Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The X-Files: Død Kalm (2.19)

Another episode treading familiar ground, once again attempting to replicate the eerie claustrophobia of Ice and Darkness Falls. But, like the majority of episodes in this increasingly "blah" season, Død Kalm falls apart in its execution, despite some interesting theories for the events of the hour, and some great interplay between Mulder and Scully.

Ordinarily I'm a fan of anything to do with time distortion, but little weight is given to the potential origins of the rapid aging seen during the episode. I did like the idea of the meteor and the resulting antibody surge, but judging from the episode's conclusion, I'm assuming Howard Gordon wasn't interested in exploring the little details, instead far more interested in cool make-up and gloomy atmospherics. As the series goes on, I'm feeling that Gordon isn't right for this show. Looking back at the episodes he has written, none are particularly memorable, while most are pretty awful (Firewalker, Miracle Man, etc.) While Chris Carter and the now departed Morgan and Wong have formed a real idea of what the show is capable of, Gordon hasn't really clicked yet.

For some positives, I did like the ship location for this episode, even if the show's second journey onto the high seas in season six was infinitely better. Elsewhere, the aging prosthetics are impressive considering when this episode was made, even if it looks like both David and Gillian are struggling not to laugh while acting like drowsy old people. And the title is kind of cool. As you can guess, I'm grasping at straws here.

The only major success of the episode is in the characterization between our two leads, especially their interaction as they wait for death. Both exhibit real compassion and care for one another, again proving the depth both characters have been granted since the show began. Shame the dialogue occurs in such a stinker of an episode, though.

Some fun ideas, but Død Kalm feels a lot like an episode formed on the summary of "Mulder and Scully rapidly aging and stuck on a boat", with little emphasis put into the "how"'s and "why"'s of the event itself. Rating C-

Guest stars John Savage (Harry Trondheim); David Cubitt (Captain Barclay); Vladimir Kulich (Olafsson)
Teleplay Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa Story Howard Gordon Director Rob Bowman

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