Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Review - The X-Files Season 1 Episode 24 The Erlenmeyer Flask

Finally! We're at the last episode of the season and boy am I relieved to done with the season. It isn't smooth sailing just yet, but there is a major bump in quality towards the third season, in my opinion, of course.

The X-Files is most notable, perhaps, for the alien mythology, buoyed by the ever-present "I want to believe" poster. The mythology episodes in the first season, other than the first and second episodes which set up the series, are average at best. They don't reveal much and clearly Chris Carter is already stumbling in the dark, not expecting the series to survive for so long.

What the first season mythology episodes do set up, however, is the character Deep Throat. Played by Jerry Hardin, he can be earnest and deceiving at the same time. The audience doesn't quite know what he's up to--and, in hindsight, neither did Chris Carter. The idea that Deep Throat could operate within a group which has its nose everywhere while communicating with Mulder never made sense to me and is one of those huge plot holes viewers must live with.

"The Erlenmeyer Flask" pushes the boundaries of the mythology, simultaneously showing substantive proof of aliens and uping the ante with government action. It's a vastly fulfilling episodes, because we have a greater sense of who we're dealing with, and the mystery is still maintained.

Following up on a lead given by Deep Throat, Mulder and Scully discover much more than they did in previous episodes--a flask label "Purity Control" which contains extraterrestrial bacteria, green gas blood in aliens which makes humans burn, bodies in tanks, and most importantly, an alien fetus. Scully manages to recover the fetus which Deep Throat trades for Mulder. In the process, Deep Throat is shot. Before he dies, he utters the line "trust no one," not the first time it's been heard in the show, but certainly most memorable. Later, when Mulder tells Scully that the X-files is being closed down, he uses the line "the truth is out there."

One thing I found annoying with the episode was how Dr. Carpenter maps out basic biology to Scully, who surely knows the stuff since she is a medical doctor. It's for the audience to understand, but it would have been better if it was explained to someone other than Scully.

I'll be gone the next two days, so I won't start on season 2 until the weekend.

Score: 9.0/10
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