Sunday, May 20, 2012

The X-Files: Alone (8.19)

There's something amusingly retrospective about Alone, Frank Spotnitz having fun with a guest character who easily subs in for the show's audience, referencing old cases and generally enjoying her time with the X-Files. At the same time, Doggett easily takes the reigns for the hour, showing that he's more than a capable protagonist for the show, should Scully finally bow out. As a monster episode, Alone isn't hugely interesting. Besides some neat special effects, the story becomes overly familiar when Doggett and Harrison get stuck underground and seek their escape, but I guess that isn't the point of the hour. It's a throwback episode, a bittersweet closer to the monster-of-the-week Mulder years.

With that in mind, the nostalgia easily carries the hour. It's not particularly interesting, but there's a lot of fun to be had seeing the Queequeg tag and the fused pennies, as well as Mulder discussing how Scully performing an autopsy reminds him of the golden years, and Mulder once again ignoring orders and journeying into the field with his sunflower seeds and a determination to expose the truth.

Alone is strange in that its not very funny, but is able to work single-handedly because of all the 'a-ha!' moments. It's fundamentally a charming hour, knowing and full of meta commentary, and with a lot of heart. It's the end of the X-Files as we once knew them, and a sort of passing-the-torch ceremony for Doggett and the new season. Sweet. B

Guest stars Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner); Jolie Jenkins (Leyla Harrison); Jay Caputo (Salamander Man); Tony Ketcham (Gary Sacks); Zach Grenier (Dr. Herman Stites)
Writer Frank Spotnitz Director Frank Spotnitz

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