Getting Back Together with the X: Reactions to the X-Files Miniseries – Episode 5, “Babylon”

thexfilesAlmost 14 years after it ended its original run, The X-Files is returning to the small screen with a six-episode miniseries this winter. To welcome it back, Jeff and I will be writing responses to each episode. Here’s the hook: Jeff is a pretty hardcore X-Files fan and I haven’t seen a single episode of the show. How we’ll respond is anyone’s guess, but as always: The Truth Is Out There.

This post covers the fifth episode of the miniseries, “Babylon.” It contains spoilers for this episode as well as the entire original run of The X-Files.

Patches
Oh man, Jeff. I don’t even know where to start with this one. “Babylon” starts serenely with some morning prayers, but takes a dark turn as as the camera reveals a refrigerator covered in Osama bin Laden pictures and a suicide bombing at an art gallery. The rest of the episode was mostly just weird. “Babylon” didn’t impress me during my first viewing, but its problems mostly faded over time. Now, the fun stuff is almost all I remember.

The key word there was “almost.” The episode’s handling of terrorism managed a certain level of even-handedness, but only because it was so shallow. It felt like Agents Einstein and Miller presented each side’s talking points solely so the episode could move on to other matters. I don’t blame the show for wanting to avoid discussing terrorism, but then they maybe could have not done a terrorist attack. I think we are well past the point of using using Radical/Fundamentalist/Takfiri Islamic terrorism as a plot point.

vlcsnap-2016-03-26-17h01m03s100Thankfully, “Babylon” corrected all it’s other errors by the end of the episode. The bomb that took out the art gallery was big and concussive enough to blow apart the building and knock bystanders off their feet, yet incendiary enough to set gallery-goers on fire and small enough to allow those flaming people to run outside. It’s my review and I’ll be a little bitch about this if I want to. However, the mother’s claims that her son didn’t have the “nerve” to detonate his vest brought my disbelief concerning his injuries down to a suspendable level.

“Babylon” even brought me around on all the cynical conspiracy garbage this season. Previous episodes Continue reading

Advertisements

Getting Back Together with the X: Reactions to the X-Files Miniseries – Episode 4, “Home Again”

thexfilesAlmost 14 years after it ended its original run, The X-Files is returning to the small screen with a six-episode miniseries this winter. To welcome it back, Jeff and I will be writing responses to each episode. Here’s the hook: Jeff is a pretty hardcore X-Files fan and I haven’t seen a single episode of the show. How we’ll respond is anyone’s guess, but as always: The Truth Is Out There.

This post covers the fourth episode of the miniseries, “Home Again.” It contains spoilers for this episode as well as the entire original run of The X-Files.

Jeff
Glen Morgan pulled a fast one! “Home Again” has absolutely nothing to do with Season 4 classic “Home,” with the exception of setting a gruesome murder to a poppy tune. It’s probably better off that way, because while this episode brings the feels and a bit of the creepiness, it doesn’t hold together as a whole.

The “Band-Aid Nose Man” or “Trashman” who rips up bureaucrats in order to defend the homeless is an appropriately creepy character. The way he dispatches his victims, by tearing them apart, is also gross and disturbing. His origins, what he means, and how he ties into the Scully family drama is a mystery. I guess Trashman comes from a trash truck, except when he comes from graffiti. He is the unintentional creation of an unintelligible artist who accidentally got angry about homelessness when he sketched (and/or sculpted) him and that brought him to life. Apparently other creations by this artist have come to life too, though that’s not explored in the episode. It’s all a little vague.

vlcsnap-2016-03-20-09h18m01s986The effectiveness of a vengeful golem crossing names off of his list wears a little thin when it’s unclear whether there is anything more behind it except “America has a problem with homelessness that most people choose to ignore,” or more appropriately, “put a band-aid over.” If that message was less overt, or perhaps non-existent, and we just followed an anthropomorphic piece of murderous artwork around, that might be more entertaining. Unfortunately, Continue reading

Getting Back Together with the X: Reactions to the X-Files Miniseries – Episode 3, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster”

thexfilesAlmost 14 years after it ended its original run, The X-Files is returning to the small screen with a six-episode miniseries this winter. To welcome it back, Jeff and I will be writing responses to each episode. Here’s the hook: Jeff is a pretty hardcore X-Files fan and I haven’t seen a single episode of the show. How we’ll respond is anyone’s guess, but as always: The Truth is Out There.

This post covers the third episode of the miniseries, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster.” It contains spoilers for this episode as well as the entire original run of The X-Files.

Patches
Jeff, you mentioned how much you were looking forward to Darin Morgan’s entry this season, although if I remember correctly, there was also some trepidation. Would he live up to his previous standards or would he tarnish his good name? I can’t answer those questions for you, but I can say that “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster” was the best episode of the miniseries so far.

