The X-Files (S1.Ep21) – “Tooms”

Series 1 – Episode 21 – Tooms ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Jerrold Freedman | Stars: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Brian Markinson, Mimi Lieber

Eugene Victor Tooms from “Squeeze” is back for a classic X-File episode which is also the Diest sequel in the series. I remember when this used to be sold as a double-bill on a VHS tape… (cue nostalgic music). It’s the episode where the Cigarette Smoking Man speaks for the first time (“can he actually act” they were apparently wondering in the production) but it also serves as an introduction to Mitch Pileggi’s Walter Skinner. Pileggi is not really a great actor to be honest (throughout the entire series he’ll only have 1 or 2 expressions), but his character will become not just an integral part of the series, but also more and more fun as we move through the seasons.Doug Hutchinson in the role of Tooms is even better this time around (by the way, do you remember him in the “Green Mile”?)

We may have lost some of the mystery surrounding his character (and some of the creepy factor too), but his presence still makes you very uneasy. There are some lovely character moments between Mulder and Scully too here: during their stake out in the car for example, Scully calls him by name. This is consider as a key moment a key for their relationship. Another great moment later on in the FBI office where she defends him in front of her superior shows her investment in the X-Files but also her affection for him.

Love this episode.

The X-Files (S1.Ep20) – “Darkness Falls”

The X-Files (Series 1 – Episode 20) – “Darkness Falls” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director:Joe Napolitano Writer: Chris Carte Cast: David DuchovnyGillian AndersonJason Beghe

This was another of those “Bottle episodes” which are usually restricted to one location to save money spent on the other episodes. Just like it happened in “Ice”, the constraints somehow help making this one of the strong ones (though apparently filming this was a bit of a nightmare because of weather conditions, in fact if you pay attention the weather/rain continuity is all over the place). The sense of dread and suspense created while Mulder and Scully anxiously wait for the day to arrive hoping the generator will last long enough to supply list for them because “they come at night” is a fairly basic plot line but it’s very effective. I quite like the downbeat ending too, though after all that build up, it all seemed to happen a bit too fast. One of those times where I wished the episodes were a bit longer than those 46 minutes.

The X-Files (S1.Ep19) – “Shapes”

The X-Files Season 1 – Episode 19 – “Shapes”

Director: David Nutter Writers: Chris CarterMarilyn Osborn Cast: David DuchovnyGillian AndersonTy Miller 

A bit of a derivative episode, with a rather bland lycanthropy storyline which we might have heard so many times before, but eventually it is all saved by some pretty good direction (the ever reliable David Nutter), some of the best lighting in the whole first season (John S, Bartley who shot 64 episodes in all) which created a very tense atmosphere and a solid cast (including the sheriff played Michael Horse, once again another one from Twin Peaks). The score in this one was particularly unmemorable and actually quite bad (few annoying synthetized strings here and there, with no real theme or emotion). Scully and Mulder are both slightly sidetracked (Scully is particularly annoying with her skepticism even the the truth is right in front of her eyes) to give a bit more space to the secondary characters.

The episode is very short on surprises or anything of importance or relevance for the rest of the series.

The X-Files (S1.Ep18) – “Miracle Man”

The X-Files Season 1 – Episode 18 – “Miracle Man”

Director: Michael Lange Writers: Chris CarterHoward GordonChris Carter Cast: David DuchovnyGillian AndersonR.D. Call

Miracle man is one of those middling well-crafted episode which doesn’t advance the main story in any way, but it adds some emotional context to Mulder’s personal history and specifically about the overarching search for the truth regarding his sister’s abduction. Some good acting along the way, especially from the “miracle man” from the title (or rather miracle kid) and a nice little twist at the end regarding the identity of the murderer is rather unexpected. ). Other than that this feels more like a standard twilight zone episodes with a murder mystery twist mixed into it.

A clear example of the X-Files creator still not quite realising what they had on their hands and wasting a perfectly good opportunity. The religion-themed plot would be used to much greater effect in the later season focussing more on Scully battling her skepticism versus her faith. Oh… and by the way, this is where Scully reveals that one of her favourite movies is the Exorcist. haha… Another reason to like her more. 😉

The X-Files (S1.Ep17) – “E.B.E.”

The X-Files Season 1 – Episode 17 – “E.B.E.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: William A. Graham. Writers:  Chris CarterGlen MorganJames Wong. Cast: David DuchovnyGillian AndersonJerry Hardin 

This is an example of why the X-Files became so big: this is government conspiracy at its best: phone tapping, UFO sightings, secret informants, red herrings and dead ends. “Fallen angel” had givens us a taste and glimpse of all that, but here it feels like Mulder and Scully are getting closer to the truth (isn’t it fun to hear Scully actually saying “the Truth is out there”?). This is when the plot thickened.It gave us just enough to be intriguing and to feel like we were almost catching up with the secrets, while at the same time, adding a few more questions. This is what the X-Files is all about until it probably imploded over the later seasons with its over-convoluted machinations with way too many questions and very few answers.This is also the episodes that introduced us to the “Lone Gunmen”, the trio of weirdos which will become not just a recurrent feature on the X-Files but they will all start a spin-off series of their own (which I have never actually seen, and apparently I wasn’t alone at missing it). The episode is really intriguing, even if now I know what’s behind. There’s a tense sense of paranoia that builds up throughout, reminiscent of great classics like Coppola’s “The conversation”. I loved the detail of Scully’s bag, which she leaves standing before making a cup of coffee and she finds laying on the table on her way back. We as the audience notice the difference, but she doesn’t. Brilliant. It’s great to see her starting to believe a little bit more too. A really strong and essential episode.

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