Destination: Kansas City, Kansas
The plot of this episode is as follows:
When certain half-siblings are near each other, everyone around them goes crazy.
This is another one of those late episodes that feels like leftover ideas from far better earlier episodes - in this case, 'Eve' and 'Syzygy'. Those episodes told dark, sometimes chilling stories centering around technological fears ('Eve') or astrological spookiness with some more comic hi-jinks thrown in ('Syzygy'). This episode, unfortunately, tells a story based on nothing that makes no sense, and isn't even all that fun (I had a headache by the end of it, from all the shouting).
At one point in this episode, Scully points out that while they have worked out, in broad terms, what's going on, they still have no idea why or how to stop it, and one of the episode's big problems is that this is still true at the end of it. Why would fraternal half siblings look identical? Most full siblings are not identical with each other (and even identical twins have small differences). Why would being around each other cause violent anger, not only in themselves, but everyone around them? Scully's suggestion that they just have to avoid being in close proximity to each other may be effective, but it makes little sense. As for the question of whether or not children not raised by their biological father might inherit his violent temper, that's better left for more nuanced, sophisticated stories.
There are also several weird things thrown into this episode unconnected to the actual plot. The somewhat eerie, creepy Jehovah's Witnesses who turn out to be entirely human, just very in sync with each other, are quite a nice red herring. But the Mulder and Scully lookalikes who don't just look like them, but speak and behave like Mulder and Scully, are just weirdness for weirdness's sake and their presence makes no sense (and Carter's fondness for Mulder and Scully Mark II would reappear in the 2016 series, though in a slightly more logical context). They fit a narrative theme concerning twins and pairs, but take the show right out of all sense of reality. A fun idea, but they don't belong here.
- This episode guest stars Kathy Griffin, who I understand is relatively well known in the US, so it may be of interest to her fans (though I'm afraid I found her performance, along with several others in this episode, too broad and over the top).
- Oh, the early 00s: Do people still do stories about weird things revolving around children conceived via sperm donation, or have we got over the newness of that technology now?
- Mulder and Scully's voices coming out of other people's mouths is supremely creepy.
Mulder (on the other two agents): They are not romantically involved if that's what you're thinking.
Scully: Not even I would be that far-fetched.
Mulder (as Scully correctly guesses all his ideas): I hope you're not gonna think I'm gonna start doing autopsies.
Final analysis: Urgh. One out of four bizarrely identical half-siblings.
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