With a show about aliens, you would think an episode of The X-Files about space travel would fit right in. It probably would if you actually got to see inside the spacecraft. Instead, the only signs of space seen in “Space” are from stock launch footage and blurry video from screens in the NASA headquarters that Mulder and Scully are at.
All of the budget must have gone to animating a former astronaut’s face that morphs into an alien’s face. It doesn’t even look that good. The astronaut, Mulder’s childhood hero, is the antagonist of this episode.
The astronaut overacts to things resulting in scenes that are more humorous than frightening.
There is some sort of spirit haunting the astronaut that I guess moves to a spacecraft currently on a mission. I’m not really sure how that works. It is just sort of tossed in there. Basically there is a spacecraft that needs to be guided back to Earth. It’s not interesting since you never get to see a good shot of the ship.
The episode in general is uninteresting. One thing that caught my attention aside from the use of stock footage is how cheesy the special effects in the image below look like. This was deemed worthy of showing on prime time?
“Ice” is probably the best episode of The X-Files that I have seen so far. It is filled with tense action right from the start. Unlike other episodes where the cold open sets up the appearance of some paranormal monster/force, “Ice” has two men standing off at gunpoint. It is not clear why they are fighting. Is it a heated argument or did something serious happen? One of the men looks badly injured. The scene ends with the two guys committing suicide with no reason as to why.
As soon as the opening credits finish, Mulder and Scully are watching footage of a team of scientists in Alaska which features the two men from the cold open. Something is wrong. One scientist sounds like he has gone crazy, but it is highly unlikely for that to happen. Mulder and Scully fly out to Alaska to investigate the case. Pretty much all of the episode takes place in the Alaskan outpost that they fly to. This was supposedly done for budget reasons, but with the pacing of the episode, it is something that I barely noticed (it just gave me less opportunities to find stuff in the background that I found mildly interesting).
Investigations show parasites moving around underneath a dog’s skin. Eventually the parasites move to a human body and the tenseness really starts to ramp up. There is fear that the parasites may have spread and it leads to a great standoff between Scully and Mulder. This is the first time that they have been at such a large disagreement.
There is a sense of peril in “Ice” that I have not felt in other episodes. This is mainly due to the fact that all of the characters are aware of the danger lurking because they can actually see it. The threat is real. That is not to say that the threats in other episodes have not been real, but they are built up in such a way that not every character is aware of them right away or at all.
I hope that there are plenty of more episodes that are as gripping as “Ice”.
“Ghost in the Machine” is the story of an artificial intelligence turned bad. It has been done before and there really is not anything new here. There is a certain novelty of seeing what people envisioned the future of computers would be like, so it at least has that going for it.
In the first minute of the episode a man is shown typing on a keyboard. If a camera is going to focus on a person’s hands typing, the actor should try and make the typing look realistic or at least use more than just the bottom row of keys when what he is typing quite clearly requires more than one row of keys.
Some technical jargon is used in this episode. I would really like to know what data travelers, electro wizards and techno anarchists are.
Another car in this series gets damaged again when a security gate falls on it. I’m surprised it didn’t cause more damage.
Mulder’s backstory is briefly explored by introducing one of his former partners. I don’t know if he is going to be brought back in future episodes, but Deep Throat from the second episode in the series made a return. This is the first time in the series that I have noticed explicit continuity between episodes.
In the end there are movies that are far better about artificial intelligence that can be watched instead of this episode of The X-Files.
When a mugging goes terribly wrong, Mulder and Scully set out to find why the muggers died in a mysterious way. Mulder suggests it was an act of psychokinesis.
There is a car crash in this episode that appears to be caused by psychokinesis. Car crashes are always exciting. It is also exciting when people find clues from seemingly nothing. Mulder somehow knows that breathing on his glasses will reveal finger prints. That is some Agent Dale Cooper-level work right there.
The climax of “Shadows” leaves a man’s office in complete chaos. Hundreds of papers are flying around and end up scattered on the floor. I like how Scully enters the office at the exact moment that everything returns back to normal. I don’t want to think about how annoying it must be to clean and reorganize everything. It isn’t anywhere near as bad as the scene in Ghostbusters where the library index cards go flying.
There isn’t much to “Shadows”. I’ll just end with a picture of a grave that I found mildly interesting, Graves’ grave.
“The Jersey Devil” goes back in time for the cold open. It features your typical 1940s/50s family happily singing Bingo in a car until a tire is blown. The father must be slow at changing a tire. The next time the children are seen, they are knocked out in the car. Personally, I would be a little more worried if I was in a car that needed a tire changed in the middle of the night. The father gets mysteriously dragged away. His dead body is later discovered with his leg missing. Who or what could have done this?
Scully walks in on Mulder “investigating” something in a magazine. Scully tells him about another body that has been found with limbs missing. Mulder has an idea as to what it might be. Scully guesses correctly. It is the work of an X-File.
I guess Mulder and Scully did not have permission to investigate this case as when they go to view the body in Atlantic City, they are politely told to leave. Supposedly it is a three hour drive back to Washington D.C.. They must have had an early start to their day as Scully is able to drive back in time for a birthday party at 6:30.
I think this is the first time there has been a glimpse into Scully’s life outside of work. Later in the episode she goes on a date. It doesn’t really go anywhere.
Meanwhile, Mulder stays in Atlantic City and pays a homeless man to give him information about the guy who was killed. The information sounds like an urban legend. Mulder spends the night in the streets to see if the homeless man is right. Mulder ends up finding himself in jail.
Mulder is released from jail and continues investigate the case. This is how he spends his free time. The clock on his wall is nice. You would think it would be a standard thing for clocks to have both the 12 and 24 hour times on it. If tape measures can fit inches and centimeters, a wall clock should have no problem with fitting a second set of numbers.
The creature is eventually found and leads into what is supposed to be a thrilling chase. Supposedly “The Jersey Devil” is what fans refer to as a “Monster-of-the-Week” episode. There is a monster, but not a particularly memorable one.
The cold open for “Conduit” must have taken some inspiration from Jurassic Park. There is a shot of a coffee mug with the coffee starting to shake. What is happening? Is a T. rex approaching? Is there an earthquake? There can only be one explanation. Aliens.
A person at the FBI headquarters tells Scully that she and Mulder are forbidden to investigate a case from a tabloid headline about a girl being abducted by aliens. Aside from being terrible evidence to go off of, apparently Mulder is personally invested in this case as his sister also mysteriously disappeared when he was a child. Scully tells the agent that she will talk to Mulder about it. I guess they must have gotten permission to investigate the case after all because after Scully talks to Mulder, it jumps to them exiting a car in Sioux City, Iowa.
Scully and Mulder come across a child that is handwriting binary code that he claims is coming from the TV. The NSA gets involved when it is discovered that the binary is a security risk. NSA agents ransack the kid’s room. Is it really necessary to go around knocking things off of shelves, destroying piggy banks and tearing off drawings that are hanging on the wall? The kid’s handwriting must be impeccable because later on in the episode, the code reveals a picture. I am impressed by the variance in shading of the multitude of 1’s and 0’s.
Most of the episode revolves around a girl that Mulder and Scully find at a library. It is interesting enough with the interrogations and searching of things. There is a white wolf that I thought would have more significance, but it was just a white wolf.
The highlight of the episode is at the end when Scully is listening to Mulder’s hypnosis session tapes. There is just something about the way the audio from the tape plays over the last seconds of footage and into the end credits that makes it feel that something big is coming.
This episode starts off with an unknown creature with human-like characteristics slipping out of an air vent and murdering a guy in an office. The murder is not what caught my attention during this scene. Moments before his death, the man is at his desk making a phone call and casually shakes a snow globe. This guy has a globe inside of his globe. I want a snow globe like that.
The rest of the episode revolves around finding a serial killer responsible for a string of recent murders. This killer removed livers from bodies with his bare hands. Could this be the work of Sub-Zero? Mulder thinks it’s…something else…an X-File.
Whatever it is, the killer is not human. Thanks to advance finger print analysis software, the killer’s finger prints, when stretched and manipulated with a couple of keystrokes, prove to be an exact match with those of an X-File. If only software in real life was as simple and easy to use as it is on TV.
While on the subject of computers, how many words per minute can Scully type? She is shown leisurely typing what appears to be a lengthy explanation of events (at least if her voiceover is supposed to correspond to what she is typing). It is so leisurely that it barely looks like her left hand is hitting any keys at all.
Anyways, the killer is actually creepy with his unsettling stares. “Squeeze” is a solid episode. By the end of the episode, I was just left with questions about the state of chimney safety in America.