The X-Files: The Gift

Case: Doggett retraces Mulder's steps to find strange happenings in a small community.

Destination: Squamash, Pennsylvania

'The Gift' is an X-Files invitation to Agent Doggett to go big or go home. A Scully-free episode, and one where Doggett's mettle is tested on every level, this episode pulls off some nice moves.

And there's Mulder lore! And Mulder appearances! And an asinine character assassination, again insinuating that Mulder had a very dodgy secret life going on off-camera, previously! But... there's Mulder! As an aside, Duchovny was like, you have me for 'this' many episodes, use me however you like, and they chose this as one of those golden opportunities? Well, okay. Moving on.

This episode is actually really well-written and executed, and, if you can excuse that Mulder does multiple things way outside his already wacky personality, well, then it's a standout for this season. The story, while not entirely original, is just that right cocktail of flavors. It's wondrous, thrilling and gruesome, with a good deal of compassion directed at both the community and the healer. Not to mention, at the episode's end, Doggett is transformed, and that's putting it mildly. Let's face it, until you've become an X-File, yourself, you're wasting everyone's time.

Without Scully there, this episode is compelled to incorporate Skinner in new and fun ways. I never tire of him, but he was a standout here. His deep abiding love for Mulder and Scully is actually expanding (in their absence!) and his defense of them is just insanely heroic and lovely. Also, seriously, who better to deliver "the dad talk" about the intersection of FBI bureaucracy and the X-Files to our new agent. I really can't say enough about Skinner's real talk. Bless. Doggett and Skinner have a great deal of chemistry, too. They're naturally on similar frequencies and it's pretty great to watch Skinner look at Doggett as if to say, I was a lot like you, once.

The X-File, itself, is pretty heartbreaking, especially if you buy into Mulder's story with the healer. It's got a dash of 'Post-Modern Prometheus' in it. It's even weirdly impossible not to feel for the police department who have taken complete leave of their senses at all cost to protect what they feel they've earned the right to possess within their community. I mean, no one in their right mind would feel justified in shooting a federal agent!

But the greatest thing in 'The Gift' is watching Doggett go from true-blue detective to someone who's completed, in eleven episodes, some kind of metaphysical rebirth, into this new role, which will demand things from him, every damn day, that he could never dare to imagine. I think he's primed to finally turn to the fantastic as plausible.

Other Thoughts

* Hey, guys, thanks for referencing 'Within' and exploring further the ridiculous idea that Mulder has a brain disease that he was hiding from everyone.

* The Lone Gunmen! And Doggett! Chit-chatting!

* Lots and lots of medicine wheels.

Quotes

Agent Doggett: "You wearing pants, Langly?"
Langly: "Uh, yeah."

Final Analysis: Congratulations on making a personal appearance in the X-Files for the first time, Agent Doggett.

2 comments:

Mallena said...

It's a good thing that you reviewed this one, Heather, I remember watching it the first time and enjoying it, mostly, until it got to the part about Mulder's dying brain. I was outraged! What revisionism piece of twaddle is that? I don't remember tying it back to that whole brain-bending thing with CSM and Fowler...Fowley? Anyways, I hated the whole implication that Mulder had some dumb. supposedly fatal disease, didn't tell Scully about it, and might have gotten abducted because??? Okay, I don't remember why this whole mess was introduced, I just don't like it! Can you tell?

drnanamom said...

"Let's face it, until you've become an X-File, yourself, you're wasting everyone's time." Brilliant line, I love it and this review.