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The X-Files – Release (Review)

This December, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the ninth season of The X-Files.

Release is a breath of fresh air.

There are problems with the episode, serious problems. The plotting is incredibly loose, with Release relying upon a series of incredible contrivances even once you get past the supernaturally-gifted crime-solver who only joined the FBI so he could solve a murder that happens to connect back to Luke Doggett. At best, Release is clumsy and inelegant. At worst, it makes absolutely no sense. More than that, there is the question of whether or not the episode is actually necessary. Does The X-Files actually need to resolve the murder of Luke Doggett?

Picture perfect...

Picture perfect…

These are fairly sizable and fundamental problems. There is no getting around them. However, Release offsets those problems by being a spectacularly-produced piece of television. Everything works, from Robert Patrick’s performance to Mark Snow’s piano-heavy score to Kim Manner’s stylised direction. Release is a reminder of just how sleek and well-oiled The X-Files could be. That is quite a relief after the triple whammy of Scary Monsters, Jump the Shark and William. Release is a good episode on its own terms; in context, it is a masterpiece.

It also helps that Release feels like the first attempt to give the show actual material closure since Improbable. That closure is thematic rather than literal, with the mystery of Luke Doggett’s death serving as a vehicle through which the show might finally resolve some of its own lingering threads. In the case of Release, the show is tidying away the strands that have been woven into the fabric of The X-Files from the beginning; strands that paid homage to Silence of the Lambs and gave birth to Millennium. Release bids farewell to the forensic side of The X-Files.

The old man and the sea...

The old man and the sea…

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Robbin’ the Hood: Give The People What They Want…

I’ve been thinking (dangerous, I know). Specifically about Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. I’m going to be honest with you, I was more than a little surprised at the way the film was put together. The film is, to borrow from the parlance of the times, an “origin” story. It’s about Robin, but before he was Robin. There is a single robbery over the entire course of the film, and it doesn’t really amount to much – it’s hardly the stuff of infamy. Instead, Robin is off doing battle with the French in a very manly, water-logged fashion. I tried to judge the film on its own merits (and I think my review is fair), but I’ve found myself thinking over the same question a lot since I saw it: Aren’t a lot of people going to be disappointed that there’s essentially little-to-none of the conventional tropes of a Robin Hood movie present?

Bringing the Hurt...

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