the last episode, the mystery of what's going on is a bit convoluted, and we've got a number of potential red herrings, including an experimental cure for Alzheimer's that may be working too well, and - I almost can't type this with a straight face - a crop of psychedelic mushrooms. Clearly, this show still has room to improve in the monster-of-the-week department. Maybe it's because the mythology episodes this season have been so compelling, but these one-off episodes have been rather less memorable than season 1's in comparison.

This one does, however, touch on the sensitive issue of rape and sexual harassment, with the added complication of the attacker apparently being invisible - as if rape cases weren't hard enough to prosecute to begin with. The absurdity of the premise (a woman being raped by an elderly ghost) provides some opportunity for black humor. There will be some excellent [straight] humor-based episodes later in the series, after the show has established itself to a point where competent deconstruction is possible, but as yet, the balance is still being worked out. Curiously, though, Mulder seems resigned to letting this case go unsolved, while it's Scully who seems driven to consider every possibility before giving up.

Memorable quotes:

Mulder: Whatever tape you found in that VCR isn't mine.
Scully: Good, because I put it back in that drawer with all those other videos that aren't yours.

(It's a rarely mentioned minor detail - like his love of sunflower seeds - that Mulder likes to indulge in porn, as can be expected of a lonely bachelor in his position. I know that Scully's feelings for Mulder aren't primarily romantic, but I still like that she's not offended or threatened by Mulder's red-blooded interest in pornography. It's very much in vogue in this post-feminist world to criticize men's at-times obsessive interest in sex, but it's really just biology, and so I appreciate this show's totally casual approach to the subject).

Mulder: Are you saying that the building's haunted? Because if you are, I think you've been working with me for too long, Scully.

Scully: Mulder, mushrooms aren't medication. They taste good on hamburgers, but they don't raise the dead.
Mulder: Shamans have been using them for centuries to gain entrance to the spirit world.

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