Jewish World Review May 20, 2002 / 9 Sivan, 5762

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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The Files now Ex | America's favorite weekly paranoid romp among nasty mutants, disinformation, and aliens who may not be aliens, "The X Files," is now officially the ex- "X Files," and the end didn't come a moment too soon. I am amazed at how jaw-droppingly lame it became.

I can't blame the actors, who did the best they could --- it seemed like poor Robert Patrick spent every other episode in a coma, paralyzed, or amnesiac. There was the episode in which a horribly burned man, whom Dana Scully had harbored in her home because people were trying to kill him, snuck into her bedroom and injected her baby with something --- while three FBI agents were sitting around morosely in the other room! There was the episode in which the creators decided to kill off the Lone Gunmen for no apparent reason.

But the penultimate episode really took the cake. It began promisingly enough: Two stoners break into a house that is an exact replica of the Brady Bunch house. One of them freaks out and leaves. The other pursues what appear to be Cindy and Bobby, and the next thing you know he's dropped from the sky to land on top of his buddy's car --- dead. Cool!

Well, it turns out that the man who lives in the house has amazing telekinetic powers, and he can transform his house into the Brady Bunch house whenever he feels lonely. The X Files gang spirit him away to Washington, where he levitates Skinner, and they all conclude that at long last they have living proof of paranormalcy, which for the agents also means job security.

Unfortunately, they find out that every time the poor fellow uses his powers, he dies a little bit. But when he's happy, his powers go away. So they hook him up with the researcher who studied him as a child, who was a kind of surrogate father to him. When he stopped studying him, the boy created his Brady Bunch environment as a kind of --- oh never mind.

The episode ended with the boy reunited with Dad, and Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish holding hands. Message? Yes, the paranormal is important. But what's more important is learning how to feel.

Now, I've come to expect murky storylines from "The X Files," long boring scenes of exposition that later turn out to be misdirection, dim lighting, the dumb Cigarette-Smoking-Man-May-Be-Mulder's-Father theme, the tiresome Is-Scully's-Baby-An-Alien-Or-What? Theme --- but this lurching descent into outright mawkishness was embarrassing.

I don't know about you, but when I tune into a gloomy television show about federal agents battling supernatural beings, I can tolerate a bit of obscurity, obfuscation, and opaqueness, but I want a bit of Jack Webb in there as well. Did you ever see Joe Friday mooning over a gal? No, if he'd been on the team, he would have read the aliens their rights and moved on.

I rest my case.

JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.


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© 2001, Ian Shoales