Saturday, August 22, 2015

The X-Files - Season 2 (1994-5)

[ Season 1 <<< The X-Files >>> Season 3 ]

Season 2 of The X-Files is a very strong season. While the first season focused on building a rapport between the two leads, now - particularly with the drama constructed around Gillian Anderson's pregnancy (the episodes Duane Barry/Ascension and One Breath are highlights of the season - nay, the whole show) - our partners are as tight as ever. There are more recurring characters (Skinner returns, as do the Lone Gunmen, and we get more development of the Smoking Man; and then there is Mulder's new informant, X), and more recurring elements for the story to touch on.

The mythology has advanced considerably since the first season, and we are introduced to some pivotal elements (such as those in the two-part episode Colony/End Game, as well as the thrilling finale, Anasazi) that the show will continue to build upon in coming seasons. Even the monster-of-the-week episodes are improving at a rapid pace (highlights include Irresistible, Die Hand die Verletzt, Død Kalm, and F. Emasculata). I'm a little bit surprised by how good this season is - I really thought the show would take longer to heat up. While the first season tasted like an appetizer, the second season eats more like a meal.

For your convenience, here is a list of links to my reviews of each of the episodes in the second season (names in parentheses are the episodes' writers):

S2:E1 "Little Green Men" (Glen Morgan, James Wong)
S2:E2 "The Host" (Chris Carter)
S2:E3 "Blood" (Glen Morgan, James Wong; Darin Morgan)
S2:E4 "Sleepless" (Howard Gordon)
S2:E5 "Duane Barry" (Chris Carter)
S2:E6 "Ascension" (Paul Brown)
S2:E7 "3" (Chris Ruppenthal, Glen Morgan, James Wong)
S2:E8 "One Breath" (Glen Morgan, James Wong)
S2:E9 "Firewalker" (Howard Gordon)
S2:E10 "Red Museum" (Chris Carter)
S2:E11 "Excelsis Dei" (Paul Brown)
S2:E12 "Aubrey" (Sara B. Cooper)
S2:E13 "Irresistible" (Chris Carter)
S2:E14 "Die Hand die Verletzt" (Glen Morgan, James Wong)
S2:E15 "Fresh Bones" (Howard Gordon)
S2:E16 "Colony" (Chris Carter, David Duchovny)
S2:E17 "End Game" (Frank Spotnitz)
S2:E18 "Fearful Symmetry" (Steve De Jarnatt)
S2:E19 "Død Kalm" (Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa)
S2:E20 "Humbug" (Darin Morgan)
S2:E21 "The Calusari" (Sara B. Cooper)
S2:E22 "F. Emasculata" (Chris Carter, Howard Gordon)
What's in an X-File?
S2:E23 "Soft Light" (Vince Gilligan)
S2:E24 "Our Town" (Frank Spotnitz)
S2:E25 "Anasazi" (Chris Carter, David Duchovny)

Monster-of-the-week Episode of the Season: F. Emasculata
Mythology Arc of the Season: Duane Barry/Ascension/One Breath
Clunker of the Season: The popular choice would be 3, as fans remember it as one of the very few episodes in the whole series that Scully doesn't appear in, but I personally was less impressed with Aubrey.
Underrated Gem of the Season: Død Kalm - The iffy makeup aside, this is a very moody episode set on a ghost ship that references Ragnarök. What's not to love?

Heavy Mythology Content (These are the essential mythology episodes).
Light Mythology Content (These episodes feature light or incidental mythology-related content).
Must watch! (If you're short on time, or just want to revisit the highlights of the series, these are the best episodes the show has to offer).
Recommended. (While not being the best of the best, these are quality episodes; I recommend viewing them if you have the time).
Good for a viewing. (These are not essential episodes, but if you want to dig deeper into the series, they're worth sitting through).
Skippable. (Unless you are, like me, dedicated to absorbing the series in its entirety, these are the episodes that you can afford to skip).

Spoiler note: Naturally, as we advance through the seasons, reviews are going to have more of a tendency to include spoilers about events from previous episodes and seasons - especially as far as the mythology of the show is concerned. Thus, if you haven't seen season 1, for example, then you might not want to read too much into the reviews of season 2. Still, I'll try to keep you informed when reviews are going to be particularly spoilery - it just might be the case that you'll be seeing more reviews with spoiler warnings now than you have before.

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