Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review - The X-Files Season 4 Episode 17 Tempus Fugit / 18 Max

Since these two episodes are basically a single story, I'll reviewing them as a single episode.

Nestled in the cancer arc are "Tempus Fugit" and "Max," two mythology episodes which work well, even at this time in The X-Files's lifespan, when the mystery elements of the mythology are all twisted. While they are mythology episodes dealing with aliens and the government conspiracy, there are no loose ends at the end of the episode, nor continuations of loose ends from previous episodes. This isolation helps greatly when previous mythology have involved a mix of aliens, black oil, an government types with little discernible motives. By the end of "Max," we almost have a perfect idea of all the sides and what they want. It's pretty spectacular how easy to understand both episodes are.

For the first time, I can clearly lay out some facts. Max and Sharon steal alien technology from a military contractor; the military contractor wants it back; UFOs abduct Max, Sharon, and Mulder when they had a piece of the technology; the military aircraft shot down the UFO, also causing Max's plane to crash. No black oil, no bounty hunters, nothing that can't be explain. Given the show's ability to pile on, this it's a big sigh of relief.

These episodes still maintain the core values of The X-Files in the midst of it all. There is the dangerous, secretive military-industrial-alien complex at work again, sacrificing innocent lives in pursuit of goals, whatever they are. At the center of the innocent is Max, the guy who just wanted the truth. He's a fairly memorable character from the first season and we see him in the videos, inquiring about why the government continues to cover things up. Except, no one cares. Surely the aliens don't care about him, not the Syndicate, not the military, not the contractors.

"Tempus Fugit" and "Max" take quite a few detours along the way, with a bunch of random characters coming closer, or even accepting, the truth. With all the weird stuff happening at the beginning of the episode, Mulder immediately starts spouting off his ideas, as Scully makes excuses for him. By "Max," enough people realize something is wrong that Mulder doesn't seem so crazy. Even still, there is the same futility that remains. More people can learn the truth, but without evidence, without hard, tangible proof, there is nothing but ideas in the minds of a few.

Score: 9.0/10
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