Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image)

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The X-Files - "Darkness Falls" (season 1, episode 20)


Welcome to my viewing diary for The X-Files. Every day, except Saturday, I will offer a short review of another episode until I finish the first season. Future entries will cover the remaining seasons, breaking to review the feature films where chronologically appropriate, and eventually reach the recent miniseries. I have seen very few X-Files episodes, though I was utterly fascinated with the concept as a child, so for the most part this will be a first-timers' perspective. There will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on April 15, 1994/written by Chris Carter, directed by Joe Napolitano): A huge crew of loggers vanishes in one of the few limited, isolated areas of Olympia State Park where they're allowed to cut down trees (as long as they're not old-growth). Mulder volunteers for the case and, as Scully quickly deduces, it's not because he believes that the suspected eco-terrorists are responsible for the disappearances. The agents trek into the woods with Park Ranger Larry Moore (Jason Beghe) and head of security for the logging company Steve Humphreys (Tom O'Rourke), eventually running into one of the anti-logging guerrillas, Doug Spinney (familiar character actor and eventual TV lead Titus Welliver). Sure enough, they come across bizarre phenomena like a cocooned cadaver attached to a tree and an illegally cut old-growth whose inner rings reveal a bizarre substance from several hundred years ago. Doug tells them that he saw one of his friends devoured alive by a strange swarm of insects, who avoid light but attack in darkness, and eventually they all realize that a volcanic explosion must have trapped these ancient parasites inside a tree...until they were released by the shady avarice of the logging company.

This realization comes too late to save the stubborn Humphreys, who hikes back to the crew's wounded vehicle and is killed. Doug notes the irony of both Humphreys' and the loggers' deaths at the hands of a force of nature released by their own disrespect for nature, but a similar irony will eventually consume Doug too. The radical environmentalist, true to his word, attempts to rescue the other three survivors in his Jeep (Mulder allows him to take the cabin's gasoline, condemning himself, Scully, and Moore to submit to a nervous night in the dimming cabin as the generator runs low). However, he drives across his own spiked traps ("talk about shooting yourself in the foot," Moore mutters) and is swarmed when he exits the car to discover the flat tire. Surprisingly, there is no real escape for Scully, Mulder, or Moore either. They only survive the episode, with Scully still comatose and Mulder looking extremely battered, because rescuers arrive before the cocoons have entirely consumed their bodily fluids. A scientist (David Hay) tending to them tells Mulder that the government will eradicate the pestilence from the woods, but Mulder has his doubts. As the official reminds him, failure isn't an option - should these swarms migrate, they could destroy the human race. If ever there was a time to truly want to believe, this is it.

My Response:

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Patreon update #25: Twin Peaks season 3 rewatch - Part 7 (+ The Rolling Stones early albums & more)


Part 7 of Twin Peaks' third season is driven by investigation and discovery: Deputy Hawk and Sheriff Truman examine Laura's secret diary, Ben and Beverly go looking for the source of the magical Great Northern hum, Mr. C mysteriously blackmails a prison warden to plan his escape, and we finally get to know Diane - and come to realize all we don't yet know about her. Part 7 was one of my favorite episodes at the time it aired, although of course it would quickly be dwarfed by the follow-up (a very different episode). Elsewhere in this entry, I linger over the early discography of the Rolling Stones, from the American version of their cover-heavy rhythm and blues debut (England's Newest Hit Makers) to the fully-realized masterpiece they recorded nearly a decade later (Exile on Main Street). In between, they dabbled in raucous rock and roll, airy pop, and experimental psychedelia, before returning to their roots with renewed vigor and songwriting maturity. As I describe the various eras they experienced, I play short clips from many songs; in the show notes on Patreon, I've listed each one by timestamp, in case you're curious. As for Opening the Archive, I'm diving into the original character series - we're now almost a year away from the present, having traversed my entire back catalog up until my Return viewing diary last summer.




Film in Focus update...

