The X-Files #279: Jump the Shark

"The world is not kind to idealists... and those who fight the Good Fight don't always win."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Epilogue to The Lone Gunmen, featuring terrorists who carry viruses in strange organs.

REVIEW: Millennium's epilogue wasn't long in coming - a mere 4 episodes into The X-Files' next season - but it wasn't really a Frank Black story. The Lone Gunmen, on the other hand, are already recurring characters on the series, and have headlined episodes by themselves. So they can have their last hurrah without Doggett and Reyes taking too large a role, leaving room for Jimmy and Yves to make Jump the Shark work as the last Lone Gunmen series episode. But it comes VERY late in the season following the Gunmen's cancellation, even after the Gunmen have already appeared. So what kind of resolution to the series finale cliffhanger can we expect? Well, they do bring back villainous con man and former MiB Morris Fletcher to address the issue, and we basically learn after the fact that the Gunmen finale was all about capturing Yves for some well-paying party. It's rather sweet that Jimmy has spent the last year trying to find her, and that the Gunmen have spent all their money financing his travels to the point where they haven't published an issue in months.

Though Fletcher executed another convoluted con, he's mostly a distraction as the plot is about biological terrorism. Fletcher lets us believe Yves is a super-soldier, something that though a retcon, would almost make sense and truly shocked me into full alertness. When it was intimated that she would have been turned into a super-soldier after her capture, I felt disappointed. How much less interesting than to have her be super-competent because of enhancements, and running from the Conspiracy. In the end, it was another of Fletcher's lies (oh, boo), and the man looking for her was just her rich and evil father. No doubt what they had in mind on the series itself, but since it can't really be explored, kind of lame. Her terror-financing dad is what she's been fighting all along, which allows her to introduce the threat of the week, a super-virus hidden inside shark cartilage surgically hidden inside the bad guys.

The Gunmen are wistful throughout, knowing this is their last big episode, and it's expected. What isn't so expected is that they make the ultimate sacrifice to protect tens of thousands of people from the virus, apparently dying from it themselves. It's a bit of a cheat that all three would need to die considering that Frohike could have told them to run, and they might have made it before the doors closed and the virus was let out. But they're really one character, in a Rosencrantz & Guildenstern kind of way, so it's fitting. And really quite touching, especially with the "next generation", especially Jimmy, looking on. I do think the funeral over-eggs the pudding however. Having jerky hacker Kimmy deliver the longest goodbye made me think it was all a hoax (see The Truth), because who cares about him? Having Skinner arrange for a burial at Arlington Cemetery is a nice touch. But Scully goes way over the top, essentially delivering lines that would have better fit in Mulder's mouth, and the music gets really syrupy... It's just the Lone Gunmen, okay? They were exposition machines and occasionally fair comedy relief. Let's not go overboard.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: So if the Lone Gunmen die here, how can they appear, as IMDB tells me they do, in the upcoming mini-series? If they survived, who knows it? Anyone at the funeral? Are Skinner and Scully particularly kind in their eulogies to convince Yves and Jimmy that their friends are dead while they actually go "underground" for the FBI? We don't have long to wait for an explanation, I suppose.

- A bit haphazard, but the poignant and heroic death of the Lone Gunmen means this is an important episode for the series mythology.


Anonymous said...

"But Scully goes way over the top, essentially delivering lines that would have better fit in Mulder's mouth, and the music gets really syrupy."

This. I think I remember throwing things at the TV when Scully said "I don't know if they ever knew how much they meant to me" ... perhaps it's because you treated them like dirt whenever the opportunity presented itself, you don't suppose that had something to do with it you harridan?

So I don't know whether I was mad because they wrote a fictional character badly, or because I have a problem with people treating each other poorly in life but then creating self-serving fictions after they die. Perhaps a little from column A and a little from column B.

Siskoid said...

I think people do create self-serving fiction like that. But Scully? Nope.

Randal said...

I don't know if the comic is still canon, but the Lone Gunmen are alive...because...hoax? I dunno. It kinda just IS.

Siskoid said...

If it happened extra-canonically, they'll have to explain it all over again when they next appear not-in-flashback.


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