The X-Files #107: Wide Open

"His children are far from safety; They shall be crushed at the gate Without a rescuer." - Job 5:4
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: A killer uses open house realtor visits to stage his crimes.

REVIEW: An episode that will have you wondering just how safe YOUR family is, and that's exactly what the killer wants you to do. Selling your home? Dangerous. Demonstrating your alarm system. Dangerous. Crossing guards? Just who exactly has access to your kids?! And in the world going to hell presented in Millennium, it doesn't stop there. The killer just wants everyone to know the system will fail them, just as it failed him. His aim is to continue the cycle of violence by making another child relive violent events, just as he has. It's an effective mystery, with a "mastermind" type who wants to come as close to possible to being caught, staying just ahead of the cops. And it's a race to use or not use the testimony of a young girl who suffered through a vicious attack on her parents, which left them dead.

That's Catherine's hook. They've once again found a plot that uses all the Blacks - even Jordan, as would-be friend to the little girl - pitting Catherine and Frank on opposite sides, though only Bletch is ever really pushing for the girl's testimony over Catherine's objections. She's on the side of the victim, not on the side of justice. But as soon as Frank pushes for it too, he realizes that's exactly what the killer wants. Though the show presents Evil with a capital "E" on a weekly basis (daily for me, which I'm not sure is the best thing for my mental health, though it hasn't yet drained me the way shotgunning Battlestar Galactica and Six Feet Under once have), its idea of Good is a gray zone at best. Justice cannot be gotten at all costs, because using the child is a victory for the killer, but if he isn't caught, he keeps killing so... What do you choose. Even Bletch's drive from justice isn't necessarily blind, as when he momentarily forgets the number of the paramedics when the killer is injured and bleeding out. Did Frank almost forget the number too? Do we blame either of them?

That's the third episode in a row now that involves Evil entering a suburban house much like Frank's (in the previous episode, that evil lived there), exploring further the theme of home invasion set up in the pilot, and broached in some way or other almost every episode since. Is this foreshadowing? Will Frank's yellow house be the next to fall? If Jordan Black's every appearance doesn't make you feel a touch of dread...

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - A perfectly good mystery, which gives Frank and Catherine something to do. Feels a little rushed at the end, but nothing really wrong with it.



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