The X-Files #90: Unrequited

"It is our duty to remember them."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: An invisible P.O.W. is killing generals responsible for a cover-up.

REVIEW: The invisible soldier taking revenge seems to be a seasonal thing with the X-Files. This time, he's not a ghost or projection, but a man who can create a floater in your eyeball that turns him into a blind spot. The science is doubtful, the explanation even more so (that he might have learned the trick from particularly stealthy V.C. in Vietnam), but it's an interesting idea, and it makes a woman cry bloody tears, providing the "oh, ick" moment of the episode. It makes this guy, Teager, an excellent assassin who can get in and out of places easily. It creates some fun and mysterious moments. Of course, since he can't affect electronic equipment, the real answer was looking at him through the filter of a camera. The heroes don't think of it, and maybe it wasn't all that possible in 1996. "Guessing" where he is'll have to do.

The red herring in this thing is the survivalist who sprung Teager from a P.O.W. camp (hey, if the government won't get our boys back 25 years after the fact...), a would-be terrorist protected by dogs and guns. We spend a lot of time on him, but then this was likely an underwritten episode. Everything we saw in the teaser we see again in the body of the episode, and though it creates some mystery as to what's happening, it might just be an editing trick to pad out the episode. The post-opener murder in the car is just as mysterious a moment and seems to work like a teaser would. The shift in time is a little clunky, and doesn't get you much more on the second run-through, except to make Teager connect with an old army buddy and give him the info on the cover-up, an element that is then promptly forgotten. Forgotten is exactly what Teager doesn't want to be, and I guess that's the theme behind his invisibility, but that feels rather trite to me.

Intriguingly, this all connects to the greater Conspiracy somehow, and the Secret Masters are apparently happy to let the generals who signed off on leaving soldiers behind die at Teager's hands, even though they were content with letting them live with the secret for 25 years. But as it's all about to come out thanks to Teager and possibly others, better to have them silenced by whatever means. Teager wants to expose the plot, but he's actually working at cross-purposes with himself by following the path of revenge. I guess the Conspiracy will have to kill at least ONE general, since our favorite FBI members were on the scene to stop his assassination. You'd think that was work for the Secret Service, not the FBI, but what do I know? Letting them act as protection detail serves another purpose for the Secret Masters anyway - it makes the X-Files crew wave guns at a crowd and if Teager had not been discovered, would have discredited them fully. So maybe they had a hand in it.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: We know the Syndicate is working behind the scenes because Marita provides the crucial clue. Any doubt in your minds that Teager survived and is being examined so they can create invisible super-soldiers?

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - The material feels familiar and is a little padded, but  it's a perfectly watchable one-off "revenge from beyond the grave" episode thanks to Teager's freaky powers.


Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

Definitely becoming more and more interested in these reviews the more I keep reading them.
The whole invisible POW thing certainly sounds like a cool idea for a story. Hell, it practically screams for a comic book adaptation, like for a street-level hero story, like Daredevil, Moon Kight, and/or Batman.

Siskoid said...

I'm curious. How does that cumulative effect work? Are the episodes getting more interesting in context with a larger and larger universe/corpus? Am I just getting a better handle on the material? Are you not an X-Phile, and had to be seduced with humor and analytical thought?

But yeah, where's our Phantom Assassin series? ;)

American Hawkman said...

The fact that Marvel has the name Phantom Bullet just begging for a legacy combined with this concept means I'm going to have to go start a Marvel campaign again...

Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

I watched the X-Files back in the day, but I wasn't what you'd call a major, major fan.
It defintiely was a unique show for a unique time/era back then, that's for sure. And as you've mentioned elsewhere, a good number of these plots may not have been approved in today's more PG-minded atmosphere.
In answer to your query, both. Definitely both. The way you write the reviews is direct and to the point, but with enough personal commentary to cause one to ponder the points you raise.
Solid stuff here.

Siskoid said...

Well, I'm glad you're enjoying it!

The real test for readers will be when I start shifting between X-Files and Millennium, and that's coming very soon.


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