The X-Files #263: The Cap'n Toby Show

"Growin' up, man. It's a bitch."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Langly's childhood hero, a children's program presenter, may be guilty of espionage.

REVIEW: Seems like the Lone Gunmen episodes that flash back to the Gunmen's childhoods are destined to be their best. In this case, it's just Langly getting lost in children's television programs, an origin that makes sense for a farm kid who wanted to leave his rural existence and is still interested in technology and pop culture. Tom Poston is a credible as children's presenter Cap'n Toby, a nice old man who has a way with kids and who, as it turns out, also stands for tolerance and embracing other cultures. Langly certainly could have had a worse hero, and when Toby is arrested for espionage, he's disappointed beyond all measure. Cap'n Toby is an odd fandom for Langly to participate in, but calling on all geeks here, hasn't this happened to all of us at some point? An actor or writer or director or artist you're really devoted to turns out to be a real creep (or worse?). Especially in this era of social media where it isn't just their work speaking for them anymore.

But Toby isn't guilty, we're just led to think he is by the episode's clever structure. It's set up so we think it's the story of how Langly took down his own hero, but the teasing opener isn't the actual ending. There's another act that reveals who the real culprit is and gives the Cap'n Toby people a future. Somehow you care, if only for Langly's sake, though perhaps it feeds into our fannish interest in sequels and reboots, and into the need to see our favorites continue and be important to the next generation. And since the setting for the episode is (mostly) a television show, there really is a lot of fun metatext for us to smile at (including a fun bit with the producer credits). Beyond that gimmick, the episode features an interesting mystery that stays interesting, and in which every little quirk (the rose-colored glasses, Jimmy's cracked ribs, the show's set dressing, etc.) play a part and pay off. My only real problems with the episode are the sound design, i.e. the return of annoying rock guitars and children screaming, but even Jimmy's a lot more sensible than usual, even if he's wearing a hot dog costume for much of the episode.

So the real villain of the piece is CIA badass Agent Blythe, very much designed as a counterpart to the equally badass Yves Harlow. Mirror opposites in their coloring, this is also true of their morality. Blythe is an evil Fed, and Yves is a good thief. So you hold out some hope that they'll actually get to fight, quantum kicks and all, and lo and behold, it happens! It's brief, but exciting, and Jimmy's there to take a hit for Yves, again pushing these two together. Except Yves'll never give him that satisfaction. One niggle: Blythe strong-arms Yves by recognizing her, saying her name and threatening to expose her secrets. Fine, but it would have been so much better if the name she exposed hadn't been "Harlow", which is a pseudonym (or is it?). If Blythe knew her real name, that would have had a real impact.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A well-constructed tale with a villain that could easily have returned had the show lasted longer. It's not perfect, but it's one of the Lone Gunmen's most watchable.

0 comments:

 

Blog Archive

Category

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 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 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 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 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 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 Zine