Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The X-Files - S6:E5 "Dreamland II"

[ S6:E4 "Dreamland" <<< Season 6 >>> S6:E6 "How The Ghosts Stole Christmas" ]

Spoiler Warning: As this episode picks up where the last one left off, there may be some minor spoilers ahead.

If there's any doubt about the humorous intention of these episodes (and at this point, there really shouldn't be), this one opens with a monologue - not by Mulder explaining the metaphysical source of his anguish, as in many classic episodes - but by the false Mulder - Morris Fletcher in Mulder's body (although to us he still looks and sounds like Morris Fletcher) - describing what a loser Mulder is over top of a quirky score, and his mischievous intentions now that he's acquired possession of his life. Meanwhile, Mulder avoids the imminent peril we found him in during last week's cliffhanger thanks to the presumed aid of the real leak (not Morris Fletcher). And Scully, now convinced that a body-swap has indeed occurred, is looking for a way to switch Mulder back. But not before some more hijinks occur. Although, honestly, when Morris (as Mulder) invites Scully to a home-cooked dinner (and seduction), you can't help thinking, "haven't we seen this all before?"

As with part one, I have a hard time getting very excited about this episode, but I do have a few notes. For one thing, that house that's claimed to be Fletcher's sure as hell ain't in Rachel, Nevada, like it's described. I've been to Rachel, Nevada (it's the tumbleweed town that's closest to Area 51), and it ain't a fraction as green as the place depicted in this episode. It's not some oasis in the desert, it is the desert. Just a couple of ramshackle trailers set up on a dry, flat plain. I don't doubt that the people who really do work in Area 51 live down in Las Vegas or even fly in from some other much fancier location (maybe in California, or any of the other nearby states), or if they do live in Rachel, it's not in nice, green, suburban houses like this one. I did, however, appreciate the rendezvous at the Little A'Le'Inn, even if it wasn't really the Little A'Le'Inn, and even if the crowd was a little too bustling for the truly small town that Rachel is, and even if the Little A'Le'Inn would be a ridiculous choice of a place for an Area 51 officer to go to find anonymity.

When Mulder (as Morris) ultimately confronts the informant he intended to meet at the beginning of this adventure, there's a bit of a surprising twist in store, where the high-ranking Area 51 officer knows less about the truth regarding aliens than he assumes Mulder does, based on his work with the X-Files. It's kind of a disappointing - if clever - development, but it fits in with the whole idea of Area 51 being more image than substance. The episode wraps up in far too trite a manner, however, when things just naturally - conveniently - end up fixing themselves, just like that. After Mulder and Scully go on in this one scene about how the process relies too much on coincidence, and can't be reversed. Are we really supposed to believe that Michael McKean is going to be taking over David Duchovny's job on this show? No. The scene is utterly devoid of pathos, in spite of how seriously the actors play it. The emotion therefore comes off feeling forced, because the audience isn't where the characters are, and they can't really get into it. And I guess, for me, that about sums up this lackluster two-parter.

Memorable quotes:

Scully: You did the right thing, Mulder.
Morris (as Mulder): I did?
Scully: I've been telling you for years you should play more by the book, haven't I?

Morris (as Mulder): This guy hasn't been laid in ten years.

Scully: I didn't even know you had a bedroom.

Morris (as Mulder): You're The Lone Gunmen, aren't you? You guys are my heroes. I mean, look at this crap you print.
Byers: We uncover the truth.
Morris (as Mulder): The truth? Well, see - that's what's so great about you monkeys. Not only do you believe this horse pucky that we create, you broadcast it as well.

Mulder: What is the truth?
General Wegman: You mean, you don't know?
Mulder: Don't know what?
General Wegman: The truth. What is going on here at Area 51? What are these black budget projects? We just fly these birds. They don't tell us what makes 'em go - they engineer 'em all up in Utah.
Mulder: Well, if you don't know, why'd you call me?
General Wegman: I've seen your file. You've chased flying saucers for years. Do aliens really exist, Agent Mulder?

Scully: I'd kiss you if you weren't so damn ugly.

(What, so now they're actually romantic partners, and the only thing stopping them from expressing it on the show is (in)convenient circumstances? I know they were pretty close to a kiss in the movie, but I thought that was just a tease).

Mulder: If I shoot him, is that murder or suicide?

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