Saturday, September 19, 2015

The X-Files - S4:E5 "The Field Where I Died"

[ S4:E4 "Unruhe" <<< Season 4 >>> S4:E6 "Sanguinarium" ]

I hate to say it, but The Field Where I Died is a rare misstep for the series. To begin with, the opener is not terribly captivating. David Duchovny's monologue is nigh inscrutable, and the tragic romance feel just doesn't sit right for an episode of The X-Files. The music is pretty throughout, but it's all quite overly melodramatic. Honestly, watching David Duchovny cry in extreme closeup for what seems like several minutes straight just isn't that entertaining. I'm secure enough to admit that "the Duchov" is a handsome man, but to quote Rainn Wilson from the movie Super, people look stupid when they cry. And unfortunately, the whole past lives theme isn't enough to get me going.

And then you have the multiple personality disorder thing. I'll admit, having a person's past lives manifest as multiple personalities is clever, and Kristen Cloke really dives into her role in this episode. But I have a hard time getting into the whole multiple personalities deceit. And it's the focus of the episode, when they could have spent that 40 minutes exploring the cult, the cultleader's charisma (they did a good job casting Michael Massee in that role, but there was too little of him), and what led the cultmembers to join, instead of just leaving the cult as a stereotype of the inscrutable other.

Oh, did I mention there was a cult in this episode? Not occult, just the normal brainwashing kind. Mulder and Scully join a raid, and then rush to find enough evidence to convict the cultleader before he gets off and has a chance to influence the entire cult to kill themselves. It's interesting to see Mulder and Scully involved in normal FBI business every now and then - the aside about the cultleader being alleged to have paranormal abilities was honestly unnecessary - instead of their usual following strained leads on unsolved (and often unsolvable) cases. Alas, that the episode didn't focus more on this than all that reincarnation nonsense. I don't disparage the series for choosing to experiment with its formula - it's critical for keeping the show fresh - but sometimes those experiments fail.

Memorable quotes:

Skinner: It's my understanding that multiple personalities are rare.
Scully: They're extremely rare. In fact, many in the psychiatric community do not believe that dissociative identity disorder exists.

(At least they're putting that out there).

Vernon Ephesian: Behold, I am alive for evermore.

(Or, at least the next sixty seconds or so).

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