The X-Files #93: Synchrony

"Mulder, this is a photograph. It is a documented moment in time." "In a future that somebody's trying like hell to prevent from happening."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: A man travels back in time to prevent his future from happening, using a fast-freeze compound.

REVIEW: You know how I love time travel stories, but geez guys, if you're doing one, time travel has to be the STAR! Here, it's a justification for the actual plot device, a super-freeze chemical that's used in a series of murders. Oh sure, there's plenty of talk of time travel and its ramifications, but the nature of the terrible future the older Jason comes from is so VAGUE, there's no way to understand what the stakes ARE. It's annoying, and robs the final "last scare"moment of its power. At least the "killer from the future" is properly tortured as he does away with his friends, or is forced to live through difficult moments over again. But a strong performance from the lead antagonist isn't enough to erase (ha ha) the clunky plot. I mean, this is an episode where Mulder watches two men burn to death while holding the fire extinguisher he just used to bust the obstruction between them and himself.

If the writers don't quite have a handle on time travel - the characters act like history is unchangeable even though they have a picture that clearly comes from an impossible future - they at least do a good job with the "weird murder" investigation. The clues are bizarre but consequent, and though Mulder leaps to conclusions as usual, he can at least point to the chain of evidence that led him to it, such as it is. I'm sure the science is ghastly, but the freezing agent causing spontaneous combustion under the stress of resuscitation is a cool ker-pow moment. And Scully is able to use her experience to bring back the girl who may or may not cause time travel to become possible (but again, crazy science). Hopefully being told about the future is enough for her to leave well enough alone and this episode won't have happened. In fact, since Jason committed time suicide, I'm sure it's already been erased from canon.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Not a terrible mad science murder mystery, but a pretty half-assed time travel story. Writers, not just scientists, messing with what they don't understand.

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