The X-Files #34: Red Museum

"They who slaughter the flesh, slaughter their own souls."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Who's been kidnapping teens? A strange vegetarian cult? Or government scientists?

REVIEW: Red Museum has a number of interesting ideas, but uses most of them as red herrings. So there's this cult, see, and its members are militant vegetarians who wear red turbans and claim to be "walk-ins" (souls that are possessing human bodies). But it's not about that and they turn out to be rather harmless. And there are kids found in the woods, nearly catatonic, having visions of being inhabited by animal spirits, creepy crows and bugs and stuff. But no, it's not really about animal possession; those are just hallucinations. So there's this creepy peeping Tom who lives inside the walls of various houses and films the teens affected by what's happening. And yes, he did kidnap them and put them on their walkabout, but that just seems to be a diversion from what's really going on. So we're left with a government conspiracy to put alien DNA in cow milk and meat in the area, something that makes them more violent, and which connects to last season's finale. And that's a good thing to be left with, except it doesn't serve the rest of the episode very well.

It's all KIND OF connected - the Church of the Red Museum is some kind of milk-free control group, and so on - but once Scully realizes the assassin skulking around town is the same who killed Deep Throat, everything else seems to fall away. We concentrate exclusively on the Conspiracy with a capital C, and forget what Red Museum was trying to do. But then, what WAS it trying to do? Make us jump from red herring to red herring until it could lead us to this revelation? Looks like it. And even once that plot kicks in, off Mulder goes to the meat packing plant we saw in the teaser (for slim body horror and not much more) which is about to be torched by the assassin. Is he going to go into restaurants and people's houses to destroy their meat products as well? Because the evidence is all over the place, dude. And of course, the assassin is killed and can't be interrogated. Dead ends 101.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: So WAS the Church of the Red Museum a control group? And if so, how did the government insure its existence? Is its leader, Richard Odin, in on it? He sure doesn't like Johnny Law to walk into his house. Looks like a person trained to stonewall curious parties. Does he believe in his religion, or is it all a hoax to create a population that won't eat meat? As a control group, it's not the best, mind you. The people who eat alien-cow hybrid meat are more violent, sure, but the cult's innate pacifism and transcendentalism could be just as good a reason for the difference as the absence of Skrull steak (that reference is for Fantastic Four fans) in their diet.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Muddled. It could have done something with any of its constituent parts, but fails to make them all work in the same story.



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