The X-Files #113: Sacrament

"He said to me in a dreadful voice that I had indeed escaped his clutches, but he would capture me still." - St. Teresa of Avila
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Frank's sister-in-law is kidnapped, and Frank breaks all the rules to get her back.

REVIEW: Frank's house is still safe, but his extended family isn't. His brother Tom comes to town for his son's baptism and his wife Helen is kidnapped and tortured by a family of psychos. It's hard to believe she would have been targeted by chance, not the way it happens, so one must assume Frank has an enemy out there, pulling the strings, someone unscrupulous enough to actually use serial killers. The season's finish line is in sight. The mystery itself is fine. It seems to show its hand a bit early, in a creepy visit to the hardware store, but the killer's hellish visions are cool and there is a twist coming as the the identity of his particular "devil" (though telegraphed in the conversation between the Black brothers about how Frank once took the heat for his brother).

It's personal this time, a little too personal, and Frank is told to back off if the police are ever to get a conviction. But Frank is focusing on a rescue before Helen turns up dead and his new godson is made an orphan. Even Watts goes off-book for this one. These men owe each other. To Bletch's credit, the police were getting the same results without the Millennium Group's help - which at the very least shows they are competent in their own right and don't always need to be bailed out. Frank and co. aren't useless (they help us understand what the villains are all about), but the police are still the ones who get the arrest and keep Helen from being horribly killed. Vedek Bareil Tom Black creates additional problems, of course, his imagination making him miserable, a sort of mundane mirror of Frank's visions.

Ultimately, though the search is for a sister-in-law, this is about the parent-child relationship. A monster spawns another monster, on the one hand, and on the other, Jordan is once again exhibiting signs that she has her father's empathic powers. She innately knows her aunt is being hurt, and that her kidnapper is angry. She gets another mystery fever, and perhaps not coincidentally, the kidnapper has visions of burning in Hell. When it comes to her, these abilities definitely seem paranormal. Tom seems free of these powers, nor does he appear to be the kind of person who could handle them, so his son is probably clear of them too. But look at Frank's face when he holds the baby at the baptism. There's something about innocence that brings out the best in him, and I think these moments are necessary to give the rest meaning.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - While it seems important to the meta-arc, it's still a little ordinary as far as crime mysteries go, mostly because the story keeps shifting between it and the family drama.



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