Friday, June 22, 2018

The X-Files - "Shapes" (season 1, episode 19)


Welcome to my viewing diary for The X-Files. Every day, except Saturday, I will offer a short review of another episode until I finish the first season. Future entries will cover the remaining seasons, breaking to review the feature films where chronologically appropriate, and eventually reach the recent miniseries. I have seen very few X-Files episodes, though I was utterly fascinated with the concept as a child, so for the most part this will be a first-timers' perspective. There will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on April 1, 1994/written by Marilyn Osborn, directed by David Nutter): In the moody, misty environment of Browning, Montana, Mulder and Scully investigate what appears to be a pretty routine murder. Lyle Parker (Ty Miller) and his son Jim (Donnelly Rhodes) have been in a deep dispute with a nearby Indian reservation; when Lyle shoots Joseph Goodensnake (actor unknown) it looks like an extension of their feud. But the Parkers claim that the...thing they saw attacking them was not a man at all, but a savage beast. Mulder is intrigued by the case because it echoes the very first X-file, opened by the head of the FBI himself in the late forties. Ish (Jimmy Herman), an older local, later confirms the details of that case, recalling how he witnessed an earlier werewolf (or as the tribe calls it, "a Manitou") who may have passed the curse down through his bloodline to Joseph and his grieving sister Gwen (Renae Morriseau). When Lyle is killed in a nighttime attack, however, the FBI agents eventually realize that it is his son, scratched by Joseph, who has inherited the affliction. Jim nearly kills Scully in his canine form before Sheriff Charles Tskany (Michael Horse, of Twin Peaks) shoots him down. Scully, assuming she was nearly attacked by a mountain lion, is gently corrected - that animal is still in its cage and the monster who burst through the bathroom door is far more human in origin.

My Response:

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The X-Files - "Miracle Man" (season 1, episode 18)


Welcome to my viewing diary for The X-Files. Every day, except Saturday, I will offer a short review of another episode until I finish the first season. Future entries will cover the remaining seasons, breaking to review the feature films where chronologically appropriate, and eventually reach the recent miniseries. I have seen very few X-Files episodes, though I was utterly fascinated with the concept as a child, so for the most part this will be a first-timers' perspective. There will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on March 18, 1994/written by Chris Carter & Howard Gordon, directed by Michael Lange): The pride of his Southern town, young faith healer Samuel Hartley (Scott Bairstow) has been performing miracles since he was a child, starting with burn victim Leonard Vance (Dennis Lipscomb), whom Samuel revives from death during an opening sequence set in 1983. Samuel's talents earn a fortune for his adopted father, Rev. Calvin Hartley (George Gerdes) but lately they've taken a dark turn. Accused of murder after a cancer patient mysteriously dies within hours of Samuel's touch, the boy is convinced that his pride has turned his gift toward devilish rather than godly ends; he even surrenders himself to the town sheriff (R.D. Call), a Hartley skeptic determined to shut down the thriving revivalist. For the second episode in a row, Mulder and Scully head to Tennessee, this time for a full immersion in the local community rather than a brief interview off a rural highway. I've been wondering when The X-Files, so keen on exploring the vast geography and sociology of the U.S., would turn toward the Deep South. This particularly subject matter provides the perfect opportunity to do so.

Scully warns Mulder at the outset that "this isn't an X-file" but several factors eventually convince them otherwise. After being killed under shady circumstances, Samuel gets up and walks out of the morgue (he's spotted by several witnesses before disappearing), a Christlike resurrection to match the outstretched-arm crucifixion we witnessed in his jail cell a few scenes earlier. Perhaps even more significant, however, is the effect Samuel has on Mulder. "Miracle Man" is generally considered a "monster-of-the-week" story (it's eventually revealed that Vance, not Samuel, is the monster; bitter about being brought back to life in his beleaguered condition, has been poisoning the victims with cyanide in order to discredit and destroy the Hartleys). That designation is fair enough, but the episode also dips into the ongoing mythology in a way that even the mythos-heavy "E.B.E." didn't touch: the faith healer is able to manifest and channel a little girl who continually haunts Mulder's peripheral vision. She appears to be his own, unaged sister, abducted from their childhood bedroom in a close encounter of the fourth kind. Is this another example of Samuel bringing back the dead, or is he contacting her across another plane altogether?

