The X-Files #228: Fight Club

"What I'm thinking, Mulder, is how familiar this seems."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Two seemingly identical women cause chaos whenever they get near each other.

REVIEW: Kathy Griffin double-guest-stars in this odd comedy episode penned by Chris Carter, a play on doubling that's perhaps odder for coming on the heels of a similar trick in the previous episode, Hollywood A.D. Not that it needed to be odder. Ultimately, Fight Club is just too zany for its own good, ts themes and tropes never congealing into a coherent whole. The use of doubles throughout the episode - not just Kathy's characters Betty and Lulu, but their lover Zupanic having a twin, the body doubles of Mulder and Scully, and more background characters showing up in two roles - is certainly playful and amusing, but Fight Club doesn't really respect its own premise that "we all have a doppelganger out there" (and they all live in Kansas), not really. It it did, we wouldn't need the bit about Betty and Lulu having the same biological father. Now we're in genetics, not the world of the random and unexplained. That father is the world's angriest man, which is perhaps meant to explain why chaos erupts (riots and fights, but also psychokinetic effects) when the two women get near each other, but that's muddled by the Zupanic twins creating the same effect. Hopefully we're not being told the wrestlers are sons of that same man, because that implies some rather tasteless incest. The idea that the "twins" (though none of them are twins in a real sense) all make similar life choices, which is why they seem to hound one another, is a fun one, but there's just so much happening here. What's the X-File supposed to be?

Carter doesn't feel like it's enough. He also throws in a fun bit in which Scully takes the lead in the case and acts like Mulder, spinning tall tales to explain what's going on as he morosely looks on. He lets her take the lead, but you can tell he's having a lot less fun than normal, and it's not just because he gets sucked into the sewers mid-way through. Scully IS having fun though, and I can't help but think, once again, that Mulder is on his way out and we need a Scully who's open to such possibilities. Obviously, even as the lead, there's no way she'll be this energetic. She's really doing a Mulder impression here. Not a parody or pastiche of it, but playing it straight, which still manages to send him up.

While it manages to entertain, Fight Club is too messy to work. It has some nice symmetrical compositions, but also a pretty irritating score made up of strident chords that belong in an 80s action movie. Felt clever at first, when the two Jehovah's Witnesses attacked each other, but became an unwanted presence after the teaser. Too much happens and not enough is resolved. Like the subplot about photocopied money, or well, everything else I mentioned in the course of this review. Carter should have picked one and run with it, but he just threw the kitchen sink at it.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Has enough fun elements, especially Scully's Mulder riff, to stay interesting, but it's still an unsatisfying mess.



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