The X-Files #111: Force Majeure

"You remember a single deluge only, but there were many previous ones." - Plato
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Brad Dourif guest-stars as a crackpot who leads the Millennium Group on the trail of an army of clones readying for an apocalyptic planetary alignment.

REVIEW: The planets are aligning, and the Earth is visited by Biblical plagues, and cloned girls are committing suicide? Good thing the Millennium Group isn't sharing information with the FBI or Mulder would be all up in their faces! Well, there IS a Mulder figure here, a Millennium wannabe called Dennis Hoffman who once worked on one of the more esoteric cases and wants to be part of the gang very badly. The nature of this character, played by creep-master Brad Dourif may be a little more complicated than it first seems (see The Truth), but the body of this review will accept him simply as someone who believes in the coming Apocalypse and links it to planetary upheaval (something that was actually predicted at the time, but we're fine it seems; certainly fits the setting's constant downpours). He's helpful, if paranoid, and it's at least fun to see Peter Watts actively ignore him.

But I don't evoke Mulder for nothing. This is very much an X-Files episode, with paranormal elements (exploding lights in alignment with a self-immolating girl), science-fiction (clones; see "Eve"), and an unresolved situation which (I'm guessing) was never followed-up on. There lies my dissatisfaction with the episode, despite finding it intriguing and interesting all the way through. I mean, there's a certain electric feeling to seeing Brad Dourif in the same scene as his spiritual successor, Morgan Woodward, who was perfecting "crazy eyes" acting since 1966 (Dagger of the Mind, yo!). But the millionaire in the iron lung, assembling an army of super-fertile, over-achieving clones? That belongs in some other show. As does the whole Conspiracy element, or do you believe the boy-clone would actually show up driving the police bus?

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: Hoffman having a secret chat with the Man in the Iron Lung, then leaving with the clone girls, can be interpreted in more than one way. I believe the production is only trying to say that he's found other believers and has really lucked out because they're cute breeders. But he does share a family resemblance with the old man - or is the crazy eyes casting just fortuitous? - so I like to think he's an older cloning experiment, a copy of the old man himself who's finally found his way home after being forgotten. It would be a good way for the old man to survive into a new age.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - So give me O'Quinn and Pounder and Dourif, but when the investigation goes sideways into X-territory - I mean, is it ever REALLY explained why certain girls are committing suicide? - that's where you lose me. It's good, but it's not really a Millennium episode.


Jeremy Patrick said...

"I mean, is it ever REALLY explained why certain girls are committing suicide?"

This is where I think the X-Files and Millennium were really trying to figure out how integrate what we (today) call "Mytharc" episodes alongside stand-alone story telling. I've watched the X-Files and Millennium all the way through once (and Seasons 1 to 3 of X-Files twice), and I still don't know what the heck is going on some times. A lot of it frankly doesn't fit together at the end of the day. So I enjoy the shows, but don't spend a lot of time going through crazy theories trying to make everything coherent . . .

Siskoid said...

Nor will I, though I've set myself up to try and fail with the Truth section.


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