Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The X-Files: Teliko (4.3)

You're already battling against the odds by following an episode like Home, but this is surprisingly flat even for an uninspired standalone X-File. Howard Gordon creates a dialogue-heavy spook-fest without the spook, cribbing a bunch of elements from other, stronger episodes and attempting to shoe-horn in as many believable uses of the word "obfuscate", which I'm assuming really caught his attention on his word-of-the-day toilet paper.

Samuel Aboah in all his Teliko glory certainly looks creepy when he's not peeking out of mortuary drawers looking ridiculous, but there was a confused "blah"-ness to him as an antagonist. He's similar to Eugene Tooms, right down to the vague "squeezing into tiny places" thing he's got going on. It's that vagueness that drags his character down. What's up with the regurgitating blow pipe? The easily-discovered warehouse lair? It's pretty much villain-by-numbers. Equally disappointing is the reappearance of Marita Covarrubias. While it's implied that her informant duties have almost been forced onto her instead of being something she's genuinely happy about, her scene is pretty redundant.

Reminding me a little of Teso Dos Bichos in its relentless disposal of insignificant guest stars, Teliko continues down a beaten track of murder-clue-murder-improbable science-murder, until a surprisingly effective finale that feels like a hastily re-written (but welcome) closer. Scully crawling through tunnels is fun, as was the cool moment where a paralyzed Mulder tries to alert Scully to the Teliko laying in wait right behind her. Unfortunately, it comes so late into the episode that it doesn't make the impression it probably should have.

One of the most forgettable X-Files episodes in a while, Teliko has a couple of fun lines (the Michael Jackson quip, for one), but it's still pretty snooze-inducing. Gillian Anderson even sounds as if she's been perked up with some uppers to keep her awake during that shrill closing narration. Skip. Rating D+

Guest stars Mitch Pileggi (A.D. Walter Skinner); Carl Lumbly (Marcus Duff); Willie Amakye (Samuel Aboah); Laurie Holden (Marita Covarrubias); Brendan Beiser (Agent Pendrell); Zakes Mokae (Diabria)
Writer Howard Gordon Director James Charleston

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