The X-Files: Daemonicus

Case: People are being murdered in unusual, possibly satanic ways

Destination: Weston, West Virginia; Washington, D.C.

Scully: “Science, however, tells us that evil comes not from monsters, but from men. It offers us the methodology to catch these men. And only after we have exhausted these methods should we leave science behind to consider more extreme possibilities.”

In this somewhat overwrought episode, the three have to try and solve a series of murders that appear to have a satanic element. The only informant and possibly the person responsible is a psychiatric patient, Professor Kobold, who was committed when he ground up six coeds who went to the university where he taught and used them as fertilizer in his garden. His accomplice is a doctor who sewed strychnine tablets into his patients. We certainly have some evil men here. While Doggett sticks firmly to his belief in the evil of these ordinary men, Reyes and Scully start to believe that something demonic is going on. The eerie voices, projectile vomiting and visions of Kobold as a demon seem to indicate that Scully and Reyes are right, Kobold is possessed by a demon or the devil but Doggett is also right when he calls out what Kobold is doing as an elaborate game.

At first I thought that the episode should have played it a little closer to the chest. Why make it obvious that Kobold is something more than a man? It would have been more interesting to keep us guessing. However, I think the more important theme is Doggett's continuing struggle with the nature of the X-Files. Doggett's explanation of Daemonicus at the end of the episode seems to cement that Kobold was playing with them all along. But it seems forced because Doggett doesn't or can't accept the possibility that he was playing chess with the devil. This sets him apart from Scully and Reyes who are willing to trust their feelings and extraordinary explanations. We are left wondering how, if and when Doggett might let himself believe.

There is some interesting character development in this episode. Kobold questions Doggett's feelings for both Reyes and Scully. Doggett obviously cares for both of them but I'm not sure it is romantic. While Mulder was always the lady's man, Doggett is more solitary. Kobold hits home when he says that Doggett can't compete with Mulder. This is an ongoing issue for the character of Doggett, and more generally for the series as everyone is trying too hard in an effort to make up for the loss of Mulder/Duchovny. For example, I couldn't decide if the visuals were artistic or over the top. I agree with Mallena, they should just relax and let the show be what it is now.

Other Thoughts

I liked the lovely older couple playing scrabble at the beginning of the episode, particularly the husband cheating. I didn't want them to be the first victims.

Scully is now teaching at the Academy. Her students are just like most university students. I expected more from future FBI agents.

I enjoyed some of Doggett's facial expressions in this episode, for example, when Reyes was asking Dr. Samson about possession.

In the writing that doesn't make sense other than to make things creepier department, why did Scully go to an area with a known murder by herself? Why did she park on the boardwalk (that does not seem safe)? At least this time she had her gun.

Quotes

Doggett: “Daemonicus.”
Reyes: “It means Satan in Latin or daemoniacus: demon possession.”
Doggett: “And it's worth fifty extra points.”

Scully: “Agent Reyes is just trying to get to the truth. What are you doing?”

2 comments:

Mallena said...

Chris Carter should have had more faith in Doggett and Reyes to carry the show. When Scully is supporting them and the episodes are not about Mulder or the baby..those are my favorite episodes of the season. I like this one mostly because of Monica - she shows such wonder about everything, even scary things. I'm having deja vu, I think I've said similar things before about Mulder and the baby plots dragging the show down. I even amazed myself in how much I enjoyed Doggett and Reyes working together on the X-Files after shipping M&S for so many years.

Heather said...

I love this review, Doc. I agree with Mallena -- Carter didn't trust that these two actors could hold their own and the show suffers because of it. :(