Sunday, October 18, 2015

The X-Files - S5:E10 "Chinga"

[ S5:E9 "Schizogeny" <<< Season 5 >>> S5:E11 "Kill Switch" ]

I remember when I first watched this episode, I was excited when I saw the credit flash up on the screen indicating that it was co-written (with Chris Carter) by none other than Stephen King himself. I also remember feeling pretty lukewarm about the episode by the time it was finished, which is more understandable now that I've seen quite a few adaptations of Stephen King's stories, many of which - while having some pretty neat ideas - fail to reach a level of greatness. And then you have the fact that this is a story about a killer doll, and I've never really been able to get into horror stories about dolls. Yeah, they can be creepy sometimes, but it just doesn't do it for me. That having been said, with more tempered expectations, this is a pretty solid freak-of-the-week episode, and it effectively incorporates some Mulder x Scully-related humor, without going the full-on comedy route (which I'm not really a fan of).

This is a weekend episode like War of the Coprophages, except this time, Scully's the one who's out on vacation, in Maine (since this is a Stephen King story - and, once again, I must express my amazement at British Columbia's chameolonic locales), looking all stylish and driving a convertible, while Mulder's stuck at home, bored out of his mind (and you know this episode is trying to be funny when you see Mulder in his office, watching what sounds like porn, with an open VHS case titled "Alien Probe" sitting on his desk). Yet, as in Never Again, it's Scully who finds herself in the midst of the action, and instead of getting that vacation (aside from a nice bubble bath), she ends up walking right into the middle of an X-File.

A single mother, rumored to be descended from the witches of Salem, is experiencing death omens, and her pretty creepy daughter has a cursed doll who doesn't play well with others. Larry Musser is back again as the town sheriff, although these subtler roles can't do anything to dispel memories of the caricature he played in Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'. As I alluded to above, nothing in this episode really raises it to the level of greatness, but for a one-off freak-of-the-week episode, it's a perfectly solid hour of programming. For once, I appreciate the humor, which plays on Mulder and Scully's characterizations, without tainting it with the flavor of a dysfunctional relationship - which is to say that it stays fun, and never crosses the line into destructive navel-gazing (I'm looking at you, Never Again).

Memorable quotes:

Doll: Let's have fun.

Mulder: It sounds to me like that's, uh...witchcraft, or maybe some sorcery that you're lookin' for, there.
Scully: No, I don't think it's witchcraft, Mulder, or sorcery. I've had a look around, and I don't see any evidence of anything that warrants that kind of suspicion.
Mulder: Yeah, well, maybe you don't know what you're looking for.
Scully: Like evidence of conjury, or the black arts, or...shamanism, divination, Wicca, or any kind of pagan or neopagan practice - charms, cards, familiars, blood stones, or hex signs, or any of the ritual tableaux associated with the occult, Santeria, Voudon, Macumba, or any high or low magic?
Mulder: Scully?
Scully: Yes?
Mulder: Marry me.

Polly: I want more cherries, now!
Waitress: You're gonna have to go ask your mommy for some more money, hun. I can't just give them away.

(Must...resist...the make a joke...)

Scully: I've been thinking that maybe...maybe we need to explore other possibilities.
Jack Bonsaint: I'm not sure I understand.
Scully: Well, maybe we need to keep our minds open to...extreme possibilities.

(You can see the reluctance in Scully's face when she forces herself to say this).

Mulder: I thought you weren't answering your cell phone.
Scully: Then why'd you call?

(Obviously, because he's desperate for your attention, Scully, and because he's bored out of his mind with you out having an adventure without him).

Mulder: It's amazing what I can accomplish without incessant meddling or questioning into everything I do.

Mulder: There' to be an explanation.
Scully: Oh, I don't know, I think some things are better left unexplained.

(This is a pretty funny scene, but you have to see it to get the full effect).

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