Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The X-Files: Unrequited (4.16)

My appreciation for this episode stems from the fact that it's a conspiracy episode rooted in a standalone mystery. It's also welcome to see the conspiracy involved in incidents and events far removed from the usual UFO-related hoodoo. I understand that that is actually one of the biggest complaints about the episode, that the details of what the powers that be actually wanted in the long term didn't make a whole lot of sense. They set a series of events so an invisible assassin would want to kill generals who themselves wanted to expose POW secrets. I guess it's a little long-winded, but I don't really have a problem with the logistics here. At least it's something a little different.

The idea of manipulating a 'blind spot' feels like something Vince Gilligan would come up with. It's a pretty ingenious idea, how somebody can develop the ability to distort our vision like that, rendering somebody invisible to the naked eye. Great direction by Michael Lange here, too, especially that neat shot where Scully briefly glimpses Teager within the trees, before he vanishes when she double-backs on the same location.

Marita Covarrubias felt a little shoe-horned into the plot, in an effort to remind us all that she still exists. She's been by far the weakest of the Deep Throat characters. Maybe the show has outgrown that plot device? It's not Laurie Holden (she's been great elsewhere), but the part is ridiculously underwritten.

While Unrequited isn't a masterpiece in any regard, it's a suitably entertaining mystery hour, with some effective scares, great direction, and conspiracy shenanigans that aren't completely worthless. Maybe my liking for it comes less from the episode itself but the state of the show's mythology right now. B

Guest stars Mitch Pileggi (A.D. Walter Skinner); Peter Lacroix (Nathaniel Teager); Scott Hylands (General Benjamin Bloch); Laurie Holden (Marita Covarrubias); William Taylor (General Leitch); William Nunn (General John Steffan)
Teleplay Howard Gordon, Chris Carter Story Howard Gordon Director Michael Lange

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