RECAPITATION! The X-Files Season 11, Episode 8
How do you recap a show that doesn’t care about what happened the week before?
What happened last episode? Do you remember? Oh that’s right, it was a fun stand alone but...that really means a whole bunch of ZIP for where our friendly investigators find themselves at this past week in Familiar.
Wait. Hold on. Fuck. Ok, so lemme pop in here real quick. This is Jacob from the future! I started writing part of what remains of this recap before and I had to jump back to add in some context. I write these recaps as I watch the episode and I was expecting this to be a general "Hey so this is what happens in the episode, heres some wry comments on how kinda crappy it is, blah blah blah I said I would give up on this so I'm not. But Chris Carter and his writers really went for some...I dunno, metaphors? Really terrible allusions? It's. Something. Well, real fast, Mulder and Scully are investigating child murders in a small town. Child Murderer was wearing a popular kids show character costume. It was creepy. Then, well, here's my unedited notes:
What ARE Chris Carter’s politics? It’s like he is actively attempting to please and anger all sides of the political spectrum. And it all feels icky, frankly. This episode? Well, lemme explain:
After discovering the Mr. Chuckleteeth mask in the pedophile criminals house, Fox walks outside disturbed. But...well, not in the way you’d think. Scully ask's him whats wrong, and he responds "...he'll never have a chance."
"Who?", Scully asks "Melvin Peters? You're feeling sorry for him?"
“It's just too perfect. I don't like perfect." He scans the growing crowd of people around the police scene. "This rush of judgement, the Witch Trials and all that. What happened to the precious presumption of innocent thats rooted in a very democratic ideal…. And you and this mob are re-convicting him right now for the sins of his past.”
So what happens?
Yep, mob mentality takes over. After the police officer of the dead boy finds the sex offender, he beats him up. Then the mob takes over beating him up together, even while another officer is using himself as a human shield for their target! Then after Mulder and Scully arrive (having to fire off a round of gunshots in the air to disperse the crowd) the original cop who's son died inexplicably shoots the unarmed man in the head. The sex offender who screamed out “It was statutory!” before dying, as if that is meant to say that even the sexual offense this man committed is questionable.
Later, while waiting in court to hear the verdict for the shooting, Mulder, Chris Carter’s strange talking piece of contradictions, shakes his head in disdain knowing that “Yet another injustice as a guilty cop will walk free after the unjust murder of a man.” YES CHRIS, YES. THIS IS JUST LIKE A BLACK LIVES MATTER STORY. I mean, like:
Now, the story is still happening, so we have some interesting info dump late in the show. Here’s a quick recap:
The Chief was cheating on his wife with the mother of the dead boy?
The Chief felt like that was opening up a doorway to the Devil? I think? It may have just been a ploy
The mother of the dead boy is...DUM DUM DUM. A WITCH! The woman is a witch. The woman....is a witch. The woman. Is a witch. The. Woman. Is. A. Witch. I mean...just...god...ok, In an episode where they appropriate BLM, say there witch hunts of presumably innocent potential violent aggressors...the women are also witches.
I’ll give this to the episode, and this season overall, they’ve got some pretty good nightmare fuel moments and shots. The Kids Show characters that have been witched into existence are genuinely unnerving, my limited clown training (Yeah, I trained, it’s art, fuhgeddaboutit.) going wild with the physical language of the Mr. Chuckleteeth character. It’s good Art Direction. But all the art direction in the world can’t save this episode. And I’ll be frank, like..it’s the politics, man. And not just that I find Chris Carters mind-frame narrow minded with the potentiality for cultural regression, but that I can’t tell what principals he has. He gives us metaphors that would make the most staunchly Conservative smirk and perhaps “Like” Chris Carter on social, yet then he uses BLM as if he is trying to make a strong statement. And I hope he does care about Black Lives, because he rarely shows it in the show but that is another topic for another time. All of this means is that...this is only in here so he can get a rise. Get a reaction. Get a think piece. And in some ways he has, people have mentioned this episode to me this week and they clearly spent a couple dollars on new ad’s as Mr. Chuckleteeth popped up on my Facebook feed a few times. But when you attempt to use politics, left or right, just as an attempt without any clear motivation behind it, it’s lazy...and makes you look bad.
Which sucks because I fucking LOVE me a good witch episode.
- Man these Bibble Tickles or whatever they are called are fuuuuucking terrifying. Too terrifying. I believe in UFO’s, but no way do I believe that show got past family censors.
- DAMN. Gotta give it to The X-Files. Two children dead, one episode. This is insane.
- Also I mean...after everything Scully has seen I understand her desire for always questioning, but like...c’mon, you expect her to waver a little bit in her disbelief of potential paranormal answers.
- “Time has a way of shedding light on injustices” Scully says with a wink to one of the miniscule POC in The X-Files-philes. OK CHRIS. OK.
“I just hope that it’s over” Scully says.
“I only hope that it is too” Fox replies.
Same, Mulder and Scully. Same.