first_img 11 Great TV Shows With Terrible EndingsBuy This Comic: The X-Files: Case Files – Flordia Man #1 In general, I like that the final two event seasons of The X-Files is favoring monster-of-the-week episodes. As a fan of the show, I stopped caring about the mythology long before the revival. Around the time the story about Mulder’s sister was wrapped up the first time. Even when the series’s initial run started going downhill, the individual standalone episodes are what kept us coming back. Well, along with the charged banter from Mulder and Scully. That never got old. For the most part, I’m glad that the new show is pretty much the same as the old show. Everyone’s a little older, and they occasionally have to address the fact that the real-world president is at odds with the F.B.I., but it’s business as usual. It’s a modern update that perfectly retains the spirit of the original run. For good and bad.As much as I love the monster-of-the-week episodes, not all of them were winners. It’s just that the bad ones were easier to ignore when The X-Files was just another show on TV with 24 episodes per season. Now that it’s billed as an Event Series, with only ten episodes, there’s more pressure for the show to nail each episode. Not every episode has to move the story forward. In fact, given where the mythology is at this point, I extra don’t care about that. It’s just that we have so few hours of The X-Files left it feels worse when one of them is just… fine. Not bad, really. Just not all that good either.Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny (Cr: Shane Harvey/FOX)I will give the episode credit for one thing: The doppelgangers are scary. What made me love this series originally was its ability to consistently scare the crap out of me. And having characters turn around and be confronted by a sinister double is effectively frightening. As are the gruesome ways people die in this episode. The idea is good, and should have made for a great standalone hour of The X-Files. It just whiffs on the execution. The episode starts out strong enough. A guy at a punk show sees someone who looks just like him. He books it, but the doppelganger shows up in his car, grabs the wheel and steers the car into a tree. He survives to tell the tale somehow, which is how the incident ends up grabbing the attention of Mulder and Scully.This is where the episode brings back another classic element of the show: Scully’s skepticism. Mulder is instantly ready to believe that there are evil doppelgangers trying to kill people, and Scully’s not sure evil is a thing that exists. It’s a dynamic that’s been missing from the last couple episodes, and it’s important to the show. Yes, Scully has personally witnessed much stranger things than this, but it makes sense that she still needs to be convinced. That way they don’t go after every crazy story the piques Mulder’s interest. The return of Scully’s pragmatic skepticism is welcome, even if the pop-psychobabble gets a little grating as the episode goes on. Yeah, this is an episode that likes to talk a lot about mental illness and schizophrenia, but you get the sense that nobody on staff really knew all that much about the topic.Gillian Anderson and guest star Karin Konoval (Cr: Shane Harvey/FOX)What’s worse is the show never even attempts to explain how the two mentally ill siblings are responsible for the doppelganger killings. Just that they are. Mulder and Scully notice that some of the recent victims of similar apparent suicides are connected to a mental hospital. There, they meet a schizophrenic woman with a split personality. She plays Hangman psychically with her brother, and on one of the pages, the solution was the name of the car-crash victim from the beginning. Mulder confronts the brother, while Scully remains with the sister, who turns mean and gets her thinking about aging.It’s at this point that the episode feels like it’s just going through the numbers, without any sense of why they’re going through these numbers. Mulder flirts with Scully, but she’s not into it. Enough that it actually comes off as a little creepy. This isn’t quite the workplace sexual tension I sign on for when I watch The X-Files. Though they eventually do sleep together and worry about the future in a scene that feels oddly out of place with the rest of the episode. They seemed to be just fine with each other and where their lives were in the last episode. Where’s this coming from? At least the psychic twins are fun. Karin Konoval plays both sister and brother so well, I didn’t even realize the same woman played both parts. She’s also devouring the scenery in a way that gives the episode some much-needed personality. This episode doesn’t seem to be all that concerned with its own story, but at least it isn’t boring.Guest star Karin Konoval (Cr: Shane Harvey/FOX)The same can be said for how it ends. I don’t come to this show for definitive answers. That’s never been part of the deal. I’d have liked some sort of half-baked theory attempting to explain the twins’ power or why it manifests as evil doppelgangers, but that’s not my real issue. My real issue is the lack of internal consistency. I can accept some pretty improbably stuff as long as there’s at least the appearance of some kind of internal logic. The siblings play Hangman with each other where the answer is the next person they’d like to see die. As they get closer to completing the puzzle the doppelganger appears more often. When the game is finished, the person dies. Do they have to be psychically connected for it to work? Do they both have the power independently? It’s unclear because when they disagree on whether to kill Mulder or Scully, both doppelgangers appear. Because both names have a U followed by an L. So is the game even necessary?The episode ends after a plodding fight scene (which is a real letdown after last week’s action-packed episode), and the twins get so mad at each other they cross out Mulder and Scully’s names, writing each other’s below. They’re both soon strangled to death by their doppelgangers. So nothing is explained, and we come away from the episode feeling like little of consequence actually happened. It wasn’t boring or even all that bad. You’d just hope with a shorter episode count and more time between seasons, the show could turn out something better than this. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img Stay on targetlast_img read more