Monday, June 7, 2010

The X-Files: Die Hand Die Verletzt (2.14)

Glen Morgan and James Wong certainly threw everything into the pot for their (at the time, at least) final X-Files script, from occult curses, killer snakes and eyeballs stuffed into desk drawers: this is a memorably gross episode. It's also one of my personal favorites. Nothing much is explained by the time the credits roll, but there's a palpable sense of terror running throughout the episode.

It's an old stand-by, but I loved the contrast between the quietly repressed suburban community (complete with pesky kids listening to "devil music"), and the horrifying acts of occult violence lurking beneath the surface. As evidenced by the teaser sequence, with the PTA discussing satanic rituals at the same time as talk of spring drama productions and sports, there's a lot of dark humor running through the episode, some of the horror so graphic and insane that it's almost comedic.

Great guest stars, too. Dan Butler, a million yards away from Frasier, had some great moments as the increasingly repentant occultist. Heather McComb was painful to watch (in a good way, of course) during her disturbing monologue, and Susan Blommaert was pretty awesome as the disturbed figure at the center of the satanic wackiness.

Mulder and Scully are certainly bystanders here, but it doesn't necessarily hurt the story. Sure, there's a sense of ridiculousness to scenes of the pair being dragged across the gym by satanic teachers, but the general feel to the episode is so energetic and creepy that problems can be ignored. Rating B+

Guest stars Dan Butler (Jim Ausbury); Susan Blommaert (Phyllis Paddock); Heather McComb (Shannon Ausbury)
Writers Glen Morgan, James Wong Director Kim Manners

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