The X-Files #187: The Innocents

"If you're so good at what you do, Frank, you'd have caught who did it."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Frank Black investigates a plane crash and mysterious sisters dying with their daughters. Introducing new co-lead Agent Emma Hollis.

REVIEW: In my review of Millennium Season 2's DVD, I wondered why showrunners Morgan and Wong declined to participate in the making of documentary, especially since everyone seemed so gracious on camera about their change of direction. We start to get an idea of how their season was actually received with the first episode of Chip Johannessen's season, in which everything the previous cliffhanger isn't so much resolved as ignored. Catherine Black is dead, and the characters obviously have to deal with that, but we're 5 months later and the apocalyptic plague from the finale was localized and contained and you know, no big deal, really. It certainly didn't change the face of America, and when Frank rants about its connection to a case he's working on, everyone looks at him like he's taking it too personally. Taken in by the FBI so he can get therapy, the Millennium Group is mentioned but does not figure. It's as abrupt and jarring an about-face as can be, and I felt very empty about it after the thrilling promise of what was to come.

Putting Frank in close contact with the FBI gives him a partner in Emma Hollis, played by Klea Scott, credited where Megan Gallagher used to be. This eager agent treats Frank as an object of fannish devotion and risks her career by following him around and trusting his instincts. She's okay, and I guess is meant to be a less experienced character to Frank's tired one, but it's a "buddy cop" format smacks of cliché and looks like it takes Millennium into a rather dull, well-trodden direction. She's no Lara Means or Peter Watts, and certainly no Catherine. Maybe as the mentor-mentee relationship evolves... At least we still have Jordan, who is surprisingly upbeat considering, though still setting her a mom a place at the dinner table, and so on. It's her way of coping. Frank's breakdown, caught on tape and played back at one point, is harrowing, and I wish we'd seen more of this twitchy Frank across the season. Catherine's parents are also part of the cast here, the dad perpetually angry at Frank for putting his daughter into danger. As with the FBI partners angle, it's rather ordinary drama for this show. And I imagine we've lost the Seattle PD characters, since Frank has moved to the East Coast (which still looks entirely like British Columbia). Not sure what that adds to the program either.

Putting my disappointment at the (apparent) new format aside, the first part of the opening story is actually intriguing. We're just not sure what's happening as of the cliffhanger, is all. There are these blond, gray-eyed women with a single daughter each, and they're on a suicide mission, having to give up their lives and to their horror their child's for unknown reasons. Their deaths are all spectacular. A plane crash. A house exploding. An SUV falling off a bridge. Lots of eye candy. And it seems like the plague was actually an attempt to kill these "sisters" from Salt Lake City off. Nothing quite connects yet, but there's a Part 2. Of course, the FBI isn't doing its very best to connect the dots, not when a director doesn't see the point in checking out biohazard-marked coffins found at the exploded house. Uhm... Do you really need Frank to press you on this?

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Sets a conspiracy plot into motion and does so with gusto, but wow, they really chickened out of the previous season's cliffhanger, didn't they?


snell said...

Easily the winner of The Least Satisfactory Cliffhanger Resolution contest.

This season also shows very a pre-9/11 America. A major biological terrorist attack, and everyone just shrugs? The FBI can barely be bothered with clear plots and connections? Not only a cop-out of a cliffhanger resolution, but in retrospect a fairly poor prediction of how America would react to such an event...

Siskoid said...

The Carterverse is entirely based on what it's like not to have enemies anymore, so we turn on each other.

But definitely. It's not so much that the reaction is unrealistic, or that the FBI are incompetent (they are, as written here), but that the production team just wants to sweep the whole thing under the carpet because those aren't the stories they want to tell.


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