The X-Files #105: Blood Relatives

"This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign shall be given to it..." - Luke 11:29
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: An orphan infiltrates several funerals under pretense, and then people start dying.

REVIEW: While I understand every episode can't be like this, I very much enjoyed Frank and Catherine working on a case together. She's drawn in first, and we find out she works for Victims Services. Is that a hint of how she and Frank met in the first place? It's definitely justification for having them work together in the future, especially on cases sourced from the Seattle PD (i.e. Bletch). Seeing them work in tandem shows off just how they're similar, if different. Catherine exhibits an unusual amount of empathy, painting the presumed killer in a sympathetic light, and showing profound sadness at all the kids out there who are damaged by similar circumstances. Frank's own empathy is that of the profiler, an osmotic understanding that makes him condemn what he calls "the depravity", but like his wife, he sees this as a problem to be fixed, not as a reason for anger. It's certainly a great episode for her; I love her deadpan summation of the much angrier cops Frank works with on a regular basis - "tough room".

The mystery itself is well handled, and unusual too. A kid who goes around trying to connect to the family he never had by showing up at funerals of other young people, getting a thrill from how far he can get - the funeral home? the person's childhood room? the arms of the person's girlfriend? - and there's something quite upsetting about someone exploiting us at our most vulnerable. The death of a loved one is a time when most people are predisposed to kindness, and we see that. But when kind albeit manufactured moments turn to savage brutality, it can be quite shocking. The girl's murder in the second act is powerful for those reasons. And yet, the kid remains a source of pathos, in large part thanks to his unhappy life in the home for parolees, where he is dominated by an unscrupulous tenant. And there lies the twist, which I don't feel like spoiling right now.

The climax offers a well-done thriller - it kind of pulls a Hitchcock - and a rare chance for Frank to get physical with a perp. He could have died, not for the first time, but Catherine must confront the possibility that this life of his could take him away from her (he just spent time in a hospital after a bomb went off, after all). Peter Watts appears again, apparently just doing Frank a favor though the murders do fit the profile the Millennium Group looks for. He's become a more and more intriguing figure, apparently always on the move, in and out of Frank's life, a more mobile agent than he is. It's a small detail that he needs to be on a plane before the end of the episode, but it gives the Group a lot more scope. There's always something happening, even if we don't know about it. Though I want this to be Frank and Catherine's show, I'd also like to see a focus on Watts at some point.

- Getting Frank and Catherine together on a case is proof of concept for more episodes like this. A good mystery-thriller that engages both leads.



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