The X-Files #259: Maximum Byers

"Jimmy, every half-baked TV series that runs out of ideas in the fourth and fifth season does their 'sneak into prison dressed as an inmate' show."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Byers and Jimmy pose as prisoners on death row, in an attempt to prove a man's innocence.

REVIEW: If I'm critical of the comedy, why not try a heavier episode? That's what Maximum Byers provides, as a long-time reader of the Gunman comes in asking the journalists to prove her son on death row isn't guilty of a murder. Jimmy has an idea that he and Byers can infiltrate the prison as inmates and get the son to blow open the conspiracy for which he is voluntarily dying. And when they get there, the reality is actually pretty well rendered, and Jimmy even regrets his "A-Team" plan. There's more verisimilitude and violence than usual, but comedy lovers did get a teaser in which Jimmy played Elvis Presley as the Gunmen bore down on a man they thought was actually the King. I'd actually like to see more of the Weekly World News nonsense, actually. As is, it's a fun prelude to another Jimmy dress-up story, and allows the production to use "Jailhouse Rock".

The plot does feature a number of twists and turns, though some of it is unfortunately telegraphed. The minute the innocent inmate tells Jimmy what he would do if he were cleared, who doesn't know we'll see exactly those scenes play out at the end? Only the strangeness of his dream gives it interest. Yves as Jimmy's faux-wife is pretty amusing too. It's really too bad that, in the end, the various twists are missing vital components. What DID the evil lawyer hold over Pfeifer's head to make him go silently to the electric chair? That seems a big part of the equation they never make sense of.

And though the prison stuff is mostly realistic - certainly more than The Lone Gunmen's usual fare - sometimes, it's back to stupid is as stupid does. Sigh. The lawyer orders a hit in view and earshot of everyone. The infirmiry has less than a tenth of the security of any other part of the prison, with Byers, a death row inmate, walking right up to another in his bed. And of course, Yves just has to go and question the central premise, i.e. why didn't they infiltrate the guards and instead put two of the team at risk on death row? What about that atrocious scene where they all act suspicious in front of the lawyer? And while I can appreciate the show has near-future technology, did they really need to give Jimmy a way to contact the rest of the group that has a small glowing SCREEN?! It's impractical nonsense that could have gotten it confiscated lickety-split.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - An episode that's too serious to really accommodate some of the lame-brain thinking on show, but I don't mind the tonal shift.

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