"When a snake eats a fly, it's not murder. It just is."
REVIEW: The show deserves some credit for waiting more than 30 episodes before trotting out vampires - despite some vampiric red herrings (in Eve, for example) - and then for giving us its own take on vampires (blood bread? eww!). And vampires make sense at this particular juncture because 1) the X-Files have just been reopened and are "rising from the dead", and 2) an "unholy trinity" spits in the face of the missing Scully's faith. While we might expect Mulder to obsess over her kidnapping above all else, this surely rankles with him, and makes him go after them. And notably, he's doing it with Scully's approach, saying he dismissed(!) the possibility of the vampire myth being real. In Scully's absence, Mulder must take on her traits; it's become part of his process.
Confusing the issue is the character of Kristen Kilar (looks but doesn't sound like "killer" - these vamps are, in fact, very interested in puns) which ISN'T one of the trinity, but looks like the woman in the group. She doesn't have their powers, but does share elements of their psychosis, drinking blood as a fetish born of childhood trauma. Mulder believes them to be serial killers with Satanic leanings and a poor grasp of Scripture, but not the real thing. At least, until the "Son" burns up in sunlight and later turns up alive and well. The audience can't be sure Kristen isn't one of them, and using vampiric mesmerism to enthrall Mulder - the episode plays with out expectations, knowing we've seen/read vampire fiction before - and creates some suspense during a shaving scene, for example, but no, she's clean. A victim, not a monster. But ultimately, not a damsel in distress, no matter how tortured she is. She's the agent of the trinity's destruction, at the cost of her own life, and possibly, her own soul.
Apparently, this is one of the most hated episodes of the X-Files ever. I can't agree. From what I've read, people hate that Scully's not in it, and that Mulder sleeps with Kristen. Putting aside the 'shipping concerns involved (because they don't matter, the characters' relationship was deep but platonic), these actions track. He's a damaged and incomplete individual attracted to another. She's a believer and he sees himself in her. And while I've been disappointed with episodes that have, per force, limited Scully's role, an episode where she is absent (except as a figurative ghost) makes for fascinating viewing. Not because it's the X-Files as they might have been before her arrival, but rather because of how much she has changed him over the course of a year. And it's got good direction, playing on the color red quite a bit (red wine, that unusual image of red crop dust, reddish skies, red lighting, raspberry sauce...); Mulder and Perrey Reeves' femme fatale have chemistry; and there are moments of black comedy (I especially like the deadpan coroner who finds Mulder's comments upsetting).
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Some details could be a little clearer, but I liked it a lot despite not being a vampire fan.