Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review - The X-Files Season 4 Episode 11 El Mundo Gira / 12 Leonard Betts

"El Mundo Gira"

Oh boy, another "ethnic" X-Files episode. I actually think "El Mundo Gira" has plenty of potential, but it's largely a mess with conflicting themes and tones. The title of the episode, translated into English, is "The World Turns," implying that the episode is an X-File set in a Mexican soap opera. These parts generally work, as the crying, yelling, and feuding brothers seem like what you'd find on a soap opera. Even Mulder and Scully seem to recognize what they've stepped into.

This self-recognition would indicate that the episode isn't supposed to be too serious, but the episode, inexplicably, attempts to have some social commentary which is a serious issue. There's an INS agent who seems to be the bad guy and there is a connection made between illegal aliens and actual aliens. Unfortunately, it's all heavy-handed and not thoughtful at all. The episode ends with the general idea that no one cares what happened to the brothers, but it's just a statement with little reasoning why no one would care. Surely two brothers causing people to have these terrible fungal growths should be found.

Score: 7.4/10

"Leonard Betts"
Taken alone, "Leonard Betts" would be a top-notch MOTW episode, filled with the scares, images, and scenery reminiscent of episodes like the "The Host," which features the infamous Flukeman. But this episode is also crucial to the forthcoming arc of the series--my personal favorite--and its final minutes are unforgettable.

Leonard Betts is one of the freakiest monster on the show, and he probably had a huge impact on the millions who watched the episode after the Super Bowl. His powers--the ability to regenerate his entire body--are both grotesque and almost unimaginable. He's literally made of cancer, which allows him to form new body parts and a new body when he wants. The scenes of him shedding is body, or rising out of the bath are great spectacles. The downside of his ability is that he needs to chow down on cancer cells, cut out of cancer patients from what we see. Altogether, he's one freaky dude.

Unlike Flukeman, who was largely a creature which had no sentience, Leonard Betts seems quite human--perhaps even more evolved than humans, Mulder suggests. He acts regretful when he attacks people, knowing it is is biological need which drives his actions. It is this consciousness about his actions that makes him someone to sympathize. Despite his inhuman ability and the frightening scenes, he seems all too human for us to be comfortable with.

Then the final revelation hits: Leonard needs something from Scully. Just like that, we learn Scully has cancer, and Scully's actions in the episode's dying minutes all but confirm this. While Scully doesn't do anything about her cancer immediately, even opting not to tell Mulder, Gillian Anderson shows us how good she is in those quiet moments, reflecting on herself and her condition. This is a precursor to the next arc in which Gillian Anderson delivers a monumental performance, in my opinion the finest of the series.

Score: 9.2/10
Related Posts with Thumbnails