Friday, December 4, 2015

The X-Files - S7:E19 "Hollywood A.D."

[ S7:E18 "Brand X" <<< Season 7 >>> S7:E20 "Fight Club" ]

So this is that other episode that David Duchovny wrote and directed (the first one being The Unnatural). And I can sum it up with two words: sniper zombies. Cool is one thing - like sharks with laser beams. But this is just plain ridiculous. It is very much a light-hearted, comedic episode. It spends a few beats investigating a forgery caper involving religious documents (an alleged gospel of Mary Magdalene that paints Jesus in a more human light), involving an ancient artifact called the "Lazarus bowl", said to have recorded the incantation Jesus used to resurrect Lazarus like the grooves on a record. It's a neat idea, but feels more like the premise for an Indiana Jones movie than an episode of The X-Files. Which, I guess, is kind of appropriate, because the real meat of this episode is the idea that a scout from Hollywood (an old friend of Skinner's) is doing field research for a movie about the FBI, starring characters based on Mulder and Scully. The result is hilariously bad (see: sniper zombies), and I find it very interesting that the entire concept behind this episode is pretty much destroyed by the fact that there was an X-Files movie - it was called Fight The Future - and it was awesome.

Not so much this episode, although if you're into the less serious side of the series, you may disagree. If you think about it, this episode could have been a lot like Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space', in which an author does research for a book on alien abductions. But rather than intelligent deconstruction, this episode seems more invested in telling goofy jokes - some of which are funny, to be fair, but not as consistently as in a Darin Morgan script (and when the skeleton bones started to get up and dance, I was this close to quitting the episode - yes, it's true, I'm no fun). Taking an overview of the series, I really get the impression that The X-Files hit all its strongest beats in the second, third, and fourth seasons, and had been trying to recapture lightning in a bottle ever since then. There's also been way too much of an emphasis on humor since then, which I feel has twisted the overall tone of the show, and not for the better, in my opinion. Vince Gilligan is a talented writer, and he did a couple effectively funny episodes, but even he was no Darin Morgan. Neither is David Duchovny, who has Fox Mulder reciting lines from Plan 9 From Outer Space here.

Still, as easy as it would be for me to just write off this episode, I guess it's fun enough to prevent me from giving it a complete pass (it's even a little meta, with Téa Leoni - DD's real life wife at the time - playing the movie version of Scully) - but just barely - goofy though it is. In fact, it has much of the feel of the ending to The Post-Modern Prometheus. And speaking of endings - not that this really spoils anything - this is the episode where the zombies get up and dance at the end. I was starting to think that I had hallucinated that scene, having come this far in the series and not yet having seen it again - or that I had somehow misremembered the ending to The Post-Modern Prometheus. But sure enough, here it is. I guess that just proves I was still watching The X-Files at this point. I don't know if I had started watching it only intermittently, every so often, instead of religiously every week like in the past, or if much of this season was just not that memorable to me (although I have a hard time believing I wouldn't have had some recollection of Sein und Zeit/Closure, for example, if I had seen it the first time around). Who knows. It'll be interesting to see if I remember anything from the season finale coming up in a couple more episodes.

Memorable quotes:

Scully: Mulder, we should have a warrant.
Wayne Federman: Hey, it's only the Constitution. No big deal.

Mulder: Alright, one more pun and I pull out my gun.

(It had to rhyme, didn't it?)

Wayne Federman: You want my advice? You're both crazy.
Mulder: Well, why do you say that?
Wayne Federman: Well, you're crazy for believing what you believe...and [looks at Scully] you're crazy for not believing what he believes.

Cardinal O'Fallon (reading): "And then Jesus took his beloved Mary Magdalene in an embrace - an embrace not of God and woman, but of man and woman. And Jesus said to Mary, 'love the body, for it is all of the soul that our senses can perceive.'"

Micah Hoffman: I am become Jesus Christ.
Mulder: I am become skeptical.

Micah Hoffman: He is a decent man, but with an overweening pride and sense of responsibility born of a fundamental lack of respect for the human animal. He believes in God, but not in man - in man's ability to choose, to live in freedom. He has Christ in his brain, but not in his heart.

Scully: Mulder, do you think it's at all possible that Hoffman is really Jesus Christ?
Mulder: Are you making fun of me?
Scully: No.
Mulder: Well, no, I don't. But...crazy people can be very persuasive.
Scully: Well, yes, I know that.

Scully: Maybe true faith is a form of insanity.

Screen-Mulder: I love you, Scully - no ifs, ands, or...
Screen-Scully: Bees.

No comments:

Post a Comment