On top of the writing problem...and knowing that the episode was written by Jeff Bell automatically suggests there was a writing problem...this episode was another "season 7" type episode, like "Surekill" last week. It was less about the agents and the investigation than it was about the supporting characters, and I seldom find those episodes fulfulling.
Perhaps it was the fact that the overall concept was the inevitable inside joke...a take off of "Terminator 2". This did not have to be done. Even though it was an interesting variation, it felt somehow incestuous. Many of the lines were purely there just for the "ironic" payoff, which often felt forced.
Two other aspects felt wrong to me as well.
First, there is the incredible leap that Scully takes in order to suggest that the subject was not an ordinary man, but somehow made of metal. And this is at the very beginning of the first act of the episode! It was truly a Mulder Moment, a complete leap out of nowhere, and utterly unlike Scully in every way. Had the leap come later, after some investigation was made, perhaps it would not have been so jarring. But it was written so that it was quickly out of the way, so they could get on with the rest of the story.
Second, I feel like I'm still waiting for an ending. Because the one that I saw was completely pointless. Nothing was truly resolved, except that we know the fate of the metal man. And so once again, we are treated to a situation where our agents are pulled into a case for some unknown reason (and the car wreck was not enough of a reason, in my opinion), they basically do little more than react to what is happening around them, and then the ending has nothing to do with their actions. So what the heck are they even there for?
Not that this episode was a complete waste of time. The metal aspect was treated in an interesting way. Scully, despite the leap, was back in the saddle during the autopsy. How many of those have we seen this season, after all? More importantly, Doggett had some truly well written moments in this episode. Even when it was obvious that RP's previous acting career was being mined for material, his work transcended the weakness of the material. All in all, I'm finding Doggett's "hardass" attitude to be very fun to watch, especially since it contrasts very nicely with Scully. Mulder and Scully had a very different dynamic in their working relationship, and it is good to see that the writers are not trying to force the same kind of rapport between Scully and Doggett.
Some other thoughts:
- Again, did we really need the whole "Terminator 2" retread? The unstoppable metal man concept might have worked with Mulder rather than Doggett, just to eliminate the lame irony involved, but then again, would they have ever thought to do this if RP had not been cast?
- Once again, nothing to say on "Scully's X-Ploitation List" this week. Perhaps they got the point earlier in the season, and made a few changes. Given how well the turtleneck look comes across for Scully, all's well that ends well.
- Now, after realizing that Ray could pound through a 4 in. thick metal door, why did not one person consider that he could have gone through the other side of the containment chamber?
- Speaking of that scene, if the whole point was to contain and capture Ray, why would they open the doors mere seconds after he stops pounding on the door? And if you were one of those SWAT guys, would you go running in after him?
- I loved seeing Scully and Doggett playing "good cop, bad cop" with Ray's wife. Doggett plays a mean cop very, very well!
- I hate that ending. We watch the whole damned episode, and then the ending just sort of happens off screen, leaving the audience without a payoff.
Overall, while this episode had its moments, they were far and few between. I give this one a 4/10.
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