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.


Dale Bagwell 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...

Dale Bagwell 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.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine