The X-Files #110: Loin Like a Hunting Flame

"Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast." - Faust
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: A killer is giving victims drugs, filming them having sex, then posing them in death.

REVIEW: There's a questionable piece of casting with Maureen Murphy of the Millennium Group being played by Harriet Harris. X-Philes will best remember her as the evil series of clones from "Eve", a fact I was immediately reminded of when she shows up at a crime scene where a dead couple has been posed as Adam and Eve. Still, they could have brought back Lindsay Crouse, I suppose, and no one wants that. Maureen is a similar character, a humorless, stern-looking woman, but she's actually useful as an investigator. To the story's themes, too, given that she exposes Boulder, Colorado's resident sex crimes expert, Detective Thomas' sexism. Despite opening up to Frank in the later chapters, I don't think the episode ever redeems this jerk, and it probably shouldn't have tried to. He works best as an idea, as the other side of the coin represented by the killer.

See, he's as repulsed by deviancy as the killer seems attracted to it, and yet, they have similar back stories. Thomas couldn't satisfy his wife after working on sex crimes in L.A. for so long, a job that effectively destroyed his libido. He turned to voyeurism (pornography) to get his mojo back, but it only made things worse. The killer, for his part, is a severely repressed man who could never satisfactorily consumate his marriage, and is vicariously living through staged sexual encounters to replace his absent sex life and push himself to commit the act. He's attracted to others' lust, and his blurred vision transforms his victims into erotically-charged images before our eyes. From voyeurism, he moves to murder, freezing his victims in the moment of exctasy, something he plans to do to his wife and himself as well when the time comes. It's too bad all his poses can't be as elaborate and interesting as his "loss of innocence" was, reproducing a scene from Genesis. His "experimental" phase, puts two women kidnapped from a key party on a park bench. Very plain. Much better is the forced reenactment of his wedding vows by a couple about to be married. The pathology is interesting, if not always as richly rendered as that first murder.

Structurally, the episode is crafted to confirm Frank and Maureen's conclusions as they are made, never revealing too much too soon. Detective Thomas is more a foil than a help, making it clear from the outset that "squealing for help" wasn't his idea. He resents the fact that a woman has been assigned to the team, which prompts Frank to slap his wrist and defend the gender's insight - the ghost of Catherine here, and the only reference, however oblique, to her. But the way he treats witnesses he believes to be deviants speaks to an even greater dysfunction. That's why I don't think his sudden interest in asking Maureen out is earned - I much prefer to think he's putting on the trappings of masculinity to save face.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - An interesting mystery, returning to crazy sex crimes which are meant to be Frank's specialty, but the main guest-star is perhaps a bit broad.

0 comments:

 

Blog Archive

Category

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)