The X-Files: Underneath

Case: John has to re-solve an old case involving mistaken identity.

Destination: New York

Ever notice how multiple Doggett-centric episodes are like The X-Files: NYPD edition?

Yeah, every television writer that I have ever known has fantasized about writing a different genre than the one they get hired for. It's possible The X-Files writers were reared on Hill Street Blues and the like. (Glen Morgan and James Wong came up in the Stephen J. Cannell school of writing.) It's like you knew the minute they wrote Doggett as a former NYPD cop, things were only going in one direction with that. Ironically, the outside-the-box writer of them all, Vince Gilligan, proved the most capable of pulling off the X-Files mixed genre magic trick (ala 'X-COPS' and 'Sunny Days', to name two.) But I digress. Watching 'Underneath', it occurred to me: John Shiban probably wanted to write and direct a cop show – just this once!

By making Doggett a true blue city cop, the tropes the creatives have access to are endless. You guys, he can relive the good old days with the boys from the force forever. In fact, in 'Underneath', he does get to reconnect with his old partner, who, it turns out, was very naughty in the original case Doggett must revisit to solve. Within the genre, there are loads of characterizations to lean on, too, thanks to tv and film's enchantment with the NYPD. They use several here, but one thing that stood out was how Doggett wears that oft-portrayed weary sensibility. He's not cynical at all, you guys. Swoon.

But what more is there in this middling episode? Sadly, not much. The x-file is so tired, I could barely focus on it – doppelganger mythology and the like. There was a momentary breath of fresh air when a two-shot of Scully and Reyes shows up in the second act, where both women look like gorgeous auburn leaves on an exquisite fall day. At this point in the season, though, both women in every Doggett episode doesn't feel helpful. In fact, it's not doing anyone any favors. In the end, no one learns anything interesting, no one is redeemed and life goes on. Tis the midway mark of season nine.

Other Thoughts

* That is not Brooklyn, NY.
* Milli Vanilli
* The sewer scene was pretty cool / gruesome.

Final Analysis: Pretty blah.