Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The X Files Season One: "Deep Throat" - Unidentified Flying Objects


I'll put this in my field report!

I'm glad I'm watching this weekly instead of on marathon, because The X Files is such a bleak show at its core, where the message reiterated is that the house always wins and it crushes your face for good measure. It's a show about questions that have answers always an inch out of reach, and while it's still rough around the edges at the moment, only two episodes in I can feel the atmosphere growing on me already, even if there's yet to be an episode that bowls me over. I can feel it coming though, any moment now.

- So our plot this week involves a US military pilot with a name way too difficult to spell, having a psychotic break, and upon the military police's arrival to fuck him up, they find him cowering in the corner, covered in sores looking pretty crazy. Mulder thinks that the pilot is part of a secret program to blend UFO technology with regular military aircraft. Because of course he does.

- David Duchovny's performance in The X Files is bad, but it can be kind of awesome if you let. I loved the scene where the woman whose husband got nabbed by the military was like 'how will I support my family', Duchovny made a sound equivalent to 'ergh'. He stopped just short of saying that's why they're called your problems. He doesn't seem to be listening to anyone who's not Gillian Anderson, too awesome is he to look guest stars in the eye.

- Someone who I assume to be a recurring character was introduced this week, a fairly generic government type called Deep Throat. See what they did there. Yeah. Chris Carter nailed that one. He's fairly superfluous to the episode, showing up almost as an afterthought at the beginning and the end. Meh on that guy.

- I liked the concept at the centre of this episode, but I think they were kind of vague with it. Deliberately of course, but sci-fi is smarter with specificity and particularly because this was kind of a grounded idea, military accessorizing their planes with some alien hubcaps, but it was treated with the same kind of mysterious reverence as last week's aliens, and I;m not sure that was a good idea.

- The procedural aspects of the show haven't quite found their footing just yet, while I think the characterization is fine, the plots seem to peter out too early, Carter definitely telegraphs the resolution of the mystery half way through the episode if not before. He doesn't seem all that onvested in making that aspect of the show rewarding. Although it could just be the lottery of the stand-alone show, some weeks are strong, others less so. The plotting hasn't been the show's forte yet though.

- Seth Green! Or as he will be forever known Oz from Buffy, playing the most stereotypical stoner teenager ever. Like totally rad dude.

- The wife of the military pilot is perhaps the most plot device a human being can possibly be.

- The X-Files does well not to portray small-towners as hicks, most of them seem to be onto the governments tricks and seem to react to situations in a non-retarded manor. A rare feat for a procedural show.

- The sci-fi horror of the week was actually quite clever. Telling us that the aircraft were so advanced it was beyong human capacity to pilot them, so prolonged cockpit time left you with your brain fried. Or as Mulder says ' How much human cost is necessary to build a better machine?'

- There should be a drinking game, in which you drink every time Scully mentions her field report.

- Very dark ending. Mulder lays eyes on the freaky planes, then is abducted by the military and has his brain wiped, in a very bleak scene. Isn't he supposed to be our badass hero? So the way it pans out, the audience gets the information, but Scully and Mulder basically get beat down by the conspirators. That's like a cop show having the criminals win every week.

- Gillian Anderson is also growing on me, gets a chance to be a little less square in this one. Some supporting cast would be nice, but I guess this photogenic, charmingly wooden twosome will do for now.

- Again solid, but not quite great. Perhaps the like of a compelling villain as of yet is the problem. The dark turn in the latter half of the episode means I got more out of it, and it took further steps to setting up a master plot, or at least a master arc. The deep throat guy is a very generic, easy way to do that though. Still, getting better and shaking off the rustiness as it goes.

Rating: 6/10

1 comment:

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