One reason was Continue reading

Getting Back Together with the X: Reactions to the X-Files Miniseries – Episode 2, “Founder’s Mutation”

thexfilesAlmost 14 years after it ended its original run, The X-Files is returning to the small screen with a six-episode miniseries this winter. To welcome it back, Jeff (of Slazenger1) and I will be writing responses to each episode. Here’s the hook: Jeff is a pretty hardcore X-Files fan and I haven’t seen a single episode of the show. How we’ll respond is anyone’s guess, but as always: The Truth is Out There.

This post covers the second episode of the miniseries, “Founder’s Mutation.” It contains spoilers for this episode as well as the entire original run of The X-Files.

Patches
Oh god… I go first this week? This is more terrifying than shoving a letter opener into my own skull or having my brain telekenisised out of every facial orifice.

“Founder’s Mutation” begins with Mulder and Scully back on the case. The show doesn’t mention how much time has passed since the X-Files were reopened at the end of “My Struggle,” but it doesn’t seem like enough time for a government agency, specifically one Skinner called ponderous, to fire up and start accepting cases. I think that can be easily forgiven, however. With only six episodes the whole season, you don’t want epiosde two to be “My Bureaucratic Struggle ” where Mulder fights the violent, uber-fascist fascistocracy to requisition a rolly chair for the office. Jumping directly into the action was a good idea.

Also a good decision was the transition from what seemed to be a very serialized opener to a more episodic format. Given that this season’s finale is entitled “My Struggle II,” I’m guessing that one will try to close up shop. “Founder’s Mutation” hit the sweet spot that shows like Deep Space Nine were so good at, using standalones to contribute to the larger arcs. If I interpreted things correctly, those terrifying laboratories were Department of Defense facilities, likely housing and experimenting on children infused with alien DNA. That adds to the government conspiracy/nonspiracy mytharc, except through a story instead of through exposition. Good stuff.

vlcsnap-2016-02-04-21h02m25s208“Founder’s Mutation” got to be creepy (THOSE BIRDS, THOUGH), violent (you heard that scientist’s skull crack too, right?), and told an interesting story. It also attempted a tug or two at the ‘ole heartstrings. Continue reading

Getting Back Together with the X: Reactions to the X-Files Miniseries – Episode 1, “My Struggle”

thexfilesAlmost 14 years after it ended its original run, The X-Files is returning to the small screen with a six-episode miniseries this winter. To welcome it back, Jeff and I will be writing responses to each episode. Here’s the hook: Jeff is a pretty hardcore X-Files fan and I haven’t seen a single episode of the show. How we’ll respond is anyone’s guess, but as always: The Truth is Out There.

This post covers the first episode of the miniseries, “My Struggle.” It probably contains spoilers for this episode as well as the entire original run of The X-Files.

********************

Jeff
“My Struggle” is an apt title for the first episode of The X-Files miniseries, because I think it’s going to be a struggle for me to put this miniseries into the context of the original 9-season run of the show that I loved so much.

This feels a lot like a late-series mythology episode, complete with period flashbacks, info-dump, JFK-esque montages (including Mulder’s own Mr. X…not to be confused with The X-Files’ previous Mr. X), and a final act that frustrates our heroes’ quest by continuing the cover-up. We also have the familiar faces of Mulder and Scully, as well as Walter Skinner and an unlikely, or impossible, appearance by the Cigarette Smoking Man. We have the basement office, UFOs, Roswell, a parking garage, Scully in scrubs and even a Reticulan. The pieces are in place, but this episode is saddled with introducing an all new conspiracy, which is problematic to say the least. Continue reading

Getting Back Together with the X: Reactions to the X-Files Miniseries – Prologue

thexfiles

Almost 14 years after it ended its original run, The X-Files is returning to the small screen with a six-episode miniseries this winter. To welcome it back, Jeff (of Slazenger1) and I will be writing responses to each episode. Here’s the hook: Jeff is a pretty hardcore X-Files fan and I haven’t seen a single episode of the show. How we’ll respond is anyone’s guess, but as always: The Truth is Out There.

This post covers our personal relationship with the series thus far and our expectations for the miniseries.

********************

Jeff
I was in elementary school when The X-Files premiered, and was probably a bit too young to watch it, understand it, or really know anything about it at all. I remember seeing the original broadcast of Season 1 episode “The Jersey Devil” when I spent the night at a friend’s house and his dad was watching it. I don’t think I watched another episode until I came to the series on my own, late in Season 4. I’m pretty sure the episode was “Unrequited” because I specifically remember being intrigued by promos advertising an invisible assassin. I also remember the Fox “next time on” promos for the rest of the season counting down the number of episodes remaining until what turned out to be a pretty great season finale, “Gethsemane.” From that point, I was hooked. Continue reading

Site News (1/24/16 Update)

Greetings, all (or one). It’s been over eight months since I’ve posted here. In a sense, keeping my writing skills sharp was always one of the primary functions of this site. I’ve been working towards a masters degree for some time now, so both my time and my energies have been directed elsewhere. Meanwhile, my frequently collaborator Jeff has been insanely busy himself. Basically, I’ve had nothing to push me to continue writing and posting here.

That will change within the next few days. Jeff and I are taking on The X-Files miniseries. Hopefully, more will follow that. No promises, though.