The X-Files #109: Weeds

"But know ye for certain... Ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city..." - Jeremiah 26:13
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Someone is kidnapping and torturing teens in a gated community.

REVIEW: Gated communities are one of the signs of the Apocalypse - the "rich enough" trying to protect themselves from the threat posed by the poor, instead of taking responsibility for the capitalist system that created the problems associated with class inequality - and that's what the episode is really about. Let's not mince words. That CCH Pounder's pathologist Cheryl Andrews gets stopped twice on the way to see Frank is a wink at the fact that this particular community is homogeneously white, and the citizens' attitude that crime can't "happen here", as toxic a form of racism and classism as any. The criminal will turn out to be a member of the community who needs to expose this hypocrisy by forcing the men around him to confess their sins (anything from adultery to a hit and run). It's a bitter irony that he's fueled by his "gated community" ideals. What made him move to an isolated, high-security suburb is the same thing that's making him "purify" the community. He doesn't see himself as one of the sinners - his modus operandi is Messianic - though he surely is the worst of them. What we have here is a community so focused on protecting itself from the outside, it never realized the threat might come from THEM. The indictment here is that isolation and tribalism are symptoms of our mistrust of society, which can't possibly be a virtue.

That's the theme the show has been pursuing all along, of course. Evil comes from within, not from without. Frank is always holding it at bay in his own mind, but lesser men succumb and become monsters. Only a short scene in the Yellow House this time around, but we've never seen Frank so jumpy. He has the feeling he was followed, and indeed he was. The nosy neighbor - a symbol of the outsider who would really like to be invited in, so what does that say about Frank's "gated family"? - delivers the killer's message, left at his door. Frank's methods are in sharp focus; he deliberately paints himself as the killer's nemesis, and the messages start coming to him rather than the terrified families.

I'm not entirely sold on the idea that the killer sees people as the living dead, nor that Frank can share in that vision. Their (social?) decay is what prompts it, I suppose, and his quest to cleanse them. His methods are a little out of focus, because he wants something from the parent, but purifies the child. Thematically, it works. The teens he grabs are apathetic youths who don't obey (or in the biblical sense, "honor") their parents, who are, in one way, refusing to participate in the community that's been created for their protection. It's that game of outsider/insider playing out. It's just not sensible when he claims to have cared for the boys he tortured when the script really means for them to be legitimate targets as well. The investigation throws enough twists at the viewer to create several credible suspects, and the protectionist community is rife with people ready to take it to the next level. The fathers' vigilantism, and the resulting near-tragedy, are an example of taking things too far, and the killer's actions is merely an extreme of the same idea.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Thematically rich, but I'm not convinced the killer's actions are truly grounded psychologically.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like (21) Activities (23) Advice (70) Alien Nation (33) Aliens Say the Darndest Things (8) Alpha Flight (21) Amalgam (53) Ambush Bug (46) Animal Man (17) anime (50) Aquaman (69) Archetypes (14) Archie Heroes (10) Arrowed (20) Asterix (9) Atom (29) Avengers (56) Awards (33) Babylon 5 (139) Batman (671) Battle Shovel (13) Battlestar Galactica (122) Black Canary (22) BnB 2-in1 (40) Books (59) Booster Gold (16) Buffy (6) Canada (68) Captain America (67) Captain Marvel (50) Cat (156) CCGs (28) Charlton (12) Circles of Hell (6) Class (11) Comics (3894) Comics Code Approved (12) Conan (15) Contest (13) Cooking (15) Crisis (77) Daredevil (33) Dating Kara Zor-El (5) Dating Lois Lane (23) Dating Lucy Lane (13) Dating Princess Diana (11) DCAU (404) Deadman (9) Dial H (127) Dice (10) Dinosaur Island (16) Dinosaurs (65) Director Profiles (9) Doctor Who (1662) Doom Patrol (20) Down the Rabbit Hole (7) Dr. Strange (17) Encyclopedia (28) Fantastic Four (54) Fashion Nightmares (19) Fiasco (14) Films Within Films (6) Flash (78) Flushpoint (86) Foldees (12) French (49) Friday Night Fights (57) Fun with Covers (56) FW Team-Up (37) Galleries (9) Game design (25) Gaming (111) Geekly roundup (741) Geeks Anonymous (45) Geekwear (13) Gimme That Star Trek (55) Godzilla (52) Golden Age (409) Grant Morrison (74) Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction (8) Green Arrow (47) Green Lantern (82) Hawkman (36) Hero Points Podcast (13) Holidays (238) House of Mystery (15) Hulk (44) Human Target (7) Improv (30) Inspiration (45) Intersect (5) Invasion Podcast (44) Iron Man (49) Jack Kirby (83) Jimmy Olsen (74) JLA (90) JSA (22) K9 the Series (30) Kirby Motivationals (18) Krypto (202) Kung Fu (96) Learning to Fly (11) Legion (123) Letters pages (5) Liveblog (11) Lonely Hearts Podcast (20) Lord of the Rings (17) Machine Man Motivationals (9) Man-Thing (3) Marquee (88) Masters of the Universe (8) Memes (38) Memorable Moments (28) Metal Men (4) Metamorpho (64) Micronauts (1) Millennium (71) Mini-Comics (2) Monday Morning Macking (6) Movies (450) Mr. Terrific (3) Music (71) Nelvana of the Northern Lights (8) Nightmare Fuel (21) Number Ones (59) Obituaries (40) oHOTmu OR NOT? (70) Old52 (11) One Panel (270) Outsiders (163) Panels from Sheena (5) Paper Dolls (6) Play (73) Podcast (453) Polls (5) Questionable Fridays (13) Radio (18) Rants (20) Reaganocomics (8) Recollected (11) Red Bee (26) Red Tornado (10) Reign (563) Retro-Comics (3) Reviews (52) Rom (116) RPGs (534) Sandman (19) Sapphire & Steel (37) Sarah Jane Adventures (68) Saturday Morning Cartoons (5) SBG for Girls (4) Seasons of DWAITAS (100) Secret Origins Podcast (8) Secret Wars (25) SF (29) Shut Up Star Boy (1) Silver Age (364) Siskoid as Editor (32) Siskoid's Mailbox (10) Space 1999 (51) Spectre (19) Spider-Man (100) Spring Cleaning (15) ST non-fiction (19) ST novels: DS9 (8) ST novels: S.C.E. (19) ST novels: The Shat (2) ST novels: TNG (9) ST novels: TOS (11) Star Trek (1684) Streaky (2) Suicide Squad (35) Supergirl (88) Superman (1053) Supershill (11) Swamp Thing (21) Tales from Earth-Prime (7) Team Horrible (4) Teen Titans (80) That Franchise I Never Talk About (53) The Orville (29) The Prisoner (5) The Thing (54) Then and Now (4) Theory (51) Thor (52) Thursdays of Two Worlds (43) Time Capsule (8) Timeslip (7) Tintin (23) Torchwood (61) Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms (5) Toys (63) Turnarounds (7) TV (192) V (6) Waking Life (1) Warehouse 13 (8) Websites (102) What If? (103) Who's This? (183) Whoniverse-B (11) Wikileaked (3) Wonder Woman (80) X-Files (245) X-Men (99) Zero Hour Strikes (20) Zine (5)