Destination: Franklin, Pennsylvania
Mulder: “Fear. It’s the oldest tool of power.”
This was an interesting episode for a show that deals in paranoia. It looks at what would happen if ‘someone’ decided to manipulate the fears, phobias and paranoia of a population.
This is self-referential in so many ways. It wasn’t too long ago that Mulder was worried that his own paranoia was being manipulated. Paranoia about paranoia. The episode also talked about killing sprees while it referenced several actual killing sprees - the first being the initial incident while Ed was a postal worker and the ending when Ed went up into the bell tower at the college. While X-Files is an intelligent show, it all got a little too ‘meta’ for me.
There wasn’t much character development in this episode. Mulder is back investigating spooky things and Sully is worming her way into the case any way she can but the focus was really on the government conspiracy. Pesticides are generally not my favourite thing. They are intentionally poisonous so it isn’t much of a stretch to think that they might be harmful to humans. The added extra here was the messaging targeted at people who already experienced some type of phobia or paranoia. It takes a particularly nasty government to target their own people in such a heinous way. Of course, this is partly what The X-Files is about, we cannot trust our own governments to have our best interests at heart. While I always found this an interesting and nicely subversive message, I think I mostly watch/watched X-Files for the weird phenomenon and the relationship between Mulder and Scully, so this is not my favourite episode. Still it was an interesting concept and gave me enough chills to satisfy my spooky needs.
In particular, I thought the bit in the garage was well done, very atmospheric with the right music. I would have high-tailed it out of there and walked. It was a nice twist to have the woman be the one who ended up being the murderer. Then again, the actual scariest thing in the episode was what appeared to be archival footage about the spraying of DDT. I grew up in fruit country and saw many a cloud of pesticide hanging behind a farmer on a tractor with no safety gear evident. Many of them ended up with cancer.
Seven people killed 22. The most interesting point of that was that, per capita, it beat the combined homicide rate of Detroit, D.C. and Los Angeles.
You can always count on X-Files to be educational. I now know the different forms of mass murder.
I appreciated the visit to the offices of the Lone Gunman. I always enjoy it when those guys show up.
The actor who played Ed, William Sanderson, did a great job. He’s a wonderful character actor who I remember mostly from Deadwood.
Since I have a phobia of elevators, this episode gave me even more reason to avoid them!
By whom, people, by whom.
Sheriff: “Things like this aren’t supposed to happen here.”
Mulder: “42 year old real estate agent murders four strangers with his bare hands. That’s not supposed to happen anywhere.”
Mulder: “Pardon my rubber.”
Mulder: “Imagine being one of those flies on the wall of the oval office.”
Frohicke: “Been there, done that.”
Mulder: “She wouldn’t come, she’s afraid of her love for you.”
Mulder: “Frustrated Jehovah’s witness?”
Mulder’s phone: “All done. Bye bye.”