Sunday, July 1, 2012

The X-Files: Providence (9.10)

Again, it feels like a bunch of hot air. Providence is another in a long, long line of myth-arc episodes that put across the illusion of saying something without actually saying anything at all. The William story has now become so shapeless that you're never surprised by any of the events that occur. There are a couple of pointers about William being either the savior of mankind or the ruler of the aliens, depending on Mulder's survival, but again it's benching the story in the hands of what's essentially a lump wrapped in a blanket... and a guy who's not actually on the show anymore. What it does is leave the cast members that are still hanging around, and who can actually talk, drifting along with little importance in the grand scheme of things.

I like seeing Scully getting ruthless, but it's again problematic that it always comes back around to her son. Granted, it's completely understandable that she'd have this urgent determination to get back her own flesh and blood, but the constant variations on "I'm doing this for my son" or "Where's my son?" are some of the most annoying 'missing-child' moments since Michael on Lost. We get it, lady. It's not interesting to watch, and it leaves Gillian Anderson stranded in something closer to a shrieky Lifetime movie than a paranoid sci-fi thriller.

Elsewhere, Doggett's life is at risk -- another generic plot device, and Reyes stumbles around in disbelief at Scully's actions as well as the importance of faith in her life. Blah. We're also introduced to what appears to be a CSM clone, played by genre vet Alan Dale, but it would be more of a surprise if he wasn't a super-soldier at this point in time. Panning down to the back of a extraneous character's neck for a big cliffhanger ending stopped being shocking with Adam Baldwin last year.

I liked the super-soldier intro (despite its pretensions), and I guess there was a grand, operatic feel to the cult scenes, but Providence is part two of what's wound up a pretty terrible mythology double episode, driven by a concept that is inherently flawed. C-

Guest stars James Pickens, Jr. (Alvin Kersh); Cary Elwes (Brad Follmer); Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers); Tom Braidwood (Melvin Frohike); Dean Haglund (Ringo Langly); Neal McDonough (Robert Comer); McNally Sagal (Overcoat Woman); Denis Forest (Zeke Josepho); Alan Dale (Toothpick Man); Kerrie Keane (Nurse)
Writers Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz Director Chris Carter

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