The X-Files #213: Rush

"Too much teen spirit." "You think? Smells like murder to me."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Mulder and Scully investigate a superfast teenage killer.

REVIEW: Since the season opener, we've had... one episode almost entirely in character's head, one episode from the perspective of a guest star, one episode where the focus was pulled by the lead of another series, and now this, an episode where the leads don't have very much agency. The procedural elements of their investigation are well done, and they do get some nice interplay where Scully hopelessly clings to some semblance of the scientific method, but for the most part, they're there to witness the story. It would probably all have happened without them there. And their now sustained lack of agency is a problem for the show. Even Mulder's hare-brained theories get it wrong several times, because it doesn't really matter what he thinks. The audience is way ahead of him on this one, which makes the investigation nearly pointless. Especially since the Speed Cave is never really explained.

So we're left with a Smallville-like Flash vs. Professor Zoom w/special guest-star Jesse Quick, as teenagers. Zoom is a one-dimensional villain sustained through patented jerk acting, who uses his super-speed for crazy stunts and to kill authority figures. He's motivated by bitterness for his single father, the town sheriff, and the "rush" of the power, without which life is impossibly boring. A metaphor for being at that age? The impatience of youth? Or is it all supposed to be about drugs making one feel invulnerable even as it dismantles one's life? The two ideas blur together and neither comes off as in focus. Much like the power itself, actually. Notoriously difficult to do right - characters invariably start to move at the speed of plot - the tricks sometimes seem more like invisibility or have a character stand there while the effects of what he's doing are still going on. Look at the sequence where the teacher gets pushed by a table. It just doesn't work. The murder-suicide is better, but the best superspeed sequence for my money doesn't feature any speed effect at all. It's when Flash and Jessie Quick are trying to outrun Zoom to the Speed Cave, sans powers, because they know whoever gets there first will gain complete control over what happens next. There's some good suspense in that idea.

The episode also has some nice attention to detail, at times. Zoom's collection of shoes goes unmentioned but makes complete sense, for example. The music at the end of the episode recalls the running sound of the Bionic Man and Woman. The sheriff is a strong character only shielding his son within reasonable norms for a father (though this is at odds with Zoom's general privilege). Even Scully's pang of jealousy at Mulder checking a girl out adds some texture. But then, this is also an episode where the kids don't have their parents' accents, so y'know, your mileage may vary. (Can I just say? This last one is, I think the best speed pun in the review, and it's the one I didn't do on purpose.)

- If we're going to fold comic book super-powers into the supernatural world of the X-Files, let's at least make Mulder and Scully the stars of the episode.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Orville Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine