Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review - The X-Files Season 3 Episode 21 Avatar / 22 Quagmire


Before watching the episode, I honestly didn't remember much about "Avatar" other than that it was a Skinner episode and an average episode. After watching the episode, I think I know why. The episode is a hazy experience, indicating significance of both the supernatural and conspiratorial kinds, but ends up fulfilling neither to a satisfactory extent.

While the episode certainly has merits of its own--Mitch Pileggi finally getting a large role and really doing a fantastic job, introducing Skinner's backstory, Mulder and Scully  heavily involved--the episode feels like a start to developing Skinner and not a story that can stand on its own. His wife, the succubus, and CSM messing with him would all be great to expand on since we learn relatively little about them, but they weren't developed in later episodes.

So, at the end of the day, "Avatar" is an episode that could have been part of something great. Instead, it leaves us with some decent Skinner background and a bevy of unfulfilled ideas.

Score: 8.5/10


"Quagmire" generally isn't considered a classic X-Files episode. There's nothing too inventive about the episode, nothing too emotional or funny. It's not profound like Darin Morgan episodes or exciting like mythology episodes. We're not left at the end of the episode stunned at anything. The episode is, for all intents and purposes, a typical MOTW episode

But I'm a huge fan of the episode and have watched it bunch of times. (I'm really surprised I didn't put in on my list of top 25 episodes.) There is an innate likability permeating the episode due to Mulder and Scully. Mulder drags Scully to a remote lake where people have been disseminating and where the fabled Big Blue is supposed to live. We see people being killed, so we know something is truly up. At this point, there is nothing out of the ordinary, as the usual local cranks and local police do their thing while Mulder engages the imaginary and Scully sticks to science.

Then, Mulder and Scully go out in the middle of the lake in a boat, get hit by something big, and end up stranded on this small rock. For an entire 10 minutes, they just sit there and talk. This, in my opinion, is a classic X-Files scene. It is the culmination of the episode--after all the complaining about being dragged out there and poor Queequeg getting eaten. Now they're stuck in the middle of a lake with a monster circling them. Scully compares Mulder to Ahab and bemoans how Mulder lives and acts. Mulder, in turn, takes it in stride and isn't bothered too much.

But despite their apparent differences, they are still together after these years. What began as Scully "spying" on Mulder has become a real partnership, with trust and friendship and devotion. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are absolutely dynamite in the scene, their chemistry popping off the screen. There is a closeness between Mulder and Scully not only in the words they say, but also in the way they say them.

Eventually, the monster turns out to be an alligator which is nowhere near as cool as a sea monster but monstrous in its own way. The end threw my for a loop, because I though the final shot was only the lake and something moving underneath. Instead, we actually see the monster come out of the water, lift its head, and go back down.

Score: 9.3/10
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