Thursday, August 13, 2015

The X-Files - S2:E17 "End Game"

[ S2:E16 "Colony" <<< Season 2 >>> S2:E18 "Fearful Symmetry" ]

Spoiler Warning: As in the last episode, from which this two-parter continues, this review will contain huge mythology-related spoilers.

The shape-shifting Alien Bounty Hunter from the last episode is still on the rampage, and now it's apparent that he's also got Mulder's sister on his kill list. Meanwhile, Samantha gives Mulder a wild story about alien colonization of the Earth. We knew the government was testing the viability of alien-human hybrids, but if Samantha is to be believed, so, too, are the aliens - and they're doing it right here on Earth! It's pretty unbelievable. And the Alien Bounty Hunter? Apparently he was dispatched by alien racists who believe that hybridization is a dilution of the species. Wild stuff.

But is Samantha trustworthy? She may yet be telling the truth, but in true X-Files style, we're given a huge bone - the return of Mulder's sister - only to have it taken right away from us. First, she is lost and apparently killed in a hostage exchange for Scully's life. Seeing Mulder lose her again is devastating, in an emotional scene in which he confronts his cold and distant father (Peter Donat). It's not much reassurance when we then learn that she was just one in another series of clones - meaning it was never really Mulder's sister to begin with.

The x-in-the-window trick makes its showcase here - and it's actually effective this time, unlike in One Breath. This leads to a tense showdown with X (in a clear step in the gradual progression of his being compromised - in spite of his best efforts - by involvement with Mulder), after he leads Mulder to an atmospheric rendezvous with a submarine embedded in the Arctic ice shelf, in the hopes of heading the Alien Bounty Hunter off before he returns to his ship and leaves the planet.

The climax doesn't quite live up to the exorbitant promise that was teased at the beginning of the last episode, but I'm not too disappointed, because it was a very thrilling journey. (And I must say, thank god Scully's a doctor). But it's a great way to milk some drama with consequence while not giving away too much this early in the series. As a pair of mythology episodes, I can't say that I like it as much as Ascension and One Breath, but this is still essential viewing, that lays the groundwork for further developments we'll see in later episodes.

Memorable quotes:

Mulder: Why - why does he want to kill you?
Samantha: Because I know how to kill him.
Mulder: How?
Samantha: By piercing the base of his skull.
Mulder: That'll kill anybody!
Samantha: Yes, but this is the only way to kill him. And it must be precise. I'm fairly sure it'll work.
Mulder: Fairly sure?
Samantha: He's got powers I've never seen before. If it doesn't work, there's a chance you could die.
Mulder: From what?
Samantha: Their blood is toxic; human exposure to it is fatal.

X: You'll only win the war if you pick the right battles, Agent Mulder. This is a battle you can't win.

Skinner: How hard do you wanna make this?
X: No harder than it has to be. I've killed men for far less.
Skinner: You pull that trigger, you'll be killing two men.

Mulder: Where is she?
Alien Bounty Hunter: Is the answer to your question worth dying for?

Scully: Several aspects of this case remain unexplained, suggesting the possibility of paranormal phenomena. But I am convinced, that to accept such conclusions is to abandon all hope of understanding the scientific events behind them. Many of the things I have seen have challenged my faith in my belief in an ordered universe. But this uncertainty has only strengthened my need to know, to understand, to apply reason to those things which seem to defy it.

Scully: Did you find what you were looking for?
Mulder: No, no, but I found something I thought I'd lost - faith to keep looking.

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