Sunday, June 12, 2011

Review - The X-Files Season 3 Episode 17 Pusher / 18 Teso Dos Bichos


"Pusher" is one of the coolest non-mythology episodes. It's one of the new episodes not shrouded in darkness, but the stakes remain as high as ever. What sets the episode apart from other is how human the case seems. Though there is a supernatural element to it--Robert Modell able to push thoughts onto others simply by talking--the fact that he is a living man, openly professing his guilt, makes things more unsettling. We know he's a sentient human being, lurking out there and waiting for the right time to strike.

Like in the best X-Files episodes, Mulder and Scully are invested in this episode. After falling into this case, they immediately are pushed into action. Mulder testifies on the stand against Modell, who gets away, and see Burst die in front of their eyes. And the climax is full of exhilaration, as Mulder plays Russian roulette with Modell before finally shooting him.

The one thing that doesn't quite work in the episode is Skinner and the woman who beats him. The whole episode is unnecessary in an episode which focused on Mulder and Scully, and didn't seem necessary to the plot. Both Skinner and the woman are tools to advance one plot point, that Modell is interested in Mulder.

The final scene in which Mulder contemplates what happened is, to me, Mulder reflecting on his resemblance to  Modell. Here's this man who was a nobody, who wanted to be a somebody. A special ability came to him, and he grasps at this one chance to be a somebody, foregoing life. He desire to achieve his life's goal trumped all and he chose to kill people. Mulder, similarly, has goals and dreams he has not yet achieved, proving the existence of extraterrestrials. What if Mulder had the chance, like Modell, to reach his dream, but also give up his life and humanity? How far would be push himself?

Score: 9.3/10

"Teso Dos Bichos"

"Teso Dos Bichos" is the opposite of "Pusher," forgettable and boring. The episode begins with the standard setup of a skull of a female shaman being excavated and the natives believe it to have a curse. Lo and behold, one of the scientists is killed. From there, the episode goes as expected, people debating the morality of taking the skull from its home country and superstitious stuff in the background.

Mulder and Scully spend the episode phoning it in. It's the same as usual--Mulder believes in the curse, Scully doesn't. They help the police with the investigation, but they are nowhere near as involved as they were in "Pusher."

Nothing too interesting happens until Mulder and Scully are nearly killed by a pack of cats, a fairly good twists since we were led to believe the culprit was a jaguar, and it's kind of scary if you don't like cats. But that can't save the episode which wasn't interesting to begin with. The skull returns home and we're left with a generic and broad statement: don't mess with some things.

Score: 7.8/10
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