Monday, April 5, 2010

The X-Files: Young at Heart (1.16)

Another unmemorable episode, but still a tightly-scripted thriller with some reasonably tense moments as Mulder attempts to unravel what on the surface looks like an unexplainable mystery involving a figure from his past. The only downside to the story is the revelation of government involvement. I get the impression that the writers at this point felt like every episode should have some tenuous link to government cover-ups, which is disappointing. A brief Deep Throat appearance and some conspiracy hoodoo do not automatically heighten suspense.

I liked the grand, operatic feel to Young at Heart, with the atmospheric Omen score repeated throughout the episode. It was a little unusual, but oddly fitting for an hour all about a notable evil in Mulder's life and bad memories from his past. That particular element of the story was handled pretty well, and I liked Mulder's "redemption" of sorts at the end. Sure, it's all a little obvious, but likable all the same.

Of the guest cast, Alan Boyce turned in his best Hannibal Lecter impression as the young Barnett, and was suitably creepy in the role. Elsewhere, I liked the handwriting expert who had some flirtatious banter with Mulder. A little out of left field, but fun.

Some of the plot twists may be predictable (comedic, even), but Young at Heart has a charm to it which makes it a lot of fun. Melodramatic, yet reasonably entertaining. Rating C+

Guest stars Dick Anthony Williams (Agent Reggie Purdue); Alan Boyce (Young John Barnett); Christine Estabrook (Agent Henderson); Graham Jarvis (Doctor); Jerry Hardin (Deep Throat)
Writers Scott Kaufer, Chris Carter Director Michael Lange

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