Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The X-Files: Apocrypha (3.16)

While it improved on Piper Maru, a lot of Apocrypha towed the company line: minor revelations, convoluted attempts to tell a simple story, some decent scenes of intrigue. I'm still a little lost in the mythology of the show as a whole, but knowing where the series is headed, I'm not sure I'm actually missing out on anything. It must have been crazy disheartening for the fans who actually cared about the intricate details of the show's villains and conspiracies, especially when so much of it in the end seemed to be made up as the show went along.

The most powerful aspect of the episode is the fact that the show actually alludes to the fact that so much that happens is pretty insignificant. Sure, Scully confronts her sister's killer, but his capture and subsequent execution in the end succeed in nothing. The real villains are still out of reach, and this one character-less assassin is so low on the rung of importance that his death doesn't succeed in bringing even the slightest feeling of resolution to Scully.

The black oil is a ridiculously cool invention. It's my understanding that it evolves far beyond its use Mulder theorizes here (an alien parasite which infects its host and passes from body to body), but I do kind of like it at this stage. It's a simple device to illicit repeated shocks, from the eyeball close-ups revealing the infection, to the nasty moment at the end with it leaking out of Krycek's face. While, unsurprisingly, we get zero answers to what its agenda is, it's pretty damn nifty as a visual monster.

Apocrypha works well as a collection of "moments" (the opening flashback to William Mulder and the CSM; the ice-skating Lone Gunmen; Scully's vengeful outburst; etc.), but still lacks anything really substantial. Did the show at this point have a plan for where everything was going? It does seem that they're at least attempting to follow up on the various plot developments that have occurred along the way, but I'm waiting patiently for the wheels to fall off. Rating C+

Guest stars Mitch Pileggi (A.D. Walter Skinner); John Neville (The Well-Manicured Man); William B. Davis (The Cigarette-Smoking Man); Tom Braidwood (Melvin Frohike); Dean Haglund (Ringo Langley); Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers); Nicholas Lea (Alex Krycek)
Writers Frank Spotnitz, Chris Carter Director Kim Manners

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