The X-Files #162: The Fourth Horseman

"So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given to them over the fourth of the Earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death... and by the beasts of the earth." - Revelation 6:8
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: As a super-Ebola plague pops up, Frank starts investigating the Millennium Group itself.

REVIEW: Regardless of the plot/threat, the episode is really about faith. It's Watts the believer vs. Frank the unbeliever. To reinforce Watts' position, we flash back to that horrifying story about the dead baby during his FBI days, to his recruitment by the Millennium Group, and his initiation to its deeper mysteries by the side of a river, one of the episode's recurring motifs. We also see what awaits Frank and Lara, but the former rejects all that as cult behavior. Lara, on the other hand, has disappeared and turns up at an initiation. From then on, she's the Group's mouthpiece. But has she been brainwashed, or is she truly illuminated? After all, she had doubts similar to Frank's. Frank actually goes so far as to join a private security firm - but are they conducting their own seduction of him? - to spy on Millennium. In the end, Watts is torn between his friend and the Group, between his faith and the fear of having his faith tested by Frank's questions.

Because unless he's faking it, the Millennium Group HAS lied to Watts as well. While in quarantine, they were vaccinated against the super-Ebola without their knowledge. Though the revelations are coming faster and more focused than the parent show's, this all feels very X-Files. How far are we from the black oil cure that will allow the Syndicate to survive the alien invasion unmolested? It's the same idea in different clothes. Frank comes by this information by running his own secret tests, and it seems damning proof that Millennium is up to no good, but is he ready to discover the opposite to be true? Watts' earthquake "prophecy" comes true, so is there REALLY a coming apocalypse? And if proven wrong, is he ready to stick by Millennium, even if it means further alienation from his family and breaking his promise to Catherine? Both men are in similar circumstances. If either is proven wrong, his whole world collapses.

But then, it seems bent on collapsing all on its own. Patient Zero, as it were, is bird kind (conflating two newsworthy pandemics from the late 90s - avian influenza and Ebola). Various birds are winding up dead, and the humans affected seem to be those who have eaten infected eggs or chicken meat. Over and over again, the episode contrasts human routine with horrible, blood-drenched deaths (the Mother's Day dinner in disturbingly gory at times), reminding us we're not ready for something like this, that our everyday habits will end up killing us. Is this the way the world ends? A fast-acting plague would leave the world in the sudden grip of Nature, which the show has been continuously touting as the probably next cycle.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: What does Jordan's dream mean? Is the Black family left alive after the blood apocalypse because Frank has been vaccinated, and does his father's ghost chase Catherine because she eventually dies? Or is her remoteness due to the other two's alienating visions? With the jungle and the monkeys (and even the cabin) we once again tap into a new order ruled by Nature.

REWATCHABILITY: High - Big happenings for Frank and his crew, and some pretty solid body horror too. I'm left wondering what they're setting up for Season 3, and I think that's a good thing.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Orville Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine