Thursday, November 12, 2015

The X-Files - S6:E17 "Trevor"

[ S6:E16 "Alpha" <<< Season 6 >>> S6:E18 "Milagro" ]

It feels like I'm watching The X-Files again! Add one more credit to the growing database of evidence for my theory that, at this late stage of the game, it takes outside writers to capture the atmosphere that The X-Files was once known for. It's almost like these guys were fans of the series who came late to the game, and decided to try to write a classic episode of The X-Files despite the fact (or perhaps not realizing) that the show had grown and evolved beyond what it used to be. That said, evolution is not necessarily advancement, and I'm at a stage where I'm enjoying the traditional episodes more than the experimental ones. (I feel another tangent coming on).

This episode tracks a convict escaped from a Mississippi prison farm during an unusually severe twister, which imbues him with some unique, supernatural abilities. It's definitely more in the vein of a freak than monster-of-the-week episode, which has always been this show's fort√©. He is apparently able to phase through matter, due to some complicated electrostatic anomaly. The episode bends over backward in shooting around the implied nudity, which is kind of ridiculous, but I'm not gonna fault them too much for that, because it's entirely to be expected, and they could have easily just written around it (how many times have you seen sci-fi shows where people travel through space or time with their clothing intact? The Terminator was a welcome exception to that rule), but they didn't, and so I have to give them props for that.

Scully freely volunteering spontaneous human combustion as an early explanation was a bit of a let-down, however. If it were the case that she were becoming more open-minded after all the things she's seen, that would be a welcome advancement in her character. But we're talking about a total about-face since season 2's Soft Light, in which she adequately debunked the theory of SHC. Now she's admitting that "there are a few documented cases." Really, Scully? This is what we're supposed to take as the scientific alternative to explain this episode's paranormal phenomena?

Also look for guest star Tuesday Knight, who starred in one (or two) of the A Nightmare on Elm Street films.

Memorable quotes:

Scully: State police have put out an APB on Rawls.
Mulder: You might warn them not to shoot to kill - he seems to find that annoying.

Scully: But where's the science in all of this, Mulder? You're talking alchemy.
Mulder: I'm not saying that it can't be explained scientifically - maybe it's the tornado. You suggested it yourself. Unusual climatic conditions, high electrical potential...
Scully: I'm sorry I even brought it up.

(Isn't that your job, Scully? To find the science to explain the phenomena Mulder encounters?)

Rawls: You know what that means? That means God wanted me to know. He fixed it so I'd hear. And then he fixed it so's I'd have passage. Now I'm here. God's will.

(Forgive the rant, but this is a perfect example of how people will give divine meaning to random chance, and use it as justification - sometimes to do evil things. The problem isn't being able to differentiate between right and wrong, because inevitably, those who can't will use this reasoning to justify doing wrong. The point is that giving this reasoning moral weight - saying it's okay to let some unaccountable outside influence dictate the validity of one's actions, without question - is what's wrong. Since God's not out there to tell people when they're mistaken, there's no falsifiability. You can try to tell the criminal he's wrong, but if he believes God is on his side, your word is just a candle in the wind, and there's nothing you can do to persuade him otherwise. Because the stakes are higher than reason, higher than ethics, higher than even life itself. Give a man as powerful a justification as that, with no way to convincingly discredit it, and he can use it to justify anything and everything, including the most horrible atrocities imaginable. It's not that bad men twist good reasoning to their ends, it's that the reasoning itself is flawed - such that it's susceptible to bad men taking advantage of it).

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