Sunday, June 24, 2012

The X-Files: John Doe (9.7)

There's a lot of warmth to this episode, both in the over-saturated lenses that director Michelle MacLaren uses to capture Mexico's intense heat, but also in Doggett's final epiphany. Doggett has always been a character running from the truth. He's had moments where he seemed to come around to extreme possibilities, but this season, in particular, he's settled back into skeptical mode, ignoring the supernatural right in front of him. But John Doe cleverly turns this around, Doggett forced to embrace the sometimes painful truth in order to regain his entire memory. It's a moving finale to what's already an intriguing episode.

Vince Gilligan, from his very first episode in season two, has always wanted to push this show in atypical directions. John Doe originates from a pretty generic concept (waking up in a strange environment with no idea how you got there), but quickly becomes wildly distinctive as a standalone piece. From the title cards appearing every ten minutes, to the subtitles and the generally procedural-driven tone, the case itself is just subtle enough in its supernature to remain an effective X-File. I actually really liked the idea of drawing memories out of somebody, especially when crossed with organized crime.

But this is undoubtedly Robert Patrick's hour, as he gets to play with various different emotions as he begins to salvage Doggett's conscience and discover who he intrinsically is, even before he regains his literal memory. Another strong Gilligan hour. B+

Guest stars James Pickens, Jr. (Alvin Kersh); Frank Roman (Domingo Salmeron); Ramon Franco (Nestor); Zitto Kazann (Caballero); Rene Rivera (First Cop); Eduardo Antonio Garcia (Mariano Molina); F.J. Rio (Second Cop)
Writer Vince Gilligan Director Michelle MacLaren

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