The X-Files #36: Aubrey

"I've often felt that dreams are answers to questions we haven't yet figured out how to ask."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: A woman has visions of murders committed 50 years ago, and identical crimes are being committed again.

REVIEW: Mulder and Scully track a killer across time - and DNA! - in this intriguing thriller that at first seems to be about psychic detective work, then turns out to be a dark take on genetic memory. Today, what the FBI agents seem to think is science fiction is more or less accepted truth - that we are indeed genetically predisposed to exhibit certain personality traits; it's not all "nurture" - but no one has yet been "possessed" by the genetic memories of their ancestors. It's a science-coded means of reincarnation, in a way, though the serial killer in the story isn't dead yet. But his sins live on in his progeny. What appear to be psychic visions are really memories, and the killer's grandchild sometimes goes "Fight Club" and "becomes" that killer. It's an interesting twist, and the production is full of quirky tidbits, from the empty pool where a victim is found to the idea that the reincarnated killer is pregnant, and the use of the World Fair's Perisphere.

Lost's Terry O'Quinn is in this as the woman's lover and the cop who coincidentally is trying to solve the serial murders. It's not as big a role as I was expecting, but O'Quinn's very presence gives it importance and charisma. Deborah Strang as Det. Morrow isn't your typical ingenue, but she manages to be at once a sympathetic victim, and a crazed, husky-voiced murderer. Morgan Woodward plays the original killer, and is just the right shade of creepy when he calls Scully "little sister", echoing the word he used to carve on his victims' chests.

Directorially, Rob Bowman does his usual good job, with blur-o-vision, interesting pans, violent POVs, a strong style for flashbacks, and flashes between past and present to create a connection between Mulder and the FBI agents Cokely had murdered 50 years before. The clues we get from the visions create a puzzle that's fun and immersive for the audience, without the script resorting to over-explaining things, and the ending is properly dark, but not unbearably so. Maybe it'll never be THE X-Files episode in anyone's mind, but a good mid-season one-off.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A minor classic, not to be overlooked.

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