My Response:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The X-Files - "E.B.E." (season 1, episode 17)


Welcome to my viewing diary for The X-Files. Every day, except Saturday, I will offer a short review of another episode until I finish the first season. Future entries will cover the remaining seasons, breaking to review the feature films where chronologically appropriate, and eventually reach the recent miniseries. I have seen very few X-Files episodes, though I was utterly fascinated with the concept as a child, so for the most part this will be a first-timers' perspective. There will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on February 18, 1994/written by Glen Morgan & James Wong, directed by William Graham): With this dense, cross-country (occasionally even international) tale of sci-fi intrigue, The X-Files dives headfirst into its mythology again, arguably going deeper than it has before. Mulder and Scully are tracking a trucker (Peter LaCroix) who experienced a close encounter deep in Tennessee. Interrogating him in a jail cell where he's been held after firing his shotgun in the middle of the night on a dark country road, supposedly aiming at a flying saucer, the agents are frustrated to see his release ordered over their heads. With Deep Throat's help, they discover that the truck was traveling under false pretenses, with the driver using a fake name and the cargo much heavier than declared in its manifest. But if the duo is onto some secret faction of the government, that faction is also onto them - and Deep Throat is caught in the middle. Several episodes ago, we learned that this source wasn't simply feeding Mulder information but also using and manipulating him. Now it's Mulder's turn to find this out for himself, as he and Scully uncover wiretaps around their office and realize that some (but not all) of the evidence they're receiving is part of an elaborate set-up. When are they being told the truth? When are they being lied to? Why are the people responsible for this cover-up playing this game with them at all?

We get many questions in this episode, and some answers as well - although we don't know which answers are sincere, and what purpose the insincere ones serve. Or, as Mulder puts it, "I'm trying to decide which lies to believe." Riding to his help are "the Lone Gunmen" - John Fitzgerald Byers (Bruce Harwood), Richard Langly (Dean Haglund), and Melvin Frohike (Tom Braidwood) - brilliant conspiracy theorists who consider Mulder's ideas even more fringe than their own, and love him for it. U.F.O. enthusiasts, camped out near a top-secret site in Washington state, also assist Mulder and Scully in their quest to find the cargo (which they are pretty sure at this point is an "E.B.E." - "extraterrestrial biological entity," presumably captured when a spacecraft was shot down over Iraq in the opening sequence). This leads them to shake two snoops, fly separately to Las Vegas where they reunite, and follow the truck just in time to witness a spectacular light show. Did the aliens rescue one of their own from the back of the vehicle? Even this event appears to have been staged (the watches Mulder uses to track time disparities remain unaffected) and so the agents press on until finally they make it to the facility where the alien is being held...or was being held. Deep Throat reveals to Mulder that the creature has been killed. In the late forties, the leaders of all the great powers met in secret and mutually agreed to exterminate any extraterrestrial that crossed their paths (Deep Throat is still haunted by his own role in slaying one such seemingly innocent being).

Is this all bullshit or our deepest peek yet behind the U.S. government's red curtain? Is it a bit of both?

My Response:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The X-Files - "Young at Heart" (season 1, episode 16)


