The X-Files: John Doe

Case: John Doggett has disappeared.

Destination: Sangradura, Mexico

Mexican police officer: “What is your name?”
Doggett: “I don’t know.”

Finally, a good Doggett-centric episode.

I think the writers found an interesting trope to explore the character of John Doggett. Doggett wakes up with someone stealing his shoe. He doesn't know who he is, where he is or how he got there. Thus you have Doggett at his most basic, operating on instinct alone. And we find out that Doggett is a hard-ass and a bit of an asshole. He is a detective at heart, as he works through any clues to try and figure out who he is/was. He also stays as clear-headed as possible, working the angles and trying to keep himself safe. He isn't alone. Apparently he is one of many "disappeared" people in the cartel controlled town.

The less successful pieces of this episode were when the writers tried to create some suspense. Had Doggett been beaten to death? Would he and Reyes get out of that town alive? Really, by now we all know that they are not going to kill off the main characters and if they do, they will just find some way to bring them back/make it not them (see "4-D"). Still these bits did add some excitement.

This was the first episode for me where I really started to like Reyes. She was fantastic with Molina, the tractor seller/drug dealer and skillfully managed the Mexican police officer. Annabeth Gish went through so many emotions in the shed with Doggett that it made my head spin. And this episode sealed my affection for Doggett as well. Robert Patrick managed a mix of fear, confusion and determination with ease. I didn't miss Mulder one bit and when Scully showed up, I wondered why.

I also enjoyed the guest actors/characters in this episode. I felt like Domingo might have been a decent guy if he didn't live in a cartel controlled town. He was smart and tough. Caballero, who had the power to take people's memories only killed if he was ordered to do so. His 'talent' would be very useful in the world of crime. Of course, the point was made that losing yourself was worse than death for some.

Other Thoughts

Doggett was a marine (is anyone surprised) and can fix buses (still, anyone surprised?).

It was heart-breaking to watch Doggett remember and then lose his son all over again.

I felt sorry for Nestor. He was a pretty incompetent villain.

Doggett took and kept Reyes' gun which I thought was a bit presumptuous of him so I was happy when she had to take it back because he was incapacitated by emotion.

Quotes

Lawyer: “Please don’t speak Spanish anymore.”

Reyes: “Pillar of the community... does anyone actually use that phrase except mob lawyers?”

Cartel guy: “Why would you want to remember? You can’t tell me you are happier now that you recall your life. I saw it all. So much pain. Why would you want to struggle so long and so hard to get that pain back?”
Doggett: “Because it’s mine.”

Doggett: “I’ll take the bad as long as I can remember the good.”

2 comments:

Patrick said...

Robert Patrick has always been able to convey a lot with just his eyes, my memories of this episode are of him putting that talent on full display. I haven't watched The X-Files in quite a while, but I remember liking Doggett. Reyes too, but not as much. I didn't watch the show when it aired however, so I didn't get invested in Scully & Mulder over a period of years like the OG fans did.

Heather said...

Doc, awesome review. I love this episode. Doggett's fugue state!! I've watched Breaking Bad five times through and this episode has so much of that BB DNA in it, that I love it all the more. It's interesting because there a lot of The Bridge DNA in it, too. (FX show with Diane Krueger) Especially because Gish plays a part in that series, as well. I thought Patrick nailed the shite out of Doggett here at every beat. I agree the false intrigue wasn't very effective, but later on Gilligan got good at playing with non-linear time.