The X-Files #89: Kaddish

"They were just... words."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: A murdered Hasidic Jew comes back to life as a vengeful golem.

While The X-Files doesn't do "folklore" stories very well, I really do like this one. The direction is moody (if at times underlit), the music is pretty and emotional, the acting from the guest actors is strong. Of course, its idea of what a golem is is completely off-track, but the story is internally consistent, if not in line with the actual legends. Normally (if such a word applies), a golem would be an animated clay avenger/protector with the Word of God written on its body. Some of that is here, of course, but the clay figure is linked to a dead man whose will seems to be animating the creature, and whose form, though kind of dirty, turns into human flesh. It might as well be a zombie.

But then it's a corrupted golem, not made out of a sense of vengeance, but with love. Maybe that accounts for the discrepancy. The grieving fiancée did it (spoiler), but though the creature seems drawn to her, it can't help but take righteous revenge on the anti-Semitic group that caused his likeness' death. That's its nature. Ariel's attempt at changing that fails, though her tale at once mirrors the legend as recounted here (the creator destroys the creation in the end), it also serves as a tragic love story that transcends the grave. Would have liked to see a real golem story, but this'll do.

The regulars are quite good in it too. Scully chooses this case because she thinks it's an obvious hoax she hopes to debunk. We've talked about the paradigm shift that's occurring before, with Scully given more equal duties. We're almost there. She brings a case to the X-Files, but Mulder still turns out to be right about the supernatural. And Mulder's smug grin while staring down anti-Semites and former Jewish terrorists alike is pretty great. He loves bringing up religious hypocrisy, taunting his suspects, and doing so with a modicum of words. Now if only they'd been able to accomplish something here instead of following the clues and witnessing weirdness. I mean, even the body's exhumation was done for them!

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - A well-told stand-alone tale, I just wish it had been more faithful to the actual golem legends, because it's a concept I find fascinating.



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