Welcome to my viewing diary for The X-Files. Every day, except Saturday, I will offer a short review of another episode until I finish the first season. Future entries will cover the remaining seasons, breaking to review the feature films where chronologically appropriate, and eventually reach the recent miniseries. I have seen very few X-Files episodes, though I was utterly fascinated with the concept as a child, so for the most part this will be a first-timers' perspective. There will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on February 11, 1994/written by Scott Kaufer & Chris Carter, directed by Michael Lange): Another old case comes back to haunt Mulder. In the eighties, John Barnett (David Peterson) was a middle-aged killer whom the FBI agent tracked down and sent to prison (but not before Mulder's "by the book" hesitation inadvertently led to the death of a fellow agent). In the nineties, Barnett (Alan Boyce) is a young psychopath, continuing to kill while taunting Mulder. How can this be? Barnett died in a prison in 1989, or rather "died," an event depicted in the episode's prologue when inmate Joe Crandall (Gordon Tipple) discovers Dr. Joe Ridley (Robin Mossley) operating on Barnett's hand. And yet an inexplicably youthful, pale-eyed, web-handed Barnett lives. Dr. Ridley, a disgraced physician who specialized in progeria (the ailment in which children rapidly age), eventually reveals himself to Scully and Mulder. He explains how his experiments with reversing this aging process have cost him his own life (he will die soon due to side effects from these experiments) and even his life's work, stolen by Barnett (his sole successful subject). What initially appears to be an unusual but largely run-of-the-mill crime spree turns into a matter of world-historical import as Deep Throat and Ridley reveal that the U.S. government has been supporting this project all along. Moreover, the national-security state is currently attempting to cut a deal with the serial-killing, FBI-murdering Barnett so that they can have access to this revolutionary procedure. Mulder, determined not to make the same mistake twice, sets a trap for Barnett and then executes the criminal once he takes a new hostage. Of course, secrets seldom die on The X-Files. When we witness a ticking locker at episode's end, we wonder what the fate of Ridley's research will be: an undiscovered treasure, a dangerous weapon soon to resurface, or a trap that will eventually self-destruct when opened? Only future episodes (perhaps) will tell.

My Response:

Monday, June 18, 2018

The X-Files - "Lazarus" (season 1, episode 15)


Welcome to my viewing diary for The X-Files. Every day, except Saturday, I will offer a short review of another episode until I finish the first season. Future entries will cover the remaining seasons, breaking to review the feature films where chronologically appropriate, and eventually reach the recent miniseries. I have seen very few X-Files episodes, though I was utterly fascinated with the concept as a child, so for the most part this will be a first-timers' perspective. There will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on February 4, 1994/written by Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon, directed by David Nutter): Scully takes a break from paranormal phenomena (she thinks) to help her one-time instructor/lover, Agent Jack Willis (Christopher Allport) catch a couple crooks he's been chasing for over a year. As Lula Phillips (Cec Verrell) waits in the getaway van, Warren Dupre (Jason Schombing) races into a bank. When confronted, he shoots Willis and is shot by Scully, who accompanies both men to the hospital. Warren is allowed to die while Scully forces the medics to defibrillate Willis repeatedly until he finally revives. What she doesn't notice is that, with each jolt, Warren's body shudders across the room. Somehow, Warren's consciousness has been transferred into Willis, who acts the part of FBI agent until a raid leads him and Scully back to Lula. At that point, the concealed criminal convinces his wife that he's the same guy (in a new form), and they take Scully hostage while bartering for a ransom from the FBI. Scully fights to deprogram Warren by reminding Willis - whom she correctly believes is still buried inside his own flesh - of their shared memories. Lula, meanwhile, has her own plans. She was the one who tipped the Feds off about the bank robbery, and she's been trying to rid herself of Warren for a while. Ultimately, he kills her before dying in a diabetic coma (not knowing Willis' condition, Warren drank several sodas until it was too late). Scully, studying a wristwatch that stopped at the time Willis was declared dead, is left to wonder how much of the man she knew was left inside this superficially similar vehicle.

My Response:

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The X-Files - "Gender Bender" (season 1, episode 14)


Welcome to my viewing diary for The X-Files. Every day, except Saturday, I will offer a short review of another episode until I finish the first season. Future entries will cover the remaining seasons, breaking to review the feature films where chronologically appropriate, and eventually reach the recent miniseries. I have seen very few X-Files episodes, though I was utterly fascinated with the concept as a child, so for the most part this will be a first-timers' perspective. There will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on January 21, 1994/written by Larry & Paul Barber, directed by Rob Bowman): At a D.C. nightclub, a young woman (Kate Twa) approaches a man who appears hypnotized by her touch. Later, after they make love, he chokes up slimy clay and dies of cardiac arrest. The woman, transforming into a man (Peter Stebbings), leaves the victim behind. And so the premise of our story for this episode is established at the outset: another urban crime drama, with Mulder and Scully stepping in to tease out the supernatural element hidden in the corners of a noisy city amidst modern (nineties-vintage) cultural mores. Right? Wrong, as "Gender Bender" continually delights in reminding us, through very emphatic cuts between neon-lit, sexualized metropolitan nightlife and the eerie quiet of a clapboard-clad community deep in the Massachusetts woods, its quieter night sky pierced only by old-fashioned lanterns. The latter location is where much of the episode actually takes place. The clay Mulder finds at the crime scene comes from this remote area - a small patch of New England dominated by the Kindred, an Amish-like religious sect that avoids twentieth-century technology and most contact with the outside world.

