Thursday, July 22, 2010

The X-Files: The Walk (3.7)

There are some interesting attempts at exploring real-life disturbances through this episode, first with the government's treatment of war veterans (lock them up and keep them quiet), and then with our own passive view of war itself: "turn right over to the TV page", as that song goes. But as this is another mildly generic X-Files tale, we also have a villain desperate for revenge. Unlike so many other underwhelming episodes, however, The Walk features some stand-out moments of shock and awe.

Not since the season premiere has the show's major budget hike been so evident. The make-up effects for the burned war vet are great; while both visual effects scenes made for the most memorable parts of the episode: the swimming pool attack (loved the shadows on the ceiling), and Callahan's son drowned in sand. If anything, it's a little disappointing that the rest of the episode is so beneath the quality of those two moments.

The ideas raised are intriguing, but the execution is frankly a little dull. It doesn't help that some of the guest star work is more than a little melodramatic, while there aren't exactly any real surprises over the identity of the villain. I noticed that Scully was a lot more pro-active and aggressive this episode, so much so that she almost drowned Mulder out in certain scenes. It was fun to watch, but odd that a case where she really took charge ended with a Mulder V.O. sequence full of his usual pretentions.

Not particularly memorable as an episode, and with a pace that drags, The Walk does at least feature those aforementioned special effects moments. I'm guessing this was a case of shiny visuals used to distract from an "eh" script. Rating C+

Guest stars Thomas Kopache (General Thomas Callahan); Willie Garson (Quinton Freely); Don Thompson (Victor Stans); Nancy Sorel (Janet Draper); Ian Tracey (Leonard "Rappo" Trimble)
Writer John Shiban Director Rob Bowman

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