The X-Files #96: Elegy

"She is me."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: The case of an autistic man who has visions of recently dead murder victims.

What's good about Elegy - what's even great about it - is Scully dealing with her cancer diagnosis. Her death looms large in this one, thanks to a "death omen" plot, and Gillian Anderson shows how good a "reactor" she is, just letting things play out on her face. The scene I chiefly love is the one with her therapist where she seems to hear the questions for the first time. It doesn't feel scripted. The scene could easily have been cheap character development exposition but for this honesty in the acting. For once, Scully has seen something supernatural dead on (if you'll excuse the pun), and she's doubting her own sanity. Did it really happen - which would upend her world view - or is it the tumor talking? The final scene is a close-up of her despair, heart-breaking.

As for the rest, well, it's writer John Shiban trying to do a Vince Gilligan plot, in which serial murders are solved thanks to supernatural clues. But while it has its moments, the real killer comes out of nowhere with the flimsiest of justifications, the dead girls' enigmatic mantra "She is me" is never properly explained, and Scully more or less stumbles on the murderer - there's not a whole lot of detective work involved. Instead, the focus is all on the red herring, an autistic(?) man who has some attachment to the dead women (again, not fully explored) and who is being poisoned by the killer (uhm...?). It's also an episode where Mulder discounts the possibility of ghosts in favor of going through a bunch of names he found in D&D's Monster Manuals. I think the bowling alley location brings some comedy to the proceedings, and the death omens are an interesting suspense-driving device, but the plot doesn't really work.

Cancerman is taking his time curing Scully. According to the powers she has here, she's still technically "dying", so not in any kind of remission.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Scully's key moments hit the "High" for me, but Elegy is otherwise a fairly standard X-Files episode, with a good mystery, but a terrible solution.



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