The X-Files #119: Maranatha

"Behold ye scoffers, For I will work wonders in your days, Which ye will not believe." - Book of Habakkuk
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: The Russian Antichrist goes on a murder spree.

REVIEW: Well, this is an X-Files episode in all but name, and specifically one of those "ethnically-derived" X-Files where the "monster" is from some specific folklore. The Russian boogeyman in this story, this Yaponchik, isn't just a mysterious killer who kills in public with impunity, he was also responsible for Chernobyl, and so, a Conspiracy angle. All this Russian stuff - a Russian cop tracking Yaponchik to Brighton Beach, the use of Russian artifacts in the murder mystery, etc. - doesn't sit particularly comfortably in Millennium's format. The action is slow and deliberate, Frank either has little agency or else confronts powerful people he hardly knows. In any case, Yaponchik's true(?) identity has diplomatic immunity, so it doesn't matter that you want him to pay for his crimes. And there lies, I think, the episode's unforgivable problem - the heroes can't do a damn thing, but don't act like they know it. (And nothing with Catherine and Jordan, so there are key elements missing.)

What IS interesting is the use of Revelations and Apocalyptic prophecy in general to pain Yaponchik as more than a Keyser Söze figure, but as the actual Antichrist, Chernobyl as the poison waters of Wormwood, and so on. We're told it doesn't matter if it's true, only that the people who believe it are acting on it (like a lot of "Apocalypse cults" presented on the show), but when Yaponchik survives a massive head wound as predicted in the Bible, it's hard to deny the show's supernatural leanings. Between this and Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions, which aired only two episodes before, Frank Black's world isn't as secular as it might once have seemed. Now, I don't know where this is all going, but Frank's appearance on the X-Files post-Millennium certainly means the show doesn't have an explosive finale at the end of its third and last season. But I would have liked to see the signs of the Apocalypse mounting through the run, and then Carter and co. BLOWING THE WORLD UP ON THE MILLENNIUM! That's where it seems to be heading, and that would have been a balls-out conclusion.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - While I appreciate the Apocalyptic tropes, the episode otherwise feels like an X-Files script borrowed to fill a Millennium hole.



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