The X-Files #120: Paper Dove

"And now there is merely silence, silence, silence, saying, All we did not know." - William Rose Benét
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Frank tracks a killer woodsman with an overbearing mother as forces unknown plot to destroy his family.

REVIEW: The series finale inevitably leads to Catherine being taken, but though we finally catch a glimpse of the Polaroid Man that's been stalking the Black family since the Pilot, the episode surprises with a crime of the week story all its own. Of course, it's tangled up with the meta-plot. Polaroid is making sure the so-called Woodsman commits a murder in the area where Frank is supposed to be enjoying his summer vacation. Smacks of coincidence that Frank is also roped into clearing an old family friend of the first murder the Woodsman ever committed, but Polaroid may just be that clever. We still don't know what his deal is, but he really does seem to be running a network of psychopaths, perhaps just to get a taste of their killings by having them take pics. None of it is too clear at this point, but it's certainly intriguing.

The Woodsman himself is a good character, a man who - Frank was right - needs to talk to someone who will passively listen for once, which is why he creates corpses and takes them camping. His interaction with a woman and her son on the camping ground is properly unsettling, even if it doesn't lead to another murder. And the idea that he'll be sent to kill Catherine next is a terrifying one, and thankfully a red herring (though she may not be in a great position come Season 2's opener). I suppose making him a Quebecker who worked hard to lose his accent is an interesting, if slightly pointless, wrinkle, his overbearing mother - the person in his life he virtually shuts up with his murders - ALMOST gets the Quebec accent right, which is perhaps more annoying than if she had it all wrong. She gets the intonations and mangles the "t"s correctly, but can't manage the French "r", which is particularly irritating because her son is named "Henri". But it's more than the accent. Mrs. Dion is a full-on cartoon who doesn't fit the world of Millennium. Way too extreme. A performance that would only have worked if they'd use some kind of filter to make clear that she was only perceived this way by the Woodsman. That's not the case, so it's just jarring.

For the last couple of episodes, the show had been forgetting about the family angle, and I'm glad it's back in full force for the finale. We see how much Jordan enjoys playing with her cousin. We have some down time for Frank and Catherine before he gets sucked into his world again (though even there, there's some fun interaction with his old FBI buddies who ask him if there really is an "Evil" out there or if it's just the hormones in the beef making people more violent - "I don't think it's the beef"). We learn something about Catherine's past, specifically that she traveled a lot as a girl and young woman, and that she had a tendency to go native (no surprise for someone so empathetic). She has a sister who's down on their marriage, but clearly doesn't know what she's talking about. She projects OUR worst fears about the couple, but every scene where they're alone together alleviates those fears. Thematically, she's meant to mirror the Woodsman's mother. The episode spends a lot of time showing us familial dysfunctionality.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A strong finale that doesn't skimp on personal moments. The parody of a Quebecker mom is over the top, however.

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