Thursday, September 10, 2015

The X-Files - S3:E21 "Avatar"

[ S3:E20 "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'" <<< Season 3 >>> S3:E22 "Quagmire" ]

Avatar distinguishes itself by giving us a rare glimpse into the personal life of Assistant Director Walter Skinner, a man we usually only see in a professional context. While grappling with the final stages of a divorce, he ends up sleeping with a woman he meets at a bar. To his surprise (as much as anyone else's), he wakes up next to her in the middle of the night, only to find her dead with a broken neck. She is later identified as a legal secretary who was moonlighting as a prostitute. This is The X-Files as erotic thriller - à la Adrian Lyne - with shades of Don't Look Back (this is The X-Files, after all). The rest of the episode concerns itself with finding out what happened, and gives Mulder and Scully an opportunity to help Skinner out of a jam for once, instead of being the ones getting him into trouble, like usual.

Now, I can see Skinner as the sort of man who would patronize a prostitute (that is, if he even knew she was a prostitute), because even though he adheres to a strong principle of justice, prostitution is one of those crimes that doesn't deserve to be one. But murder? No way can I see this man committing such an unjustified act of atrocity. Was he in an altered state of consciousness? Discussion of sleep disorders brings the mythical "night hag" into play, as well as legends of the succubus. Or could it have been a setup, designed to ruin Skinner's reputation - not to mention his life - in a way that (spoiler from Piper Maru): a bullet to the gut couldn't accomplish? In most cases, finding proof (whether of the paranormal, or a conspiracy) is largely an exercise in academics, but here, it could be the only thing keeping Skinner out of jail, let alone with a job.

Memorable quotes:

Skinner: I guess some people think that you owe 'em something just 'cause you're out alone.

Scully: Business must be booming.
Mulder: I think you mean banging.

Lorraine: You'd be surprised who some of my clients are.
Mulder: No, I don't think I would be.

Mulder: Maybe that's why Skinner's running - he's afraid.
Scully: That he did it?
Mulder: That he doesn't know he didn't do it.

Senior Agent: Do you believe in paranormal phenomena, Agent Scully?
Scully: Whatever extreme cases I have encountered, I have always viewed through the lens of science. I believe that is why I was assigned to the X-Files, and to Agent Mulder.

Scully: But I don't understand - why would they orchestrate such an elaborate scheme just to set him up? Why not just kill him?
Mulder: Well, they already tried that once, and a second attempt would be too obvious, even for these thugs. Anyway, I think Skinner's probably worth more to them alive and disgraced than dead and buried.

Scully: How are we supposed to find him?
Mulder: Well, this guy is a pawn. Pawns always make the first move.

No comments:

Post a Comment