Monday, January 25, 2016

The X-Files - S10:E2 "Founder's Mutation"

[ S10:E1 "My Struggle" <<< Season 10 >>>  S10:E3 "M&S Meet the Were-Monster" ]

Spoiler Warning: This review may contain minor spoilers from this episode and from the series' mythology. But nothing major like the last episode.

Written (and directed) by James Wong, I honestly couldn't tell you if this was supposed to be a mythology episode or a freak-of-the-week episode - I guess I'll just have to mark it down as half and half. It doesn't pick up directly where the last episode left off (I'm guessing we'll have to wait till the season finale - though only four more episodes away - to conclude that story thread), but it does seem to concern itself with an update of the whole "alien hybridization" program the government is apparently still up to, and there are significant allusions made to William (who, nonetheless, does not appear, except in some confusing flashbacks to events that couldn't possibly have happened, and may represent Scully and Mulder's wishes and fears for the life they could have had had they not given William up for adoption when he was just a baby).

At the same time, the episode generally follows the freak-of-the-week formula, with an opening "teaser" that concludes with a brutal death (involving a high-pitched noise that is reminiscent of the one heard in Vince Gilligan's Drive), that precipitates the case that Mulder and Scully go on to investigate throughout the episode. There is even a scene of Mulder and Scully waving their flashlights about, but what the episode lacks is a good monster - especially touching, as it does, on the series' go-to subject matter of genetic mutations. The best it does is a gallery of freaks suffering from abnormal conditions, but they are only children locked up in the research facility run by this series' latest incarnation of a government-employed mad scientist. It all ties in to the experimentation with alien hybrids, but with a touch of the flavor of the ninth season mythology's inclusion of paranoid mothers (for better or worse).

I don't know if I would say that this episode is a vast improvement over the last one. I may have even liked the last one better. I haven't seen anything yet that's made me go "oh my god, this is awesome, I'm so glad The X-Files is back on TV!" But next Monday Darin Morgan's episode airs, so we'll have to see what that one's like. My overall impressions remain - I don't think I like watching TV in HD (or digital, or whatever it is that's making the show look so slick and clean). It just doesn't look right. I don't need to see every pore on every character's face. Even more so because it's kind of sad to see these three characters (Mulder, Scully, and Skinner) getting old. By the way, what's up with Gillian Anderson's voice? It's kind of distracting. Anyway, this may be a revival, but it's definitely not a repeat of the classic years of the show. I'm wondering right about now how other people (fans and non-fans alike) are receiving it - whether or not they're liking it, and whether or not it'll be popular enough to keep the series going past this 6 episode event. I'm not convinced yet that it should, but I'll withhold judgment until I see the rest of the miniseries, and at the very least, Darin and Glen Morgan's episodes coming up in the next two weeks.

Memorable quotes:

Lindquist: Unhand the hard drive, sir.

Scully: This is dangerous.
Mulder: When has that ever stopped us before?

Sister Mary: Desire is the devil's pitchfork.

Mulder: All we can do, Scully, is pull the thread. See what it unravels.

Scully: What you're talking about is changing the genetic makeup of a population. That's the next step in evolution.
Mulder: Every new species begins with a founder's mutation.

Jackie: They said I killed my baby. I didn't. I let him out.

Kyle's Mother: Bad things happen when the birds gather...

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