Monday, October 19, 2015

The X-Files - S5:E11 "Kill Switch"

[ S5:E10 "Chinga" <<< Season 5 >>> S5:E12 "Bad Blood" ]

This episode opens with a pretty exciting teaser. An anonymous caller gives out tips to every organized criminal in the neighborhood, and they all converge on an unassuming diner where a man in a business suit appears to be hacking into something important. When the U.S. Marshals arrive on another one of those tips, the place lights up with gunfire like a Christmas tree. If it was all a ploy to eliminate the hacker, then that's one hell of a creative way to go about doing it. That's the sort of chaos-creating shit The Joker could appreciate. The rest of this episode revisits the subject of a sentient AI, set loose to grow and evolve on the internet, although the fact that you can compare it to Ghost in the Machine (not one of season 1's most memorable episodes) doesn't mean this one isn't any good. Maybe it stretches the limits of plausibility a bit, but this is what speculative science-fiction is about. I've been fantasizing about uploading my consciousness to the net since I was a teenager. I still do.

For an episode about technology, the Lone Gunmen appropriately feature relatively prominently. Kristin Lehman is also a welcome addition to the cast, as a sassy cyberpunk. Her interactions with the Lone Gunmen are precious. Scully doesn't fare so well in this episode, however, as she lays on the skepticism a little too heavy. I don't blame her for not immediately buying into the paranoia about an AI that's out to get them, but she doesn't have to be so obnoxious about it. I prefer her to be the open-minded skeptic, looking for alternative explanations, rather than the grumpy partner who does nothing but poo-poo everything Mulder says. She does get a rare chance to kick ass, though - albeit in a fantasy virtual reality sequence. Kill Switch isn't an episode that's going to win any awards, but I enjoyed it. It's even got explosions! I think it's interesting that when experimentation becomes the norm, I end up enjoying the "normal" episodes (like Schizogeny, which was also penned by outside writers), more than the radical experiments (like The Post-Modern Prometheus). I'm looking forward to next week's experiment, though.

Memorable quotes:

Invisigoth: Unless you've got a warrant, you two just busted in here and seriously violated a buttload of my Constitutional rights.
Mulder: We had just cause to come in.
Invisigoth: Uh-huh. And now you've got just cause to get out.

Scully: Urschleim in silicon?
Invisigoth: The primordial slime. The ooze out of which all life evolved. 'Cept this time it's artificial slime. Artificial life.

Frohike: She is so hot!
Invisigoth: Are you gonna take off these cuffs, or do I have to do this with my tongue?
Mulder: You don't wanna take a vote.

Scully: Electrons chasing each other through a circuit - that isn't life, Mulder.
Mulder: Yeah, but what are we but...impulses, electrical and chemical, through a bag of meat and bones? You're the scientist - you tell me.

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