Season five's Kill Switch was a gorgeous meditation on identity, cyber-crime and artificial intelligence, something that brilliantly fused cyberpunk action with X-Files intrigue. First Person Shooter, on the other hand, is loud, dumb, occasionally amusing, but mostly fug. It's disappointing to see William Gibson and Tom Maddox responsible for something that generally amounts to nothing but thongs, guns and strippers. There are a couple of attempts to make the episode somewhat deeper, but nobody can deny that this is an awkward misfire.
Stock William Gibson themes are present throughout the script, notably in the idea of consciousness being downloaded into a computer system, while there's something entertainingly ironic about a group of sweaty tech nerds getting sliced and diced by a porno sexbot in tight leather. However, soon after, this episode literally becomes nothing but a story about a porno sexbot. Krista Allen is fine in the role, but the script descends into repetitive explosions and gunfights, as if Gibson and Maddox had ran out of story. This is most evident in that last fight scene in the cowboy world, where Mulder and Scully randomly shoot at a whole bunch of violent creations -- from an army of Maitreya duplicates to an army tank. Snore.
Most troubling is the show's depiction of women. Scully is even more of a Debbie Downer than usual, her opinions on gamers coming off ridiculously harsh (I'm not into video games at all, but even I thought she had a total bug up her ass this week). Similarly, it's disappointing to see an ending where Scully digitally painted as some thong-wearing stripper thing is considered a heroic feminist victory, while Constance Zimmer's gamer girl is a hideous cliché of matronly, depressed femme losers with weird crushes on Emmanuelle-types. Ugh.
I remember liking this when I was a horny thirteen year-old, but watching it again I realize that it's vacuous and occasionally offensive dreck. Then again, maybe I'm just not the audience it's targeted at. See again: horny thirteen year-olds. D
Guest stars Krista Allen (Maitreya/Jade Blue Afterglow); Jamie Marsh (Ivan Martinez); Constance Zimmer (Phoebe); Billy Ray Gallion (Retro); Tom Braidwood (Melvin Frohike); Dean Haglund (Ringo Langly); Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers)
Writers William Gibson, Tom Maddox Director Chris Carter