Sunday, July 8, 2012

The X-Files: Audrey Pauley (9.11)

Audrey Pauley shares various superficial similarities with 4-D from earlier in the year. They're both written by Steven Maeda, and both are pulpy, experimental thrillers involving Reyes lost in time and space. They're also the only two episodes this season that could easily be compared to vintage X-Files, at least in terms of quality. This is a fascinating hour in which science fiction is used as a vessel for a traditional procedural story, but the honesty of the characters and the way in which Maeda's plotting furthers the Doggett/Reyes relationship both cement it as something of a modern X-Files classic.

It's potentially destructive to suddenly introduce a romantic element into Doggett and Reyes' partnership, particularly since we never really got an inkling to there being an attraction between them, but it successfully carries the episode here. At the same time, it's understandable that they'd be somewhat reliant on each other, especially after the history they've shared, as well as the fact that they're both pretty lonely people. But I liked the sense of desperation Doggett had to rescue her, despite Scully's resignation to her death.

The scenes inside the phantom hospital were visually impressive, and interesting in their unique-ness. The floaty home, the dollhouse itself, the empty, endless corridors -- it was intriguing to look at, and I liked the fluctuating explanations for the mystery itself, from seemingly supernatural to something far more mundane but arguably more powerful. Tracey Ellis, an actress who frustratingly hasn't worked on anything since, also makes for a compelling guest character. Audrey was so moving in her awkwardness, all conveyed through Ellis' haunted eyes and confused facial expressions.

Season nine has been repeatedly alternating between horrible and underwhelming so far, but Audrey Pauley instantly strikes you as something ambitious and interesting. I'm not heralding a turnaround in quality or anything insane, but it's at least an hour that proves the show still has a little life in it. A

Guest stars Stan Shaw (Stephen Murdoch); Tracey Ellis (Audrey Pauley); Jack Blessing (Dr. Jack Preijers); Del Zamora (Mr. Barreiro); Michele Harrell (Mrs. Murdoch); Vernee Watson-Johnson (Nurse Whitney Edwards)
Writer Steven Maeda Director Kim Manners


  1. Yes, it was a great episode indeed.

  2. I wonder where Tracey Ellis is nowadays. She was such a unique and promising actress. Hope she's'd certainly be nice to see her again, on either film or TV.