Nov 27, 2017

[TV] The X-Files: Season 2 Review

I'm glad that iflix has the full original run of The X-Files as I'm really enjoying revisiting the show and going season by season. Similar to my challenges with the various Star Trek  shows, the nature of broadcast television meant that I had missed out on the odd episode or two during times when other activities would run love or when I had forgotten to set the VCR to record the show in my absence.

I had totally forgotten that the show's meta-plot had escalated so much in this second season. While going through the episodes there were a lot  of familiar episodes but I had figured that they were from much later on the show. Just reminds you how unreliable memories can be at times

But the re-watching contninues whenever I can squeeze in the time and there's still so much to be rediscovered. This is definitely one of those cases when I feel like I may have forgotten more than I had known about the show and with luck I'll be able to jog my memories.

Synopsis: The X-Files is a science fiction television show created y Chris Carter. This second season earned seven Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations including Best Drama.

The season begins with the X-Files program having been shut down and our heroes Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) have been reassigned to work in different parts of the Bureau. But there are those who still support their X-Files efforts and continue to nudge Fox Mulder to take a look into various cases of interest despite the division having been closed. And all the more it seems the forces working against them continue to do their part to keep them unable to get to the truth.

This season also involves a seemingly short story arc where Scully is kidnapped  or abducted - the full nature of her disappearance not being entirely clear in this season alone. And while she is largely gone for only a few episodes, the impact of this disappearance can be felt in the subsequent seasons. And it happened here, in the only the second season of the show.

What I Liked: There are so many major plot points that took place in this season that it's hard to pick some that were either more important for the overall run of the show or just stand out as moments of awesome within the season itself. This season gave us the character of Duane Barry (Steve Railsback), the former FBI agent who may have been abducted by aliens as well. It's never fully clear whether he's just delusional or indeed the subject of alien experimentation but his episodes make for some really great television.

"Død Kalm" is definitely one of my favorite episodes as it's a great mix of Cold War speculation with Russia and to some extent a horror vibe given the boat they get stuck on. And I honestly enjoyed "The Host" as a story. That worm made for a great science fiction villain. And "F. Emasculata" had a great Pandemic vibe that was oddly fulfilling for me.

And the larger journey that the characters take in this season is quite the heavy one starting with the X-Files shutdown, Scully's disappearance and the on-going question of whether or not they can fully trust Assistant Director Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) as their superior. At times he's helpful but other times he's more of an antagonist seemingly working directly with Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis). Oh, and how can I forget Agent Krycek (Nicholas Lea), the man assigned to be Mulder's new partner but yet another asset of those who want to see the X-Files fail. There's just so much going on and this second season really sets the stag for much larger stories ahead.

What Could Have Been Better: As ambitious as the larger meta-plot is, there are still some rather silly episodes that come into play. "Blood", the episode about hearing messages to kill people was a tad off. "Fearful Symmetry" could have been better but I don't think they fully figured out what they wanted to do with this animal-centric story.

I kind of wanted more out of Agent Krycek and the Crew Cut Man (because we lack more ominous names for these supporting characters. Krycek had some interesting moments and the non-essential reveal of his dealings with the Cigarette Smoking man were great but it wasn't quite maintained in a significant way in this season. And Crew Cut was ominous and tussled with them a few times but not much else until towards the end.

TL;DR: The second season of The X-Files is rather essential viewing to better appreciate the overall direction of the show and the many plot twists to come. In itself it's a great set of episodes and it ends with one heck of a cliffhanger. Thus the season gets 4 strange creatures living beyond our perception out of a possible 5.


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