The X-Files: S.R. 819

Case: Skinner gets poisoned and told he has 24 hours to live.

Destination: Washington, D.C.

It's D.O.A. filtered through the eyes of The X-Files writers (in this case, John Shiban) with a twist of Krycek and loads of Dr. Scully in 'S.R. 819'.

This episode, when not occasionally wandering into absurdity, is quite good. More accurately, it's enjoyable and exciting, and it showcases Walter Skinner, a mostly-loved, sometimes-overlooked character who has clearly graduated to elite status now that he's the cornerstone of his own international conspiracy.

Speaking of conspiracy, 'S.R. 819' is one of those quasi-mythology entrées into the canon where the themes of corruption, greed and secret agenda reign supreme. And where those concepts, distilled, equal the show's human experiences of loneliness, worthiness and confidence in one's connection to others. Lucky for us, even when not written directly into the dialogue, Mitch Pileggi's Skinner nails it. (Even under the makeup, which was considerable!) He acts the shite out of someone working though the 5 stages of grief in 24 hours.

Mulder and Scully take a back seat here. Skinner, smartly, for the first two acts keeps firm hold of his agency (Kudos, Shiban), and the show isn't any worse for the wear. And though Mulder and Scully aren't the focus, Scully gets to shine in her sensibly loving doctorly way while Mulder gets to irresponsibly project anger onto people like the ranting lunatic he is sometimes given to being. Honestly, it's a win/win/win any way you look at it! I was a little confused as to why Senator Matheson was really needed other than to remind us that he's tangentially connected to the mythology, therefore we should treat this episode as such.

Like all good mythology episodes, in the end, this quirky little concept magic trick that The X-Files mastered like no other worked like a charm on one A.D. Walter Skinner. The nefarious went back into the shadows thinking they have contained a threat when in actuality, they've given someone reason to fight the future with more strength and direction than ever.

Let's close with some pictures!

Is there a more 90s shot to date on this show?

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

The enigmatic Dr. Scully.

Other Thoughts

*Of course boxing.

*I mean, what other sport could Skinner have engaged in that allowed for not one but TWO Mike Tyson jokes?

*Dr. Plant is one of those rare medical field or law enforcement individuals who helps the situation of everyone involved. Loved him.

*Mulder has the good sense to call Scully when he sees that Skinner is unwell. Bless.

*Loved the time stamps with the hours and minutes noted, too.

*Krycek, Krycek -- who are you? What have you sacrificed?

*Were Mulder and Scully legitimately fooled as to who was in Skinner's stack of surveillance pictures in the last scene?



Skinner: "Every minute of every day we choose who we are, who we forgive, who we defend and protect, to choose a side or to walk the line, to play the middle, to straddle the fence between what is and what should be. This was the course I chose -- trying to find the delicate balance of interests that can never exist. Choosing by not choosing. Defending a center which cannot hold. So death chose for me."

Krycek's computerized voice: "It's in you."

Mulder: "Go around back." (Mulder's Dirty Harry moment when he and Skinner break down doors to find out what's going on inside Kenneth Orgell's house!)

Scully: "You've been our ally more times than I can say."

Final Analysis: If you like film noir movies remade in the 80s and The X-Files, you'll love this one! No, seriously, it's a fun one.

1 comment:

ChrisB said...

This tends to be one of the episodes I skip during a re-watch. Watching it again this evening, I forgot what I didn't like the first time through. It is exciting and full of tension and the twist at the end is a great deal of fun.

I especially like the scene in the hospital with Scully and Skinner. His telling her what he perceives his failures to be moves me. And, the end is a wonderful way to bring everything full circle.

Great review. I agree it's a fun one.