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The X-Files – 3 (Review)

This August (and a little of September), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the second season of The X-Files. In November, we’ll be looking at the third season. And maybe more.

3 is the first absolute misfire from the second season of The X-Files.

It’s easy enough to account for the problems with 3. The production on the episode was a mess. It was the first episode produced without one of the show’s two lead characters. It existed to plug a hole in the schedule caused by factors outside the control of the production staff. Writers Glen Morgan and James Wong were working on both this and One Breath simultaneously. And it’s also a traditional monster story, which is something that The X-Files had struggled with and would struggle with again.

Vamping it up...

Vamping it up…

To be fair, 3 does what it says on the tin. It is the episode between Ascension and One Breath, a forty-five minute breather that fills a broadcast slot and allows the show to continue on while Gillian Anderson takes maternity leave. The fact that there was only one slot to fill without Anderson is a testament to both the production team’s organisational skill and Anderson’s work ethic. Really, all that 3 needs to do is exist.

Even with that in mind, 3 still feels like a disappointment. Given how Anderson’s pregnancy managed to spur the production team to create a compelling long-form story for the show, culminating in stories like Duane Barry and One Breath, it’s disappointing that her absence doesn’t inspire the same creativity. Seeing The X-Files without Scully should be the opportunity for a fascinating adventure or insightful character study; it could play with audience expectations or the show’s rigid format. Instead, the result is just a mess.

"All by myself..."

“All by myself…”

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