Friday, June 3, 2011

The X-Files: Folie a Deux (5.19)

The most successful element of Folie a Deux is in the unexpected routes the script travels down. It begins as an intriguing depiction of paranoia taking over a man's life, potentially a statement piece about the lives of office drones, employees who spent all of their days stuck in tiny cubicles. It sends him crazy. Then the story quickly becomes one of those 'hostage crisis episodes', with Mulder among the hostages. But then, twenty-five minutes in, the script again spins off into different territory, the crisis is averted, and Mulder pursues what he believes to be the truth, Folie a Deux ending as a straight-up monster episode with freaky insect creatures being shot out of windows by Scully. It's fun.

Folie a Deux also continues this season's major theme of Mulder and Scully's ever-shifting 'roles'. For a lot of this season Mulder became the disenchanted skeptic, with Scully encouraging him to believe in extreme possibilities. Here, the roles have been reversed again, with Mulder sure of the monsters being real, and Scully unsure. There's also that beautiful moment at the end, where Scully appears to once again avoid telling Skinner what she truly saw, and later says something to Mulder that sums up their entire relationship. Scully is Mulder's only person, the only one that he can truly lean on for support and guidance; yet Scully is still ambivalent in completely absorbing Mulder's theories. She brings up the translation of 'folie a deux' being 'a madness of two', implying that it's her belief in Mulder that has her losing her 'rational explanation' thought process.

Like so many Vince Gilligan episodes, Folie a Deux attempts a variety of different things, with a script that successfully veers into several different directions as it goes on. In the end, it's a hugely entertaining hour that, while not as memorable nor as funny as something like Bad Blood, says a lot about our two protagonists. B+

Guest stars Mitch Pileggi (A.D. Walter Skinner); Brian Markinson (Gary Lambert); John Apicella (Greg Pincus); Roger R. Cross (Agent Rice); Cynthia Preston (Nancy Aaronson)
Writer Vince Gilligan Director Kim Manners

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