The X-Files #190: Closure

"His power is their disease."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Haunted by the murder of her sister, Emma tries to stop a seemingly random crime spree.

REVIEW: So Emma Hollis is Mulder, now? While I don't mind getting to know the character as something other than an exposition machine, giving her a tragic childhood story involving a sister called Melissa as motivation for everything she will do in life has been done! Quite specifically! Instead of aliens, Melissa Hollis was killed by a home intruder who later killed himself. Emma Hollis then spends her entire career looking for WHY these things happen, even if the Millennium teaches us that violence is often random and senseless. A bit Batman, but a perfect fit for a show that is now just like every other crime show - crimes, investigations, interrogation rooms, and a remarkably retro shoot-out at the end played to 80s action percussions (compare to the lyrical music in the montage where Emma researches the killers and Frank researches Emma - now THAT'S Millennium!). It's all rather disappointing, because I want to like this episode a lot more.

I mean, Emma is actually engaging in Closure, for the first time bitter at Frank's involvement. Instead of being the tag-along Doctor Who companion (and not in a good way), she takes the lead and even makes some smart, gutsy moves, like driving the bad guy into a concrete block. The episode sticks to its guns and never gives its trio of psychopaths any kind of reason for their murderous crime spree, except perhaps, "fun". Their leader Rick seems bulletproof, but it's really just Kevlar and bravado. He finally shows fear once he's crippled and dying at Emma's hands, tying into the theme of fear being the mindkiller. His victims all showed fear before dying, but Emma masters her fear and comes out on top. And though the episode often feels cliché, it sometimes surprises with a twist on those elements. For example, the old saw of two bickering characters we don't know kissing passionately as a "reveal" is trite, but then we realize this is a twisted threesome, not a couple. Not that they do anything with it.

Unfortunately, the plot insists on making law enforcement stupid. Why do the cops need the FBI to tell them to check the neighboring rooms for witnesses, for example? Why make the snipers hold their fire after one heavily-armed suspect is down, but the other's still coming? What's Emma doing inside the cordon, sitting in her car, just waiting to be taken hostage? If Season 3 wants to be a police procedural so bad, why make all those mistakes? And it doesn't do very much with Frank. I know they needed to develop Emma, but using Frank to profile her and bluntly talk about her trauma isn't the most subtle way to do this. And once that's done, he becomes a bit of a bystander.

- Emma Hollis gets an origin story and some development - thank God - but the episode's many plot holes drain the power out of it.



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