The X-Files #198: The Sound of Snow

"Catherine was his center. He's never been the same."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: A woman sends people white noise tapes that make them hallucinate and kill themselves. Frank's hallucination is Catherine.

REVIEW: Addressing Catherine's death like this is something that should have been done so much earlier. Very recap-heavy in places, it nonetheless provides Frank with a strong emotional through-line. The white noise tapes are what trigger it, and we'll get to them in a minute, but they weren't really necessary. We have, after all, a man who has visions. He doesn't need a hallucinatory trigger. Just being in Seattle again, going by the no-longer-yellow house, letting his guilt and grief get the better of him, should have been enough. Megan Gallagher gets another chance at a goodbye, one that frees Frank from responsibility in her death, and if I'm not mistaken, retcons the story so that Frank is with her when she dies. Though it's ambiguous, I prefer to believe he has amended his memory. The vision is a realization that despite his regret and self-loathing, he did chose his family over the Millennium Group in the end, and that there was nothing he could do to save her. The contention that the Group "gave him his wife back" is strange, and hopefully meant in an ironical, not a grateful, way. If they are, indeed, behind his getting a cassette tape.

The woman with the talent to make subliminal tapes that specifically make you live your greatest trauma is, once again, more of an X-Files, but an interesting one. Bit over-acted, but still. The first victim, hallucinating snow, cracking ice and a man trapped underneath, that's all very - and pardon me for using the epithet - chilling. The investigation stuff partners Emma and Giebelhouse and is more than competent. I do wonder what the connection with the Millennium Group is, however. Frank tells us she'll be recruited or destroyed for her ability, and we know they've used apparent psychopaths in the past. I guess "recruited" is more likely. Especially given they used her services in this very episode, though their motivation too is a mystery. Was this supposed to kill Frank? Was it supposed to exorcise his demons so he could be brought back into the fold again? Does he have a friend inside the Group doing things to help him against its leaders? I don't know if we'll ever find out.

If they ARE recruiting people with X-Files powers, then of course, Frank would be on their list. In this episode, he's a lot more prescient than in the past. TOO prescient. Though he sometimes jumped to some pretty amazing conclusions, it was always based on evidence. His "powers", though they were processed as visions, were really intuitive leaps. Other times, they seemed to be rooted in a telepathic empathy with the killer. The way it's played here, however, it's like he's a psychic doing cold readings. It's not effective at all, and I hope they walk him back from it.

- Has some good emotional and visual content, but the frequent recapping and Frank's bluntly used powers annoyed me.



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