The X-Files #10: Fallen Angel

"How can I disprove lies that are stamped with an official seal?"
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: A UFO crashes in Wisconsin and Mulder races to investigate before the military cover it all up.

REVIEW: Is this a mytharc episode? It's about alien abduction and government cover-ups, but it's not written by Chris Carter. I'm confused! If there's confusion at all, it's with the alien elements which don't really mesh well with what we've seen before. In fact, the alien pilot seems to halfway between the alien ghost from Space and the conspiracy Greys we usually hear about. It's entirely possible the light and sound manifestations are technology-based, as could be the Predator-style stealth effect, but our POV isn't clear. All we know for certain (or do we?) is that these aliens have been implanting humans with technology that allows them to be controlled, as is the case for Max in this story, which is Grey behavior to be sure. Few answers are forthcoming re: the mystery of the week, making Fallen Angel play a lot like the first two episodes of the series. In any case, what the episode is really about is defining further the chessboard on which the conspiratorial battle is being fought.

On the side of The Truth is Mulder, obviously, to which he is a slave, willing to put his career on the line for it. Scully is nominally on his side, her skepticism actually more useful at finding out the Truth than Mudler's leaps of faith, though she's just a supporting player in this. She's there to remind the audience of the stakes - that Mulder could very well lose his job over this - and provide a ticking clock. They are both further contrasted by Max Fenig, a fringe specialist and precursor of the Lone Gunmen. This twitchy transient UFO expert is also an X-Files groupie, following Mulder's career with clues gathered through the Freedom of Information Act, and happy to meet the "enigmatic Dr. Scully". In a very real sense, he's Mulder without the FBI - doomed to follow his post-abduction obsession and taken for a loon. He's being manipulated with technology, while Mulder has been manipulated psychologically by the other side (or is it?).

Because of the side of The Lie, we have a number of players. The most obvious and clumsy is Colonel Henderson, who runs clean-up ops for the military. A UFO crashes, he goes in to clear the site, initiate a cover-up, and maybe nab an alien. He is correctly called a "fascist" by the bad actor who plays the town's doctor, because he's adjusting the Truth to fit the State's own Truth (The Lie). At the end of the episode, Mulder and Scully are hauled into a hearing (with a great, long table perspective that makes our heroes look like children), and it's obvious the FBI's top brass are in on the cover-up. But they don't see the whole chessboard either, because it's revealed that Deep Throat is above them! He makes them go back on their decision to fire Mulder, and cites the whole "keep your enemies closer" bit as if he were actually playing Mulder. And he probably is, though he could be playing the FBI too and REALLY be covering Mulder's ass. After all, he's the one who sent Mulder in there! We'll keep him in the "friends" column for now.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: Looking ahead (spoilers) the X-Files WILL face an operational shut down in the near future, and Max Fenig WILL return in Season 4. More answers to come...

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Though the mystery of the week isn't spectacularly intriguing, the conspiratorial machinations are, and the Max turns out to be a fun metatextually rich character.


Pedro Cabezuelo said...

My thoughts:is it possible the pilot is not an alien, but one of the humans they've been experimenting on in order to fly the alien technology? We know from "Deep Throat" (the episode) that these enhanced human pilots have erratic reactions to the technology and even have a tendency to "go rogue" and need to be brought back in. Perhaps the pilot's behaviour in this episode and his evading recapture is a result of this? That doesn't necessarily explain his abduction of Max unless he was hoping to use Max as a tool of some kind in the future.

Alternately, if it is an alien pilot, perhaps he's rebelling against his masters? Possibly at this point in the series they were thinking of a schism among the alien ranks, to parallel the schism between the various human organizations, like the FBI and military.

Siskoid said...

Or since the black oil puppets also use a deadly flash of light as a weapon, could the connection lie there?


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