Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The X-Files - S9:E3 "Daemonicus"

[ S9:E2 "Nothing Important Happened Today II" <<< Season 9 >>> S9:E4 "4-D" ]

After that lukewarm two-part season-opener, this episode - Frank Spotnitz' second turn in the director's chair (but with a more consistently serious tone than Alone) - starts off strong, with a creepy intro in which an old couple is assaulted by home invaders during a game of Scrabble. It's pretty standard horror fare, but my expectations are pretty low at this point, and you can't go wrong with a formula that's tried and true. Anyway, it ends with a delightfully X-Filesian twist, in which the invaders appear to be demons (joining the ranks of such occult-themed episodes as Irresistible, Die Hand die Verletzt, The Calusari, Grotesque, Sanguinarium, Orison, Signs & Wonders, etc.). Leave it to an episode with a strong Millenniumistic flavor to get me reinvested in the series.

Although possibly representing her first brush with true evil, it's a case that seems tailor-made for Agent Reyes - which is good, because at this point, Reyes is in sore need of a more solid foundation for her character. In addition to a more successful introduction, it was these "bread-and-butter" cases that solidified Agent Doggett's place on the show, whereas Reyes was just tossed at us during the midst of a big, messy mytharc, and hasn't had a chance yet to pay her dues. As the believer in the new believer/skeptic dynamic, she's more of a feeling psychic in contrast with Mulder's cerebral intuition, for better or worse. I think it contributes to the growing impression that this show is becoming less like The X-Files and more like your standard supernatural crime drama.

However, this episode would seem to be more of a vehicle for Agent Doggett than Reyes. Like Via Negativa (also written by Frank Spotnitz), it puts a lot of psychological pressure on Doggett, but relies a little too much on Doggett's supposed affection for Scully. I can see him having a professional respect for her, but by god, is this going to be another case of unresolved sexual tension? If you ask me, it only worked between Mulder and Scully because it was almost entirely implied - when it became explicit, I began to lose interest. But do we really need more of that now? To the episode's credit, Scully is back at Quantico, teaching forensic pathology - and it's great to see her doing something other than doting over her baby for once.

Memorable quotes:

Doggett: Say anything you want about Satanic ritual, but don't tell me you think the devil did this. This case ain't even close to bein' an X-File.

(Sorry, Doggett - for all your protesting, this ain't no Irresistible).

Scully: Science tells us that evil comes not from monsters, but from men. It offers us the methodology to catch these men. And only after we have exhausted these methods, should we leave science behind to consider more extreme possibilities.

Doggett: I believe that the devil's a story, made up to scare people.

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