Monday, August 3, 2015

The X-Files - S2:E5 "Duane Barry"

[ S2:E4 "Sleepless" <<< Season 2 >>> S2:E6 "Ascension" ]

This is it, boy - the start of one of the most memorable moments in the whole series for me. This is the first of many two-part episodes (although the resolution will require yet a third episode), and the first one that ends on a cliffhanger that will be resolved in the following episode (as opposed to, say, the open endings of some of the monster-of-the-week episodes). The whole set could easily have been a season finale/premiere (and you'll see this formula used that way in the future), but here it's all just part of the season. (The timing may have much to do with Gillian Anderson's pregnancy, but I'll get into that more in my discussion of the next episode).

The episode opens with the first of several chilling scenes (I got mad goosebumps) depicting a classic case of alien abduction (that's suspiciously similar to the real life phenomenon of sleep paralysis). More than any other episode in The X-Files so far, we have some scenes here that really bring to mind the whole Fire In The Sky horror angle of alien abduction. Steve Railsback is excellent in the role of a serial abductee named Duane Barry, with many memorable lines - not so much for what's being said, but for how he says it - who really brings out the terror and pathos of a man being hunted by aliens for the purpose of sadistic medical experiments.

Mulder (who we see here briefly in a speedo, for those of you who like that sort of thing :p) is called in to assist in a tense hostage negotiation after Duane Barry breaks out of a mental institution (because everybody thinks he's crazy, but also because he's violent and unpredictable). Scully is brought in to the proceedings to introduce some measure of doubt into Duane Barry's claims of abduction, but her "but wait, he's not what Mulder thinks he is!" bit feels a little tacked on here. I don't know if it's because I already know how the whole thing turns out, or because we've already seen so many scenes of aliens - and come on, this is The X-Files! In any case, it serves its purpose of getting Scully into the midst of the danger, the full importance of which we'll see in the next exciting episode!

To be continued...

Memorable quotes:

Agent Kazdin: Whatever crap you gotta make up about spacemen or UFOs, just keep him on the phone.

Mulder: That man is afraid, and the only way you're gonna win his trust is by trying to understand what he's afraid of. Have you ever spoken to an abductee, Agent Kazdin? Heard them talk about having their brains sucked out through their nostril while being wide awake through the experience? Would you like to know what they do to a woman's ovaries?
Agent Kazdin: Not particularly.

Duane Barry: Don't you think you can lie to save their lives. I want some honesty. I want some respect!

Duane Barry: You know what it's like, sir? It's like living with a gun to your head, and never knowing when it's gonna go off.

Duane Barry: The government knows about it, you know. They're even in on it sometimes, right there in your room when they come. They work together, with a, uh, secret, uh, corporation.
Mulder: Who in the government?
Duane Barry: Man, military, they're all in it together. The government knows why they're here, but they wouldn't dare let the truth out. So they cooperate.

Mulder: It's just that, uh...I believed him.
Scully: Sometimes when you wanna believe so badly, you end up looking too hard.

Mulder: That would mean Duane Barry was telling the truth.
Scully: Or some version of the truth.

No comments:

Post a Comment