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The X-Files: First Person Shooter

Case: Gamers are dying inside a video game.

Destination: San Bernadino, CA.

'First Person Shooter' might be the worst episode of this entire series. All 202 episodes of it. Does that mean, then, that it doesn't deserve a proper recap? Oh, on the contrary, it deserves everything I'm going to thoughtfully lay out here in this review.

We're all friends here, right? Do we agree that this episode is best (if at all) reviewed with a smashing pictorial spread? Good. Let's get started.

Scully is channeling 'Bad Blood' in 'First Person Shooter.'

"Why are we going to Dallas?" I mean, San Bernardino.

When Scully looks annoyed during the autopsy she's performing.

The combined budget spent on the set and costumes was low.

I've been to Google and it does NOT look like this.

In many ways I blame these three for this episode.

Mulder, on the other hand, is borrowing personas from an amalgam of previous episodes.

"When I panic, I make this face."

Honestly, Mulder is never not smug on some level.

This scene actually made me laugh out loud.

The bottom line is that both are super horrified and bored by the writing in this episode, therefore they have no choice but to self-amuse.

That said, there were two arbitrary moments that were nice/funny...

The Jonathan Demme homage.

I don't even know what this is but it's hilarious.

And finally, the piece de resistance(s)... It's like the whole episode is building up to this.

At the time this was revolutionary.

...as was this.

The future is female.

In a way, and only myself two decades after the original broadcast can see this, 'First Person Shooter' is kind of saying that women need to take over. They're capable and provide a whole other level that just can't be accessed without them. So, for that, thank you, William Gibson and Tom Maddox. Now go write some more speculative fiction!

Other Thoughts

The cold open is about 400 minutes too long.

Connie Zimmer, though. (wolf whistle, smiley face with hearts as eyes, heart beating out of my chest...)

This episode (made in the year 2000, by the way) is both eerily futuristic and incredibly dated -- that probably takes some kind of skill.

He's getting his ya-yas out.

Final Analysis: It's a novelty, sure.


  1. "...both eerily futuristic and incredibly dated..."

    There's an app--I mean, there's a trope for that.

  2. The only good thing about this one is C. Zimmer and Scully's female bonding. The rest is laughable. The ghost in the machine was able to conjure up real bullets and swords to kill people with? "Kill Switch" is a much better episode than this.

  3. A pictorial spread reviewing "First Person Shooter" with zero pictures of Krista Allen/Maitreya/Jade Blue Afterglow.... Disappointing, to say the least.

  4. Mallena: Yes, agreed.

    WADEZILLA13: I hear you. I toyed with what image of her to include then thought that she was a projection of Zimmer's character's psyche, so I found a juicy close-up of her instead. :)

  5. Actually, I think the self-consciously futuristic often dates really quickly. As seminal a show as the original Star Trek was, even by the eighties it often felt hopelessly stuck in the 1960's. It's usually pretty easy to recognize the decade a "futuristic" building was built in; if anything, easier than more run of the mill ones.

    I'm not sure if it was the very worst episode, though. Even at its best, the X-files had its turkeys, and season 7 was pretty weak overall. I had given up the show by this point and only saw it on a netflix rewatch a couple of years ago.

  6. magritte: Thanks for the comment. I should have been more clear in the body of the review -- to me, what makes FPS bad are that the qualities that make the show great stand in contrast as not well-executed. The direction is among the most boring and tedious I've ever seen Carter turn out. So bad that even making the review a pictorial one was hard. So many uninteresting over the shoulder mid-shots to the degree it was hard to watch. The writing is terrible and the set is so cheap. The shot I included of the company lobby shows how little anyone cared to make this ep interesting. This being the worst episode is of course my opinion! I'll say that going forward, it's a toss up between this and the yet-unreviewed 'Fight Club', in my opinion. We are entering a period where, for me, I have to work harder to find the good as a reviewer. I know I'm not alone in that feeling, so we shall see how this goes for the Xf Doux writers!

  7. I think the reason why William Gibson's episodes don't work with X-Files, is X-Files is set in the present day, while cyber-punk is set in the far future where technology is so advanced it has become like magic.

    Even if this episode had good production it wouldn't work, because what they were attempting was silly considering the capabilities of present day computers.

    I really like the opening sequence of Kill Switch where the hacker is working in the bar and the choral music is hypnotic. The only part that ruined is was the ridiculous costume and make up of the hacker girl and her over the top domineering attitude was just embarrassing. However First Person Shooter made me wince all the way through, it was embarrassing. It was like the person who wrote it knew nothing of technology. Considering that was William Gibson I find it hard to believe he wrote it. Perhaps he had a mental breakdown and they got someone else to fill in for him anonymously?

  8. The worst episode of the series is "The Field Where I Died". I'd rather watch "FPS", "Teso Dos Bichos" and "Space" a thousand times over before watching TFWID ever again.


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