*SOME SPOILERS AHEAD*
There have been numerous episodes that explore this territory, both on The X-Files and many other shows. What made this episode wonderful was watching Mulder and Scully interact with each other on a level we’ve rarely seen, all the while trying to avoid machines hunting them down, thanks to a poor dining experience and lack of tip to a restaurant run by machines.
It is the silliest of settings, yet something you could actually see being a reality. A sushi restaurant with no human beings in authority only computerized waiters and chefs. It is this stale atmosphere that Mulder and Scully choose to dine, in what has all the trappings of a date night. While they are slaves to their own technology, checking their phones over and over again, they somehow make it a bit human, managing to interact with one other amid the familiar buzz of the machine world.
After Mulder’s order is wrong and his credit card gets stuck in the machine, it’s his lack of tip that sets things in motion and starts a chain of events that sees machines of all kinds hunting the agents down, all the while Mulder is periodically prompted on his phone that his time to tip the machine is running out. Mulder and Scully go to their separate homes, which couldn’t be more different, and have the same eerie and eventually life-threatening experiences, just in some very strange and different ways.
Director Glen Morgan, writers Kristen Cloke and Shannon Hamblin put together a smart and fast-paced episode that has Mulder and Scully in almost every shot but rarely saying a word. This is no small feat to pull off and they did it, getting the two stars of the show to agree to do what turns out to be basically a silent hour of television. There was also some laugh out loud parts, to what was found under Scully’s bed, to how much nicer her house is than Mulder’s, to Mulder’s baseball bat encounter, a nice nod to Duchovny who is a big baseball fan.
The obvious theme of being slaves to technology is all over this episode, especially with the wonderful opening sequence. It was really nice to see the creative forces take a risk like this, so little dialogue, technology-themed episode, especially with the season and possibly the series slowly coming to an end. There were times where the forty-plus minutes seemed to drag a bit, where certain sequences seemed overdone or almost clones of the scene before. Those are minor quibbles though, in what was a very well done piece of television.
If this is indeed the final season for the show, the last shot of this episode, with Mulder and Scully putting technology down to simply hold hands, is one of the wonderful little moments that I will miss. These two have been through a lot so it seems only fitting that at some point they would get some precious time to themselves. Who knows? Maybe this is a hint to how things will end and the two will leave the FBI and everything that goes with it behind and never look back. I guess in a few weeks, we will find out.
Four out of five stars
- Duchovny and Anderson are great in an almost dialogue-free episode.
- Great humor mixed in with the tension
- Mulder and Scully's personal moment at the end was wonderful
- Certain parts dragged a bit and certain scenes felt very repetitive