“Mulder, back in the day, I used to do stairs and in three-inch heels.”
“‘Back in the day’. Scully, ‘back in the day’ is now.”
Of the four episodes we’ve seen so far, as an actual X File, this one might be the best yet.
While the central mystery is poorly explained and Mulder and Scully have little to no impact on the outcome of events, this one gives us an interesting premise and best of all a genuinely scary monster in the Band-Aid Nose Man.
From the open, this manages to be a scary and gory episode, with limbs routinely pulled apart by the large seemingly unstoppable creature. A later scene shows us the creature chasing a woman through her house and it really harks back to the old days of the show. The Band-Aid Nose Man might very well make it into The X-Files’ pantheon of great monsters; disturbing and definitely to be feared.
As with ‘Founder’s Mutation’ we get a standalone tale here, with a terrifying creature stalking the streets of Philadelphia and knocking off city officials who are forcing homeless people off the streets with some cruel tactics, but this episode also fits nicely into the arc of the mini-series as well as the mythology of the show in general due to the ongoing conversations about William and the return of a character from the past.
Bringing back Scully’s mother makes sense – we’ve seen her many times before and she was always an anchor to the real world for Scully – and while killing her off might seem harsh, it serves the story and really helps to push the characters and indeed the actors to new limits.
The Band-Aid Nose Man and the Trashman who fails to control the creature he created are there to protect the unwanted on the street and this ties into the heart-breaking scene at the episode’s conclusion where Scully ponders on the way we discard things – and people. It’s a sad moment, and with a lesser script and actors might have come across as obvious and on the nose (sorry).
But it works for the most part.
While all the actors are on good form, Gillian Anderson’s scenes throughout the episode, and the entire season, are of the highest quality and it would be poor judgement for her to be overlooked when awards season rolls around. That said, it is perhaps hard to really care about her plight as the audience has no connection to William and his ongoing unseen story, but we do feel Scully’s sadness and regret.
“I want to believe – I need to believe – that we didn’t treat him like trash.”
It seems highly likely that William will feature more in the season finale and let’s hope it was worth it, because at the moment it’s one aspect that fails to land in this largely successful revival. But next week we get one final standalone story in ‘Babylon’ before going back to the mythology.
Aired at 9pm on Monday 29 February 2016 on Channel 5.
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