"Invocation"

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After a couple of standard MOTW episodes, we drift into a slightly different territory. With this episode, we find ourselves looking squarely at a "missing child" case with distinctly paranormal overtones. Does this sound at all familiar to any fans out there?

But thankfully, as with the last couple stand-alone episodes, this is more about the characters than the case itself. Specifically, this episode is mostly a look at what makes Doggett tick. And as it turns out, CC and friends tossed us a rather interesting twist.

Before we get to that, let me add that on the whole, this episode was downright creepy. Most of that can be attributed to the actor who played Billy. That kid was just unnerving! The same was true for the trailer trash. There were some very well constructed scenes between Doggett and the younger trailer man, as well as the two trailer men. Unfortunately, Billy's parents were far less engaging, and I thought their reaction to the entire situation was much too accepting.

Now to the real heart of the episode, which had to be the first hints at Doggett's past history. We learn that he has experience on the Abducted Child Unit (was that the right name?), and that there is one child that was part of a very serious and personal case. Doggett carries that picture around with him, and whatever happened, it still haunts him to this day.

It would be easy to see this as manipulative, as though we were being led to feel sympathy for Doggett. After all, the obvious conclusion is that his son was abducted, possibly molested or killed or never found, and it tore apart Doggett's family. But there are other possibilities. It could have been a brother, or it could have been just another case that was never solved.

Again, I ask...does this sound at all familiar to any fans out there?

Because I see a very clear reason why this type of personal history works for the series. On the one hand, sure, it's a bit manipulative. But it also gives a clear insight into the difference between Doggett and Mulder. And looking back, it also serves to explain where Doggett came up with some of his theories on Mulder's possible post-abduction behavior during the premiere.

From the comments that were made, Doggett's case was unsolved, and had terrible consequences. As I said, the child might never have been found, or could have been killed. Either way, it is clear from his dialogue that his experience and that particular case lead him to believe that there is always a person of particular evil behind these abductions, and that person can be found and caught.

That grounded belief, with its strictly mundane explanation for what could have happened, is in stark contrast with Mulder's search for paranormal or alien explanations for his sister's disappearance. And it is clear that Doggett refuses to consider these explanations, simply because he feels that it helps to let the real monsters, the human ones, off the hook.

This is especially true at the end, when Doggett refuses to accept what seemed to have happened. He refuses to let himself believe that there are forces that can do these types of things that he cannot hunt down and put a stop to. This also serves to portray Scully as truly being right in the center between the two extremes. Doggett refuses to even consider the paranormal, whereas Mulder would have accepted it without question, and might have gone even farther. Scully, on the other hand, takes what she is given, having seen more than she can deny, while still retaining the ability to explore all options.

All of that said, I cannot understand why some fans dislike this type of past for Doggett. Some of it is likely the usual Mulderite stance, which states that everything about Doggett is evil, as it is not Mulder. But there are others who feel that this is overly similar to Mulder's situation. Wouldn't this be something that would have to lead to a fantastic scene when Mulder returns? Both men having experienced an abduction of a loved one, but needing to see that abduction in diametrically opposed ways.

And might I add that this could, theoretically, be a subtle hint as to how Doggett might fit into the ongoing mythology. After all, we know that he has dealt with abducted children in the past. Could that child, that case he cannot let go of, somehow be part of the tests and abductions by the Syndicate? Only time will tell.

Other comments:

- David Amann wrote this episode. He also wrote "Terms of Endearment", an episode that always seems to be on every few weeks in syndication. That episode is pretty average, and in the end, so is this one. I cannot help but wonder what else this writer has written, and whether this is something he has always been guilty of. But the Doggett elements and the direction saved this effort more than the writing.

- One of my wife's favourite CD's is by Kenny Loggins: "Return to Pooh Corner". One of the songs is "All the Pretty Horses", so we recognized it immediately. After this episode, I doubt I will be able to hear that song without getting a chill. Espcially when it was playing on the recorder...that was freaky!

- Doggett was much more forceful this episode, which once again points to the fact that this type of case was extremely personal for him.

- No Scully's "X-ploitation" List this week. She was wearing fairly normal clothes this time around. I find myself with very little to say about this episode, once the mood of the episode and the revelations about Doggett are covered.

Overall, I give it a 6/10.


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