The X-Files #201: Forcing the End

"The earth holds the dead... they can't allow him to touch the ground."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Jewish fundamentalists kidnap a baby and hope to use it to restore the Temple and bring about Armageddon.

REVIEW: More recognizable guest stars in Juliet Landau and Andreas Katsulas, but I wish they'd have gotten a better script. Forcing the End starts well enough, with some interesting direction (the screaming kettle in lieu of the woman's scream), and trades the show's usual Christian mythology with the Jewish idea of the Apocalypse - Third Temple stuff I've always found fascinating - but then loses its way in the third act with sluggish, cliched action scenes involving a helicopter and a fall from a great height. It's really too bad.

Now, I don't know how much of the fundamental Jewish lore is real, but it's an interesting idea that these militants would WANT the world to end so the Kingdom of God would come. Though at first it looks like they kidnapped the baby (still unborn at the time) that would become their Messiah, the truth is a little less glamorous. The child Max (and I'm sure the extremists wouldn't have let him keep a Roman name) is to be one of the priests who will take care of the Messiah with he comes. Less glamorous, but intriguing nonetheless. As such, the child must never touch earth is to be raised on second stories of buildings. My solution would have been to throw a pocketful of dirt at him as soon as possible, but Emma only "baptizes" him that way after he's rescued. Regardless, these traditions make up the backbone of the episode and keep it interesting. Less enchanting is the way the traitor Rachel is treated, executed by stoning, but it's all part of that same idea.

The subplot running through the episode is whether Emma's career is threatened by her paranoia about the Millennium Group. Frank is responsible and does try to shield her when he can, but events such as these, where she can see a Biblical prophecy come true, only strengthen her resolve. Thing is, she's not as suble or supple a thinker as Frank, and may just be wrong about the Group. Though it's just as possible that Peter Watts is playing her. Is Peter truthful when he says the Jewish extremists are their common enemy because they would force the end, while the Group is bent on preventing that end? Or is it just that the Group wants the world to end on ITS terms, not anyone else's? Who can say?

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Uses some very interesting apocryphal lore, but in the end, devolves into tired action clichés.

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