The X-Files #156: Roosters

"I spent ten years at the level of Patron. You empathize with your candidate's doubt. Condole their fear. Elate at their revelation. You can't experience these emotions with another person and not feel close to them. But until a candidate becomes initiated and... comprehends the secrets we accept... the affinity is a one way street."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: The Nazi faction, Odessa, is rumbled and defeated, but not before they kill the Old Man.

REVIEW: This is a story of two factions (Owls and Roosters), two sides (Millennium and Odessa), two psychics (Frank and Lara), two respected men (the Old Man and the Elder), two lives (family and work). Director Thomas J. Wright plots it out with a slick structure, constantly intercutting between two scenes, all the way through. Conversations illuminate other conversations. Tension builds on tension. His camera work is elegant. His choreography actually clever (the first scene's dirty shootout, for example). Scenes are juxtaposed so that they speak to one another. Catherine believes Frank to a by a liar by omission, a sin Watts practices as the lesser of two evils in the corresponding scene. The Old Man's burial also corresponds to Odessa's surprising end (I can't decide if it's a waste of a good villain, a twist waiting to happen, or a bold solution to get the show back on track).

Philip Baker Hall returns as the Group Elder, and by the end takes over the Old Man's role in the woods (why the heck did the latter insist on sleeping in Frank's murder basement?). Poor Owls, it seems the Roosters have all the positions of power and influence! Well, for the show to have any urgency, the Roosters really do have to be right. The cataclysm is coming and coming soon. I'm not sure what to think of the Owls' "scientific" prediction that a neutron star collision has caused a wave of "other space-time" to disseminate through the universe and will wash over Earth in 60 years. First, it can't happen within the life of the show. Second, I'm not sure that makes any more "scientific" sense than believing in an evil force predicted by religious apocrypha. And third, the possibility that the universe might only minutely changed by it (say, I wake up the next day with an extra pair of black socks in my drawer) kind of takes the power out of it. But it's an interesting idea. Just not one Lara Means can sink her teeth into. Her angels are coming on too intensely for that, and I find myself fearing for her life before the season is out.

Catherine and Frank's reconciliation proceeds apace, which is perfectly fine with me. The big moment is when Frank decides to tell her everything. It heals them. And in that parallel structure the episode's been building, the truth is also what will heal the Millennium Group. Holding their cards too close to the vest, they let Odessa foment mistrust. By the end, we see them come together (presumably) and destroy their common enemy, with extreme prejudice. And of the Owls did have the True Cross at some point, they do leave it with the Elder/new Old Man for safekeeping. He's at the top of the hierarchy, or at least somewhere in the structure that works for the entire Group, and that's where the Cross' power of undefeatability should do the most good.

- A terrific two-parter closes out with a finely directed episode that hopefully puts an end to the conflict between the leads. But have they spent too much of their capital by doing away with Odessa so quickly?



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