As the FBI agents visit this area, Scully is particularly entranced by one young man, Brother Andrew (the striking Brent Hinkley), who places his hand on hers and triggers a deep reaction. The victims, it turns out, were killed shortly after sex by an overdose of pheromones, an effect Andrew also seems capable of inducing. "We're all different," he whispers to Scully, before nearly taking her to bed (and presumably, an early grave). Mulder, meanwhile, witnesses a ceremony in which the Kindred descend into a clay cavern with an old man (actor unknown) who has recently died, and the "corpse" not only reawakens but begins to turn into a woman. Do all of the Kindred share this quality too? Mulder and Scully aren't able to find out too much, except that Marty (the killer) was a Kindred member drawn to the outside world after he and Andrew, both adolescents at the time, discovered magazines in the woods. They then witness the Kindred themselves catch up with Marty and whisk him away before they can make any arrests. When the agents lead a raid on the village, everyone is gone. "How?" Scully asks as they race through tall grass. "They don't have access to any transportation." "No earthly transportation," Mulder clarifies as they reach a large, flying-saucer like indentation in the field.

My Response:

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Patreon update #24: Twin Peaks season 3 rewatch - Part 6 / film in focus: Before Sunrise (+ Homeland & centrism, listing favorite films & more) and description of Laura character study, pt. I


Although I watched Before Sunrise back in April, I knew I had to save this episode for June 16 - today is the twenty-fourth anniversary of the morning that the characters parted ways (and made plans to meet again). My coverage of this, the second-to-last patron recommendation (and the last in a long run as next week I'll be choosing my own Film in Focus), addresses the passage of time, Linklater's ability to fuse a casual, relaxed air with inventive structural conceits, and the real woman who inspired Before Sunrise and died tragically a year before it was released. For much of this podcast, I discuss a Twin Peaks episode also marked by violent death - the brooding, concentrated Part 6. I also comment on some films/TV episodes I watched recently, including the peculiar political vision of the Homeland finale, and open the archives to a time when I completed my Favorites series (the line-up lists my 58 favorite films, at least according to my mood on New Year's Eve 2011, when I composed said list).

And in an unusual biweekly preview, I describe my approach to a very important entry in my upcoming character series. How to lay out Laura's narrative, with its many tangents and manifestations? I really enjoyed assembling her material into a fragmented timeline that works for me - what do you think?




Line-up for Episode 24

INTRO - concluding the patron recommendations

WEEKLY UPDATE/mostly Patreon: 2nd tier biweekly preview - Laura Palmer's character study structure (mention X-Files series & character runners-up)

TWIN PEAKS REFLECTIONS Return Rewatch Pt. 6
The feel & structure of the episode
Twin Peaks - Cooper investigation/Hit and run/Frank's family/Roadhouse/Drugs/Fat Trout/ standalone scenes
FBI in South Dakota - Yankton
Las Vegas - Dougie at home/Dougie's debt/Dougie at work/Assassination plot/Jade & the key
Spirit World - Red Room
Character introductions & re-introductions/screentime rankings/timeline of events
Coffee, pie & donuts
Lodge lore
Laura Palmer

FILM IN FOCUS: Before Sunrise

OTHER TOPICS: The Peanuts Movie, Homeland finale

LISTENER FEEDBACK: Twin Peaks Pts. 1 & 2, 3 & 4

OPENING THE ARCHIVE: "Finishing the Favorites" (May 2016 - January 2017), this week's highlight: Black/White video essay

OUTRO

Friday, June 15, 2018

The X-Files - "Beyond the Sea" (season 1, episode 13)


