The X-Files #114: Covenant

"Thou dost frighten me with dreams and terrify me by visions." - Job 7:14
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Frank goes to Utah to work up a profile for a death penalty case and finds the truth behind a family's grisly murders.

REVIEW: Another new and interesting hook for Frank to get involved in a case - he's called as an expert to profile a convicted murderer who's now facing the death penalty. The D.A. hopes the profile will put the jury over the top at sentencing, because like almost everyone in the community, they want this guy to fry (metaphorically, Utah uses a firing squad). So obviously, Frank is going to find something that puts him at odds with the D.A. There wouldn't be a show if he didn't, right? At the very least, his profile won't show a recidivist personality, but it's worse than that. Under scrutiny, the case quickly falls apart. The man, a retired sheriff, confessed to the demented murder of his wife and three small children, and the Prosecution evidently cut corners on the strength of that confession. But the man's profile doesn't fit the crime (Frank even has difficulty getting his special "flashes"), and when Frank probes further, he'll even find CSI didn't do their jobs properly.

It's an interesting way to approach one of these mysteries, but they spend so much time undoing an investigation, I'm not convinced they build up the real killer's psychology enough to justify these acts. It doesn't exactly come out of left field - the angels all throughout the house are the clue, I guess - but my reaction was definitely along the lines of "oh? okay". If the sheriff's confession was too pat, so is the ending. Not that Frank didn't do the work, but the court doesn't seem to care about the new evidence (oh it WOULDN'T do anything at the appeal stage, really? smells like Chris Carter jurisprudence to me), and a good result sits on the shoulders of a rookie cop who knows what really went down and who does seem to be a bit of a deus ex machina. To the show's credit, it's not played that way. It's left ambiguous as to whether the deputy will come forward and destroy his career to save the life of a man he respects, but who was committing the only kind of suicide his faith would allow him - paying for another's crimes rather than let the guilt of his impotence devour him.

And seeing as the real killer is already dead, it's not even necessary for the accused to be saved. There's no psycho on the loose out there.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - An interesting spin on the crime of the week story, but the ending leaves one feeling rather unsatisfied.



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