The X-Files #148: The Hand of Saint Sebastian

"This is who we are."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Watts' obsession with an ancient relic reveals things about the origins of the Millennium Group.

REVIEW: "This is who we are" has been in the opening credits all season, and Peter Watts has used it as a ready-made justification for the Millennium Group's decisions, but this is really the first episode where it becomes clear it is the Group's motto. That's fine, and Watts turning it into a question provides a nice hook. It does draw attention to itself however that suddenly, Group members are using it as a pass phrase or salutation. Are we to believe they just started doing it? Because the flashback to 998 A.D. - the turn of the FIRST Millennium - also uses it. All part of the Morgan/Wong retcon. Moving forward, the episode increases the scope of the show a great deal, both temporally (scenes from 1000 years ago) and spatially (the German setting), but even more than that, the Group gains a recognizable leader AND a nemesis group.

The episode might dazzle with its many guest-stars, but not with its handling of guest characters per se. Philip Baker Hall as the Millennium Group lead is a real coup, but he seems to deal exclusively in parables. Hopefully, his future contributions will be less enigmatic. I'd love to see him play a larger role. CCH Pounder is back with Andrews, the forensic pathologist, but she's already revealed as a traitor, probably killing her chances of ever showing up again. Without really knowing what the nemesis group wants (or, in fact, what the Millennium Group does), it's hard to gauge that betrayal; it feels a little empty. But the biggest faux pas is the inclusion of both Brian Roedecker, the Charlton Heston-fixated computer nerd, and the character of Detective Heim who keeps quoting American television police detectives. It's the same kind of joke! And not funny! In Heim's case, it really does make the German police seem silly and incompetent. And then there's the scientist studying the bog mummy, who has an interest in pornography and phone sex, another unfunny bit that's entirely too important to the plot.

But the main thrust of The Hand of Saint Sebastian is an effective conspiracy thriller, with car bombs and quicksand, brutal murders, friends standing on the edge of right and wrong, and allies turning into foes. The archaeological angle made me think of the later Alias TV show, though it's not clear to me if the show will actually head in that direction. Is the fabled Hand going to be used? Are there other weapons out there to help fight the apocalypse? Will this become a regular thing for our heroes? And come to think of it, what happened in the year 1000? Was there a similar struggle, and what does it say about the one less than 800 days in the characters' future? A lot of interesting hooks, I just don't know if they'll be resolved.

- Opening up the world of Millennium is a worthy goal, I just don't like what's being done with many of the characters.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like (21) Activities (23) Advice (71) Alien Nation (34) Aliens Say the Darndest Things (8) Alpha Flight (21) Amalgam (53) Ambush Bug (46) Animal Man (17) anime (50) Aquaman (70) Archetypes (14) Archie Heroes (10) Arrowed (20) Asterix (9) Atom (29) Avengers (57) Awards (33) Babylon 5 (140) Batman (673) Battle Shovel (13) Battlestar Galactica (128) Black Canary (22) BnB 2-in1 (40) Books (59) Booster Gold (16) Buck Rogers (2) Buffy (6) Canada (68) Captain America (68) Captain Marvel (53) Cat (156) CCGs (35) Charlton (12) Circles of Hell (6) Class (11) Comics (3913) 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 (128) Dice (10) Dinosaur Island (16) Dinosaurs (66) Director Profiles (9) Doctor Who (1669) Doom Patrol (21) Down the Rabbit Hole (7) Dr. Strange (17) Encyclopedia (28) Fantastic Four (55) Fashion Nightmares (19) Fiasco (14) Films Within Films (6) Flash (79) 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 (748) Geeks Anonymous (45) Geekwear (13) Gimme That Star Trek (57) Godzilla (52) Golden Age (416) Grant Morrison (75) Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction (8) Green Arrow (48) Green Lantern (84) Hawkman (37) Hero Points Podcast (13) Holidays (238) House of Mystery (15) Hulk (44) Human Target (8) Improv (32) Inspiration (45) Intersect (5) Invasion Podcast (44) Iron Man (49) Jack Kirby (84) Jimmy Olsen (74) JLA (92) JSA (23) K9 the Series (30) Kirby Motivationals (18) Krypto (202) Kung Fu (96) Learning to Fly (11) Legion (127) Letters pages (6) Liveblog (12) Lonely Hearts Podcast (21) Lord of the Rings (18) Machine Man Motivationals (9) Man-Thing (3) Marquee (88) Masters of the Universe (8) Memes (38) Memorable Moments (34) Metal Men (4) Metamorpho (64) Micronauts (1) Millennium (71) Mini-Comics (2) Monday Morning Macking (6) Movies (453) Mr. Terrific (3) Music (71) Nelvana of the Northern Lights (8) Nightmare Fuel (21) Number Ones (59) Obituaries (40) oHOTmu OR NOT? (73) Old52 (11) One Panel (276) Outsiders (165) Panels from Sheena (5) Paper Dolls (7) Play (74) Podcast (466) 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 (536) 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 (33) Siskoid's Mailbox (10) Space 1999 (51) Spectre (20) 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 (1692) Streaky (2) Suicide Squad (36) Supergirl (89) Superman (1057) Supershill (11) Swamp Thing (22) Tales from Earth-Prime (7) Team Horrible (4) Teen Titans (81) 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 (9) Websites (102) What If? (103) Who's This? (189) Whoniverse-B (11) Wikileaked (3) Wonder Woman (82) X-Files (245) X-Men (100) Zero Hour Strikes (21) Zine (5)