Sunday, April 15, 2012

The X-Files: Salvage (8.9)

One comment in the writers' room inspired this entire episode, didn't it? "Wouldn't it be cool if Terminator 2's Robert Patrick remarked that metal-men only existed in movies?" And then they ran with it... Salvage, like last week's Surekill, struggles to become anything more than 'a cool idea'. Wade Andrew Williams, a great character actor, is unfortunately handed an antagonist whose entire personality boils down to a collection of mumbles and grunts -- he looks awesome on a visual level, with the metallic wounds and the metal fibers growing out of his head like facial hair, but Salvage ends up being a routine revenge tale, and not a very competently-told one at that.

The big reveal here is that there isn't actually much of a story. Nobody can be explicitly pinned for exposing Ray Pearce to dangerous experimentation, and Pearce himself ends up repetitively hunting folks down in pursuit of some kind of retribution. I guess there's an interesting moral to that, but it just didn't come across well on-screen. The ending, with that small element of humanity in Pearce stopping him from enacting more carnage, feels a little undeserved, too -- an emotional pay-off that doesn't at all work because every character on screen before those final voice-overs were so vacant. The less said about that horrible actress playing Pearce's widow the better.

Along with all of that, Scully and Doggett once again flail around on the fringes of the show with little to do. The writers are obviously in new territory here, but it's annoying that recent episodes have only settled on flipping Mulder and Scully's previous personalities, Scully all gung-ho with the sci-fi theories, and Doggett trying to be all logical. It's not fun. D

Guest stars Wade Andrew Williams (Ray Pearce); Jennifer Parsons (Nora Pearce); Arye Gross (Dr. Tom Puvogel); Tamara Clatterbuck (Larina Jackson); Dan Desmond (Harry Odell); Scott MacDonald (Curt Delario)
Writer Jeffrey Bell Director Rod Hardy

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