The X-Files #258: Planet of the Frohikes

"You can create an intelligent animal, but you can't be sure of its politics."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: A super-intelligent chimp contacts the Gunmen looking for help.

REVIEW: An episode that starts on apes tapping away at keyboard until one of them writes Hamlet obviously has my full attention, as you can well imagine. And then to follow up with Yves in a French language sequence, with another French-language sequence later, well, you're literally speaking my language, and also making good use of filming in Canada (even if the French minister is pretty clearly speaking with more of a French-Canadian accent). But even though the star chimp Peanuts is super-smart, the episode still requires the Gunmen to be a touch dumber than usual so they can fall for his ultra-complicated con. Part of that is also perception because grown adults talking to an ape and expecting answers, especially before it starts talking with Edward Woodward's voice (nice get, that), will make them seem dumb no matter what. But they miss very obvious clues, and for guys who got their start handing Mulder and Scully exposition about nearly every subject imaginable, their general ignorance in this episode is striking.

As usual, the conspiracy mystery isn't bad, but the ending, just as usual, is a bit of a rush job where we're essentially told not to ask too many question. I'd say the story is actually better than usual in that respect, but the bit about dumb-as-rocks Jimmy being the only one who can figure it out is, at this point, unearned. And please, can Jimmy refrain from thinking lady chimps are hot? It made me uncomfortable. All the while, the usually hyper-competent Yves does a lot of smug acting, but really isn't any wiser to what's happening with Peanuts. At its best, the episode makes us believe in a Russian super-genius chimp assassin, and it's almost a disappointment when that turns out to be a fiction. The episode at least has the wherewithal to paraphrase Hamlet at the very end. Speaking of literature, nice Boulle reference too.

One note on Yves, because we're past the series' halfway point, I'm fine having her as a cast member, especially since it's otherwise a sausagefest, but the way they get her into the stories, given she's not one of the Gunmen, are getting more and more contrived. Usually, she's the instigator, but here she's roped along after the Gunmen think she's up to her old tricks, trolling them. So they interrupt one of her schemes, which we spend some time on, but never actually get to understand anything about. Who was that French guy? Who were the killers? With a French connection later on, you'd think it could all be related. It isn't. Just wasting time.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Vince Gilligan wrote this and is a better writer than the script would indicate. Is the whole production team's idea of comedy this kind of dumbassery? Still, not without its moments and the chimp is fairly magnetic.


Anonymous said...

His name isn't "Peanuts", it's "Simon White-Thatch Potentloins". Please show a little respect for the Equalizer.


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