Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The X-Files - S5:E19 "Folie a Deux"

[ S5:E18 "The Pine Bluff Variant" <<< Season 5 >>> S5:E20 "The End" ]

We're back to classic sci-fi/horror in this episode about a telemarketer who starts hallucinating that his boss is a giant mantid (Mimic anyone?) turning his employees into brainless zombie pod people. You can't blame him for going crazy working a job like that - didn't we see something like this in the episode Blood? And like that other season 2 episode, The Host, Mulder thinks Skinner's jerking him around again (although with less reason this time). Mulder (whose pinky is still healing from last week - nice continuity!) is skeptical to begin with, but heads out to Chicago to handle the case alone while Scully is stuck on desk duty, in a reversal of the situation we saw in Chinga. But unlike some of Vince Gilligan's latest episodes - e.g., Bad Blood, Small Potatoes - this one isn't dedicated to humor (which, frankly, is fine by me), and Scully soon joins the case - but not before Mulder wanders into a hostage situation (recalling yet another season 2 episode - Duane Barry).

At this point, you think you know where the episode is going, but it switches tracks halfway through. Whereas last week's episode had you second guessing who you could trust, this one effectively has you doubting whether Mulder's crazy theories aren't really just paranoia (for real this time!). Most episodes take a supernatural perspective - even as Scully proffers scientific explanations that nobody watching the show ever really believes, because this is The X-Files, after all. But this episode dedicates itself enough to the idea that this guy is crazy, that when it starts to consider the possibility that he could be telling the truth, it's more of a shock. Even if you still harbor doubts that Mulder could be reacting to some kind of paranoia-inducing agent, and fear that he might end up in another situation like what appeared to be the case in Bad Blood, and end up killing a "monster" that turns out to be an innocent human being.

Of course, it doesn't help that no one can see these monsters (and for once, this could actually be described as a monster-, rather than a freak-of-the-week episode) unless they already believe in them (which is a lot like what the Christian faith claims, but with actual pay-off!). You know, I just realized something. Mulder doesn't come off as crazy as he sounds (or would in real life) because he's usually right. And the viewer is let on to that fact because he gets to see all the supernatural stuff that goes on in these episodes. I bet that if you took an episode and cut out all the scenes of supernatural phenomena, the result would be something like the Garfield Minus Garfield webcomic - Mulder would finally be seen as the delusional paranoiac that he is. You could call it The X-Minus-X-Files!

Memorable quotes:

Mulder: Must have done something to piss him off.
Scully: What do you mean?
Mulder: Get stuck with this jerk-off assignment. Or have I finally reached that magic point in my career where every time somebody sees Bigfoot or the Virgin Mary on a tortilla, I get called out of my basement warren to offer my special insight on the matter?
Scully: You're saying "I" a lot. I heard "we".

Mulder: What if such a creature existed that could camouflage itself by clouding the minds of its victims? There are antecedents for it in nature, right? In the insect world - mantids, for instance. They're said to be able to hypnotize their prey.

Scully: Mulder, he was disturbed.
Mulder: Yeah, but did he see it because he was disturbed, or was he disturbed because he saw it?
Scully: He was mentally ill. This monster was a sick fantasy - a product of his dementia.
Mulder: I saw it, too.

Mulder: Scully, you have to believe me. Nobody else on this whole damn planet does, or ever will. You're my one in...five billion.

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