The X-Files #193: Through a Glass Darkly

"The Lord kept me alive so I could be abused."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: A convicted pedophile/child killer is released on parole, plunging a community into chaos.

REVIEW: The show continues its normalization into what is simply a "creepy crimes" detective show, though in this case, it most approaches what they were doing in Season 1, with the suspect seeing things differently, just as Frank does, and Jordan having a bad dream in which she intuits his innocence and motivation. It's one of those rare detective stories where the protagonist must figure out and prove innocence instead of guilt, though of course, part of that is finding the real culprit, though the revelation ultimately gets short shrift. Subplot-wise, I'm not sure how to take the strange call Frank gets - is it more of the weird trolling someone used to put him through in Season 2?

The suspect's belief that he has committed these heinous crimes and blocked them out - due to innate suggestibility and his pedophiliac lawyer's lack of scruples - creates a further problem for Frank, Emma and the antagonistic local cops. The man wants forgiveness for something he didn't do, and goes to his grave believing he did. Frank asking for forgiveness from him for HIS lack of forgiveness is a bit corny, but the episode has some interesting music, dutch angles, etc. to keep the atmosphere thick and heavy. Max, the guiltless killer is on a quest for redemption and may even be a little suicidal as a result of what he's gone through, and is acceptably sympathetic once you realize he hasn't done anything wrong.

Of course, the creepiness and malaise write themselves when we're talking about a parent's worst nightmare. Little girls disappearing, turning up dead and molested, and the truth, an ugly family secret, pedophilia and incest both, don't really need any help on that front. You can bungle it, but it doesn't need much enhancement. They didn't bungle it here, though it's really the story of a false accusation and a scapegoat. The subject matter keeps one's attention, and the mystery is textured with small and intriguing details like the wild flowers, the repeated confession and the matchstick flip books.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium and a little more
- Definitely one of the better episodes this season, but I can't quite go Medium-High if I'm comparing it to other seasons or to the parent program's better eps.

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