Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The X-Files: Excelsis Dei (2.11)

An unusual episode that starts off suitably violent, before spiralling into altogether different territory with a script that doesn't seem to know where it's going. From the atmospheric spookiness of the convalescent home itself to the contrived "room-filling-with-water" coda, it runs the gamut of intriguing to plain dumb.

It doesn't help that so much of the episode features dismissal of Nurse Charters' rape, which I found a little awkward. Mulder's general tone when discussing all the other "invisible rape attacks" left me uneasy, as did the fact that the script seemed to be blaming the victim in some way, painting the character as an angry woman consumed with greed, her storyline left half-finished and lacking in any resolution. The fact that she's still back on duty so soon after her rape needed some kind of emotional pay-off, but nothing ever happened.

The big reveal to the episode is also a little awkward. No real insight is given into these "magic mushrooms", and once again the complete dismissal of the orderly's lifestyle and his culture was more than a little embarrassing and half-finished.

One Breath featured a scene where Melissa Scully described to Mulder how we hide sick people away to avoid our own embarrassment, a feeling echoed here in a conversation with the mystical orderly. While an episode exploring that theme could have been interesting, Excelsis Dei never really goes anywhere, with a flat and lazy script. With three bad episodes in a row, I'm worried the show has hit a mid-season slump. Rating C-

Guest stars Teryl Rothery (Michelle Charters); Sab Shimono (Gung Bituen); Frances Bay (Dorothy); Eric Christmas (Stan Phillips); David Fresco (Hal Arden)
Writer Paul Brown Director Stephen Surjik

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