Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Case 03, File 12: War of the Coprophages

AKA: Kafkaesque on the Shore


Darin Morgan is one of those X-Files writers who is really really excellent in a way that's very hard to quantify if you're not an X-Files fan. I've heard him compared to Larry Charles for Seinfeld, but Charles is important because he wrote a huge number of episodes, Darin Morgan only wrote 5 (and one of them was in the new season). But he made an indelible mark on the show in those 5 episodes, to the point where the show was still imitating him seasons after he stopped writing for them, and even the least of his episodes is a stone cold classic.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Case 03, File 11: Revelations

AKA: God Needs To Talk About Kevin



When The X-Files decided it was going to make Scully religious, they probably realized they were eventually going to need to center episodes around it, which means they were gonna need to find a way to make it into a conflict. So by flipping the tables in the religious themed episodes, making Scully the believer and Mulder the skeptic, they have an episode that (in theory) puts a unique spin on its central relationship. Of course, if they bungled it, the episode would still be mediocre.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Case 03, File 10: 731

AKA: Murder on the Alien Express


You know, there's, probably an interesting thinkpiece about the uh...let's say problems with The X-Files appropriating real life atrocities (for example, the Unit 731 experiments or, you know, the fucking Holocaust) but good lord do I not want to be the one to write it. There's probably a lot to examine in it, but it's not going to be a fun examination, and it's going to run into a lot of issues with how culture as a whole treats tragedies. And for the most part, I come to The X-Files to have fun. So despite addressing it in my opening paragraph, that's not what this review is going to be about.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Case 03, File 09: Nisei

AKA: Aliens On A Train



By this point The X-Files has settled into it's comfort zone when it comes to mythology episodes: Two linked, plot heavy, episodes somewhere in the early part of the season, two linked, plot heavy, episodes somewhere late in the seasons, plus season premiers and finales. It's a good comfort zone to be in, as it means the series can get a lot of stuff done in a couple episodes and get back to what the series does best.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Case 03, File 08: Oubliette

AKA: It Means A Room That Only Has Access Via A Trapdoor, Okay?



Mulder's sister having been abducted is a huge part of his character, but it's one that doesn't seem to come up much. That's not a complaint, nothing is more irritating than a character who feels the need to spout off their character traits every few scenes, but it's just something that winds up totally downplayed. That's healthy for the show, since it means the moments where it comes out feel natural and real, and it often functions as background motivation for some of Mulder's obsessions.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Case 03, File 07: The Walk

AKA: I Guess They Briefly Say "The Walk" At One Point So That Title Is Okay?


I mentioned during The List that the "Revenge from beyond the grave" story is basically a template for The X-Files, and one that doesn't necessarily require the person seeking vengeance to be dead. The basic plot template can be grafted onto a lot of settings, characters and motivations. That's not a criticism, the show has 200+ episodes to fill and it's gotta lean on something. It all just boils down to how interesting the episode's characters and motivations are.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Case 03, File 06: 2Shy

AKA: Let The Right Fat Vampire In


The X-Files is usually, if we're being honest, a show with a lot of female empowerment motifs. Scully is never talked down to by Mulder (at least when it's actually Mulder, and he's in his right mind) and she's honestly a lot tougher than he is. Mulder may have 9 inches on Scully, but if the shit is about to go down, Scully is the one I want watching my back. I normally feel like this stuff goes without saying, but it only feels like it needs to be verbalized with the show kind of fails to live up to it.