“Trevor Andrew … Rawls. You never were going to tell me. I’d have gone to my grave never knowing. But years later, a million-to-one shot, I hear on the Farm from a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy. You know what that means? That means God wanted me to know. He fixed it so I’d hear… and then he fixed it so I’d have passage. And I’m here. God’s will.” – Wilson “Pinker” Rawls
The dynamic duo are on the case of a convict apparently on the loose after a twister rips through the prison where he was being held.
Max: After the utter boringness of last episode, at least we get a somewhat interesting story in “Trevor,” although for me this entry still is a forgettable one and doesn’t stick around in the mind for any significant amount of time after you watch it. Still, having an individual who can walk through walls and mitigate the nasty effects of bullets on the body is an interesting freak of the week for the series to have, as is the circumstances that set him on the course towards his eventual fate.
Wilson “Pinker” Rawls is your typical television convict, always making trouble for the corrections officers and wardens entrusted with the security and operations of the prison. In this case, he nails a fellow inmate’s hand to a wall during a disagreement, and is sent into “The Box,” a kind of ersatz solitary confinement chamber at the prison, and is forced to stay there during a storm that sends a tornado through the area. When he isn’t found in the aftermath, and the warden dead of unusual circumstances, our heroes are called in to investigate.
After an autopsy and examination of the warden’s office, Mulder notices the walls crumble to the touch. This weirdness sets off Mulder’s spider-sense, especially when he learns that Pinker escaped the custody of a strip mall security guard only to leave behind a set of crumbling handcuffs, and Pinker surviving being shot several times with no apparent ill effect. His theory: Pinker has somehow developed the ability to pass through solid matter and have solid matter pass through him.
What the episode boils down to is that while in prison, Pinker discovers he has a son, and takes this opportunity to try and track him down. Naturally, he eventually does, and the episode becomes another race against time for Mulder and Scully to locate our MOTW before he has a chance to act on his designs for the boy. However, by the time he does see his son, he realizes the gravity of his actions and how they affected those around him. This epiphany comes too late, as Trevor’s mother runs Pinker down with a car, the vehicle’s glass windshield (his apparent kryptonite) slicing him in half. Afraid for what Pinker would have done to his son, the mother breaks down to Mulder, which ends the episode.
I do admit that the story of a man trying to find his son as a metaphor for fixing the mistakes he made in life is a poignant one, and that John Diehl did a pretty good job essaying the character of Pinker Rawls, but overall the episode doesn’t really have a lasting effect for me. I hardly think anyone considers “Trevor” to be one of the best episodes of the series, or even one of the better outings of the season. By this point in the show, it has gotten a little tiresome to see Scully continuing to play the skeptic card despite some pretty obvious evidence that some freaky stuff is happening. But maybe this is a minor quibble when it comes to an episode that has no real consequence outside of its running time.
Radhika: This episode was definitely an improvement over “Alpha” with the occasional compelling sympathetic moment, but truth be told, I spent the first couple of minutes of the teaser trying to remember what this episode was about, which is somewhat telling, since I normally have at least some recollection of all The X-Files episodes I’ve watched over the years. So it’s ultimately pretty forgettable in the end.
One thing I enjoyed is the hint of less skeptical Scully (even though Max is annoyed by her continued skepticism here). There’s a point in the episode where Scully seems open to considering spontaneous human combustion, which is at least evidence that she’s grown a little bit since the earlier seasons. And Mulder’s reaction to this is rather endearing and even mirrored how I felt for a minute: “Dear Diary: Today, my heart leapt when Agent Scully suggested spontaneous human combustion.” And as Scully tries to reason with him and provide some rationality and science to back up her statement, she eventually just gives up and says, “Shut up, Mulder.” Classic Mulder and Scully banter (though perhaps a bit looser than usual, which shows how much their level of comfort with each other really has grown).
Another thing that feels classic? The reappearance of flashlights as Mulder and Scully search for Rawls. Now, this isn’t the first time the show has recalled its Vancouver roots this season, but it also feels like the crew has now figured out how to deal with Los Angeles lighting and not lose the show’s original look (even if we do have a shinier Mulder and Scully in sleeker outfits than before).
Elements of this episode are poignant as Max pointed out, but perhaps it’s ultimately the pacing (the revelation of Rawls having a son comes a bit late) that prevents it from being as high stakes as it could be. But at least it’s not as insultingly dull as “Alpha” was, faint as that praise may seem.
YES IT’S THAT GUY
John Diehl – Playing Pinker Rawls, Diehl is most well-known for portraying cop Larry Zito on the epochal show Miami Vice. He has also been on the shows The Shield, The West Wing, and Friday Night Lights. He was also in the Burn Notice television movie The Fall Of Sam Axe.