Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The X-Files: Fearful Symmetry (2.18)

This wasn't as bad as I remembered it. While there's another potentially cop-out ending involving aliens along the lines of Gender Bender and Red Museum, there's at least an interesting rationale behind the UFO involvement, and some intriguing real-life ideas are raised throughout.

I say "cop-out" because there are certain X-Files teasers or first acts so fantastical in their imagination that it feels almost disappointing when the source of the action is alien in origin. There's also the problem of predictability. We get so little answers that when a case is left half-open, major plot points left intentionally unexplained, the show tows the line between "ingenious evasiveness" and "lazy writing". However, there are some great ideas at play, like the aliens being responsible for conservation of our animals. Because of this, ideas are raised of possible alien colonies, some intent on merely abducting unsuspecting people like Samantha Mulder or Duane Barry to conduct experiments on, and the less malevolent and all-together "nicer" ones that just want to save endangered species.

The human protagonists of the episode are less enthralling than the story they find themselves in. The vague allegiances/double crosses of Willa Ambrose, Ed Meecham and activist Kyle Lang spin out of control, while the brief appearance of two thirds of The Lone Gunmen screams of a last-ditch attempt to prop up a week script.

Some great ideas, and two stunning moments of visual imagery (the teaser, and the elephant autopsy), but a little weightless when you really look at it. But it's not as godawful as many would lead you to believe. "Blah", however? Totally. Rating C+

Guest stars Jayne Atkinson (Willa Ambrose); Lance Guest (Kyle Lang); Jack Rader (Ed Meecham)
Writer Steven De Jarnatt Director James Whitmore Jr.

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