The X-Files #155: Owls

"We only want the kind of people we want."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Different factions of the Millennium Group (and others?) fight for control over a piece of the True Cross.

REVIEW: When I saw that it was going to be one of those Alias-like artifact quest episodes, I kind of groaned, I admit it (especially when they trot out ultrasonic guns). But the episode really blew the world of Millennium up in the most intriguing fashion. Instead of the law enforcement consultant firm we (and Frank) thought the Millennium Group was, it's compared here to the Freemasons and the Illuminati, a secret society trying to guide (or is it control?) the course of history. Within its ranks are (at least) two factions, the secular, scientific Owls who think the great cataclysm is far off, and the pseudo-religious Roosters  who believe it's imminent. Frank's been working with the latter, obviously, but since he and Lara Means aren't yet full initiates, the Owls may have an interest in getting them on their side. Or not. When the Owls approach Lara, it's with an invitation; when Frank is approached, it's with guns. Makes you think that maybe those who see angels are born Owls, and those that see devils, Roosters. But then, we don't know those assassins coming for Frank are Owls necessarily.

Because there's a third faction out there, an obvious offshoot of the Nazis, specifically the ones who were always giving Indiana Jones a hard time, racing after Christian artifacts and whatnot. They may be the ones trying to cause a civil war within the Millennium Group. The old man in the woods from the wild dog episode, said to be the only man both Group factions respect, will no doubt tell us more about them in the next episode, but for now, we know they're ruthless, creepy, and love their regalia, wearing cuff links with an SS lightning bolt on them and decorating their offices with Nazi loot (but what does that say of the man in the woods with his pics of Hitler?). Was CCH Pounder's character a member of either of these factions? The Nazis' plan to neutralize Millennium and advance their own ends (evil reigning for the next Millennium?) seems to be working. Owls and Roosters are at each others' throats, Peter Watts cuts himself off both Lara and Frank, one not to be trusted, the other angry to have been kept out of the loop too long and abandoning the Group.

Except Frank is drawn back in because Catherine is. There's an interesting parallel in her story, where she too is courted by what she thinks is a tech company (Aerotech, another Space Above and Beyond reference) looking for a part-time therapist. In actuality, they're Nazis trying to... what? Take down Frank Black? Gain some kind of leverage with him? It's unfortunate that the character of Claire Knight (Clear Night? An Owly name, but that's a mislead) is so broadly played by former adult star Kimberly Patton. She's so arch and sinister that Frank's suspicions aren't much of an exploit, and Catherine's own insights seem ridiculously dull. But there's so much happening, I can overlook this one element, and enjoy the ramp-up of paranoia. I don't know who's right, who's wrong and who's dangerous anymore, and that's a good thing. Maybe the Alias parallels aren't such a bad thing after all.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: "Can you imagine the effect conclusive evidence of doomsday would have on a world in which millions actually believe they've been abducted and experimented on by aliens with the knowledge and cooperation of government officials? A country that obsessed for decades on Elvis sightings? Roswell?" So going by Peter Watts, alien abduction is a hoax. What does he know Mulder and Scully don't?

- A tense conspiracy thriller filled with action and intrigue, and revelations about the Millennium Group that have perhaps been too long coming.


Anonymous said...

Myself, I saw this Owls / Roosters stuff as yet another indignity foisted upon the show. Things I didn't like about this reveal:

1) I worried it would make the Millennium Group feel like "Spy vs. Spy" from MAD Magazine. Sadly, I would be proven right.

2) Owls and Roosters ... sounds like team names your mom would come up with when you and your friends were five. Were the Bluejays and Robins already taken?

3) Cabals with mysterious agendas are for "X-Files", leave that stuff over there please. I really, really don't mind the concept of Frank Black working for a do-gooder organization that doesn't have wacky ulterior motives and Byzantine internal politics. Why do you do this to me Chris Carter?

Siskoid said...

I was like you at first, but this two-parter brought me around. I'm as surprised as anyone.


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