• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

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…

Continue reading

The X-Files – Nisei (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.

The most interesting aspect of Nisei and 731 is the fact that there’s very little forward movement by the end of it.

The previous multi-part conspiracy episodes typically featured big hooks and shock revelations. Duane Barry and Ascension demonstrated that the government was officially responsible for alien abductions, to the point where they could arrange Scully’s abduction. Colony and End Game featured shape-shifting aliens and confirmation that Samantha Mulder was a big part of this. Anasazi, The Blessing Way and Paper Clip revealed that Mulder’s father was part of a conspiracy involving Second World War criminals working on American soil to create an alien-human hybrid.

The only way its getting off this planet is in a bodybag...

The only way its getting off this planet is in a bodybag…

Nisei and 731 don’t contain any truly seismic revelations. The biggest moments here – the reveal that Japanese war criminals have been experimenting on Americans with the assistance of the government, and that the bodies in the box car in Anasazi were probably originally human – all build on what Paper Clip already established. There’s nothing as significant as the reveal of the Bill Mulder’s complicity in the conspiracy from Paper Clip, or the first appearance of the Black Oil in Piper Maru.

Nisei and 731 really seem to be about taking stock of what has happened so far in the show – as close to a “breather” mythology episode as the show could manage at this point. Of course, this being The X-Files, this “breather” episode still moves a break-neck pace and climaxes with a death-defying leap on to a moving train. As you do.

The doctors are in...

The doctors are in…

Continue reading