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New Podcast! The X-Cast X-Files Podwatch – Episode #96 (Trust no 1/John Doe)

I’m thrilled to be a part of The X-Cast X-Files Podwatch, a daily snippet podcast rewatching the entirety of The X-Files between now and the launch of the new season. It is something of a spin-off of The X-Cast, a great X-Files podcast run by the charming Tony Black. Tony has assembled a fantastic array of guests and hosts to go through The X-Files episode-by-episodes. With the new season announced to be starting in early January, Tony’s doing two episodes of the podcast per day, so buckle up. And we’re in the final season of the original series.

My final collaboration with the wonderful Baz Greenland finds us discussing the highs and lows of the season, the mythology-heavy Trust no 1 and the Doggett-driven John Doe. No points for guessing which is the high and which is the low.

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The X-Files – Trust No 1 (Review)

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

Trust No 1 is an episode that is more relevant now than it was in January 2002. And not just because “trustno1” is still among the most popular (and least secure) internet passwords.

The core ideas of Trust No 1 are fascinating. In hindsight, it is impressive that the production team were able to produce something like Trust No 1 so quickly after the events of 9/11. The type of surveillance state depicted in Tust No 1 would turn out to be quite close to reality in the era of Edward Snowden and the scandal National Security Ageny. “They’re watching,” the words at the end of the title sequence tease, words which seem even more ominous over a decade after initial broadcast.

Circle the odd one out...

Circle the odd one out…

Unfortunately, while Trust No 1 seems to get more and more relevent with each passing year, the episode itself is a mess. As powerful and resonant as its central themes might be, Trust No 1 is very clearly the work of a production team with no idea of where the show is going or where they want to take it. All the worst excesses of the ninth season mythology are on display here, from the heartbreaking obsession with Mulder through to the marginalisation of Scully. The dialogue is overwrought and the climax is absurd. Trust No 1 simply doesn’t work.

And yet, despite all that, it exerts an odd power. It is a power muted by some of the creative decisions around it, and by some of the choices made in structuring the teleplay, but it is power nonetheless.

Night vision, deserves a quiet night...

Night vision, deserves a quiet night…

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