The X-Files #195: Omerta

"I've got to protect my angels."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: During the Holidays, an ex-hit man is found in the woods, having been resurrected by girls with healing hands.

REVIEW: A very weird Christmas special in large part because it isn't as silly as it seems to want to be. It switches the usual act-in beats for jingling bells, features a terrible calendar-flipping video toaster effect, and has its main guest-star, Jon Polito, playing hitman Eddie Giannini with amusing gusto, but the episode nevertheless shoots a young girl in the back, not to mention Eddie's own violent murder. The FBI shows up because the fact Eddie WASN'T dead puts into question the testimony of his killers who sold out the Santo family (get it? Santo?) and maybe he's also been running around spawning or at least exploiting the Little Foot legend that's drawn Frank to this "vacation spot" with Jordan. So yes, it's silly, but the mob element isn't THAT silly, so it never quite becomes a "comedy episode". And if it isn't, then the silliness just jars with the FBI procedural that's going on.

My beef with the program in the third season is that nothing really feels finished. I don't need answers - The X-Files thrives on ambiguity - but I do need possibilities. It's just darn strange that the characters themselves don't speculate or offer up any theories. Who were the girls playing at Jodie Foster in Nell with the magical healing powers? Were they mystical beings, like fairies? Something divine that will play a part in the coming Apocalypse? Mutants raised by wolves? What?! I like that their "alienness" was created by giving the roles to French Canadian actresses simply using their own accents, but that merely muddles the issue (also, terrible screamers). Who ratted Eddie out to the Santo mob? From his expressions, looks like it could be the D.A., but we're also told he's the one who put the Santos away in the first place. Why turn now? Is he working under a death threat? None of that is explored. The way Eddie and the girls escape, with a fake ambulance that explodes much too quickly for them to get out, also feels suspect and mishandled. The last scene where all three are spending Christmas together, the girls hanging on Eddie, seems entirely too sexual for what we know of their relationship, so that too is ill-judged.

If there's something refreshing in Omerta, it's Jordan's role. She gets a lot of scenes and could be justly called Frank's partner over Emma in this story. I've always liked the Jordan stuff in Millennium, the moments usually feeling very naturalistic, even improvised. No different here. Brittany Tiplady's cold even helps with that, though it causes a problem for the episode (the girls heal her broken arm, but don't cure her stuffy nose). This is the first Christmas the Blacks are spending without Catherine, and her presence can be felt. The gift that was meant for her becomes emblematic of their loss, and it's clever used as a way for Jordan to show kindness to the girls, a kindness that might just have healing properties. The Christmas miracle isn't so much that they can resurrect the dead or heal broken limbs, but that they seem to heal souls as well. Everyone they touch is redeemed, and that's a beautiful idea. How? In the absence of any other explanation, we'll have to see by their kindness and innocence alone, which is also what defines Jordan in her interactions with them. The scene where she teaches them to use a swing makes it clear that despite their physical age, they're just as much little girls as Jordan is. Which makes that weird final scene all the scuzzier for its "at Conan's shin" staging.

- The Jordan thread is excellent, but the other elements are never explored to my satisfaction or else seem confused and rushed.


snell said...

'...the girls heal her broken arm, but don't cure her stuffy nose..."

There is no cure for the common cold, even magical...

Siskoid said...

This we learned from Star Trek the Next Generation.


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