The X-Files #254: Eine Kleine Frohike

"That death cruller was meant for me."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Frohike goes undercover as the long-lost son of a woman suspected of being a Nazi poisoner.

REVIEW: More movie references - old news reels, Risky Business' dance number, Psycho's show scene, and one more that's actually a problem I'll get to later - keep the fun alive, and I'm also glad to report the music has settled down some since the Pilot. More traditional scoring and leaving most of the rock guitar to licensed songs is a much better approach. And though yes, there is again some grating slapstick, most of the comedy comes from the characters and the ludicrous set-up. Frohike trying to pass himself off as a somewhat overbearing Alsatian woman's son, anxious about eating any of her cooking believing her the poisoner, and at the same time trying to take a peek at her buttocks to confirm a birthmark can be quite amusing, and given the woman's real need for the boy she lost, even heartwarming. It's not much of a mystery though. The woman next door is OBVIOUSLY the poisoner, which makes this the second episode in a row our super-investigators miss the obvious.

There's also something strange, narratively speaking, about Frohike being a dead ringer for a Nazi officer. You keep expecting him to really be the woman's son, but he isn't. It's just an odd coincidence. I suppose the real mystery is the identity of the man claiming to be the vengeful son of one of the poisoner's victims, though that's a bit of a muddle. Finding out what his deal is gives Yves a chance to shine (she's very stealthy), though the scene requires you to know German or else wait for Yves' decoding of it. She's partnered with Jimmy, whose naiveté has been upgraded to true stupidity, an extreme comic relief for a team that was technically already comic relief (for the X-Files).

But for the most part, I freely admit the episode is entertaining, fun and generally clever. And then the ending happens. Jimmy walking in as the poisoner's evil son, wearing a rubber mask à la Mission: Impossible? Because Yves has access to this kind of stuff, ready-made? And the old lady drops her pants to show off her birthmark? Ugh. And Langley is poisoned without any real consequences? Come on. Throw in a lack of closure on the evil son, delivered to the FBI off-stage by Yves, and you're left with a confoundingly dumb ending. Like, the voice emulator Jimmy uses, we saw that in the previous episode. But a life-like rubber mask? That's out of nowhere, and particularly unearned in an episode where other characters struggle to change their identities with obvious wigs.

- It's got its moments, and is probably the best episode to date, but the comedy still feels forced.



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