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The X-Files – Medusa (Review)

This October/November, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the eighth season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of The Lone Gunmen.

Medusa is an odd episode of the eighth season, precisely because of its normality.

Medusa was produced directly before This is Not Happening, the episode that marked the return of David Duchovny to the show as a regular; he would remain a regular for the rest of the season. When it came to the broadcast order of the season, the episodes were shuffled around slightly. Medusa aired directly before Per Manum, an episode which featured an appearance by David Duchovny in flashback. Whether the season is watched in broadcast or production order, David Duchovny’s name appears in the opening credits from the next episode until the end of the season.

"I want to take his face... off."

“I want to take his face… off.”

Medusa marks the end of the short-lived “Scully and Doggett era” of The X-Files. This is the last point in the eighth season (and also the last point ever) that Doggett and Scully have a show to themselves. The ninth season introduces the characters of Monica Reyes and Walter Skinner to the opening credits. Of course, it is interesting to wonder whether there ever really was a “Scully and Doggett era.” Certainly, the eighth season took its time to let Scully and Doggett get comfortable with one another between Within and Via Negativa.

This puts Medusa in the very strange position of having to close out an “era” of the show that essentially spanned four episodes: Surekill, Salvage, Badlaa and Medusa. This is the eighth season’s last example of “business as usual”, which seems all the more unusual that business has only recent approached something resembling normality.

He's practically just skin and bones...

He’s practically just skin and bones…

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The X-Files – 731 (Review)

This November (and a little of December), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the third season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of Space: Above and Beyond.

731 is a lot more substantial than Nisei.

This is most likely due to the episode’s production history. Frank Spotnitz had pitched the episode that would become 731 as a single standalone episode, but the production team discovered that the show was too large to fill a single forty-five minute block. So the show was extended into a two-parter. Given that Spotnitz was the credited writer on 731, it would seem that the second part retained most of the substance.

It's in the eye of the beholder...

It’s in the eye of the beholder…

This makes a great deal of sense, given that the two-parter eschews the stand format of a two-part X-Files episodes, featuring a frantic run-around in the first forty-five minutes and a tighter more intimate story in the second. Coupled with the fact that the episode is more about working through what we already know instead of heaping more information on top, and the two-parter seems a lot more substantial than most of the series’ big mythology shows.

Thoughtful, introspective, and unnerving, 731 is perhaps the highpoint of the show’s entire nine-season conspiracy arc.

Where the bodies are buried...

Where the bodies are buried…

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Non-Review Review: Transsiberian

This is another one of those movies that didn’t seem to make it to cinemas and instead found its way into Dad’s hands in extra vision (I blame the fantastic cast for that). It’s a story of lust, murder, drugs and Matryoshka dolls aboard the titular railway line. I wish I could make some sort of pun about the movie building momentum like a runaway freight train, but it doesn’t. It meanders and it wanders, never really going anywhere.



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