What I find interesting about "Medusa", in the end, is the way that it seemed so good, when in fact it was a complete mess.
Oh, this episode had some very strong moments. Apparently Scully's epiphany in "Badlaa" allowed her to come to terms with her situation, because she is much more herself in this episode. Even though she immediately decides to stay behind, there is no doubt that she is firmly in control and at the heart of the investigation.
That is interesting, because the way that this episode was staged, the cliche would have led to Doggett taking command in the field. Not so here. Doggett, after a moment of frustration at the very beginning, accepted the situation and put his life in Scully's hands with complete trust. I liked Doggett before, and let me tell you, I admired the hell out of him in this episode. His loyalty was affecting.
Let me address the final scene before I get into the meat of the episode. There is a lot of speculation as to what was happening there. Was Doggett connecting with Scully, maybe even close to making a move? Maybe...but I think that the scene was completely reasonable, given the circumstances. As I said, Doggett placed his life in Scully's hands, and she made sure that he came out whole.
On the other hand, Doggett's a man, and there is only so long that a man can resist Scully. Especially under those circumstances.
But leading into the meat of the episode, I wonder if Scully's reaction was related to the fact that she really, truly had nothing at all to do with the resolution of the episode.
Oh, Frank Spotnitz wants us to think she did. But the fact is, the "monster" of this episode was rendered so poorly and inconsistently that Scully's theory did not hold water.
Let's look at the very beginning of the episode. We have a transit cop alone in a subway station on a winter night in Boston. He is stalked by someone who looks like an extra from a German neo-Nazi propaganda film. Once in the subway car, something forces the car to a stop, and the Nazi attacks the cop. Keep that in mind for a moment.
Now, jump forward to the search through the tunnels. We find some puddles of seawater with high calcium levels. In fact, the CDC woman steps right into the damn puddle. Note that *nothing happens to her at all*. OK, then some seawater drips onto the transit worker, instantly burning his skin. This seawater later goes on to spread down his left arm, and suddenly erupts into an electrical discharge that "eats" off much of his flesh.
They find the Nazi, who has been "eaten", as well as some old bodies of squatters who had likewise been "eaten". Note that the CDC woman is perfectly fine. As Doggett and the cop continue through the tunnels, they both find themselves covered with the green stuff from the seawater.
Later on, they find some squatter kid who is completely uninfected, who leads them to a seawater leak where this green stuff is coming into the tunnels, and is spreading into another main subway line.
Now, by this point, Scully gives us the theory that the green stuff is really a microorganism called a Medusa, which discharges electricity in massive amounts when in contact with a person's sweat. And since the ventilation for the tunnels has been shut down, everyone was sweating, and therefore that caused the reaction that "ate" their flesh away in a rather fatal way.
However, that makes absolutely no sense based on what we saw.
First of all, the ventilation was still working at the very beginning of the episode. So how come the transit cop was "eaten"? And how did he get infected if he needed to be in direct contact with the seawater? Sure, the Nazi might have somehow spread the Medusa onto him, but the cop wasn't sweating at all compared to Doggett and the cop. One might argue that the subway car was heated, causing the transit cop to sweat, but in that case, why did the Nazi go so long without getting "eaten"?
Which brings me to another point. Just how much sweat does it take to set the Medusa off? Because the cop and Doggett were practically bathing in sweat, and there was little or no reaction on the part of the Medusa. They should have lit up like a Christmas tree just as quickly as the transit worker.
Scully's explanation also fails to explain why the child was completely uninfected. According to her explanation, the kid should have been covered with the stuff, just unable to sweat enough to set off a reaction. Unfortunately, that doesn't work either, because as anyone who understands biology can tell you, we are sweating *all the time*. Most of the time, it evaporates as soon as it escapes the skin. It's part of our overall cooling system! "Sweating" happens when we expel sweat faster than it can evaporate.
OK, so the bottom line is, the sweat explanation was wrong. Period. And Scully had to have figured that out by the time that she met with Doggett. Which, in the end, might explain why she looked so uncomfortable when Doggett was thanking her for saving his life.
Some other thoughts:
- I know all you DogGoddesses had to have been completely enthralled during this episode, given how truly manly Doggett was looking the whole night, but let me assure you that I was paying far more attention to the absolutely stunning Ms. Scully. I cannot tell you how many times I found myself lost in those eyes.
- What was the deal with Doggett using the cop's gun near the end? First of all, what was he thinking? That the electricity would kill the Medusa in the seawater? Sure, that's fine I guess, but what about the rounds of ammunition sitting in the freakin' gun? Which would explode right under a subway car full of passengers, who cannot be infected unless they get hit with the seawater in the first place!
- Oh, and on the same token, the last time I checked, grounding the third rail should have shorted out the system, or at least that subway line. In which case the train should have come to a grinding and very nasty halt, probably derailing due to the exploding gun...
- Am I the only one thinking that there is a bigger problem here? Like the fact that all of Boston is surrounded by seawater? So if the Medusa came from the seawater, I'm betting a lot of people should have been infected by now. Maybe that explains the food poisoning from eating raw seafood up there?
- Did everyone notice that after the Medusa got fried, which by some miracle did not electricute Doggett, the cop, or the kid, both the cop and Doggett were no longer infected?
- At least Frank Spotnitz is getting good enough to write an episode that makes no sense, and yet remains entertaining.
Overall, while the theory behind the episode was completely off the mark, I loved the way that Doggett interacted with Scully, and Scully's powerful confidence and take-charge attitude.
I give this one a 7/10.
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