Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The X-Files: Gethsemane (4.24)

There's been a clear divide between Mulder and Scully over the last couple of episodes, made even clearer by the hovering specter that is Scully's cancer. This woman is dying of a fatal disease, and Mulder is too busy chasing theories and digging up alien corpses to really care. It's pretty sad. There was a wonderful moment here with Scully's brother attacking Mulder for not being there for her. Scully realizes that she's all alone, and hasn't got an answer to her question. Her behavior throughout the finale is intriguing. She allows herself to be dragged away from a family get-together; she's happy pursuing bad guys and getting injured, despite her illness. Is it a way to try and overcome it? To prove that it's not affecting her? Or is it because she's so isolated that she hasn't really got any other choice?

I remember when I first started watching this show that I thought the conspiracy episodes worked better with a 'face', instead of just random men in the shadows, but having gotten through four years of this show, I take it back. Gethsemane works so well partly due to the fact that the conspiracy's overused 'players', like the CSM and the Syndicate, are nowhere to be seen. Instead we have a cut-and-dry mystery, with aliens in the mountains, shady government employees stealing top-secret alien samples, and some graphic autopsies. It's a simple story, but remarkably effective.

Of course, there's an element of contrivance with the character of Kritschgau, who seems far too eager to spill government secrets. Unless this is all a government plan, anyway. And knowing this show, that's the likely option. But the story unfolds successfully, especially that awesome scene where Scully throws herself into bad-ass mode and chases down Kritschgau's car.

Faith seems to affect both Scully and Mulder throughout the episode, and leads to Mulder's apparent suicide at the end. Scully insists that she wouldn't be 'changed' if God's existence was proven; while Kritschgau's revelations seem to deeply rattle Mulder. Obviously Mulder hasn't killed himself (Kritschgau's hollow expose just isn't proof enough for him), but it's still a shocking closer.

Season four has successfully brought a humanistic quality to the conspiracy arc, strengthened by Scully's cancer, which has given Gillian Anderson her best material in the show's history. The series is still flawed, but they're at least putting on a great show every week. Fun finale. A

Guest stars John Finn (Michael Kritschgau); Matthew Walker (Arlinsky); James Sutorius (Babcock); Sheila Larken (Margaret Scully); Pat Skipper (Bill Scully Jr.); Charles Cioffi (Scott Blevins)
Writer Chris Carter Director R.W. Goodwin

No comments:

Post a Comment