Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The X-Files: Piper Maru (3.15)

It's always difficult reviewing the first part of a two-part episode, especially when it's pretty clear that everything that happens in part one is merely an opener to the major action in part two. But, judged on its own, I really didn't like Piper Maru. What's even more disappointing is that it started so well, with an intense teaser sequence and a great Scully moment.

Scully's disgust over the FBI dropping her sister's murder case was clearly evident. She knows that it's all bullshit and that Melissa is a victim of the conspiracies and cover-ups that she has gotten herself involved with, and it's just heartbreaking. I still can't really work out what game Skinner is playing and where his allegiances lie, but it's also appreciated when he exhibits his compassionate side.

Unfortunately, the rest of the episode quickly falls apart. The major problem is that so much of Piper Maru is one long, painful info-dump. It's not exciting nor particularly interesting to hear a guest character take forever reciting expository dialogue, and the slow pace of Commander Johansen's scenes drag down the whole episode. Equally frustrating are Scully's scenes watching the military brats, getting all weepy while tinkly music plays. No, no, no.

At the same time, Mulder finds himself in the middle of a whole bunch of storylines that had seemingly been dropped for weeks, replaying the same elaborate chase sequences he took part in back in the Nisei/731 two-parter. Krycek returns but, like Skinner, I can't understand his motives anymore. He seems to merely be the instigator for a plot development, his presence feeling completely un-organic for any other reason.

Maybe I'm being a little harsh on this episode, and maybe it'll all make sense in part two, but damn this dragged. Cool floaty oil effects, though. I think I oughta get used to them. Rating D+

Guest stars Mitch Pileggi (A.D. Walter Skinner); Robert Clothier (Commander Johansen); Jo Bates (Jeraldine Kallenchuk)
Writers Frank Spotnitz, Chris Carter Director Rob Bowman

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