9×07: John Doe

“This isn’t Tijuana or Cabo. We don’t see Americans in this town unless they’re on the run from something, somebody. This town… people like you come here to disappear.”
— Domingo
“People like me? You don’t know me.” — John Doggett
“Hey, you don’t know you.” — Domingo

Things get a little dicey when Doggett finds himself in Mexico with no memory of who he is.

John Doe

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: Ah, finally — we finally come to a season nine episode that doesn’t entirely have my mind wandering halfway through. A Doggett-centric episode, “John Doe” is one of the more refreshing entries of the season, though I’ll also fully admit that I can’t quite lump it into the category of all-time favorite episodes either. But this is one of the more compelling Monster of the Week episodes to watch, which is probably at least partially thanks to the fact that it was penned by Vince Gilligan.

We start the episode with Doggett waking up inside an abandoned warehouse in Mexico, where a guy is stealing one of his shoes. As events unfold, Doggett realizes that he has no memory of who he is. As he goes through a series of misadventures, Skinner and Scully are trying to figure out a way to find Doggett, since Kersh isn’t exactly making it easy. They’re able to send Reyes to the town where Doggett was last seen after Doggett calls a U.S. Marines public affairs office in hopes of finding out more about his identity, thanks to the Marine tattoo he sports. Continue reading

9×06: Trust No 1

“Well, then why do it? I mean, why meet me?” — Dana Scully
“Because you can reach Mulder. Mulder needs to know what I know or he may have no future. Perhaps no one will.” — Shadow Man

When a mysterious stranger offers information about the super soldiers, Scully sees this as an opportunity for Mulder to come home. This being The X-Files, the truth is much more complicated…

Trust No 1

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: “Trust No 1” is an episode that wants to do so many things right by the mythology, the characters, and the audience that it actually ends up letting all of the above down at least a little. The writers (particularly Chris Carter, who penned the episode himself) I feel wanted to refocus the mythology and bring it back to a place that it was during the salad days of Vancouver. The episode’s motif of constant surveillance — in the new age of the internet — was meant to hammer home this point. However, I believe notions of surveillance were better explored back when our heroes were searching for and coming across bugs in pens and wall outlets as opposed to the more obvious approach of closed circuit feeds.

Things begin, as they are wont to do in the land of the extraterrestrial and paranormal, with Scully dealing with two separate issues that turn out to be the same issue about halfway through the episode’s running time. Doggett and Reyes come to her at Quantico with news that a shadowy informant is reaching out for Mulder so that he may tell him vital information about the so-called super soldiers that have surfaced since last season. Meanwhile, Scully takes it upon herself to help out a troubled woman and her child from what appears to be a strained relationship with the father. Continue reading

9×05: Lord of the Flies

“These kids take enormous pride in being sub-mental.” — John Doggett
“That’s why they call it ‘Dumbass.'” — Monica Reyes

In which killer flies perplex our agents and hey — that’s Jesse Pinkman, bitch.

Lord of the Flies

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: After a fairly bleak season eight and some not particularly cheerful episodes to kick off season nine, we have something of a return to a more humorous X-File. Except it’s also a mishmash of gross effects and a topic The X-Files has delved into before: Teen angst. In the past couple of seasons, we’ve spent a good amount of time talking about episodes feeling stale because they’ve been done before — and I guess that’s something of a complaint I have with “Lord of the Flies,” where I can see elements of episodes past that don’t quite live up to the originals. Plus, the story does fall apart a bit. So even though “Lord of the Flies” is one of the few season nine episodes I remember distinctly and did at least allow me to snicker a couple of times, I continue to be fairly unimpressed.

We are introduced to a group of teens, including Winky (played by Aaron Paul of eventual Breaking Bad fame), filming a bunch of stunts for a show called Dumbass (this was the era of MTV’s idiot-based reality show Jackass). But one stunt goes horribly wrong with one guy ending up dead with part of his skull collapsed. This becomes a case for Doggett and Reyes… and then Scully, when flies erupt from the unfortunate teen’s eye sockets during the autopsy. Continue reading

9×04: 4-D

“John, what if we were both right? What if you were at my apartment, and I was on a stakeout with you at the exact same time. What would it take for that to be true?”
— Monica Reyes

When Doggett and Reyes are on a stakeout, their entire world turns upside down…

4-D

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: Preventing our coverage for season nine from becoming an endless bitch session, “4-D” is actually a pretty decent outing that does a lot of character work for Doggett and Reyes, and takes a familiar science fiction concept and integrates it well into The X-Files universe.

