The X-Files: 3

Case: Several people have been murdered and drained of blood. Mulder has seen this before in Memphis and Portland.

Location: Los Angeles, California during the wildfires in Malibu Canyon

John: “Wouldn’t you like to live forever?”
Mulder: “Not if drawstring pants come back.”

The X-Files are back which is good, but this episode illustrates what happens to Mulder without his anchor to the world, i.e., Scully. Was he this much of a mess before she showed up? Mulder isn’t sleeping and has developed a weakness for dangerous red-lipped women. Perry Reeves was a cross-over actress from the Red Shoe Diaries so I think this was supposed to be a sexy episode, particularly with Mulder being seduced and shaved and all. And of course, the woman Mulder bedded couldn’t be truly evil. She was the victim who needed to be protected.

There are many reasons this episode didn’t work for me. Here are a few of them.

The first reason is the vampires. This was pre-Buffy so you have to give them some credit for even trying but these vampires were seriously below par. It was hard to tell if the vampires were actual vampires or hopped up humans although it certainly appears with John’s return that they are. Then it fell apart for me with the ending, that only a true believer who was one of them could kill them. And apparently she had to kill first before she became one of them. Throwing out all that mythology at the end just seemed messy.

The second reason was the whole rescuer/victim sexual attachment in the episode. The great thing about The X-Files was the strong female character of Scully, who could care and be cared for as an equal partner. Femme fatale Kristin who actually ended up being poor little Kristin to Mulder's big bad FBI agent was a bit much for me. And although they did mention abuse, they then went on to sexualize it. Kristin did redeem herself in the end but only through self-sacrifice. That is a very tired story for me.

Finally, it just didn’t hold up its end as a stand-alone episode. It seemed disjointed and not even well acted. Big brooding “father” vampire just annoyed me and the unholy spirit (also with very red lips) was a flash of violence. Not my favourite episode, putting it mildly but hey it is always nice to have a sexy Mulder.

Other Thoughts

Scully is the first new X-file.

A pin-up girl calendar with tools – really Mulder, I’m disappointed.

Mulder is wearing Scully’s cross. That was sweet.

It was interesting that they brought up AIDS. An important consideration for vampires or especially would be vampires.

A house would probably not blow up like that even with gasoline.

Quotes

Mulder: “They have the same feeble, literal grasp of the bible as all those big haired preachers do.”

John: “When a snake eats a fly it’s not murder.”
Mulder: “Frogs eat flies.”

Coroner: “You are really upsetting me, on several levels.”

Kristin: “Abuse is too frail a word.”

Mulder: “All I know is, normal is not what I feel.”

5 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

I really, really dislike this episode. When Chris mentioned it as her “bad episode” candidate for XF in our poll awhile back, my first thought was “Yeah, that one is definitely in the running.” Sure, it’s interesting to explore Mulder’s dysfunctional headspace following Scully’s abduction and disappearance, but this is just so tedious. And stupid. With lots of painful dialogue. And bad acting, as you note, Doc. I found myself wondering if the beginning was supposed to be intentionally campy, or if this was considered creepy back in the day.

However, I do get a huge kick out of the coroner telling Mulder that he's really upsetting him, on several levels. The flat, unemotional tone in contrast to the words makes me laugh every time. I’m so glad it made your quotes list, Doc!

ChrisB said...

To kill time while re-watching this episode, I Googled the worst episodes of The X-Files. I randomly picked ten lists; this episode made every one of them.

For good reason -- it is simply dire. The acting, the writing, the music are all beyond bad. It is, by far, my least favorite of all nine seasons.

Will there be other bad episodes? Absolutely, but each of them has something this one does not -- Scully. If TPTB needed proof that this show needed both of its leads, this was it.

Great job, Doc. I'm not sure I would have been able to write such a fair review!

Juliette said...

I think I must be the only X Files fan in the world who quite likes this episode! It's not great or anything, but as pre Buffy vampires went these were fun enough, and Mulder got laid for about the only time in 7 years, and he was missing Scully in a way that was obvious but sweet. I realise I'm completely alone in getting any enjoyment out of this episode though!

Namastenancy said...

Normally I would say that an episode where our almost-virgin Mulder gets laid can't be all bad.

But it was.

It could have been redeemed by more sex.

But they didn't go there.

Bad X-Files.

arie said...

Perry Reeves who played Kristen was David Duchovny's girlfriend at the time, which explains her casting.

I thought it was an ordinary episode too, and I'm certainly not surprised to see it on "the worst of" lists. X Files was Mulder and Scully, and if one of those elements are missing as they were here due to Gillian Anderson's pregnancy and as they are later

*spoiler-ish*

when Mulder disappears and Duchovny starts working a part time schedule before bowing out for Season Nine, it really is a different show.