Welcome to my viewing diary for The X-Files. Every day, except Saturday, I will offer a short review of another episode until I finish the first season. Future entries will cover the remaining seasons, breaking to review the feature films where chronologically appropriate, and eventually reach the recent miniseries. I have seen very few X-Files episodes, though I was utterly fascinated with the concept as a child, so for the most part this will be a first-timers' perspective. There will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on January 7, 1994/written by Glen Morgan & James Wong, directed by David Nutter): Yesterday I wondered when we'd finally get to Scully's backstory; "Beyond the Sea" provides an answer in the first few seconds as her father Captain William Scully (Don Davis) jovially pokes his head into a Christmas tree composition, before bidding his daughter goodnight. There's an awkward moment as he departs, a sense that in this mostly contented family some tensions and doubts go unspoken. That night, Scully awakens from the couch where she's dozed off to see that her father is still in the room, sitting across from her and silently mouthing something. When the phone rings he's gone, and her mother is on the line with bad news: William has passed away. Throughout episode 13, images of William will flicker through Scully's consciousness: the vision of him in that chair, a glimpse of his voice or face, and most chillingly, his unusually devious head atop an orange-jumpsuited death row convict. The convict is Luther Lee Boggs (Brad Dourif), a psychopathic murderer whose psychic claims even the usually credulous Mulder discounts...but Scully does not.

Mulder is convinced that Boggs has orchestrated a recent kidnapping and that an accomplice is holding two hostages somewhere until Boggs - offering clues via manufactured visions (based on evidence he already knows) - gets his imminent death sentence commuted into life imprisonment. Alternately manipulative and haunted, a clever fox and a terrified rabbit, Boggs cuts quite a figure. When he begins channeling Scully's dad, she keys into his frequency and follows some of his enigmatic hints (a waterfall and angel appear before her not in nature but as a neon sign and urban statue near the killer's lair in Raleigh). The FBI learns that Lucas Jackson Henry (Lawrence King-Phillips) is the culprit and one victim is rescued before he escapes with the other, but Mulder remains wary even after William predicts the circumstances of Mulder's near-death experience. Scully, on the other hand, begins to travel down Boggs' rabbit hole in an effort not only to save the serial killer's next victims but to commune with her father from "beyond the sea." Boggs dangles this reward in front of her twice.

First he teases and then withholds a message while pressuring Scully to petition the governor for his life (she tries and fails, but Boggs appreciates the effort, and even offers a warning which will save her own life in a few hours). Later, after Scully has successfully saved the remaining hostage and chased down the killer, Boggs invites her to his execution, saying that he'll finally facilitate William's voice in his final moments. But as the witnesses are revealed, the gas is released, and the ghosts of Boggs' victims gather around him, Scully is not present. She's at Mulder's bedside, drawn to the living warmth between her and her partner rather than the dying agony of a man who can use his own demons to assuage hers. When Mulder asks her why she doesn't want to know if her father was proud of her, she says she does know. When Mulder asks how, Scully smiles and echoes her mother Margaret (Sheila Larkin) at the funeral, answering, "Because he was my father."

My Response:

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The X-Files - "Fire" (season 1, episode 12)


