(First of all, I want to apologize for the lateness of this review. Things have been very out of sorts lately. I spent two hours at a realtor's office on Sunday night, pounding out a bid for a house. All indications are that Entil'zha is about to become a homeowner, and therefore will complete the three stages of American adulthood (marriage, children, house/major debt). In response to no sleep since New Year's Eve and the stress involved in the process of finding a house and bidding on it within 36 hours, my immune system crashed and my tonsils just about declared independence, sending me into a nasty illness that left me bedridden until this morning. Oh, and on top of that, my father (who has Alzheimer's) was in the hospital recently with chest pains. Go figure.)

(Thankfully, after getting a huge shot of antibiotics and about 24 hours of sleep since 10 PM on Monday night, I seem to be recovering...and yes, my father is fine.)

Now, I'm not sure which is worse: the circumstances I described above, or the fact that this latest episode of the "X-Files" was less interesting than the story I just told.

Certainly, when I finally got to watch this episode Monday night, before my body fell into disarray, I wasn't sure if something had gone very, very wrong with my VCR. First of all, much of the episode was replete with tracking problems, which did not happen on the same VCR when I recorded "The Pilot" two hours later. Usually I would be pissed beyond belief. Somehow I found it hard to get angry.

The other reason I thought something was wrong with my VCR had to be the fact that I thought, for quite some time, that I was somehow watching an episode taken at random from last season.

This episode was perhaps the perfect example of what went wrong so often during the past few years on this series. Note that there was absolutely no reason for the FBI to be involved in this case. There was nothing so striking about this case, on the surface, that would have made it an X-File. Nor did it involve federal or interstate crime, nor did it personally impact on one of the agents involved. In other words, this had no business being an episode of the X-Files.

This episode had some other failures. How about the complete lack of interest that it generated in its secondary characters? I think that most of us figured out what was going on within the first 15 minutes of the episode. And did anyone else notice that the case effectively resolved itself without the intervention of Scully and Doggett? Oh, did I mention that already? My mistake...

Now one might mention that "Redrum" also had little to do with the agents in question, but I point out that there was a connection with Doggett and his past that put that episode into perspective. This episode was effectively Scully-lite *and* Doggett-lite!

For once, I imagine I agree completely with the Mulderites on this episode. During the scene where Scully and Doggett are in the warehouse where the drug dealers have been killed (can anyone tell me why they were even there?), Doggett was actually given some fairly amusing dialogue. Only it did not really come across well, because it hadn't been done before. I found it amusing, but not in the way I would have found Mulder's comments amusing.

On the other hand, it looks as though the writers are trying to show that Scully and Doggett are generally starting to work together a little more comfortably. With one glaring exception. What is this "Agent" business? Early on, it made sense...there was a certain adversarial atmosphere between them. But after this much time, it makes no sense. Especially since Mulder and Scully were calling each other by last name from the start. Or is that the whole reason they do it, I wonder...to establish that their relationship is different? But I think that GA and RP are talented enough to say the names in just the right way to express that there is a lack of depth between them.

Some other thoughts:

- Some might think that Scully was pulling a Mulder in this episode, but I encounter a number of articles by pure scientists that use the same explanation Scully gave to explain some paranormal phenomena. And since I have been known to "play Mulder" in my time, I appreciated the inclusion of this explanation. It is something Scully should have brought up in the past.

- I may be the only person who thinks this way, but I loved some of Doggett's sarcastic lines in this episode. Oh, sure, there were perhaps three of them, but you take what you can get!

- There were shades of "Unbreakable" to this episode...twins with drastically opposite eyesight. I wonder if that was an influence on the episode or not. Too bad I was too bored to look back and find out who the writer is. (For more than one reason...I'd like to be forewarned before I watch another of his episodes...)

- Nothing to say under "Scully's X-ploitation List" this time around. They saved all of that for the other woman in the episode, whose name I cannot remember. Scully looked exceptional in that turtleneck outfit, though. And at least the other woman was cute in an odd sort of way.

- Did anyone doubt for a second how this episode was going to end? I mean, they had it telegraphed from the moment the near-blind brother took the woman into his office!

- I will say it now. I miss Mulder. Not that he would have made this episode work, given that he didn't make similar episodes work any better in past seasons, but I'm looking forward to the big episodes this February and beyond. All these MOTWs, and that's all we've had since the premiere, are starting to annoy me.

Overall, I give this episode a 3/10. It was pathetic.

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