Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The X-Files: Synchrony (4.19)

While entertaining, Synchrony works better as a series of ideas than as a logical slice of science-fiction. I'm a huge fan of time-travel episodes in general, and the allusions to Back to the Future in the teaser were pretty great. Equally effective were the guest characters, from the sadness of the older Jason to the icy resourcefulness of Lisa. But there was a real feel here of a missed opportunity, and a significant lack of emotion when it came to its time-bending conclusion. Here we have two versions of the same person, the older version killing his younger self to prevent chaos, and it doesn't deliver the sucker punch it probably should have.

There's a wonderful concept at work here, the idea of a future where time travel is so ordinary and accepted that there is no longer a sense of history or time itself, where crises are avoided and nothing is at risk. It's an idea that's probably too dense and existential for a 42-minute standalone episode of a TV show, but it's admirable that writers David Greenwalt and Howard Gordon attempted it.

It's also impossible to not note that Synchrony features some ridiculously awesome moments, especially Dr. Yonechi's freezing, and his subsequent eruption into flames when thawed out. There's also a simplicity to the structure of the hour which is welcome. If you ignore the grand ideas, it pretty much comes down to Mulder and Scully investigating a series of murders with a science-fiction twist, and while the show has evolved a little past that, it's fun to get something so basic every once in a while. C+

Guest stars Joseph Fuqua (Dr. Jason Nichols); Susan Lee Hoffman (Lisa Ianelli); Michael Fairman (Older Jason)
Writers Howard Gordon, David Greenwalt Director James Charleston


  1. You give this episode a complimentary review, and proceed to grade it with a C+... that doesn't make much sense.

  2. I thought the ideas were interesting, but as a cohesive episode it wasn't flawless. And it had elements of season one-style standalones, and the show had evolved from that by this point, in my opinion.

    Thanks for stopping by, regardless.