The X-Files #261: Tango de los Pistoleros

"There is danger here. Because what appears to be love is sadness. A lie. This is the nature of the tango."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: The Gunmen dance the tango to prevent an arms trade in Miami.

REVIEW: After a stunning opener that symbolically performs the plot as a tango, the episode stays in a heightened reality, its very music creating an operatic (so to speak) melodrama that justifies its intense emotionalism. It's all a dance, one meant - as Yves' beautiful opening narration seems to say - to cast a stark light on the characters' loneliness. Dance sequences intercut with a corps-à-corps murder, or that the exchange of arms should happen during a dance contest between like-legged gangsters, play on this, but the whole episode is structured like a tango; sometimes drawing a partner in, sometimes pushing them away.

I hear they had to cut 20 minutes from the episode, which is really to its detriment, I should think. I bet we could have better understood Yves if we had the missing material. She and the Gunmen (for once piggybacking on HER operation) are running a con (and I do love con stories), and her part of it is a grand seduction. But when Jimmy intuits that she isn't faking with the Argentine mob boss Santavos, we don't really know what makes him say that. And later, when Santavos is killed, taking a knife for Yves, I'm not sure it's earned. Well, I can almost buy that he fell in love with her because that was her game, but her sincere tears stem from an underwritten romance. We have to take their reciprocated love as presented, with little onscreen evidence, and the knowledge this man is selling state secrets to terrorists. We go out on her last dance with Jimmy, a sweet gesture on his part that almost makes you believe there could be a relationship there, though he could hardly be more than a boy toy to her. Still, it's a tender moment that makes you forget the awkwardness of the climax.

And hey, what do we think of Frohike's past as El Lobo, the greatest tango dancer Miami has ever seen? He's got a good, steamy partner (literally!), but otherwise, he mostly stands there and lets her twirl around him. But this is still the return of the absurd badass Frohike that used to appear in The X-Files and who we really haven't seen since maybe episode 2 before Yves completely took over that role. If she has a "match" on the team, it's really Frohike, don't you think?

- Stylish and romantic, I really want to give it a higher score, but the justification for its climax seems to have been left on the cutting room floor.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if you know Frohike's secret origin, casting-wise. Check out his IMDB credits, he's one of the behind-the-scenes guys on lots of productions, and that was his secret. Chris Carter was looking for some un-Hollywood-looking actor, "like that guy over there", pointing to Tom Braidwood. Not a super exciting story, but there it is.

Siskoid said...

I didn't know, but it's fun story. Braidwood is nevertheless perhaps the most subtle actor of the bunch.


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