On a stakeout with Follmer, Doggett and Reyes are on the hunt for Erwin Lukesh, a killer with a preternatural way of eluding capture. Unfortunately for our heroes, Lukesh knows he’s being watched, and takes advantage of the situation, slicing Reyes’ throat (killing her!) and shooting Doggett in the head. Yes, we at home are pretty sure that this isn’t the end for these agents, but it is a pretty effective cold open, and for me makes me interested in seeing how the writers work their way out of this one. Continue reading

9×03: Daemonicus

“I heard you say, Agent Scully, I heard you tell a classroom full of FBI cadets — most evil in the world comes from men.” — John Doggett
“But I also said that once science fails, we have to consider extreme possibilities.” — Dana Scully

Three’s company when Doggett, Reyes and Scully investigate a series of killings that may be connected to demonic possession.

Daemonicus

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: So here we are at the first monster of the week episode of season nine. After a somewhat lackluster start to the season, I’m sorry to say that “Daemonicus,” while not completely awful, doesn’t do much to instill much confidence in the season. It does have a few positive elements — the dark imagery and themes are well suited to The X-Files and we’re treated to some pretty intense vomit sequences, but there’s the issue of a sometimes meandering plot and weird directing choices that make it more of a mixed bag for me.

Doggett and Reyes are on the case when a double murder with Satanic ritual elements takes place in West Virginia. Scully, who has now started teaching at Quantico, gets roped into doing an autopsy. Reyes becomes convinced that she can feel the presence of evil surrounding the case, while Doggett doubles down on his skeptic duties. Then they receive a tip that the murders could be connected to an escaped mental patient, Dr. Kenneth Richman, and a guard. Reyes and Doggett end up questioning Josef Kobold, another patient and killer at the institution, who tells them one of the perpetrators has killed again — a body is found at a location he specifies and when Scully autopsies the victim, it turns out to be the guard. Continue reading

9×02: Nothing Important Happened Today II

“Revolutions start, things that change the world forever, and even kings can miss them if they’re not paying attention.” — Alvin Kersh

Investigations collide on a military vessel docked in Baltimore as Scully grasps for answers that may go all the way back to the shadows in the Bureau that Doggett and Reyes are trying to bring to light.

Nothing Important Happened Today II

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Max: T.S. Eliot wrote now familiar words about the world ending in bangs and whimpers, and so the “Nothing Important Happened Today” two-parter ends with both simultaneously. Season openers have typically been some of the more memorable outings of their respective seasons, but with a lot of things surrounding season nine, things end with too much of a whimper, even with the bang of the top secret military vessel exploding to smithereens with perhaps evidence of baby William’s origins going up in flames along with it.

Somewhat streamlining the events of the previous episode, Doggett is confronted by Shannon McMahon who lays out to him the super soldier program of which she and Knowle Rohrer are prototypes of, as well as breadcrumbs about the Chloramine program the EPA employee she drove off the bridge was looking into. On the docks of Baltimore (bereft of Sobotkas for all you fans of The Wire), a navy captain is concerned about recent orders that have come through about secret biological experiments taking place in the bowels of the ship. And when his second-in-command is replaced by Rohrer himself, things get even more precarious. Continue reading

9×01: Nothing Important Happened Today

“I know what you’re afraid of. That there’s something wrong with your baby.”
— Monica Reyes
“We can let our fears get the better of us. We can imagine things, make connections with things that aren’t there.” — Dana Scully

Doggett tries to take down Deputy Director Kersh and investigate the mysterious death of an EPA official, while Scully comes to terms with the fact that maybe her miracle baby isn’t very normal.

Nothing Important Happened Today

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: So here we are at season nine. If we were a little hesitant about rewatching season seven, let me warn you: We are not particularly excited about rewatching season nine. It is a truth universally acknowledged amongst the majority of viewers, diehard fans and otherwise, that season nine of The X-Files is probably the most lackluster of them all. This doesn’t mean that there are zero shining moments in the season, but for me personally, it is definitely the one I have the fewest memories of. Though it is possible that I rewatched all the episodes at one point while completing my DVD collection with the ninth season set, I never really viewed the episodes with the same obsessive quality that I did those from previous seasons. So in a way, rewatching season nine is almost like watching a whole new season of the show.

That said, I didn’t completely want to die rewatching this first part of the season-opening two-parter. But my feelings about the episode do mirror aspects of the title itself. Don’t get me wrong — “Nothing Important Happened Today” has some respectable elements, such as Lucy Lawless being delightfully mighty and terrifying. But the other parts of it feel tired, a description we used for parts of season seven and a description I fear I will be using a lot while looking back at this season. Continue reading