Sunday, January 3, 2016

The X-Files - S9:E6 "Trust No 1"

[ S9:E5 "Lord of the Flies" <<< Season 9 >>> S9:E7 "John Doe" ]

Spoiler Warning: Mythology episode. Expect spoilers. Although rather than spoiling the experience, you might consider reading this review as saving you from having to sit through the episode.

This episode proves that Nothing Important Happened Today wasn't just a fluke, and that there is a serious problem with this season's mythology. It begins with a lame opener that approaches a level of pretentious mushiness we haven't seen since The Field Where I Died, in which Scully - back in baby mode, later seen pushing around a stroller, and befriending another single mother in a coffee shop (I thought this was a sci-fi series, not a romantic dram-com) - is pining for her baby daddy, while Mulder is sending love letters by email to his "dearest Dana". What, after eight years of professional respect, now all of a sudden they're behaving like adolescent lovebirds? Don't be fooled, though - Mulder doesn't appear in this episode. There's a shadowy figure in the distance in one scene that may or may not be Mulder, but like the obscured shower silhouette in Nothing Important Happened Today, it's a nameless, faceless double filling in for what's surely another lame excuse to keep the idea of Mulder on the periphery of the show (and everyone's minds).

Doggett explicitly states in this episode that it's the Super Soldiers forcing Mulder into hiding (though how would he even know? He was left out of the loop). But it still hasn't been explained why they're after Mulder in particular. I mean, aren't they after everybody? And you don't see Doggett and Reyes, or especially Scully and William going into hiding. I mean, I know they have to dance around the issue of not having David Duchovny on the show, but at this point I wish they'd just cut him loose already. I'd be less annoyed if he'd just been abducted again - because at least it'd make more sense than this crap.

Other complaints and frustrations I have with this episode include more hints that the entire universe revolves around William (yawn) - but no explanation as to why - and characters acting frustratingly inconsistent. For example, Doggett tries to convince Scully to let some shadowy informant contact Mulder, and she refuses. But then she agrees, and the next thing you know, Doggett is telling her it's a bad idea. But I think the worst thing of all is that Scully is willing to put Mulder's life in jeopardy, because she's lovesick and really wants to see him. Ugh.

If there's anything positive I can say about this episode, it's that it goes balls to the wall in trying to validate the paranoia of a post-9/11 surveillance state. Although one could argue that it goes a little too far, and it doesn't always make sense (e.g., if this NSA agent Terry O'Quinn plays is practically omniscient thanks to his surveillance equipment, to the point that he can even read Mulder's email to Scully back to her, then why can't he find Mulder himself?). I have to say, though, that even if it's in the thematic purview of this series, it doesn't really feel like the same kind of conspiracy action we got before on The X-Files. (Which doesn't bode well for the coming revival, which will be even further removed from the UFO scare of the '90s).

And then the episode concludes with a rather convenient Deus Ex Machina in the form of an iron compound found in the rock quarry that the Super Soldier-of-the-week ends up getting chased into. On the plus side, now the agents know what the Super Soldiers' kryptonite is. But on the minus side, this is all pretty lame. Scully assumes that Mulder knew about this kryptonite already, which is a sound conclusion, but how? You know what, forget it. I'm beyond caring at this point. Let's just keep moving forward, the sooner to put it all behind us.

Memorable quotes:

Scully: You ever heard of the Constitution?
Shadow Man: Yes. It's what allows foreign terrorists to live here and enjoy the American dream, until the time comes to destroy it.

(A little on the nose, Mr. Post-9/11 NSA agent).

Scully: We're in the middle of nowhere.
Shadow Man: There is no middle of nowhere anymore, Agent Scully.


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