Sunday, May 27, 2012

The X-Files: Nothing Important Happened Today II (9.2)

While I appreciate any episode that doesn't fall down on generic plot devices, the whole 'toxic water supply' thing seems a peculiar story in which to open up season nine. The super-soldiers continue to work on a vacuous, headless-body, arm-through-the-chest sort of way, but it's not the most arresting of storylines, especially in a season that is struggling to define its purpose for existing. Folding into that, the show needs to gain the confidence to actually kill one of these super-soldiers, since constant chase sequences and apparent deaths followed by shock twist resurrections get old after a while.

If there's one serious problem with season nine so far, it's in the characterization. Even with the explanation at the end, I still don't buy that Mulder would run instead of confronting the threats against his life; while motherhood has only made Scully sort of a drag. It's probably Gillian Anderson's own fatigue, but there's little sparkle there anymore. At the same time, I'm struggling to understand any of Kersh's motivations. He's always been an ill-defined character, but positioning him as a person worthy of investigation feels like the writers throwing darts at supporting characters and seeing what sticks, while his last-minute conversation with Doggett only furthers the feeling of the show being unsure of how to paint this guy.

Nothing Important Happened Today doesn't reflect too well on what's to come, but at least the writers have settled on showy visuals and relentless action to cover up the numerous plotholes at work. That's probably an awful statement, but I've become far too jaded by this show to care all that much. C

Guest stars James Pickens, Jr. (Alvin Kersh); Lucy Lawless (Shannon McMahon); Adam Baldwin (Knowle Rohrer); Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers); Tom Braidwood (Melvin Frohike); Dean Haglund (Ringo Langly); Ryan Cutrona (Captain); Ben Reed (Officer Bamford); Jeff Austin (Dr. Nordlinger); Cary Elwes (Brad Follmer)
Writers Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz Director Tony Wharmby

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