Sunday, June 10, 2012

The X-Files: Trust No 1 (9.6)

I'm not sure if this was completely awful. Because I've never been hugely invested in The X-Files on an emotional level, episodes like this wind up washing over me like some kind of floaty mirage. Ooh, the pretty colors. Ah, some interesting video surveillance camera effects. But, when it comes down to it, Trust No 1 literally winds up being a story about nothing. The one notable revelation is that the super-soldiers can be destroyed by some kind of metal alloy, but that isn't at all interesting enough to form a whole episode around. And, once again, we have characters reduced to nothing but weepy cyphers pining over a lost Mulder. The show seems by turns desperate to explore fresh territory with new protagonists, as well as terrified to step out of Mulder's shadow -- still painting him as the definitive over-arching presence on this show, even when David Duchovny is so removed from it that he doesn't actually appear anymore.

But, then again, when the show employs some interesting camera work and a fun detour where Scully is guided around via cellphone by a mysterious Shadow Man, maybe the writers are hoping that would disguise the total worthlessness of most of the story arcs at work right now? It partly worked for me (see again: "pretty colors"), but I can imagine hardcore X-Files fans going crazy with anger at the crumminess of it all.

Annoyingly, the show is beginning to lose sight of its characters, too. It's still terrible, but you can kind of allow stories to run away from you if the characters involved remain somewhat consistent in their personalities, but Scully is this passive moron here, casually allowing strange people into her apartment; and her relationship with Mulder is suddenly cloying and full of awkward prose. Meanwhile, I still refuse to believe that Mulder, after everything he's encountered and relentlessly pursued over the years, would suddenly decide to run away from it all. It's just a strange direction for the show to head down. D+

Guest stars Terrance Quinn (Shadow Man); Allison Smith (Patti); Steven Flynn (Man on the Street); Kathryn Joosten (Edie Boal)
Writers Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz Director Tony Wharmby

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