I knew I was in for some fun when the episode began with The Ramones playing in the background, a somehow perfect setting for the shootout that was about to happen at Mulder’s house. It was the beginning of an episode full of action, one-liners and an investigation into a transmission sent by a now long-dead Langley. (Dean Haglund)
After last week’s dull and tired mythology premiere, X-Files veteran Glen Morgan took over, writing and directing an episode that was wonderfully balanced while still managing to touch on some elements of the first episode, making those plot lines much more enjoyable and reminding me how much fun The X-Files can be while still holding together numerous story lines at the same time.
The main plot itself was crazy, involving this bizarre “life after death” virtual reality in where the conscious mind can go once the body is dead. Cue the jokes with Langley, who makes a great case for why this should not be and with bodies dropping everywhere, Mulder and Scully are on the case. Helped in part by the ever shadowy Skinner, the agents find out that some private security firm has taken over The X-Files, just adding the wacky nature of this episode.
It was nice to see Barbara Hershey’s character Erika Price get some more screen time. She is an intriguing character and a nice addition to the conspiracy/end of the world mythology that will obviously be coming and going throughout this season. Hershey has the kind of smile that makes you think she is not only going to kill you but erase you from existence. I’m looking forward to her butting heads with the Cigarette Smoking Man, although he seems to always have that edge that others don’t.
Maybe the best part of the episode, and there were a few great parts, was the wonderful back and forth between Mulder and Scully. They had a mystery to figure out sure, but they weren’t bogged down with constant conspiracy talk and therefore free to talk about other things, like IKEA, muffins and so on. It all felt real and perfectly in step with the serious aspect of the episode. This is really the glue that keeps the show together and makes it interesting and it was on full display this week.
Morgan not only wrote a smart story but kept the episode moving at a great pace from start to finish. No big lags in the plot to have long winded, over done speeches, just moving from point A to point B and so on, keeping things connected and holding the viewers interest along the way. And hey, did I mention The Ramones?
In the end it was a solid episode, showing off all the strong points of the X-Files while at the same time, managing to thrown in some connection to the conspiracy/mythology story and not bore us to death while doing it.
Four stars out of five
- Great fun mixed with a solid story
- Wonderfully paced by writer/director Glen Morgan
- The Ramones
- Not sure if anyone but diehard fans will enjoy this