The X-Files #109: Weeds

"But know ye for certain... Ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city..." - Jeremiah 26:13
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Someone is kidnapping and torturing teens in a gated community.

REVIEW: Gated communities are one of the signs of the Apocalypse - the "rich enough" trying to protect themselves from the threat posed by the poor, instead of taking responsibility for the capitalist system that created the problems associated with class inequality - and that's what the episode is really about. Let's not mince words. That CCH Pounder's pathologist Cheryl Andrews gets stopped twice on the way to see Frank is a wink at the fact that this particular community is homogeneously white, and the citizens' attitude that crime can't "happen here", as toxic a form of racism and classism as any. The criminal will turn out to be a member of the community who needs to expose this hypocrisy by forcing the men around him to confess their sins (anything from adultery to a hit and run). It's a bitter irony that he's fueled by his "gated community" ideals. What made him move to an isolated, high-security suburb is the same thing that's making him "purify" the community. He doesn't see himself as one of the sinners - his modus operandi is Messianic - though he surely is the worst of them. What we have here is a community so focused on protecting itself from the outside, it never realized the threat might come from THEM. The indictment here is that isolation and tribalism are symptoms of our mistrust of society, which can't possibly be a virtue.

That's the theme the show has been pursuing all along, of course. Evil comes from within, not from without. Frank is always holding it at bay in his own mind, but lesser men succumb and become monsters. Only a short scene in the Yellow House this time around, but we've never seen Frank so jumpy. He has the feeling he was followed, and indeed he was. The nosy neighbor - a symbol of the outsider who would really like to be invited in, so what does that say about Frank's "gated family"? - delivers the killer's message, left at his door. Frank's methods are in sharp focus; he deliberately paints himself as the killer's nemesis, and the messages start coming to him rather than the terrified families.

I'm not entirely sold on the idea that the killer sees people as the living dead, nor that Frank can share in that vision. Their (social?) decay is what prompts it, I suppose, and his quest to cleanse them. His methods are a little out of focus, because he wants something from the parent, but purifies the child. Thematically, it works. The teens he grabs are apathetic youths who don't obey (or in the biblical sense, "honor") their parents, who are, in one way, refusing to participate in the community that's been created for their protection. It's that game of outsider/insider playing out. It's just not sensible when he claims to have cared for the boys he tortured when the script really means for them to be legitimate targets as well. The investigation throws enough twists at the viewer to create several credible suspects, and the protectionist community is rife with people ready to take it to the next level. The fathers' vigilantism, and the resulting near-tragedy, are an example of taking things too far, and the killer's actions is merely an extreme of the same idea.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Thematically rich, but I'm not convinced the killer's actions are truly grounded psychologically.

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