Sunday, April 18, 2010

The X-Files: Duane Barry (2.5)

I'm ordinarily not a fan of hostage-crisis episodes on TV shows. They're usually predictable, and almost always episodes designed to cut back on costs for a week. And while there is some predictability to the structure of this episode, there are enough end-of-the-act plot twists and some memorable performers to make it pretty great.

At the heart of the episode is belief in "extreme possibilities". I loved seeing Mulder's intended goal (to get the hostages out) become less and less of an issue, as he becomes completely wrapped up in Duane's declarations of alien abduction. Suddenly, twenty minutes in, Duane Barry becomes crazily dialogue-driven, Duane revealing the sometimes terrifying details of his abduction, and Mulder explaining the source of his belief. It's excellently performed by both David Duchovny and Steve Railsback, the latter creating that necessary conflict in the viewer over whether he's actually delusional, or actually telling the truth. On a semi-related note, I loved the sudden moment where one of the released hostages pauses and tells Duane that she believes him. That completely caught me off guard.

It felt almost shocking to see such raw footage of aliens and UFOs. I'm guessing it's simply due to the increased special effects budget this season, but actually seeing these terrifying creatures and all the bright lights have really taken the show out of our reality. It's now real science fiction, and once again it's reflective of how different the show is compared to last year. Rating B+

Guest stars Steve Railsback (Duane Barry); Nicholas Lea (Alex Krycek); CCH Pounder (Agent Lucy Kazdin)
Writer Chris Carter Director Chris Carter

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