Welcome to my viewing diary for The X-Files. Every day, except Saturday, I will offer a short review of another episode until I finish the first season. Future entries will cover the remaining seasons, breaking to review the feature films where chronologically appropriate, and eventually reach the recent miniseries. I have seen very few X-Files episodes, though I was utterly fascinated with the concept as a child, so for the most part this will be a first-timers' perspective. There will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on December 17, 1993/written by Chris Carter; directed by Larry Shaw): "Fire" is both a literal and figurative title for this episode, as Mulder contemplates re-igniting a passionate romance with Phoebe Green (Amanda Pays) while they both track down a mysterious arsonist. Phoebe is an old flame from his Oxford days, now working for Scotland Yard and alongside the Marsdens (Dan Lett and Laurie Paton), an aristocratic family that has been threatened by the killer before. As is often the case with The X-Files, mystery is eschewed in the opening minutes. We meet our villain (Mark Sheppard) as he's impersonating a gardener, apparently using a combination of telekinesis and rocket fuel-doused clothing to light a man on fire in the driveway of his own country estate. Later, this young man insinuates himself into the Marsdens' milieu by posing as the caretaker of the Cape Cod estate where they'll be staying. This also doubles as a clever way for him to "paint" their entire home - in rocket fuel. When the Marsdens attend a soiree in Boston, their childrens' hotel room goes up in flames and "Bob" the caretaker (stepping in for a driver he himself has killed) is on hand to rescue them and make himself a hero. His goal seems to be impressing Mrs. Marsden, an echo of Mulder's own struggle to navigate Phoebe's overtures and manage his own desires...but, also, it turns out, an echo of Phoebe's own behavior (Mulder discovers she's been carrying on an affair with Mr. Marsden). Heartache gives way to a hotter sensation as Mulder and Scully finally figure out who "Bob" is (a Brit named Cecil L'Ively), and race to save the Marsden boys and capture Cecil after he torches himself and, miraculously, survives (and even begins to regenerate his skin). Kept in a high-security isolation chamber, the human flamethrower is last seen in "Fire"'s closing minutes, severely burnt but still able to grin as he asks for a cigarette.

My Response:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The X-Files - "Eve" (season 1, episode 11)


Welcome to my viewing diary for The X-Files. Every day, except Saturday, I will offer a short review of another episode until I finish the first season. Future entries will cover the remaining seasons, breaking to review the feature films where chronologically appropriate, and eventually reach the recent miniseries. I have seen very few X-Files episodes, though I was utterly fascinated with the concept as a child, so for the most part this will be a first-timers' perspective. There will be NO spoilers.

Story (aired on December 10, 1993/written by Kenneth Biller & Chris Brancato, directed by Fred Gerber): Teena Simmons' (Sabrina Krievens') father has been killed in Greenwich, Connecticut; two puncture wounds on his neck suggest exsanguination, or slow draining of blood. He's found sitting on a swingset. So is Mr. Reardon in Marin County, California whose time of death matches Mr. Simmons'. Mulder and Scully visit the west coast crime scene after Teena has been kidnapped and they're shocked to see a girl who looks identical to her open the Reardons' door. This is Cindy Reardon (Erika Krievins), the product of in vitro fertilization supervised by Dr. Sally Kendrick (Harriet Harris), a disgraced fertility clinic supervisor who apparently tampered with her patients' ova in eugenic experiments. Deep Throat fills in some gaps for Mulder, noting a Cold War program called "the Litchfield experiments" in which U.S. intelligence tried to manufacture supersoldiers with extra chromosomes that lead to abnormally high intelligence, strength...and psychosis. The boys are called Adam, the girls are called Eve (interestingly, we never meet any Adams in Episode 11 - is a follow-up in store?).

At an institution for the criminally insane, Mulder and Scully meet Eve-6 (also Harris, leading them to understand that Dr. Kendrick, or Eve-7, was one of these original clones). It turns out that Eve-8 is the one kidnapping the two girls created by Eve-7; squirreling them away at a motel in Port Reyes, she explains her purpose. She knows that they killed their fathers, which the girls readily admit (asked how they knew that one another existed, Teena and Cindy - or rather, Eve-9 and Eve-10 - explain, "We just knew"). Eve-8 hopes to cure them of their unstable homicidal tendencies, but they've outsmarted her, poisoning her drink and leading her to die just before the FBI agents burst in to "rescue" the two children. Playing their new guardians for fools as they share conspiratorial smirks, the two Eves request a rest stop where one of them poisons Mulder's and Scully's sodas. Only when Mulder accidentally spots the residue of the same extract that killed Eve-8 does he realize who the culprits have been all along. Following a chase through a truck stop, the girls are captured and sent to the same institution as Eve-8. As the episode closes, Dr. Kendrick/Eve-7 arrives to rescue her progeny/siblings; curious, she wonders how they knew she'd come get them. Smiling as ominously as ever, the latest Eves - having apparently orchestrated all of their actions through this episode to lead to this point - answer, once again, "We just knew."

My Response: