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The X-Files – Mind’s Eye (Review)

This May and June, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fifth season of The X-Files and the second season of Millennium.

Likely as a result of the peculiar factors around its production, the fifth season of The X-Files is a rather strange cocktail.

There are only twenty episodes in the season. Seven of those are mythology episodes – Redux I, Redux II, Christmas Carol, Emily, Patient X, The Red and the Black, The End. The rest of the season devotes considerable space to experimentation and adventurous storytelling. Episodes like Unusual Suspects and Travelers take the focus off Mulder and Scully. Shows like The Post-Modern Prometheus and Bad Blood are experimental in their storytelling. Episodes like Chinga and The Pine Bluff Variant focus almost exclusively on one or other of the leading duo.

Locked out...

Locked out…

Even the remainder are not what might be described as typical “monster of the week” stories. Both Detour and Folie a Deux focus on the relationship between Mulder and Scully as much as the monster at the heart of the story. Kill Switch is an episode written by a special guest writing team, one that defines itself by how odd it feels. All Souls is a meditation on Scully’s faith. The fifth season doesn’t really have a lot of room left for the classic episodic no-frills-attached “monster of the week” stories.

Which is part of what makes Mind’s Eye so fascinating. In any other season, Mind’s Eye would stand as a pretty solid example of the form – a pretty solid “this is what The X-Files does” episode of television like Pusher or Leonard Betts before it. However, the fifth season is so strange and weird in structure and form that Mind’s Eye stands out all the more. The best of the season’s straight-down-the-middle standalone stories, Mind’s Eye throws the rest of the season into contrast. It demonstrates just how odd the fifth season actually is.

A bloody disaster...

A bloody disaster…

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